Any good resume should have two components to make it complete and correct. A cover letter to introduce yourself and the resume to sell yourself. On this page we will explore some tips and tricks to help you make the most out of yours.
Cover Letter Tips
A cover letter should be attached to every resume you submit. It is simply a letter of introduction that tells the employer what position you are applying for, why you are the perfect candidate for the job, and how to contact you for an interview. The cover letter should be brief and simple – one page, usually three paragraphs. Format is important. You should use the same paper and font that is used for your resume. White, ivory, or off-white paper with a conservative 12 point font type is a safe choice. Below is a review of what each paragraph in your letter should contain.
(1) Tell them what position you are applying for. Be specific. If you are responding to an ad, then use the exact title they used.
(2) How you learned of the position. Are you responding to an ad?, were you referred by someone?, did you find out about this company through your research?
Tell them why you are the perfect candidate for the position. Don’t repeat what is already on your resume. List two or three reasons why your unique skills or experience make you the ideal candidate for this position.
The follow up. Tell the employer that you are available for a personal interview; give your contact information, and let them know you will be calling within a specified time to follow-up.
DON’T FORGET TO SIGN YOUR LETTER!!!!
ABSOLUTELY NO ERRORS!!!!! (Spell and grammar check will never be more important).
Now you are ready to write your cover letter.
Resume Writing Tips
The next component is the actual resume. This is where you need to wow your potential employer. Consider the resume as your commercial. You choose the information that you want the employer to know about you. Remember, the resume is designed to get you the interview, not the job. Make sure you tailor the resume to match the employer’s needs.
Follow these quick tips to make the most out of creating your resume.
1. Your resume should be one page.
2. Use bulleted statements. (Do not use paragraphs or personal pronouns).
3. Choose a conservative 12 point type font. Avoid italics, script and underlined words.
4. Use white, ivory, or off-white paper. Never use colored paper.
1. Your contact information should go at the top of the resume.
2. Use your legal name, no nicknames and type your name in bold lettering.
3. Use your permanent address, NEVER use a P.O. Box.
4. When giving your phone number, include the area code. Make sure you have a professional greeting on your answering machine for when the employer calls to schedule the interview.
5. Have an email address exclusively for your job search, don’t use your personal email. Make sure the email address is short, simple and professional.
Make sure your objective is a clearly stated goal that shows you have direction and want exactly what the employer is offering. Be brief and to the point. For example if you are applying for a bookkeeping position with a Tax Service, your objective should be: “To obtain a position as a Bookkeeper with a tax service company.”
Your summary or highlights of qualifications should consist of several concise statements that focus on the most important qualities, achievement and abilities you have to offer the employer. These should be the qualities that mean the most to the employer and make you the perfect person for this job. For example if you were applying for a nursing assistant position in a Hospice Center a highlight could be: “Dedicated, sensitive health care professional committed to providing a positive quality of life for Hospice residents.”
Do not use the terms “Employment or Work History” as a heading, instead use “Relevant Experience or Professional Experience.” This is your commercial”, you do not have to list everyone you have ever worked for. You can pick and choose the experience you want to showcase for this particular employer. By using the heading of “Experience” rather than “Employment” you are able to use skills you gained from volunteering and personal knowledge. Begin with your most recent work experience and work back.
In this section you will tell the employer what you produced. Remember the resume is not a list of job duties, it is a picture of your achievements and how they relate to the job you are applying for. So instead of writing “Responsible for giving work assignments to staff of entry level web designers” you would write “Directed, supervised, and trained a staff of three web designers, specializing in non-profit organizations.”
Begin each statement with a power verb, such as Produced, Coordinated, Supervised, Effectively, etc. Stay away from passive words such as Responsible for, Did, or Had to.
List education and training acquired after high school in reverse chronological order. Do not list high school information.
Training and Certifications:
Only list those that relate to the job you are applying for.
Job Application Tips
Remember when filling out a job application to BE PREPARED. Bring all the information you need for completing the application: social security card, driver’s license, names and addresses of former employers, starting and ending pay rates, and reference’s names, addresses, and telephone numbers.
Read and follow the instructions.
Print clearly and neatly: Use black or blue ink.
Do not leave blanks. If the questions do not apply to you write in “N/A” for non-applicable.
Always answer questions truthfully. This is a legal document, and when you sign the application you are stating that everything you write is the truth. You can be fired for lying on your application.
List your most recent job first when completing employment information. When listing your job duties always start with the duties and responsibilities that match the job you are applying for.
Do not provide any negative information. Always have a positive reason for why you left your last job. NEVER write “Will discuss at interview.”
List your most recent education first. Include vocational schools and training programs as well as college and high school.
References don’t necessarily have to be professional. If you have volunteered you can use members of the organizations that you have helped or if you are a student use your teachers. In all cases, ask for permission prior to using the person for a reference. Never use relatives as references.
Check for spelling and grammatical errors. Proofread your job application form before turning it in.
Don’t forget to sign your application!
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