Welcome, Today we are going to learn about tips and tricks to building resumes and cover letters that are sure to get you noticed. My name is Katherine Purcell and I am a Career Coach from Calhoun Community College. If you don’t have one already, consider your resume file folder today the one you’ll use to build on throughout your career. As you learn new skills or move in and out of various positions, add notes to the file as reminders for updating your resume. All career-minded individuals will want to have an up-to-date resume even if they aren’t currently active in a job search. Today we’ll focus on how to create a resume that showcases your abilities and experiences. Let’s get started!
To catch the ear of Universal or Warner Brothers – a band has to have a great “hit” song to get in the door. You want your resume to stand out amongst the others and land you an interview – the primary goal of the resume. You never get a 2 nd chance to make a first impression. Authors Jim Bright and Joanne Earl – in their book – Amazing Resumes – recently compared the importance of the resume with the interview in determining candidate suitability. The resume provides more data on competencies and achievements (or it should if it’s properly written), whereas the interview provides more data on interpersonal skills and rapport. RESUMES COUNT! You must put as much effort into your resume as you do into your interview. Take the time to learn resume basics and it will serve you well throughout your career.
Your resume is your opportunity to be in the spotlight – unfortunately, hiring managers report (not publicly, of course) on the average they spend less than 2 minutes reading a resume. Your job is to make the most of that tiny window of opportunity to sell yourself to the employer. Remember that you’re marketing yourself; so while the integrity of the document is a must, the resume must present your best experience and detail your relevant skills and competencies. Amazing Resumes – page 4 Not Selling Yourself – too negative Good Selling – turning negatives into believable positives Bad Selling – over the top, unbelievable and undesirable Avoid the Wild and Crazy attention getting resume – recruiters dislike them. Keep your resume in good taste. Just like our musical tastes differ – you might like rap, reggae or rock and I might like smooth jazz. Things that are unusual will attract attention – but, if you don’t know how the reader will react, why run the risk of rejection unnecessarily?
Recruiters are looking for a good “fit” when they look at your resume. Whenever possible, get a copy of the position description for the job you’re applying for. You can tailor your resume to emphasize your skills and experience for that particular position. Thank goodness for technology – it makes it easy to create several versions of your resume. Think about what the employer is looking for and then reflect that in your resume. Get as much information about the job and the company as you can, i.e job advertisement, position description, a friend in the company, the media, gossip and rumor, someone already doing the job or something similar. Best published source of information about what specific jobs are like is the Occupational Outlook Handbook, by the US Department of Labor – you can find this info online, too, at www.bls.gov/oco or the book I have “Best Jobs for the 21 st Century.” Has more than 500 position descriptions. A companies annual report can tell you a lot – it can tell you about future projects the company may be involved in, who their clients and competitors are. WIIFFT – “What’s in it for Them?” – keep this in mind – understanding the benefits of having you as an employee
These are the basic steps. Once you’ve targeted a particular job to apply for, then you choose the resume format, draft the resume, edit and critique and PROOF, PROOF, PROOF!
Refer to the sample resumes Use the Fill-In Resume Worksheet & Critique Form from CS &P Chronological Traditional resume preferred among conventional or conservative employers Combination – Amazing Resumes call it “The Hybrid Resume” More contemporary – blend of functional and chronological Amazing Resumes – page 70 – The Structured Interview Resume –very different – lays out questions with answers
HANDOUT – CS & P Fill in Resume Worksheet and Critique Form It’s time to draft your resume text!
The word is that recruiters like to see a good objective statement. Guideline is 12 words or less, but don’t narrow it down too much to get excluded for something Ie. Employment in a hospital specializing in care of the elderly. If this person would be happy caring for young children – this statement may be too narrow Before: Seeking a challenging position with a future-oriented company offering opportunities for growth and advancement. After: Dynamic public speaker/presenter with advanced technical knowledge, seeking to leverage these strengths as an award-winning computer instructor into an entry level software sales position.
