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Resume and Cover Letter Writing
TIPS FOR WRITING A RESUME
Format Your Resume Wisely
- A resume is frequently scanned, so make it organized and attempt to keep it to one page if possible.
- Selectively apply bold and italic typeface so as to guide the reader’s eyes.
- Focus on what you have accomplished while in college or at work.
- Use bullets to call attention to important points (i.e. accomplishments)
- Accomplishments should be unique to you.
- Does your accomplishments support your career objective?
Quantify Your Accomplishments
- Do not make too many general claims.
- Quantify your achievements to insure greater confidence in the employment manager.
Cater Your Resume for the Business
- Err on the side of being conservative stylistically.
- Your accomplishments, error-free writing, grammatically correct, clean, crisp type, and paper, will make the impression for you.
“Personal Profile” is Frequently Used Instead of “Objective”
- Try to catch the reader’s attention with a well-created statement.
RESUME WRITING HINTS
Be Concise: A good resume has no more than 1-2 pages; contains perfect grammar and spelling; positive; action-oriented and achievement-oriented; and attractive and thought of as your advertisement targeted toward a “buyer,” the employer.
Style: There are three basic types of resumes: chronological, functional, and combination-style. There is no one way to write a resume. The style to use is the one that works the best for you, that communicates to the employer that you can do the job!
- Personal demographics: name, full mailing address, telephone at home and work, and e-mail address.
- An objective that gives the employer an idea of the type of work for which you are looking.
- Education/training: include degrees, certificates, majors, institution, and year awarded.
- Work History: job title, employer, location, and years worked.
- Additions and Optional areas: special skills, professional summary, professional memberships, honors/awards, publications, community activities, relevant personal data (such as security clearance, licenses, languages, computer skills).
Never Include the following:
- The word “resume” at the top
- Personal data, such as age, marital status, race, religion, political affiliation, family information
- “References Upon Request” is understood and not necessary
- Writing in the first person, “I”
- Salary for each job you have held
Tips for writing a good resume:
- Write with the following format in mind: Action verb + the purpose + any achievement/award/accomplishment you received. Indicate responsibility, results, and relevancy.
- Example: “Taught resume writing to college students to increase their marketability; over 50% of students received job interviews as a result.”
- List achievements and how you solve problems.
- Example: “increased efficiency, saved money, increased customer interest.”
- Use action verbs in the present or past tense.
- Example: “coordinated, initiated, supervised, developed, wrote, organized…”
- Use numbers or statistics when you can:
- Example: “helped raise $5,000 for the March of Dimes.”
- Use the language of your future profession.
- Bring out personal, professional qualities that you bring to the job.
- Example: “Ability to work alone or as a team leader” or “ability to work effectively under the pressure of deadlines.”
- Be specific. Every word counts.
- Be selective. Only include what is relevant to the position.
- Include volunteer, community, and club responsibilities if relevant.
- Avoid using abbreviations and parentheses.
- Write your own resume.
- Pay particular attention to making your resume look attractive.
- Keep your resume on a disk so that it can be updated or changed.
- Each resume should look like it was written with a particular job in mind.
- Always send a cover letter if you mail, fax or e-mail your resume.
- Do not include references or salary history/requirements on your resume.
- “References Upon Request”
- Develop a separate sheet of references. Take the list of references with you to your first interview and offer it as a follow-up.
- Develop a separate sheet of references. Take the list of references with you to your first interview and offer it as a follow-up.
- Keep a record of all resumes you send or give out and what the final outcome was. Follow up on all leads.
- Always carry an updated resume with you.
RESUME/CV ACTION VERBS
These words leave a lingering impression when used to express action that you have performed (e.g. administered the Nelson Denny Test to 25 students). Other action verbs worth considering in your resume are:
For more helpful tips on how to develop your resume, please click the link below.
Below is what a proper reference list should look like.
Last Name, First Name Title
Last Name, First Name As Above
WRITING A COVER LETTER
Below is a standard template that can be used when writing a cover letter.
Dear (Title) Last Name:
I recently learned from (source of information) that _________ Dental clinic is seeking a highly motivated, well trained dental hygienist with proven work experience to fill a full time opening. The position seems like a perfect fit with the professional training and experience which I possess.
Unsure of an Opening
I am taking the liberty to contact your dental clinic in hope that your office may be seeking a highly motivated… (Same as above except for the last sentence).
As my enclosed resume states, I have been fortunate to have worked in the dental profession as a dental hygienist both on a full time and a part-time basis. My career has afforded me the opportunity to serve a very diverse group of patients whom I have assisted with a high degree of professionalism and with a cheerful demeanor. Over the years, I have taken pride in being knowledgeable of the newest dental techniques and presently am anticipating taking a couple of classes to further my skills.
When seeking a new employee to compliment your highly qualified dental staff, you undoubtedly want an organized, team oriented person with a good work ethic. I feel that I possess the above attributes and sincerely hope that my resume reflects these qualities as well as my past professional experience and diverse community involvement.
Please feel free to contact me at ___telephone number___ or by e-mail: ___e-mail address __ if I can provide any additional information concerning my professional qualifications or life experiences. I truly look forward to meeting and discussing your future employment needs.
Thank you so much for taking the time to meet with one of our students and discuss with him your field of employment. The time you spend with each individual will be invaluable in helping them better understand what their career will encompass following college.
