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In the end it doesn’t matter
I’d like to tell you that it really, really matters how you format your resumé and how careful you are about staying within perfect margins and what size of font you use (okay, don’t ever use anything below 11 pt.) but it doesn’t really matter. I know, I know, we’ve been going on and on about the proper ways to do it, perhaps even giving you the impression that if you don’t do it the a certain way, your rezzie (heh) will be squashed into a paper ball and used as a wastebasket ball. But the truth is, if you have the experience the employer is looking for and if that is outlined in clear terms, you will probably make it to the “yes” pile on his/ her desk.
I would say the same goes for the cover letter — format is nice but in the end, just keep it to the point, so: talk about how you can serve the employer (so, you know, skip the five million things you’re interested in that have no bearing on the job). Leave the interesting anecdotes for the interview — don’t worry, if the employer wants you, he or she will ask you about some specific examples. What else? Oh, yeah, try to stay under a page — this is simply a courtesy toward whomever will read this. I can tell you from my point of view (as someone who has seen many cover letters and resumés) that I shudder whenever I see anything beyond a one-pager. Seriously. And I’m a woman who reads a lot — a book or two a week — so it’s not like I can’t handle extra text.
The things you should always stick to, however — no matter how incredibly perfect you are for the job — are spelling, dates and listing work experience as well as your contact info. Your work experience is the “meat” of your presentation — it is the answer to the question: Why do we want this person? Dates will give the employer an idea of how consistently you’ve been employed and, alternatively, how loyal you are to your employers. Spelling, well, you know, eet ees emporttannt eef uuu whaant 2 be oonderstud. And contact info? Seriously — you’re not really confused about that one, are you?