A resume is not just a detailed list of your what, when, where and whys. If written properly, it should be used as an instrument to market yourself in the field of your choosing.
It takes a hiring manager about 10 to 30 seconds to decide whether your resume is worth their time. Do not give them any reason to put your resume aside. Your resume must be well-written with perfect spelling and grammar, neat and organized, must not contain large gaps of activity and must provide them a picture of who you are and what you are looking for.
General Contents of a Resume
- Contact Information: Name, City and State, contact phone number and a professional email.
- Objective or Professional Summary: A short sentence to let the hiring manager/recruiter know what you want to do. The main point is to show your future employer that you know where your career is headed (at least for now).
- Skill Set/Qualification: List of job-related, transferable and adaptive skills. These include but are not limited to skills acquired through work, schooling and internships.
- Education: List schools in reverse chronological order and include projects and awards. Certificates can also be included.
- Work History: List in reverse chronological order; include the employer name, location, position, dates of employment and job skills/duties and accomplishments. You should only provide your work history during the last 10 years since the working industry has changed so much.
A cover letter is your introduction, or “handshake” to the hiring manager. The difference between a resume and cover letter is that a resume answers to the question of “what did you do” while a cover letter answers the whys. Its purpose is to show how your qualifications match the required skills and what makes you unique to other candidates for that specific job.
Every cover letter that is sent must be catered to the specific position. Even if an online application states that cover letters are ‘optional’, it is suggested that you submit one. A cover letter provides the hiring manager a clear picture of the candidate and it gives you a chance to express your interest and qualifications in more detail.
Cover Letter Tips and Guidelines
- Use a business letter format.
- Keep it one page and use the same heading as your resume
- Address your cover letter to an individual that includes their title, and the organizations address. If you are unable to get a contact person for the job, you may include a generic introduction such as “Hiring Manager”. If you’re not sure who the contact person is, or the address of the organization, search for them online or call!
- DO NOT RESTATE YOUR RESUME.
- Include the skills that make you qualified for that position and how your skills are a match to the job description (be more detailed than your resume).
- Remember that each cover letter must be tailored to the position you are seeking
- Do not just state why you want the job, but also provide how you can help the company.
- Provide a closing statement that includes your intentions on being interviewed, to hear from the company on what the next step will be, and to thank them for their time.
- And most importantly, SPELLCHECK AND GRAMMAR