15 Tips Of Writing a winning Cv The thought of writing a resume intimidates almost anyone. It's difficult to know where to start or what to include. It can seem like an insurmountable task. Here are 15 tips to help you not only tackle the task, but also write a winning resume. 1. Determine your job search objective prior to writing the resume. Once you have determined your objective, you can structure the content of your resume around that objective. Think of your objective as the bull's-eye to focus your resume on hitting. If you write your resume without having a clear objective in mind, it will likely come across as unfocused to those that read it. Take the time before you start your resume to form a clear objective. 2. Think of your resume as a marketing tool. Think of yourself as a product, potential employers as your customers, and your resume as a brochure about you. Market yourself through your resume. What are your features and benefits? What makes you unique? Make sure to convey this information in your resume. 3. Use your resume to obtain an interview, not a job. You don't need to go into detail about every accomplishment. Strive to be clear and concise. The purpose of your resume is to generate enough interest in you to have an employer contact you for an interview. Use the interview to provide a more detailed explanation of your accomplishments and to land a job offer. 4. Use bulleted sentences. In the body of your resume, use bullets with short sentences rather than lengthy paragraphs. Resumes are read quickly. This bulleted sentence format makes it easier for someone to quickly scan your resume and still absorb it. 5. Use action words. Action words cause your resume to pop. To add life to your resume, use bulleted sentences that begin with action words like prepared, developed, monitored, and presented. 6. Use #'s, $'s and %'s. Numbers, dollars, and percentages stand out in the body of a resume. Use them. Here are two examples: * Managed a department of 10 with a budget of $1,000,000. * Increased sales by 25% in a 15-state territory. 7. Lead with your strengths. Since resumes are typically reviewed in 30 seconds, take the time to determine which bullets most strongly support your job search objective. Put those strong points first where they are more apt to be read. 8. Play Match Game. Review want ads for positions that interest you. Use the key words listed in these ads to match them to bullets in your resume. If you have missed any key words, add them to your resume. 9. Use buzzwords. If there are terms that show your competence in a particular field, use them in your resume. For marketing people, use "competitive analysis." For accounting types, use "reconciled accounts." 10. Accent the positive. Leave off negatives and irrelevant points. If you feel your date of graduation will subject you to age discrimination, leave the date off your resume. If you do some duties in your current job that don't support your job search objective, leave them off your resume. Focus on the duties that do support your objective. Leave off irrelevant personal information like your height and weight. 11. Show what you know. Rather than going into depth in one area, use your resume to highlight your breadth of knowledge. Use an interview to provide more detail. 12. Show who you know. If you have reported to someone important such as a vice president or department manager, say so in your resume. Having reported to someone important causes the reader to infer that you are important. 13. Construct your resume to read easily. Leave white space. Use a font size no smaller than 10 point. Limit the length of your resume to 1-2 pages. Remember, resumes are reviewed quickly. Help the reader to scan your resume efficiently and effectively. 14. Have someone else review your resume. Since you are so close to your situation, it can be difficult for you to hit all your high points and clearly convey all your accomplishments. Have someone review your job search objective, your resume, and listings of positions that interest you. Encourage them to ask questions. Their questions can help you to discover items you inadvertently left off your resume. Revise your resume to include these items. Their questions can also point to items on your resume that are confusing to the reader. Clarify your resume based on this input. 15. Submit your resume to potential employers. Have the courage to submit your resume. Think of it as a game where your odds of winning increase with every resume you submit. You really do increase your odds with every resume you submit. Use a three-tiered approach. Apply for some jobs that appear to be beneath you. Perhaps they will turn out to be more than they appeared to be once you interview for them. Or perhaps once you have your foot in the door you can learn of other opportunities. Apply for jobs that seem to be just at your level. You will get interviews for some of those jobs. See how each job stacks up. Try for some jobs that seem like a stretch. That's how you grow -- by taking risks. Don't rule yourself out. Trust the process. Good luck in your job search! A Good Resume Invites Recruiters to Read Your Cover Letter I always look at a person's resume first. I quickly breeze over qualifications and employment history. If they look promising in these areas, then their cover letter gets my attention. The cover letter provides insight into a person, e.g. how organized they are by examining the presentation of the letter, whether they have taken the time to find out anything about my company, whether they have had or do have any ties to the company, whether they have specified the job they want, will they travel, and so on. The meat is in the resume - it provides facts for quickly assessing your skills, achievements, and work history. If you look qualified for a job via your resume, then your cover letter becomes the deciding factor for a possible interview. The