Killer Cover Letters & Resumes

Author : Weetfeet

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    AT A GLANCE 30 SECONDS TO SATISFY • Your resume has one primary purpose: to help determine if you merit an interview. A well-constructed resume by itself won’t win you the job. • A resume and cover letter are marketing tools designed to get the attention of potential employers, and interest them in learning more about a quality product—you. • Your resume must make you stand out quickly. The typical resume reviewer will spend less than 30 secondslooking at your materials. • In a nutshell, your resume and cover letter are less about where you’ve been than about where you want to go next. ON YOUR MARK, GET SET, PREP! • Start by determining what you have to offer: Examine your employment history, educational experience, membership in academic or professional organizations, and volunteer or community activities. In addition, write down your top accomplishments. • The top qualities that most employers want sometimes have little to do with work experience—such as communication skills, honesty and integrity, interpersonal skills, a strong work ethic, and teamwork skills. • Pay close attention to the things you do well, because they help shape your most valuable professional attributes. Don’t forget to incorporate your talents and natural abilities into your resume prep list. • The chief aim of history gathering is to identify transferable skills to highlight on your resume. These include analytical and problem-solving skills; the ability to produce results; evidence of intellectual achievement, leadership, and teamwork skills; and specific industry and job expertise. • It’s important to research your target companies. Good preparation can be just as important as impressive credentials. The proper research will enable you to tailor your resume and cover letter to address each employer’s needs. And the more knowledgeable you are about a potential position, the more equipped you’ll be to demonstrate how you can contribute to an organization. THE RECIPE FOR RESUME SUCCESS • Create a master resume that includes all of the resume elements you might use, as well as a full selection of achievement statements, coursework, volunteer activities, hobbies, and anything else you might use on a job application. • The essential parts of your resume include the heading (which displays your contact information), an education section and a work experience section. • Optional parts of a resume can include an objective statement, summary of qualifications, a profile, and additional information. Your decision to include or omit optional parts depends on your background, experience, and career path. • Effective resumes are “action-packed!” So after you’ve sketched out your experiences on a master list, write them as achievement statements, which emphasize actions and results. WRITING AND FORMATTING YOUR RESUME • Entry-level candidates and those with five years of experience or less should limit their resumes to one page. Experienced professionals should write no more than two pages. • Your goal is to distill everything you need to say into a few carefully chosen words and bullet-pointed sentences that are easy to scan. • There are two basic ways to lay out a resume: chronologically and functionally. Use the format that best reveals your strengths for a particular job. WRITING A TASTY COVER LETTER • Like a good appetizer, all cover letters have one main purpose: to whet your reader’s appetite, get them interested enough to move on to your resume, and then want to interview you.• Every cover letter needs to address three areas: why you are writing, what you have to offer, and what happens next. • There are three types of cover letters: those that respond to a specific job opening, those directed to a specific person, and those that serve as letters of introduction. DIGITAL DELIVERY • Make sure all your digital materials are in accessible, printable formats. • Save four versions of your resume: a Word document for printing, a PDF for email attachments, a plain text version with line breaks for the email body, and a plain text version without line breaks for online forms. • Don’t be afraid to use online application systems, especially if a firm directs you there. Follow the instructions precisely, complete the entire application, and choose keywords carefully. FROM RESUME TO INTERVIEW • If you have submitted your resume and cover letter directly to someone in the company, follow up with a phone call or send an email to reiterate your desire to learn more about the position. Don’t become a nuisance, but do be persistent • The thank-you letter shows gratitude for the time the employer has taken to review your qualifications, and it’s an opportunity to reiterate the fit between the position and your qualifications and goals. FOR YOUR REFERENCE • Want more info to create your killer resume? Check out our list of recommended reading and research.


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