I recently accepted a new evaluation position, so I’m helping my teammate find a replacement for me. We’ve received more than a dozen resumes over the past two days, and I’d like to share some lessons learned throughout this process.

Here are some helpful hints for job-hunting evaluators:

  • If the position says “immediate opening” and you live in another state, or across the country, it’s always helpful when people state in their cover letter that they’re willing to move soon.
  • If the position says “immediate opening” and you won’t finish graduate school for another six months, and you live across the country, you may not be the right candidate for the position.
  • Please check your resume and cover letter for typos.
  • In addition to my mid-level position, we’re also looking for a Director of Evaluation. If you just finished your bachelor’s degree, and have zero evaluation experience, then you may not be ready to apply for the director position just yet.
  • Spell out the acronyms in your resume and cover letter.
  • When sending attachments, like your resume and cover letter, please include your last name in the file name. This helps us keep our files organized.
  • Although our organization serves a lot of Latino youth, and a lot of our staff are Latino, wanting to work in our evaluation department because you “love watching the World Cup on TV” isn’t convincing. Do you love data analysis, data-driven decision-making, and training staff about data?
  • Part-time or volunteer experience typically doesn’t count towards “years of experience.” For example, if you finished your bachelor’s degree two years ago, then the maximum number of years of experience you could have is two years. I’m not sure if it’s mathematically possible to have five years of experience in this case.
  • Please include dates in your resume. We like to know how long applicants stayed in their previous positions and how many years of experience they have.
  • Make sure you know the title of the position you’re applying for. For example, we’re looking for a “Learning and Evaluation Specialist,” and the applicants’ cover letters express their interest in the Learning and Education position, the Internal Evaluation position, the Quality Improvement Coordinator position, the Internal Auditor position, and the Junior Consultant position.
  • Even if the position doesn’t require a cover letter, you should still write a brief introductory email. I’ve received a few resumes with blank subject lines and blank email bodies. At a minimum, please say hello, write a few sentences about yourself and your interest in the position, and end with “Sincerely, Your Name.”
  • Keep your resume t0 1-2 pages. Focus on evaluation experience. We don’t need an entire paragraph devoted to non-relevant jobs. Don’t cheat by using small font and small margins; you’ll just make your own resume’s graphic design look terrible.
  • Make sure you know the name of the organization you’re applying for. One applicant’s cover letter expressed interest in an entirely different organization. Oops!

Despite these small details, we’ve recevied truly amazing applications. It’s wonderful to see so many other evaluators who are enthusiastic about joining our team.