Resumes and cover letters are both important tools when searching for a new job. Both documents are written representations of you before you are able to represent yourself in person. When well written, they can open doors of communication, land you an interview and possibly a new job. There are key components to a resume and a cover letter. There is information you must include and information best left out of each document.
While you want to identify certain strengths, there are some that may be inappropriate to forward to a hiring manager or recruiter. Grammar, spelling, flow and sentence structure are all important parts of a resume. Resumes come in different forms and formats. A career guide will show you how to decide on the best one for your particular history and information.
Great resumes will include most of the following components:
- Contact information – your name, address, phone number and email address
- An objective – stating your purpose, what you have to offer and what you are seeking
- A Summary or professional strengths – Identify you relevant qualities and expertise
- Professional experience – list your work history, present and former companies for which you worked, position titles, dates of employment, location of positions, your responsibilities and accomplishments
- Education – noting your degrees, major, minor, colleges or universities, locations, certifications, and special training
- Affiliations – identify any organization, group or association to which you belong
- Skills and languages – itemize you software and hardware skills and any languages in which you are fluent
Great cover letter formats include three short paragraphs:
- An introduction stating the purpose of your submission, the position you are interested in, the location of the position and how you discovered the vacancy.
- Specify why the company and position appeals to you, how you can make positive contributions to their team, what skills you bring to the table, how your qualifications meet their requirements and why you are the ideal candidate for the position.
- Extend your gratitude for the review of your resume, encourage an interview and invite the recruiter to contact you or specify a time period in which you will call or email to follow up on your submission.
In search of more resume writing techniques and cover letter help? To get more detailed information, resume templates, sample cover letters and more job search information, go online and read posts in career forums. There is a wealth of information, offering critiques, advice and many times an opportunity to vent to people who understand your struggle.
There are several other job and career resources online and offline that will guide your efforts. Having a great cover letter and resume are essential tools to a successful job search. Be sure to double check both before forwarding to a prospective employer.
On a final note, don’t be discouraged if you think your cover letter and resume are not up to par. Get a second opinion. Ask family or friends to give you feedback. This will be especially beneficial if you know someone who has a knack for writing, a good command of the English language and an eye for mistakes. Help is out there and you will find it when you look for it. Good luck!
Want more information to improve your job search? Check out our Job and Career Guide page with more My Career resources.