Last week my friend Jenny started her Career 101 series by suggesting tips on the most efficient ways to succeed in the job market. Now it’s time for her second installment devoted to writing a perfect resume and cover letter.
Composing Your Resume
Before getting started, think of the points you want to emphasize. Check whether they coincide with the skills and requirements of a company you are applying to. The bottom line is that your resume should showcase your best features, positive qualities, and career goals.
The Objective Statement
Come up with the objective statement. It is especially useful for those who have no relevant experience. These few lines should prove why company may benefit from you. If you are a career changer, this is a chance to explain WHY you are interested in this job and HOW your previous experience can be exploited.
Bullet Points for Your Role and Responsibilities
Think about your current position and relevant experience you want to highlight. You may also list everything you do (did) in this position.
Investigate and Optimize Your Submission
When you have composed an eye-catching objective and a list of duties in previous jobs, adjust them for each submission. You should think strategically about what to stress. Research will give you an insight into the best way to refine your content.
- Read employer’s job description.
- Evaluate the profiles of their current staff on LinkedIn.
- Identify typical adjectives they use in the job description and incorporate them into your resume.
Formatting Your Resume
- Stick to the one page rule when writing your resume. Don’t include empty words and clichés just to extend it.
- If you have zero relevant experience, place education section at the top of your resume.
- It should be consistent. Don’t forget about the sequence of tenses.
- Add contact info at the top of the resume.
- Create a Word Doc resume to be found in the tracking systems employers use.
Your Cover Letter
A gripping cover letter easily grabs recruiter’s attention. Consider the following tips when writing it:
- Articulate info in a creative way.
- Open up and be genuine when talking about your goals, interests, and motivation.
- Keep it concise unless the additional details are really important.
- Mention the reasons why you want to work for the company and persuade the recruiter that you might be of a real value.
What You Should Avoid
- Never use meaningless words that do not add any credibility. Instead, put action words which would present you as a personality.
- Get rid of “Additional Skills” section if they are rudimentary. Being good at such programs as Microsoft Word or Excel is a must rather than something to boast about.
- Remove high school details unless they can make a difference.
- Don’t embellish your skills.
- Aim at a specific job and do not apply to 5 different positions within one company.
- Proofread your resume a couple of times to avoid embarrassing grammar mistakes and confusions.
- Don’t include links to your LinkedIn or Facebook profile unless these links complement your application.
- Beware of the image you have in social media as it is visible to the public. Alter your privacy settings if needed.
Now you know how a resume and cover letter should look like in order to present a candidate in the best possible light. And always try to be optimistic!
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