Things I’ve seen candidates do recently that you should not do:
* Starting a sentence in your cover letter with “As a loving wife and mother…”
* Including your Social Security number on your resume. And your salary history. And hours worked per week in each job.
* Using a spam filter on your email that requires anyone who wants to email you to first fill out an online form verifying that they are a real person. Do you really want to throw up a barrier between you and employers trying to contact you (many of whom might miss the email requesting verification, meaning that their email will never reach you)?
* Talking about yourself by name, in the third person — as in, “Alison’s achievements include…”
* Leaving comments turned on in your resume, so that I can see all the suggestions someone made to you about how to improve your resume.
* Stating that you’re “uniquely qualified” for the job. You can’t possibly know that.
* Not including the dates that you held the jobs listed on your resume. This is a good way to immediately make an employer wonder what you’re trying to hide.
* Sending your resume and cover letter in Pages, which is a program that most people don’t have on their computer (thus meaning most people wouldn’t be able to open your materials). Use Word, PDF, or plain text.
P.S. I’m quoted in this story about networking for teens in Teen Vogue.