A job seeker who attached a particularly unsettling headshot of actor Nicolas Cage instead of her resume made national headlinesa few years ago.
While this particular resume gaffe may have garnered some laughs, plenty of similar mistakes occur every day without the media coverage. And it's no laughing matter when it's your own candidacy for a job compromised because of such an easily avoidable error.
The most basic advice one can take away from the Nic Cage incident: slow down, and check your work.
Simple enough in theory, but sometimes more difficult in execution.
Reality finds that the job application process can be draining. Steps include finding a job; updating the resume; tailoring a specific cover letter; then sending off in a neat package. Depending how deep into the job search one might be, a seeker can practically go cross-eyed checking and re-checking her or his own work.
As with most anything in our careers, teamwork offers a safety net to catch any possible resume mistakes. Find a friend whose judgment and input you trust to serve as your job-hunt editor.
The role of editor fits in a literal sense when applied to proofreading a cover letter or resume -- and it's recommended you have someone who can do just that.
However, this person can also "edit" your application process for other potential pitfalls -- like an inquiry email that includes the photo of an actor.
Send your inquiry email, with resume and cover letter, exactly as you plan to the prospective employer to your job-search editor first.
They can spot any grammatical errors or typos in the email itself, and ensures that all attachments sent aren't just correct, but also accessible.
Most job seekers will not send a Nic Cage photo in their email, but they might include a video file or PDF that exceeds the size limitations on some servers. If your test email comes through without these items, your editor will alert you.
If all looks good, you have a perfect job inquiry email already living in your Sent folder. Just make sure to remove the FWD: from the subject line if you opt to send your test email. It won't make the news if you forget to do so, but it might DQ you from an interview all the same.