So, you’re looking for a new job
You know it’s a competitive market and you have to make yourself stand out
While the most important strategy is networking with people you know, writing a great resume and cover letter is essential to getting your foot in the door with an interview
So what makes a good resume?
A resume is a document that lists information about your accomplishments
Such as the degrees you have earned,
Your previous job titles and responsibilities,
Any technical skills or certifications,
Honors or awards,
Publications or presentations you’ve created in your field,
Professional affiliations or memberships,
And volunteer experience
As you can see, the goal of a resume is to paint a clear and well-rounded picture of who you are as a professional and to showcase your qualifications for a job
When formatting a resume, always be professional
Your font should be simple and readable – avoid anything fancy or colorful
Try to be concise and keep your resume to one page
With limited space, organize your information so you don’t waste any – you don’t want lots of white or blank space
If you’re sending a resume electronically, save it in a common file type like Word or PDF so anyone can access it
Be organized and consistent in how you present information
Usually you should present the most recent information first
You should write a new resume for each job you apply to
List only the work experience and information relevant to that particular job
Use brief, vivid examples to showcase your accomplishments
You can do this by using “active” verbs that show what you did in a certain role. Use words like trained, developed, monitored, and assessed
Include numbers and statistics that highlight the amount of work you have accomplished
Here are a few things not to do:
Since you have limited space, don’t include a general “job objective” or other unnecessary information
Avoid personal information and never include photos
Finally, avoid fuzzy keywords that potential employers may not understand
When you submit a resume, you will often submit a cover letter as well
In a cover letter, include the employer’s address, today’s date, and a salutation at the top
Avoid saying “to whom it may concern.” Do research on the company and actually address the letter to the person who will be reading it, like your potential supervisor or HR representative
Most of the cover letter consists of a few short paragraphs about your accomplishments
Then include a formal closing and your name and contact information
Much like a resume, cover letters should be professional
Keep your font simple and consistent and limit yourself to one page
You should only write about 3-4 short paragraphs, from 2-5 sentences each
You should write in complete sentences. Your resume is the proper place for bulleted lists of accomplishments.
The main goal of a cover letter is to translate your resume into a narrative and show how you are qualified for a particular job
To write great cover letter content, ask yourself and answer a few questions:
How did you learn about the job?
Why do you want to work for this company?
How do you fit with the company? What can you do for them?
Do you have any personal contacts at the company?
How do you qualify for the position?
Which accomplishments from your resume should you write about to best show how you would succeed at this job?
And finally, you should request a follow-up such as an interview and leave accurate contact information so someone from the company can contact you
Once you have written your resume and cover letter, what’s next?
You can visit the Bryan College Career Services website to get your resume and cover letter reviewed and polished
Career Services can also help you plan your job search and prepare you for what to expect in an interview
For more information on the topics we discussed, visit the Forbes or University of Tulane websites