Writing Resumes And Cover Letters

A well written resume and cover letter can give you the step ahead you need in landing your dream job. Tips, tricks, and advice.

To start any job search you first have to have a resume and cover letter. These two documents are your potential employers' first glimpse of you. It's these documents that will make them decide whether to contact you - or not. By following the practical advice below, you can create a resume and cover letter that will give you the step ahead you need.

The first thing is your resume. Tailor each resume to the job that you are applying for - selecting only the relevant skills, qualifications and work experience. If you're applying for a driving position, it probably won't matter that you were previously a dog walker - unless you had to drive the dogs to the park. Try to fit your resume on one page if you can, or two - but never on one and a half, and format it so that attention is brought to your highest qualification. For example, if you're applying for a kennel position, and you have no professional work experience with animals, but do have personal experience, then bring attention to you skills - pointing out what personal experience gave you the skill. If you do highlight your work experience, then list what duties you performed or what responsibilities you had in connection with the job. Use action verbs such as organized, performed, categorized, improved, created, increased etc. But try not to use the same word too much. If you wrote performed four times for one work experience, then check a thesaurus and find words to replace it with. For ideas on how to format your resume, look at examples of other people. The only "must" in a resume is to have your name, address, and contact at the top of the page, and include the little blurb "References available upon request" at the bottom. (But only if you do have references)

The next thing you need is a cover letter. This too should be tailored for each job. Format this in the form of a business letter and try to get the name of whom you are applying too if possible. Start by expressing you interest in the job and mention where you heard about it. If it was in a paper then name which one. In the body of the letter summarize your skills, qualifications, and education, but try not to just reiterate your resume. The most important thing is to explain why your qualifications and the job requirements are a good match, and it doesn't hurt to mention why you would like to work for the company. Wrap the letter up by stating when you'll be available for work and when the employer can reach you. Also mention that your resume is attached. In the last sentence, thank the employer for their time or consideration and say that you look forward to hearing from them.

When you're finished writing your resume and document, proofread it carefully and watch for grammar mistakes. Then print them out using a good quality printer. If you don't have one, then use one at an office depot or hire a student. Never send in a handwritten resume or cover letter. A good resume and cover letter won't get you a job in themselves, but they will certainly help.

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