Resumes & Cover Letters
Tips for Writing Professional Letters and Resumes
A well written resume is one piece of your personal marketing campaign, and an important tool to have at your disposal. Here are some suggested tips to having a well-polished resume:
1) Be sure to have current, professional, contact information. Flipflopgirl@gmail.com will ensure you don't get a callback. Nor will listing your parent's home address. Cute is out. Professional is in.
2) Include a strong objective or summary. Using language from the job description, you should show fit between your background and interest and the open position/company.
3) Bullet points should be customized to different jobs/industries. You need to adjust and modify to fit the position- this is critical since most employers will scan your resume first, and decide from there whether to read your cover letter.
4) Use key words. Each sentence should start with an action verb (don't use same action verb multiple times), but equally important you need to integrate the language of the job description throughout your resume.
5) Quantify results. An employer is not going to want to just know that you designed and implemented a program- they're going to want to know whether you assessed it and what the outcomes were.
6) Prioritize your bullet points under each position. Your first bullet point needs to capture an employer's attention. They may only read the first one or two.
7) Internships, leadership, and volunteer experiences should be there. You want to make sure you capture these in your resume, they are highly attractive.
8) Don't embelish. If you didn't do something, don't claim you did.
9) Don't highlight something you didn't like. If you had a prior job doing statistical analysis and hated it, you most likely don't want to focus on this.
10) Keep it to one page. People go back and forth on this, but as a young professional you should be able to do this, and it shows you can write succinctly.
11) References go on their own page. It should be formatted to match the style of your resume.
12) Have someone else proofread. Attention to detail is critical, and it is too easy to miss your own mistakes. Share with those you trust and have them edit for you.
A well written cover letter is an essential component to applying for a position, and an important tool to have at your disposal. Here are some suggested tips to having a well-polished cover letter:
• Opening Paragraph: Make sure that your letter is not being addressed "To Whom it May Concern." Your letter should be unique and set you apart- perhaps you're being referred by someone, or include an interesting piece about the organization you're attracted to. If a contact name isn't listed, call HR and ask who you should address your letter to. Worse-case scenario address is to "Hiring Manager."
• Second & Third Paragraphs: Specifically indicate why you're writing and what you are after (the job!). Indicate how you will add value to the organization. Identify how you meet the primary qualifications listed in the job description. Match the tone and feeling of the organization and their brand- you're looking to show fit.
• Last Paragraph: Give a quick reminder of what you want and indicate you will follow up within the week. Thank them in advance for their time.
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