Cover Letters and Resumes - A Comprehensive Overview

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  • 1. COVER LETTERS & RÉSUMÉS CENTER FOR STUDENT PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT
  • 2. The 5 Fatal Flaws COVER LETTERS AND RÉSUMÉS
  • 3. COVER LETTERS AND RÉSUMÉS FATAL FLAW #1 Not Knowing the Purpose of Résumés and Cover Letters
  • 4. • To present one’s backgrounds and skills. • To summarize relevant job experiences and education. • To screen applicants. THE PURPOSE OF RÉSUMÉS: FATAL FLAW #1: NOT KNOWING THE PURPOSE OF RÉSUMÉS & COVER LETTERS
  • 5. Résumé: Often one of the first items, along with a cover letter, which a potential employer sees regarding the job seeker. A marketing document: • A way for one to BRAND and sell qualifications, experience and skills • Representation of your professional self – your skills, your successes, your strengths A streamlined document that provides the reader with the most essential information: • NOT a work history “legal” document any longer • It should be focused on the position / industry you are applying to FATAL FLAW #1: NOT KNOWING THE PURPOSE OF RÉSUMÉS & COVER LETTERS
  • 6. THE PURPOSE OF COVER LETTERS: FATAL FLAW #1: NOT KNOWING THE PURPOSE OF RÉSUMÉS & COVER LETTERS • To introduce yourself and your resume to an employer. • To explain why you are applying for a job. • To detail why you are a good match for the organization and the position.
  • 7. Not Knowing Your Goal COVER LETTERS AND RÉSUMÉS FATAL FLAW #2
  • 8. KNOW… • Your PURPOSE: Internship, Summer job, Full time position, Free Lance Experience, Graduate School, Job before Graduation? • Your INDUSTRY: Design vs. Business, Sciences/Research vs. Sales/Marketing • YOURSELF: Assess personal skills, strengths, weaknesses, accomplishments, special projects (How have these things helped guide you to the internship or job you want?) FATAL FLAW #2: NOT KNOWING YOUR GOAL
  • 9. BECAUSE… • Your PURPOSE: Will help you explain why you are applying to this particular job and create your objective. • Your INDUSTRY: Will help you shape how you create your resume. • YOURSELF: Will guide how you develop your cover letter and why they should hire you. FATAL FLAW #2: NOT KNOWING YOUR GOAL
  • 10. COVER LETTERS AND RÉSUMÉS: FATAL FLAW #3 Not Researching the Company
  • 11. • Major-Specific Resources • Job and Internship Sites • ExperienceLink – online job posting site • Log-on using your DelVal username and DelVal password • ReferenceUSA – site to search for field- related companies and businesses FATAL FLAW #3: NOT RESEARCHING THE COMPANY
  • 12. Company websites Hoover’s LinkedIn Internet Search FATAL FLAW #3: NOT RESEARCHING THE COMPANY
  • 13. OnetOnline.org Google Alerts CareerInfoNet.org Social Network Search for Cultural Clues FATAL FLAW #3: NOT RESEARCHING THE COMPANY
  • 14. COVER LETTERS AND RÉSUMÉS: FATAL FLAW #4 NOT Listing Every Single Experience You Ever Had …on your sloppy copy!
  • 15. Focus on the experiences you do have: • School work – projects, presentations, specific assignments • Coursework – developed skills, learned processes • Student Groups – on campus • Professional Organizations – events, meetings, benefits FATAL FLAW #4: NOT LISTING YOUR RELEVANT EXPERIENCES
  • 16. STEP 1: BRAINSTORM • General Experiences • College Experience • Volunteer work • Skills • High School Experiences • Awards and Things You are Proud of Questions to ask yourself: Where do I spend most of my time? What do I enjoy doing? FATAL FLAW #4: NOT LISTING YOUR RELEVANT EXPERIENCES
  • 17. COVER LETTERS AND RÉSUMÉS: FATAL FLAW #4 Sloppy Copy = Just for You
  • 18. STEP 2: ORGANIZE AND STRUCTURE: • Summary/Objective • Education • Experience • Skills • Activities • Awards • Professional Development FATAL FLAW #4: NOT LISTING YOUR RELEVANT EXPERIENCES
  • 19. STEP 2: ORGANIZE AND STRUCTURE: • Print on high-quality, 8.5-inch-by-11-inch paper. • Experiment with fonts and layout styles to see what looks attractive. Adjust font sizes as is beneficial, but start with: • Your Name: 14-point type • Headings: 12-point type • Body: 11-point type FATAL FLAW #4: NOT LISTING YOUR RELEVANT EXPERIENCES
  • 20. COVER LETTERS AND RÉSUMÉS: FATAL FLAW #5 Not Tailoring Your Resume and Cover Letter for Every Job
  • 21. Types of Resumes: • Chronological • Skills/Functional • Hybrid of Functional and Chronological • Scannable • Web/online resume • Video Resume • Infographic Resume FATAL FLAW #5: NOT TAILORING YOUR RESUME AND COVER LETTER