Goal of a Cover Letter The goal of your cover letter is to introduce yourself to the company and to sell yourself. If you do this well enough, you are at the top of the list for an interview, assuming you are qualified for the position. Advise for a Strong Cover Letter Make it short. Definitely no more than one page. Half a page is better. Two paragraphs is even better. If you can whittle it down to that and make your case succinctly, then you are proving yourself to be a great communicator. That's a huge bonus in my book. Be professional and concise. Never try to be humorous. Keep your tone on a "business only" level. Always put yourself in the best light and never give hints that you may be underqualified, even if you think you are. Never mention work experience in the cover letter that isn't included on your resume. This no-no equals an automatic strike out. Make sure it contains no typos or poor grammar. Have someone proof your letter before using it. Know what you are applying for. Be specific. Know the job title. Never say you'll take anything available. You are a professional. State the job title you are wanting to be considered for in the first paragraph of your cover letter. I always ask candidates why they want to work for me. This is where they have the opportunity to impress me by saying something such as "Because your company is the largest retailer of wireless communication devices, I feel strongly that I should position my future with a leader in the industry." Do you see what I mean? I want to know that they have done a little research. I want to know that they understand my business and at the same time they see a opportunity for self-fulfillment within my company. This is information you include in the first paragraph of the cover letter. Next, you must have a clear understanding of the contributions you will make to the company. This is paragraph number two. Ask yourself how your set of skills and past experiences will directly impact the company. This paragraph can be called the "What can you do for the company?" section. Never conclude a letter with a flippant "I hope you call me" type of ending. Always specify a date that you will follow-up with the company and how you will follow-up. Applying these tips will help you to be a step ahead of the pack. Recruiters routinely discard many applicants based solely on a poorly written cover letter. Since your goal is to get in the door for an interview, taking the time to create a winning cover letter is a tactic you can't afford to skip! Why Cover Letter Samples for Entry Level Jobs Don’t Always Work For many first time job seekers a cover letter sample for an entry level job seems like just the resource they need to land the position that will put them on the fast track to success. However, just like the old saying goes about how if you "give a man a fish you feed him for a day, but if you teach a man to fish you feed him for life" these neophyte job-hunters would be better off receiving some good advice. Even though a cover letter sample for entry level jobs will provide a short term solution to their dilemma as the alter the letter to match their particular circumstance, the entry level job seeker is likely to be disappointed. The cover letter samples for entry level jobs tend to be so badly written and generic that they rarely, if ever, make the kind of impression that leads to the interview that gets the job. Write Your Own Cover Letter Sample for an Entry Level Job In the long run, jobseekers who rely on cover letter samples for entry level jobs to provide their guidelines for writing cover letters will fare even worse. Even if they get lucky and land the job, they will never learn the simple rules of cover letter writing and will be in exactly the same situation again the next time they need to write a cover letter and apply for a position. Instead of a cover letter for sample entry level job applications, this site will provide a conceptual framework for what makes a great entry level cover letter. Basically the entry level cover letter writer needs to think of the cover letter as his sales representative to the Hiring Manager. Not a summary of the resume, not a personal note to show the Hiring Manager how personable the applicant is, not a chance to show off the applicant’s smarts --- a sales representative for that candidate. This helps to explain why a cover letter sample for an entry level job is not going to work for the candidate. To be truly effective, a sales representative needs to be fully informed and aware of the prospective customer and the product that he or she is selling and to tailor the sales pitch to the specifics of both. A cover letter sample for an entry level job will never be able to achieve that level of specificity. Put Your Super Salesman to Work for You To secure a sale, a sales representative must do three things. The sales representative must secure the attention of the potential customer. The sales representative must convince the potential customer that the product he or she is selling provides the best solution to the problem that the prospective customer faces. The sales representative must convert the prospective customer to an actual customer. In other words, he or she must close the deal and inspire the customer to take the action necessary to complete the transaction. Looking through the various cover letter samples for entry level jobs should give you an idea about what kind of attention grabbing techniques various cover letter writers have used. Some start with a thought provoking question. Others simply begin with an introduction. Others don’t really try that hard and merely begin the cover letter plainly. It’s always a mistake to be too contrived and gimmicky and lose credibility with some attention grabbing tactics. But at the same time, starting off without some sort of bang could lose the busy and impatient reader before you’ve made your