Below are some things you may want to consider in preparing for the dialog you plan to have with (name of the student). However, you may be interested in knowing that a curriculum vita of the interviewee will be forwarded to you for your review. In addition, (name of the student) has been asked to have a curriculum vita available when he/she meets with you.
I hope you will not mind completing a short assessment of your interview with (name of the student). Please be quite frank with your comments. This may be the field where (name of student) may find himself/herself working 30 or 40 years of his/her life. Once again, thank you very much for helping our career center at Martin Methodist better prepare students for future employment. I will be in touch with you just prior to your information interview session and following it. – Gordon Thayer ’69
Here are a few things I am sure you realize, but I will state the obvious anyway:
- The student will probably be nervous. This will be a wonderful experience and should give you an opportunity to assess the student’s future interview capabilities.
- The information interview session will give the student a contact and possible reference.
- It is conceivable that you may become a mentor for the student.
- You may have opportunity to show the student the value of networking and even be able to give him/her additional contacts.
- This initial meeting will allow you the opportunity to learn things about the student that helps the student transition easier from college to career.
When you first meet your young Iota Iota brother the “Ice Breaker” helps set the tone.
Ice Breaker: You are all professionals and have your own ideas and style. After shaking hands and exchanging pleasantries, here are a couple of ideas I thought about. You probably have a better entree.
- A short story of when you were a pledge or brother in the Iota Iota chapter. I am sure it will be humorous and set the tone.
- I am not sure how much background we will have on our chapter brothers, but finding out where he is from, other siblings he has in Iota Iota, things he has enjoyed both in our chapter and at UA, etc.
- How pleased you are to have the opportunity to help such as “I wish I had had the chance to meet with someone while I was at UA in the major I had selected. I wish had known ….”
The career conferences and meetings I have attended on assisting students for future employment seem to center on three basic areas of of preparation no matter which career field. The specifics under each area are unique for that profession, but the general areas are quite generic.
Area I – Identification of Student Skills/Abilities and How They Relate to My Profession:
- If a resume or curriculum vita is available to you, the brother’s skills and abilities should be included in it. If not, then you will want to discuss skills that you know will be expected from a future employee.
- You may want to discuss what it was like when you first broke into your field and how it has changed (probably technology) over the years.
- We have found that in most fields there are certain skills that an employee MUST possess, while additional skills are icing on the cake.
- We have found that a number of students do not realize how important writing, and verbal skills happen to be. For example, “I plan to be an engineer” – their perception is one of total immersion in mathematics and applied science only.
- We also see quite frequently students that do not value their internships or “co-ops” for what they can offer. They see it as the fulfillment of a course requirement rather than a way to experience the real world of work.
Here are the seven skills that NACE (counseling organization) indicated that employers are seeking in most employees.
- Ability to make decisions
- Ability to work in a team structure
- The development of both writing and communication skills
- Ability to create and/or edit reports.
- Ability to process information
- Ability to analyze and draw conclusions
- Ability to lead and influence
Be as specific as you can when discussing your professions required skills. Here is an example of a case we are working on following an “Information Interview”.
“So, Mr. Darden indicated after your “Information Interview” with him that you may want to work on the development of improved business writing skills.”
- If you have suggestions on the development or improvement of skills, please indicate such. Your comments will go a long way due to your career success.
Area II – Personal Traits that Many Employers are Seeking:
- Two of the seven identified skills listed above directly relate to an employee’s ability to relate to others (i.e. ability to work in a group, and the skill of leading). One of the most dreaded classes in college year-in and year-out is speech. Yet, it is such an important skill for a future leader.
- Hopefully, you can identify areas where our little brother has shown leadership in Iota Iota or in the university itself. If not, you may have a suggestion.
- Leadership and the ability to influence others seems to be a personal trait a number of employers like. Nick Saban would call it becoming a part of the “Process”—personal growth and leadership.
Area III – Work Attitude:
- We have been told at conferences that many college graduates are job hopping much more frequently in the last five years. For a number of my employer friends, this is a red flag if too many job changes occur.
- The understanding that a new employee does not start at the top of the employment ladder is a concern.
- Our little brother may need to work extra hours at first.
- Many employers want their employees to join clubs or organizations in the community which is extra time. It seems that a number of college students do not see that the image of where they work transcends a traditional 40-hour work week.
- The danger of the social media as it relates to work can cause a concern.
WRITING A THANK-YOU LETTER
After an interview, write a brief follow-up letter. Less than 1% of people interviewed take the time to spend such a note, so you can be certain it will be noticed. Use the letter to reinforce your value to the company/organization, correct any misunderstandings, and add forgotten points. Do not forget to reiterate that you are still interested in the position.
Remind the interviewer of the position for which you were interviewed, as well as the date and place of the interview. It is always courteous to express your appreciation.
Confirm your interest in the opening and in the organization. Highlight your qualifications and slant them toward points that the interviewer considered important for the job. If you have done anything since the interview which demonstrates your interest in the position, such as talks with alumni, faculty, other people, or research in the library, etc., be sure to mention it.
Include any information not previously presented to supplement your resume, application letter, and the interview. You may have completed a term paper or a research project, or perhaps you have received some kind of recognition. If travel, location, or a similar subject was stressed during the interview, be sure to confirm your willingness to comply with these conditions.
If appropriate, close with a suggestion for further action, such as a desire to have additional interviews at a mutually agreeable place and time.
Full name, typed