HANDOUT – Macomb Community College – Employment Services – excellent set of sample resume qualification action statements, history action statements & Education and Training Action Statements HANDOUT Take Your AmeriCorps Experience to Work in your Next Job Potential employers recognize the value of the AmeriCorps service. The experience you develop through service shows your Ability to handle tough tasks Commitment to seeing things through Dedication to working on challenging issues Build Your Resume How you include your AmeriCorps experience on your resume and in interviews is important. You should describe briefly but clearly the AmeriCorps program where you served and what you did. Many AmeriCorps assignments include Civic Engagement Nonprofit and Project Development Fundraising Let’s take time to list a few others right now: Also look at the CS & P brochure pages 26 & 27 action Verbs by categories When describing work, education or job experience, be as specific and results-oriented as possible. Using numbers is especially effective. Instead of saying “increased sales” say “increased sales by 25 percent,” or instead of saying “trained employees.” say “trained ten employees.” Describe skills and knowledge used or gained, not just duties. Avoid using the same Action word twice
Start by making a list of all your skills and build from there. Note the Action words in the slide – skilled, proficient, adept Include anything you think an employer will want to know. Then set up your resume format and fill in the items from your list in the appropriate spaces, expanding them as you go.
No Resume is complete with out a list of references - HANDOUT – Sample Reference Sheet 3-5 references Centering looks good Heading should match your resume heading in case it gets separated from your resume. Include for each reference – name, title, place of employment, address, phone and list their relationship to you.
Use the bullets or other symbols to highlight accomplishments. This breaks up the key information and pulls out selling points that could be missed otherwise. Try to refrain from using “I,” “the,” and “an.” Proofread with a ruler to carefully proofread each line. Reread the resume from the bottom up to prevent skipping over the same mistake. Be consistent with the chosen format throughout the entire resume. Use the same line spacing, headline font, font size, etc. Leave a one inch margin on all 4 sides – this provides more space for an interviewer to write in notes and it give the resume a very organized appearance. Once your resume is complete, have it critiqued – remember you’ve been looking at it for a long time Ask the person: Do you have any ideas on how to make this a stronger document? Or Could you look for any errors in this? Or Does this look well-organized and is it easy to follow? Not – How do you like this? Take feedback in stride and incorporate only those items you feel are appropriate. It is your document. Ask more than one person to look it over – a variety of opinions is best.
Remember a resume is also a documentation of your written communication skills – make sure it is error-free. Avoid resume templates – people who review LOTS of resumes can spot them. Take the time to create an “original” that tells your story. Review it for “extra” words – something I’m famous for and have to do with everything I create – even this PowerPoint! Print your resume on a laser printer only – remember it may be copied and you want the quality to be good. Don’t use unusual fonts that may be hard to read – even if you like the looks of them – KEEP IT SIMPLE
Handout – CS & P - 12 Essentials for Success – Competencies Employers Seek in College Graduates Working in a Diverse Environment Managing Time and Priorities Acquiring Knowledge Thinking Critically Communicating Effectively Solving Problems Contributing to a Team Navigating Across Boundaries Performing with Integrity Developing Professional Competencies Balancing Work and Life Embracing Change
Keep your resume up-to-date. A good time to update it is at the time of your annual performance.
Katherine purcell resume presentation
TIPS AND TRICKS FOR
RESUMES ANDCOVER LETTERS
THAT ARE SURE TO GET YOU NOTICED!
YOU WANT TO BUILD A RESUME THAT
• Can catch the attention of an employer
• Can get you an interview
DEFINITION OF A RESUME
A resume is an advertisement for
yourself, designed to communicate
your school and work history and
skills in a way that motivates the
employer to invite you for an
It should be a simple way of stating
“here’s why you should hire me for
THERE IS NO ONE-SIZE FITS ALL RESUME
• Be sure to tailor the resume to the
position you are applying for.
• Try to incorporate language used in the
job posting or position description into
the headings and action bullets of your
AN EFFECTIVE RESUME
• Is clear, organized, direct & professional.
• Has accurate information.
• Looks good on paper.
• Focuses on accomplishments by using action
• For example: Administered, initiated, corresponded,
negotiated, organized, solved, developed, studied,
guided, coordinated, encouraged, coached.
• Is brief and easy to read.
RESUME WRITING STEPS
• Target the job you want to apply for.
• Choose a format for your resume.
• Draft your resume.
• Edit and critique: ask for opinions from others, peer review, etc.
CHOOSE A RESUME FORMAT
Work history – most recent first
Format preferred by many employers
Best for those who’ve advanced in titles and have a good work
Centers around skill areas
Works best for those with limited education or experience
Combines work history & skills
• One-page format (two at most)
• Name, relevant addresses and phone
• Web page & e-mail address
THAT GET YOU NOTICED
At the top of the page, list your name and
the address and telephone numbers of
both present and permanent
residences, if appropriate.