pitch. A good compromise is a simple and direct headline, in all caps that summarizes what you are offering in a way that stands out to the reader. A Good Way to Start For instance, starting the cover letter with something along the lines of "AVAILABLE IMMEDIATELY: ENTHUSIASTIC ENTRY LEVEL EXECUTIVE ASSISTANT" immediately lets the reader know what he or she will get by continuing to read. Once you’ve got the attention, the next step is to use it to make the case that you are the solution to the business problem that the Hiring Manager is hoping to solve. Obviously to answer this question, you will need to have a clear and accurate idea in your mind about what the problem is. Remember, the more completely you are able to answer this the better. For instance, the problem is not "the department needs a great sales assistant." The problem might be that the sales executives are wasting their valuable time doing entry level tasks that distract them from using their experience and expertise. The problem might be that the volume of business has grown to the point that another employee is needed to handle the overflow. The problem might be that one of the seasoned workers is planning on leaving soon and a replacement needs to be found to take over his or her duties. Or the problem might be a combination of these factors. In these cases, the solution is "the department needs a great sales assistant." To help you determine this, you are obviously going to need to do some research. A good place to start is with the job description and with a little bit of knowledge about the department and business where the opening is found. Furthermore, without going overboard, it will help to take a little higher level perspective and think about the company overall and what it does and what challenges it faces. On a more mundane note, it’s a necessity to find out the name and contact details about the Hiring Manager while you are at it. Now, You’re Ready to Start Writing When you have all this information clearly in your mind, it’s time to make your pitch. The purpose, again, is to show and tell and prove that you are the solution to the problem that the business faces. To prove this, you are going to indicate that you understand the problem and that you have the following characteristics that make you the best choice to solve it. To make this case, you can use your education, your characteristics, your interests, your achievements, your accomplishments, whatever you believe is relevant to proving that you can solve their problem. Most of all, you want to highlight your prior experience solving that problem for someone else. If you can prove that you already know how to solve that problem and in fact have done it many, many times already, this is the best argument that you can make. Having solved the problem already makes you a sure bet, someone that can come in and begin doing the job from the first day and much more likely to get the interview. Naturally, since this is an entry level job, you might be a little limited in your job experiences that you can use as proof of your problem solving expertise, but you probably have other things you can offer instead, such as internships. Enthusiasm Matters a Lot Immediately following this section of the cover letter sample for entry level jobs put a couple of sentences explaining and illustrating the enthusiasm you hold for the job and for the challenges it presents. Every employer prefers to hire someone who loves their job over someone who is begrudgingly performing it for the paycheck, so be sure to establish that you are in the first category. Lastly, you need to close the deal. If the sales representative were selling a house or car, this is the point where he or she would be getting the contract ready to sign and handing the customer a pen. But since it’s a cover letter, this is the point where you ask the Hiring Manager to give you a call to set up the interview. Don’t assume that he or she knows what to do already, or where to find your phone number on the resume. Go ahead and tell him or her that you are looking forward to sharing your enthusiasm for the job in person and that you can be reached at this number. Close the letter with something along the lines of "thank you" and leave space for the signature. The Final Flourish that Catches the Eye After the signature, put one of the secret weapons of cover letters that you will never se on a cover letter sample for entry level jobs --- a Post Script, or PS. There’s something about human nature that makes us unable to read a Post Script, usually before reading the rest of the letter, and adding one will ensure that he Hiring Manager at least glances at your letter. So put something that reiterates your enthusiasm and eagerness for the position. Once you’ve written the letter it’s time to take a break and get away from the computer for a while. When you come back, print the letter up and read it out loud to see how it sounds to you. It should be a natural, smooth and logical letter. If there are parts that sound awkward, this is the time to change them. Likewise, if there are fancy words that you have put in there to make the letter sound more formal, this is a great time to take those out as well. The cover letter should be an honest representative of the sort of person you are in person, and should pretty much sound like you would if you were there speaking to the Hiring Manager. Once you’ve got it edited to your approval, print it up on white or ivory paper and mail it in with a matching resume. Or cut and paste it and send it to the Hiring Manager with a word document of your resume attached. Send With Confidence If you have followed these guidelines correctly, you can send it with the confidence that this letter will be better than 99% of the cover letter samples for entry level jobs that will share its space in the inbox.
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