Read a Job Description to Write Effective Resumes and Cover Letters
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Read a Job Description to Write Effective Resumes and Cover Letters



This presentation walks viewers through resume and cover letter writing strategies and samples. It also addresses the importance of updating ones documents to align with the job description.

This presentation walks viewers through resume and cover letter writing strategies and samples. It also addresses the importance of updating ones documents to align with the job description.



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  • Here are what the statistics say about the “guidelines”

Read a Job Description to Write Effective Resumes and Cover Letters Read a Job Description to Write Effective Resumes and Cover Letters Presentation Transcript

  • This could beYOUR resume!
  • Resume/Cover LetterWriting & Reading Job Descriptions Murray State Career Services 100 Oakley Applied Science Bldg 270.809.3735 |
  • What is a Resume? ▪ A summary/highlight of your qualifications ▪ Marketing tool ▪ A way to get an interview!
  • Types of Resumes ▪ Chronological ▪ Emphasizes experience by dates ▪ Use when experience and education are relevant to objective ▪ Functional or Skills-based ▪ Highlights skills without boundaries of dates ▪ Use when transferable skills are stronger than job titles ▪ Combination ▪ Equally illustrates experience and applicable skills ▪ CurriculumVita (CV) ▪ More comprehensive document ▪ Use in education, graduate school applications or jobs abroad
  • Are there any rules? ▪ Don’t use a template ▪ Don’t include discriminatory information ▪ Do include relevant information ▪ One page is almost always preferred ▪ Margins should range from ½” to 1” ▪ Font(s) should be common ▪ Print (if applicable) on quality paper
  • TheTrifecta Review ▪ The following people should review your resume ▪ Career services professional ▪ Someone in the field (e.g. professor, supervisor) ▪ Someone who loves/supports you (e.g. parent)
  • Resume Review Survey ▪ 1000 resumes reviewed resulted in… ▪ Targeted Focus: 29% lacked clear objective ▪ Value Proposition: 97% offered no value/sales pitch ▪ Relevancy: 82% included info not related to position ▪ Measurable: 76% lacked quantifiable proof ▪ Spelling / Grammar: 29% had errors ▪ Design / Format: 96% nearly identical to common templates (internet, books, and word processors) Resource: Graham ManagementGroup Survey from EducationCareer Services presentation (SoACE, Dec 2011)
  • Resume Facts ▪ 427k are posted on Monster every week ▪ An average of 250 are received for each job position ▪ 88% job rejection if there’s a photo of yourself ▪ Recruiters spend 5 – 7 seconds looking at a resume ▪ 1 spelling or grammar mistake and it lands in the trash ▪ 76% are ignored if email address is unprofessional
  • 5 to 7 seconds looks like… ▪ Note how the recruiters’ eyes scanned these resumes ▪ Where did they look? ▪ Where didn’t they? ▪ Design matters ▪ Brevity matters Resource:BusinessInsider
  • Resume Header • Name: 18 – 22 point font and bold • Content: 11 – 12 point font • Mailing address (add permanent if transitioning) • Professional email address (remove hyperlink) • Phone number (voice mail must be professional) • Career-related website, LinkedIn, etc link
  • Resume Header Samples
  • Objective or Summary ▪ Objective ▪ More traditional option ▪ State position you seek and skills/personal traits you offer ▪ Summary of Qualifications ▪ List in 3 to 5 bullets the skills and personal traits that make you the best fit for the position you are seeking ▪ Will change for each position to align with job description ▪ Don’t use both
  • Objective or Summary Samples
  • Education ▪ Include school name with city and state of location ▪ List degree and month/year of expected graduation ▪ List any minors or concentrations ▪ List GPA (cumulative and major) if 3.0 and above ▪ Only list applicable coursework as an additional section if relevant to job search and unique to major ▪ College graduates will not include high school
  • Education Samples
  • Experience ▪ List job title and dates of employment (present to past) ▪ List employer and city and state where located ▪ Use bulleted list to highlight skills and past successes ▪ Be concise and don’t list every task ever completed ▪ Start each bullet with an action verb/skill ▪ Use numbers and dollar amounts when possible ▪ Be consistent with punctuation ▪ Stay positive
  • Experience Sample
  • Key Skills ▪ Computer ▪ List applicable programs and applications, etc. ▪ Personal ▪ Summarize personal traits and skills ▪ May not be needed if using Summary of Qualifications ▪ Foreign Language ▪ List proficiency, not years studied ▪ Training/Certifications ▪ List applicable trainings and certifications you have completed
  • Key Skills Sample
  • Activities & Honors ▪ Activities ▪ Include leadership roles and dates ▪ Demonstrates well-roundedness and time management ▪ List those most related to potential job ▪ Honors ▪ Include those related to career field ▪ Include those in which you were actively involved ▪ Cautions ▪ Does it communicate a fit to job you seek? ▪ Is it understood by audience? ▪ Could you be discriminated against by including
  • Activities & Honors Samples
  • References ▪ If must, state “Available upon request” ▪ However, section is not required on resume ▪ Set-up as a separate page
  • References Samples
  • What is a Cover Letter? ▪ Provides an additional page ▪ Expands on experience and skills ▪ Answers why you are qualified for the job ▪ Answers why you are interested in this job
  • CoverLetterContent
  • Types of Cover Letters Traditional Executive Summary
  • Saving & Sending Documents ▪ DOC/DOCX ▪ Scannable ▪ May not hold formatting ▪ RichText Format (RTF) ▪ If format is removed, received format will be similar ▪ PDF ▪ Format will stay the same ▪ Sometimes not scannable ▪ JPG ▪ Format will stay the same ▪ Not scannable
  • Why, “Read the job description”? ▪ Allows you to… ▪ Speak the right language ▪ Prove your value ▪ Stand out
  • Resources to Help ▪ Job Description ▪ What can I do with a major in…? (link) ▪ O*Net ( ▪ Word Cloud Generators ▪ ▪
  • PR Specialist Job Description public relations strategic planning client relations product planning customer service quick thinkers communication engaging personality multi-task (twice) create and maintain relationships analyze and plan pursue, manage and complete projects bachelor’s degree in public relations strong orientation to detail Microsoft Word, Excel & Outlook self-motivated adapt to new situations customer service skills Worried about…. master UDA products/services data management
  • PR Specialist “Clouds”O*NetJobDescription
  • Resources ▪ Career Handbook,Tip Sheets & Samples ▪ ▪ eResume Feedback ▪ ▪ Feedback within 48 business hours ▪ Schedule an appointment ▪ M – F, 8:00AM – 4:30 PM ▪ Call x3735 to schedule
  • Questions? Murray State Career Services 100 OakleyApplied Science Bldg 270.809.3735 | Follow @ MSUCSO Join the Murray State University Career Services group