The purpose of the resume is to attract the attention of the interviewer. A good resume is a summary of your skills, talents, abilities, and experience in the field in which you are applying. Your resume should stand out and be distinctive. You are marketing yourself to the interviewer. In so doing, you are convincing them that you most closely possess the skills they seek.
Writing Your Cover Letter
A cover letter is a summary of your resume. It contains keywords that illustrate your potential value to the company to which you are applying. The cover letter asks for an interview for a job. A cover letter is job-specific, meaning it includes details pertaining to the specific position you are seeking.
When you are at a job interview, the first impression you make is extremely important, and likewise, when you write your cover letter, your opening sentence, and introductory paragraph your written first impression is equally as important.
After all, if your cover letter doesn’t immediately stand out from the pack, your chances of even landing an interview are substantially lowered. Think about it this way: an author’s goal when writing a book is to pull his readers in right from the beginning so that they are compelled to find out more by reading on. For you, your cover letter introduction should force its readers to be compelled to contact you for an interview.
The last thing you want to do is start out with a boring, typical lead-in, like, My name is John Smith, and I am writing in regards to the vacancy for a sales manager that I saw advertised in the Valley News. Lame! This kind of opening shows that you have zero originality and that to you, getting this job didn’t mean enough to get creative.
Instead, start out by zeroing in on why you are actually fit for the job. For example: With a proven track record of excellence in the automotive sales industry and leadership background that has spanned over a decade, I am confident that I would be a perfect fit for the sales manager position. You want to highlight the aspects of your experience and character that are the biggest qualifiers for you to get the job.
You may be worried about coming off as arrogant and egotistical, but in reality, you are just being self-assured and confident, and those are very attractive traits to a prospective employer. Also, the statements that you are making about yourself in the opening paragraph are not opinions; they are facts.
If you are going to say that you have a proven track record, then you have to be able to prove it through examples in your career history. Your introductory paragraph should be an overview of your qualifications, but you shouldn’t get into any detail until your second paragraph.
Get Down to Business
In your second and third paragraphs, you have to explain how your past experiences make you an ideal candidate for the position you are applying for. Look at the job description carefully, and find key qualifications that they are seeking.
Make sure that you draw a link between your qualifications and each skill or quality they are seeking. For example, if the job description states that they are looking for someone who works well under pressure, describe a scenario in your career history when you have done this.
If they are looking for someone who works well with others, describe a scenario in your history when your communication skills have been vital to completing a group task.
These paragraphs are not for generalizations you want to present your skills in a very clear, factual, and deliberate way explaining your actions will speak louder than using fancy words and enticing adjectives.
A Powerful Hook
The conclusion of your cover letter is vitally important to the impression you are going to leave on its readers. It’s just like a first date even if it has gone great all night, an awkward goodbye can spoil the whole thing.
These are your parting words to your prospective employers before they delve into your resume, so you want to leave a good taste in their mouths. You should talk about your knowledge of their company their reputation, their innovations, et cetera.
You want them to know that you respect their company and what it stands for, and you want them to know that you have done your homework, and you weren’t just sending out a bunch of carbon copy cover letters to a ton of prospective employers.
Finally, your last sentence should be strong and persuasive. For example, I implore you to contact me so that I can further convey my aptitude and enthusiasm for this highly desirable position.
Guidelines for Writing a Cover Letter
For a professional job, your cover letter should be typed. The best way to type your cover letter is with a computer word processor, which can aid in the accuracy and conciseness of your letter. If you do not possess such equipment, a word processor should be available at your local public library.
To start off your cover letter, you must include a salutation, or greeting. Do some homework to find out who you will be interviewed by in the company. Usually the interviewer will be your direct supervisor, if you were to be accepted for the position. Call the company to find out who this person will be. Address your salutation to this person, not the head of the company or its personnel department.
The Introduction of your cover letter is essentially a way of selling yourself to your potential employer. You want to pique the reader’s interest in your cover letter in the introduction. Write about the company’s achievements instead of your own to draw the reader’s attention. Do some research to find out favorable information about the company, and include it in a complementary way in the introduction.
The Main Body of your cover letter is a preview for your resume itself. It gives a concise statement summarizing your skills, and points the way toward reading your resume.
In concluding your cover letter, ask for an interview. Close in a complementary manner. Make sure you include space at the bottom for your signature. You might also wish to type your name and phone number.
How to Organize Your Resume and What Information to Include
At the top of your resume, state your objective. Your objective is a single sentence that includes the job title desired and your career path.
Optimally, as a professional applying for a job, you will want to include your work experiences as the first topic in your resume. You will want to arrange your experiences starting with the most recent and working backward towards the oldest experiences chronologically.
This information will enable your prospective employer to gauge where your career is currently, and where it may go in the future. Highlighting your individual skills, specifically, those that set you apart from other potential applicants will increase your chances of getting noticed.
Secondly, you should list educational achievements on your resume, usually after listing your skills and experiences. It is necessary to include details such as Universities and Colleges attended, degrees earned, awards and scholastic achievements awarded, and other impressive honors. These details are important when applying for a professional position.
Tips to Know
Avoid writing a dull and mistake-ridden resume. Include descriptive language to liven up your writing. Also, use meticulous grammar and ALWAYS proofread you work. When you are applying for a job, it is very important that your resume is mistake free and professional.
Make sure your resume is well planned, with such features as generous spacing, headers, and bullets. Being creative is permissible; anything that will make you stand out in a positive way is good.
Keep your resume sharp and to the point. Your resume should be informative. However, a resume should not be too complex. The reader of your resume should be able to quickly scan your resume for your key skills and experiences.