Lately, I find myself reading more and more resumes, because we're desperately trying to hire intelligent people, and there are certain things that drive me insane. So, I'd like to give the world the following instructions:
The resume killers (instant trashcan)
It is a resume, not a novel. Keep it down to 1 page.
If you don't have any of the items in the REQUIRED section, Don't. Fucking. Apply. If we wanted recent graduates or interns for the position labelled "10 years experience required" we would not have listed that as a requirement.
That said, don't spam a single resume to 10 different jobs. Apply for the ones you're qualified for, and no others.
Don't resend your resume every damn day/week. If a whole month or two goes by, and the job is up there, go ahead and send it in one more time. One of the first things I do when sorting my resume mailbox is sort by sender, and I nuke any that are repeated.
I know you probably submitted this through a website form, but leaving the body of your email blank means I HAVE to load up word or acrobat and read through the entire resume to get a feel for what you're after. If your paragraph is interesting, I'll read your entire resume top to bottom. If it isn't, I'll scan it fast and most likely trashcan it. Put a single paragraph that gives me a grasp of who you are. Do not suck up, or thank me for reading your resume, that is a waste of my time.
For technical people, drop the goddamn acronym section at the top. Everybody does it these days. If you want, put a small one line of the most IMPORTANT acronyms or vendor names in each Job Experience section.
Also, if you claim knowledge of something, and you have zero job experience to back it up, and don't explain how you know, I'm going to assume you're lying, and Trashcan you.
If the job says "No Sponsorships" do not apply from India or Pakistan or China.
Spellcheck the fucking thing. Yes, even the foreign version $5 bought-on-a-streetcorner of Microsoft Word have the spellcheck feature. If I have to spellcheck your resume before I can read it: I'm not going to.
Don't claim responsibilities that aren't yours. I know everybody fudges a little, but if your job title as "1st Tier Technical Support Trainee" and you list "Deployed Giant Network Across the Globe" as an accomplishment I'm going to know you're full of shit, and then I can't trust anything you put on there. Trashcan time. You would be stunned how often I get resumes that are so clearly bald faced lies.
Don't copy my job requirements list, and munge it into a resume. You aren't fooling anybody.
How to perk it up
If I put a "plusses" section in the job description, and you have them, mention them briefly in the 1-2 paragraph body of your email. This is one of the few times I'll accept an email cover when it runs into multiple paragraphs.
By all means, name-drop. If you know somebody who works here, say so. But don't fudge it to make it seems like you're betst friends if you aren't. Starting your one paragraph with "My friend Bruce in your QA Department said you were hiring a network engineer" is a great way to get me to open a resume. Keep in mind, the first thing I'll do is ask Bruce about you, if he goes "Joe Who?" -> Trashcan
Attaching the resume in Text, PDF, and .rtf format can be a win; unless I specify how I want to recieve them. Make sure they're nice and small. One of my friends did a clever thing: she attaches the requsted format, but hyperlinks all of the other formats at the bottom of the email body. Quite handy.
Using these common sense simple rules I can usually turn a monthly mailbox of 1000 resumes into a pool of about 50. Honest.