Resumes and Cover Letters


Chronological Format: List most recent work experience, going backward to your oldest.

✔ Showcases a progression of increasingly responsible positions

✔ Demonstrates that you are qualified to take the next step in your career

✔ Highlights impressive employers who will add weight to your credentials

✔ Answers the employer’s question of whether your work history has been stable

Gaps in employment, lack of strong career progression, and other negatives can be easily seen


Functional Format: Use categorical, skills-based sections to demonstrate qualifications

✔ De-emphasizes company information or job titles

✔ Highlights the connections between employer’s job descriptions and your qualifications

✔ Tailors your experience to a specific job or industry

✔  Excellent for employees who are changing careers or whose path is more tangential

➲  Few employers will be familiar with this format, so clear presentation is essential


Resume Tips:

  • Plan well!  Choose categories that will best showcase your experiences and skill set.
  • Offer employers several options for contacting you, including phone and a professionally appropriate email.  If you do not have a professional-sounding email, create one!
  • Format your heading to maximize space.  Use left, center, and right margins.
  • Use an Objective or Qualifications Summary that captures you and focuses on the employer’s needs.
  • An Education category should be included if you possess degrees or training relevant to the position.  
  • Never include personal or demographic information (birthdate, marital status, parental status, height and weight, etc.).  It is illegal for employers to ask for this information!
  • Try to keep the resume to one or two pages, although resumes for academic jobs might be longer.



Cover Letters

Objectives of a Cover Letter:

  • Introduce yourself and clearly define who you are
  • Highlight your most notable qualifications, experiences, credentials, skills, and achievements, especially as they relate to the position description
  • Identify the value you can bring to the organization
  • Capture your reader’s interest in your, your resume, and your availability
  • Motivate the reader to call and offer you the opportunity for an interview


Cover Letter Tips:

  • Include information you know about the company or the position for which you are applying.  Check out the company’s website, especially any “About Us” pages or “Mission, Vision, Values” information.  Try to discover something about the company culture and about their current endeavors.
  • Explain why you want to work for this company in particular.  Tell them what they’re doing right that caught your attention.  Was it the company reputation, financial standing, products, services, personnel, location, or market potential?  Why them?
  • Be sure that your cover letters are neat, clean, and well presented.  Remember that these are business documents.  They should be attractive and relatively conservative, not overly flashy.  The cover letter demonstrates your level of professionalism.
  • Follow standard Business Letter format. Block paragraphs are often appropriate, especially if you will be submitting your cover letter digitally.
  • Keep your cover letter to one page. These are not essays!  
  • Be sure to ask for the interview and provide contact information.  Securing an interview is your #1 objective.  Make it easy for them to offer you one!

Kayla| 2016

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