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					                  Tips for Resume and Cover Letter Writing


Cover Letter


Tip #1: Keep it brief.
Your letter should not go over one page. Use short paragraphs and bullet points whenever
possible. Avoid flowery or excessive words when fewer words will get your point across
equally well.
Tip #2: Be assertive and proactive.
Explain what special skills and qualities you can bring to the job. Don't explain what the
job will do for you. Avoid empty cliches, such as “I am a self-starter” or “I'm a people
person.” Use active words and phrases. Avoid “are” and “is.”
Tip #3: Tailor the cover letter to the specific company.
Don't write generic praise about the company. Be as specific as you can and demonstrate
your knowledge of the company. Research the company using its own website, as well as
business information sites such as www.hoovers.com. Check news sources for recent
company events that you can reference in your letter.
Tip #4: Revise your cover letter for each application.
Different aspects of your background will fit different jobs. Focus on relevant job
experiences and skills. For instance, an employer for a research position probably
wouldn’t be interested in your creative writing skills.
Tip #5: When writing about non-professional experiences, translate them into
“business- speak.”
Explain how your class-related, extracurricular or volunteer activities have prepared you
for other kinds of work. Compare:
 "I was president of the         vs.   "In my term as president of the French club, I developed
 French club."                         valuable leadership skills as I organized a 10 person team
                                       to undertake fundraising activities."

Tip #6: Address your letter to an individual rather than a department.
Call the company directly to identify the proper addressee. Use formal language (Mr.,
Ms., Dr.) when addressing them, and never just their first name—even if you know them
personally.
Tip #7: Appearances count.
Use high-quality white paper; it’s thicker than typewriter or printer paper. Avoid
elaborate or colored stationery. Print a clean final copy to send, not a photocopy.
Tip #8: Let the employer be the judge of your skills.
State your skills and qualifications, but don’t tell the employer that you are the best
person for the job. It can appear arrogant and presumptuous. Impress the employer with
your skills, and let them conclude you are the best person for the job.


                                              Job Placement Resume Cover Letter Handout 4.04.07
Tip #9: Proofread!
Typos will land your letter in the trash. Check grammar, spelling and especially the
spellings of names. Have somebody else read your letter—they can pick up on things
missing from your letter. Before mailing, make sure you’ve included your resume and
any other requested items.
Tip #10: Follow up with a thank-you note.
A thank-you note demonstrates your interest in the job and will help them keep you in
mind for the position.

Resume Writing
A good resume is vital. It's your calling card to a prospective employer - one that lays out
your qualifications and hopefully gets you a job interview. Remember, most employers
will spend less than five minutes reviewing your resume. Follow these guidelines to make
sure your resume gets you noticed.
Be sure to include these basics:
    Contact information: Full name, phone number, school and permanent
   addresses, email address.
    Education: School, degree, date of completion, honors, special course work. If
   you're still in school, provide your expected date of completion.
    Experience: In addition to work history, include relevant non-professional
   experience, such as internships, extracurricular activities and significant volunteer
   work.
    Skills: List any computer systems, office equipment and software programs you
   are experienced with.
    Other categories: If they are relevant, include publications, awards, leadership
   positions or other notable achievements.
The two most popular formats are:
    Chronological: To emphasize your work history, list your jobs and activities,
   beginning with your most recent experiences.
    Functional: To emphasize your skill sets, group your experiences under
   categorical headings, such as Leadership or Technology Support.
The key is to pick a format that presents your achievements effectively, and is easy to
read and comprehend. See below for samples of a number of resume formats.
Tips for a Winning Resume:
    Keep it brief. Try to keep your resume to one page. There are cases where a
   resume might be longer but one page should suffice for students and recent graduates.
   Write lean sentences and use bullet points to be succinct.
    Provide meaningful descriptions of your experiences. When detailing your job
   history, use short sentences or fragments to demonstrate your relevant experience.



                                              Job Placement Resume Cover Letter Handout 4.04.07
    Use strong action words. For example: "developed and implemented a new filing
   system"; "created two new membership programs."
    Use formatting to help you out. Capitalize and use boldface, italics or
   underlining to help organize the information.
    Proofread. Use spellcheck, double-check your contact information and make sure
   your formatting is consistent. Ask a friend or family member to proofread it as well.
   Check for errors that spellcheck programs miss (i.e. there vs. their; to, too or two).
    Custom fit your resume. Revise your resume for each job application to make
   sure it fits the opportunity at hand.
The final test: Take a look at your resume from arm's distance. Is it confusing and text-
heavy? Or is it easy to find the information you need? Do whatever is needed to make
your resume reader friendly.




                                              Job Placement Resume Cover Letter Handout 4.04.07

				
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