The 30-Second Relevance Test

A common rule of thumb for the job search: expect your prospective employer to spend 30 seconds or less reviewing your resume and cover letter!

Here are three 30-second self-reviews that can help develop strategic communications for the application review stage:


Print out your resume, fold it in half, then open it back up. Think of the position you seek, and ask yourself the following question:

  • Am I providing a short summary of my most relevant skills and experience above the fold?
    If not, consider a reorganization as this will be equivalent to what your prospective employer sees on-screen.

Cover Letter

Review your material from the employer's perspective. Imagine that the employer, has seven jobs to fill, and has just implemented a new advertising campaign to post positions. (This is a common scenario.)

  • Does your letter include information on where you found the company?

  • Do you state which position(s) you are interested in and how your experience fits the position requirements?

  • Is it easy to tell why you are interested in the company?

  • Does your letter make it easy to see your knowledge of the work that the company does?

Online Image

"Googling" candidates, evaluating LinkedIn and Facebook profiles, and reviewing website hits are easy ways for employers to conduct candidate research. Does your online presence communicate what employers should know about you?

(Also, is there any information on the web that might hinder your job search?)

One quick tip: Set a Google News Alert to send you an e-mail alert of any web mentions for your name--this helps you monitor your online reputation automatically.

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