Note: Use a professional email address. Do not
use one that contains slang or a nickname
In one statement, define your career goals
clearly & concisely, or briefly describe a
particular position you are considering for
Example: To obtain an entry level retail sales
position that provides opportunities for
• List high school & graduation date or anticipated
• State GPA if 3.0 or better.
• List any special honors. List pertinent courses
completed related to the job you’re applying for.
Holt High School, Holt, Michigan 48842
Graduation Expected: June 2007
Computer Classes: Microsoft Word, Excel & PowerPoint
Action verbs & statements
Use the term "experience" instead of "work
history" or "employment," so that you can
include full and part-time jobs, self-
employment, volunteer work; and practicum,
field, and cooperative education experiences.
This is Not just a list of duties
Be specific and results-oriented.
Include any specialized skills, training,
certification or licenses such as foreign
language ability, ability to sign for the deaf,
ACTIVITIES & HONORS
Demonstrate your leadership and community
Honors, awards and scholarships are important items
Rank ordered by importance to the career objective.
PROFESSIONAL AFFILIATIONS & ACTIVITIES
• Rank order professional associations, leadership
positions and other activities by importance to the
• Emphasize your leadership roles.
• Spell out the name of the organization: do not use
abbreviations or acronyms.
• List references on a separate page.
• Ask permission & give them a copy of your resume.
• Choose wisely.
♦Proofread your resume
♦Make sure it is “employer-centered”
♦Double-check your contact information
Stick to one page.
Use bullets instead
Avoid italics and
Use all caps and bold
to make important
words stand out.
Make headers &
contact info larger.
Choose an easy-to-
Arial, Times New Roman,
Palatino, Tahoma or
No less than 11 points for
• Spelling, typos or poor grammar (proof backwards)
• Poor presentation (poor formatting, too wordy or poor paper selection)
• Unprofessional e-mail address
• Unqualified candidates
• A resume does not get you a job…
• A resume does get you an interview.
• And, putting time & consideration
into your resume is one of the
best ways to prepare for your interviews!
COVER LETTER WRITING
When you’re serious about pursuing a career, your
attention to the little things can make a big difference in
being perceived as a quality candidate. It can separate
you from the crowd, elevating you from “good” to “great.”
Eric Mason, Federated Insurance Company
WHEN & WHY DO I NEED A COVER LETTER
• Any time you send your resume to an employer it should be
accompanied by a cover letter.
• A cover letter acts as an introduction for your resume.
• A cover letter also stands as a sample of your writing skills, so be
sure to make it the best possible sample you can.
• If you are sending your resume via email - the cover letter is the
email message itself. Then attach the resume following the
employer's instructions (i.e., MSWord document, text document,)
• Should give the employer a reason to look at the
• 3 to 5 bulleted points leading to the resume
• If the cover letter does not “speak well,” the
resume will not be read!
APPLICATION COVER LETTER
• Purpose: persuade your audience to move you onto the next step of
the job search process
• Tone: project self-confidence and maturity; do not be apologetic, timid,
stuffy, or arrogant
• Homework: learn something about the company that you can mention
in the letter. Can you tie your qualifications to what you learned or the
way you might benefit the company?
COVER LETTER FORMAT
• Heading: your address; city, state, zip code; date
• Recipient address: audience name and job title, company
name, address, city, state, zip
• Salutation or attention line
• Body of letter
• Complimentary close, signature block
• End notations Enclosure
COVER LETTER SPECIFICS
Use an attention line when you don’t have a
specific person to address
Ex. Attention: Human Resources Department
Choose a traditional complimentary closing
Very truly yours,
COVER LETTER SPECIFICS CONTINUED
Signature block: typed name four lines below
complimentary closing phrase with space for
Enclosure: can include name or type of enclosure.
Use the entire word or abbreviate.
COVER LETTER BODY PARAGRAPH 2-3
Discuss work and education experience, one
For education, include specifics about work done in classes. Class titles
without supporting specifics won’t tell your audience much about you.
In my technical writing course, I designed a web site and worked on a
collaborative manual on using Front Page
COVER LETTER CONCLUSION (PARAGRAPH 4)
Ask for action from audience:
Give contact information
Landline phone number(s)
Cell phone number
End all letters with a courteous closing sentence
Thank you for your assistance
Resumes evolve and are developed over time.
Good resumes get interview opportunities.
Your interview “performance” secures the job.
What you put into your career management is
what you will get out of it.
“I am not bound to win, but I am bound to be true. I am
not bound to succeed, but I am bound to live up to the
light I have.” - Abraham Lincoln
DRAFT OF YOUR