Resume and Cover Letter Tips – Part One
It’s me, Career Candace, signing on to tell you about ways to emerge in your career, workplace, and business to make you the savviest girl on the block about opportunities that are available to you. For the next several weeks, we will discuss topics that will help you stay on your game.
Our first topic, which is near and dear to my heart, is Resume and Cover Letter Writing. Having a resume is inevitable. Every company requires a resume with your application, and the better equipped you are to present a great one, the easier it will be to land that perfect job. You have just 30 seconds to impress someone who has never met you!
Tip #1: Allow Me to Re-Introduce Myself
Repeat after me girlfriends: “Cover letters! Include every time.” I can’t begin to tell you the importance of the cover letter, and the significance it has in showcasing your personality while filling in any gaps in your resume. A cover letter has its perks, especially if you are bridging unrelated fields. It allows you to show your potential—and it’s also is a great way to display your negotiation skills in writing. This letter should be customized as much as possible to the company and/or hiring manager. It serves as a vehicle to express your interest in the company while conveying your desire to schedule an interview. Bonus Tip: Always keep your cover letter in formal letter format, even when sending electronically.
Tip #2: Fresh to Death
Whether you are happy at your current job or looking to branch out, you should always keep a Fresh (i.e., updated) resume and basic cover letter on hand. Every time I start a new position, I update the new position on my resume, my LinkedIn page, and any Internet job search engine that I use. If you have been at the same job for some time, review your resume every 3-6 months to be sure all duties and responsibilities listed are still relevant and make sure new roles and tasks are added to show your current skills. A Fresh resume is your ticket to whatever gate you want to be admitted through for take-off. Always be ready to send your resume at any time, and don’t be caught off guard by not being on your A game.
Tip #3: That Doesn’t Apply to Me
Your resume should not review everything that you have ever done in your entire work history. Include your first job as a teenager and your college internship, and you’ll bore them to death with a laundry list of items. Resumes should showcase these 3 C’s: Clear, Concise, and Complete: Clear on what you are looking for in a job, Concise in summarizing your current skills (keep your resume to 1-2 pages; 3 pages max for those applying for intermediate levels in their fields), and Complete in formatting and presentation. Make sure all necessary sections are listed: Contact Information, Key Skills, Past Work Experience, and Education. In addition, check closely for grammar, spelling, and typos. Use standard 10-12-point text with a basic font style (Times New Roman or Arial are always acceptable).
Readability for the hiring manager is what you are aiming for. Be sure to list only the duties and responsibilities that are relevant to the position you are applying to; you want to show a trend of using these skills throughout the resume. The more years of experience and related skills, the more credible you are in your field. Bonus Tip: Always Keep a Master List of your work history: company name, number of years employed, and the direct report’s contact name and phone numbers.
Tip #4: All the Good Stuff; Above the Fold
That’s right, ladies…just like we want a potential boyfriend to admire us for our personality and intellect, we should treat our potential employers the same. Represent yourself well now; you can showcase your performance later. Key information should be listed on the top half of the first page of your resume: your career profile, key skills, accomplishments, current position, and depending on your experience in the field, your related education. Remember to be concise. These sections are best detailed using bullets points with short phrases, and/or key words (jargon used by the industry or specific to the company can help grab their attention). As you gain more experience, education info should move toward the bottom of the page.
So, if you don’t have a Fresh resume. Dust yours off, revamp it, re-invent the wheel, or better yet, get a hold of a good consultant (cough, cough…me). You want to be ready for that opportunity, so let’s not hold off by entertaining delays.
Until next time Girlfriends.
Candace resides in Chicago. She holds a dual Master’s degree in Business Management from Keller and she is a full time Business Analyst at a leading insurance firm. Candace has over 11 years of experience in the business industry, including leading resume workshops and business resource trainings and efficiencies. She blogs, cooks, and stays current on the latest business practices and trends. To read more of Candace’s blogs please visit: www.shethinksshepens.wordpress.com