What is a resume?
Different types of resumes
10 Valuable Tips
What you should NOT do
The basic parts of a resume
Examples of a resumes
Helpful links for writing OR posting resumes
What is a cover letter
Objective of a cover letter
What you should do
What you should NOT do
Examples of cover letters
Helpful links for writing cover letters
WHAT IS A RESUME?
The resume is a selling tool that outlines your skills and experiences so an employer can see, at a glance, how you can contribute to the employer's workplace.
Your resume has to sell you in short order. While you may have all the requirements for a particular position, your resume is a failure if the employer does not instantly come to the conclusion that you "have what it takes." The first hurdle your resume has to pass--whether it ends up in the "consider file" or the "reject file"--may take less than thirty seconds.
The most effective resumes are clearly focused on a specific job title and address the employer's stated requirements for the position. The more you know about the duties and skills required for the job--and organize your resume around these points--the more effective the resume.
You will need information to write a good resume. Not just information about jobs you've held in the past but also information to select the most relevant accomplishments, skills and experience for THIS position. The more you know about the employer and the position, the more you can tailor your resume to fit the job.
DIFFERENT TYPES OF RESUMES
The chronological resume is organized by job titles with the most recent position listed first.
Employers tend to prefer the chronological resume because the format lists prior positions beginning with the most current. Employers perceive this resume style as fact-based and easily skimmed.
Works Best For:
For job seekers with solid experience and a logical job history, the chronological resume is the most effective. Career changers and those who lack formal on-the-job experience (like new graduates) find this resume the most difficult to write.
The functional resume rearranges employment history into sections that highlight areas of skill and accomplishment.
Some employers dislike functional resumes IF they find it difficult to match up skills with actual job titles, level of responsibility and dates of experience. You can, and SHOULD, avoid or minimize this objection by including the company name in the "bullet" describing each accomplishment.
Works Best For:
The functional resume might be thought of as a "problem solving" format. It gives you latitude to "make sense" of your work history and match up skills and accomplishments that might not be obvious to the employer in a traditional chronological format. If any of the descriptions below apply to you, you may want to investigate the functional format:
A resume (chronological or functional) formatted to read well when scanned and searched by optical scanning systems.
Some large employers use electronic resume processing systems (or "automated applicant tracking systems") to handle large volumes of resumes. A smaller employer may subscribe to a scanning service that offers them a way to automate this function for their small (or non-existent) human resource department.
Electronic resumes are used by resume banks to match applicant qualifications with employer needs.
The resume is scanned and entered in a database that the personnel department or the hiring manager can search by keyword.
For example, a department manager may search the database for a candidate with
4 years of Teleconference Training or 8 years of JIT (Just-In-Time) Inventory Control.
Not only must your resume include any relevant keywords, you must avoid fonts and formatting that will not scan properly into the system such as italics, bold and fancy typefaces.
Works Best For:
The verdict is out on this! Are there really jobs offered on the basis of these employer databanks? Or is it just a convenient way for companies to manage a flood of paper? While any resume you post to an electronic resume job bank must be in a suitable electronic format, you can't always know if the resume you send to a classified ad is going into one of these databanks.
Extra advice: If you are applying to large companies (say, more than 100 employees), there is a possibility your resume will be scanned. Prepare for this by reading about electronic resumes and preparing an electronic version of your resume. Ask your professional network for advice: Is this a common practice in your industry?
10 VALUABLE TIPS
The first item on a resume should be your full name, complete address (both current and permanent), telephone number, and email address. The identifying information should stand out clearly so the person reading your resume can easily find the necessary information to contact you.
State as clearly and concisely as possible your short term and/or long range career goals. It should be broad enough to interest a wide range of suitable employers, yet specific enough to illustrate your career direction.
List your current university first, the degree you are pursuing, expected graduation date, and grade point average. Continue in reverse chronological order with other post-secondary institutions or training. It is not necessary to include high school.
List in reverse chronological order your job title, employer, location (city and state), work performed, and dates. Use action verbs to describe your work. Whenever possible, quantify what you did (Example: led six-member team, achieved $ in quarterly sales). Avoid the term “responsibilities included” — instead use action words that emphasize results.
Honors and Activities
List academic honors (Dean’s list, scholarships) or other awards you have received. Also list campus organizations or volunteer community groups, including any leadership positions and accomplishments. Focus on your college experiences instead of high school.
List language fluencies, computer proficiencies, or operational knowledge of special equipment.
Stating “available upon request” is optional depending on space availability. On a separate sheet list the names, titles, addresses, and telephone numbers of three to five individuals who can speak positively about your qualifications.
HELPFUL LINKS FOR WRITING OR POSTING RESUMES
What is a cover letter?
A cover letter provides, in a very real sense, an opportunity to let your prospective employer hear your voice. It reflects your personality, your attention to detail, your communication skills, your enthusiasm, your intellect, and your specific interest in the company to which you are sending the letter.
Therefore, cover letters should be tailored to each specific company you are applying to. You should conduct enough research to know the interests, needs, values, and goals of each company, and your letters should reflect that knowledge.
Objective of a cover letter
A cover letter should be addressed to the specific company and the specific individual who will process your application. You can usually find this through research or simply by calling the company to find out who you should address your letter to.
The letter should name the position for which you are applying and also make specific references to the company. Indicate your knowledge of and interest in the work the company is currently doing, and your qualification for the position. You want the reader to know:
In addition to tailoring your application to a specific job with a specific company, the cover letter should also
Request specific follow up, such as an interview.
What you should
A cover letter should be in paragraph form (save bulleted lists for your resume) with a conversational, though formal, tone.
The first paragraph should be brief, perhaps two or three sentences, stating
The body of your letter should consist of one to three longer paragraphs in which you expand upon your qualifications for the position. Pick out the most relevant qualifications listed in your resume and discuss them in detail, demonstrating how your background and experience qualify you for the job. Be as specific as possible, and refer the reader to your resume for additional details.
The concluding paragraph of your letter should request an interview (or some other response, as appropriate). State where and when you can be reached, and express your willingness to come to an interview or supply further information. Close by thanking your reader for his or her time and consideration.
What you should NOT do?
Don’t use a sexist salutation, such as “Gentlemen” when answering a blind ad.
Don’t waste your first paragraph by writing a boring introduction. Use the first paragraph to grab the employer's attention; give the employer the reasons you are qualified for the position.
Don’t use such clichés as “Enclosed please find my resume” or “As you can see on my resume enclosed herewith.” Employers can see that your resume is enclosed; they don’t need you to tell them. Such trite phrases just waste precious space. And don't use pleonasms (wordy phrases), which also waste space.
Don’t depend on the employer to take action. Request action. Request an interview, and tell the employer when you will follow up to arrange it. Then, Do So. It is imperative that you follow up. You will greatly increase your chances of getting interviews if you call the employer after writing instead of sitting back and waiting for a call. Those who wait for the employer to call them will generally have a long wait indeed.
Don’t send a cover letter that contains any typos, misspellings, incorrect grammar or punctuation, smudges, or grease from yesterday’s lunch.
Never, Never more than one page, and it’s best to keep it well under a full page. Each paragraph should have no more than one to three sentences.
Don’t rehash your resume. You can use your cover letter to highlight the aspects of your resume that are relevant to the position, but you’re wasting precious space -- and the potential employer’s time -- if you simply repeat your resume.
Links for Sample Cover Letters
Helpful Links for Cover Letters
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