Resumes and Cover Letters
Stand out from the rest
Preparing a dynamic resume and cover letter can set you on the right track to getting that “dream job”. Although there is not one way to write these documents, your job is to present yourself in such a way that makes you stand out from the rest.
The goal of your resume is to effectively communicate your qualifications to prospective employers. In many cases your resume will determine whether or not you are granted an interview. The resume by itself, however, will not get you a job. If it gets you in the door, then it has served its purpose.
Effectively communicate who you are. Pathway to the interview.
Name: official name and spelling
- Address, phone number, email.
Education: most recent followed by others in chronological order.
- Published papers
- Major accomplishments
- Main responsibilities
- Skills acquired
- Workshops, insets
- Not necessary to list all jobs
The cover letter is your opportunity to shine by filling in the blanks from your resume. A well-written cover letter can pique the curiosity of the employer and motivate him/her to carefully read your resume. Be sure to include a cover letter every time you send a resume.
⦿Should create curiosity.
Tailor your letters to the specific organization and responsibilities of the position. A generic cover letter offers little value to a potential employer. Your cover letter should be 3-4 paragraphs long, and should describe your interest in the position and your candidacy.
- Your introduction should answer the following:
- For what position are you applying?
- How did you hear about it (e.g., through a friend, an ad, Career Services, etc.)?
- What is/was your major and degree?
- What is/was your graduation date?
- The body of the letter is your sales pitch:
This is where you need to describe your strengths (specific skills, personal attributes, experience) and relate them to the requirements of the position. You may emphasize some items from your resume, but try not to be too redundant. Use specific examples from your academic or work experience that address the employer’s stated requirements. Be sure to thoroughly research the employer. Your letter should show that you are a “good fit” with the mission and culture of the organization.
- The final paragraph: Close by requesting an interview. Lastly, always thank the employer for his/her consideration and mention that you are looking forward to hearing from them.
Thank You Letters
It is something which is very important to so your appreciation for the interview it should be giving:
- Send a thank you letter to everyone who interviews you. The letter is an opportunity to reiterate your interest in the position and to show your appreciation for the interviewer’s time. This will also contribute to your leaving a positive impression with the employer. The letter should be brief, only 2-3 paragraphs, and should be sent within 48 hours of the actual interview. You should also send thank you letters to anyone who has assisted you with your job search.
Emphasize the skills that you have and demonstrate how they relate to the position. Remember to state what you can do for the organization, as opposed to what the organization can do for you. Additionally, you may want to remind the reader of an important point you made in the interview or mention something you may have neglected to discuss in the interview.
- Although every phase of the job search is significant, one of the most important parts of the process is the interview. The interview will ultimately determine whether or not you will be offered employment. There are countless occasions where applicants with extremely impressive resumes are rejected in favour of applicants with run-of-the-mill resumes, simply because of their interview performance.
- Research the organization
- Think critically about the skills and experiences you can contribute to the role
- Practice your interviewing skills during a mock interview with a career coach
- Dress professionally
- Bring copies of your resume and a list of professional references
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