The major purpose of the resume is to get a job interview. Unlike the application, the resume is designed by you to highlight your strongest points. You can also send it to a broader range of potential employers, and thus expand your job search.
Even when applying for trade and hourly positions, a short resume can give you a competitive advantage. A well designed resume does a number of things:
- Paints a positive and factual picture of YOU
- Sets a positive tone for the interview
- Guides the interviewer is what to ask
- Influences others approve the hiring decision
Before writing a resume, you first need to choose an appropriate format. Format refers to the type of information you include about yourself and the order in which it appears. There are three basic resume formats: chronological, functional and a combination of the two.
The chronological is the most common resume format. It lists your most recent job at the top of the page, then continues down to your earliest job. Chronological resumes can range from a simple career summary to a more elaborate description of work responsibilities. This format is effective when you have a continuous employment history and your past experience relates directly to the positions for which you are applying.
The functional format highlights your skills and accomplishments rather than your work history. It lists things you're good at and things you've accomplished at the top of the page, then summarizes the jobs you've held at the end. The functional format is effective when you are switching fields or industries.
The combination resume uses aspects of both the chronological and functional formats. It lists your jobs from most recent to earliest, then highlights responsibilities and accomplishments within each job listed. This combined approach is effective when you have held several jobs with significant responsibilities and accomplishments.
Click here to download a resume template.
A cover letter is a letter that accompanies your resume when you respond to an advertisement, follow up on a job lead, or just want to indicate an interest in a company. The purpose of the cover letter is to introduce yourself and your resume and to get an interview. To write an informed letter you need to learn all you can about the employer before you apply, be clear on what you have to offer and know why you want to work for that company.
A cover letter should be addressed to a specific person. If necessary, phone the organization to which you are applying to find the appropriate person, such as the manager of a particular department, the manager of human resources department or the owner of a small business. The receptionist or the human resources department can usually give you the person’s name, title, correct mailing address, and any other information you may need. If you cannot discover the name of the contact person, or if you are unsure of his of her gender, begin your letter with "To Whom it May Concern" or "Dear Sir/Madame".
A cover letter should also be neatly typed, free of errors and follow the correct format. Be sure to include your name and full address, the date, the name and title of your contact person, and the full address of the company.
Writing the Cover Letter
Keep it brief. The letter should not be longer than one page.
In the first paragraph, clearly explain your purpose for writing, which is to apply for a job. State the job for which you are applying and how you learned about the position. If you are replying to a job advertisement, explain where you saw the ad. Indicate the specific qualifications that you have as outlined in the ad.
In the second paragraph, explain why the person should want you as an employee. Refer to your resume, highlighting the major qualifications that relate to the position for which you are applying and how they can benefit the employer. Include any special experience or training you might have.
In the concluding paragraph, express your enthusiasm and appreciation for the person’s attention to your application, and request a personal interview.
The term enclosure at the bottom of the letter means you have enclosed your resume and/or other material such as letters of recommendation, certificates, etc
Click here to download a Cover letter template.