  • 22. Chronological: • Summarizes what you did in reverse order. • Is the traditional résumé format. • Is used to show a logical preparation for the job or a steady progression leading to the present. FATAL FLAW #5: NOT TAILORING YOUR RESUME AND COVER LETTER
  • 23. FATAL FLAW #5: NOT TAILORING YOUR RESUME AND COVER LETTER Chronological: For each job, list: • The position title • The organization • The city and state • The dates of employment • Details such as full- or part-time status, job duties, special responsibilities, or promotions
  • 24. FATAL FLAW #5: NOT TAILORING YOUR RESUME AND COVER LETTER Chronological: For each bullet: • Use detail and strong verbs (Recruit, Manage, Design, Create, Collaborate) • Use parallel verb structure (Past tense vs. present tense)
  • 25. • Avoid abbreviations • Quantify accomplishments wherever possible • Place all dates on the right side of the resume • Maintain consistent font style, spacing, indentation, capitalization and bullet style • Equal amounts of white space and text • Use phrases that start with action verbs • Maintain consistency in verb tense with phrases in the experience section FATAL FLAW #5: NOT TAILORING YOUR RESUME AND COVER LETTER
  • 26. Most important information in Quadrant 1 Need equal amount of text and white space in each quadrant
  • 27. Example – Retail Sales Experience Wet Seal Inc., King of Prussia, PA September 2003 - February 2005 Sales Associate • Totaled the cash register and credit card receipts. • Remodeled the store at night for a new look everyday. • Set good customer service reputations and increased sales. FATAL FLAW #5: NOT TAILORING YOUR RESUME AND COVER LETTER
  • 28. Example #1 – Retail Sales Experience Wet Seal Inc., King of Prussia, PA September 2003 - February 2005 Sales Associate • Total the cash register and credit card receipts. • Remodeled the store at night for a new look everyday. • Set good customer service reputations and increase sales. TO…. • Conducted apparel sales and merchandising activities for a large contemporary retailer. • Assisted with visual merchandising, floor sets, and product pricing of floor- ready merchandise. • Developed effective sales presentations increasing individual customer sales by 15%. FATAL FLAW #5: NOT TAILORING YOUR RESUME AND COVER LETTER
  • 29. Example #2 – Work Study (On-Campus) Experience Delaware Valley College , Doylestown, PA September 2013 – Present Joseph Krauskopf Memorial Library Student Worker • Manage the Interlibrary Loan department. Fulfill requests for research material resulting in a strong knowledge of available resources and research skills. • Monitor the computer records and keep the records up-to-date. Inform members of the student body of the status of their requests. TO…. • Managed research material requests and offered resource knowledge to over 1000 students, faculty and staff. • Monitored nearly 1300 inventory records regarding resources utilizing Microsoft Excel and Interlibrary Loan database. • Communicated with members of the student body about status requests. FATAL FLAW #5: NOT TAILORING YOUR RESUME AND COVER LETTER
  • 30. 20-SECOND POP QUIZ
  • 31. FATAL FLAW #5: NOT TAILORING YOUR RESUME AND COVER LETTER Scannable: • Use keywords section under your name Include language that describes your personality, as well as abilities: dependable, skill in time management, leadership, artistic skills • Use one common font • A standard typeface (Courier, Times Roman) • 12- to 14-point type • No italics, underlining, boldface, lines, borders, bullets • A single column and no indented or centered text. • Phone numbers on separate lines. • Plenty of white space.
  • 32. FATAL FLAW #5: NOT TAILORING YOUR RESUME AND COVER LETTER Types of Cover Letters: • Solicited • Unsolicited Format of Cover Letters: • Square letter • “T” letter
  • 33. SOLICITED: • State that you are applying for the job. Phrase the job title as the source phrased it. • Develop major qualifications in detail. • Develop other qualifications, even if the source didn’t ask for them. • Ask for an interview. FATAL FLAW #5: NOT TAILORING YOUR RESUME AND COVER LETTER
  • 34. UNSOLICITED: • Create a bridge between the attention-getter and your qualifications. Focus on what you know and can do. • Develop your strong points in detail. • Ask for an interview. • Weigh the risks of sending. FATAL FLAW #5: NOT TAILORING YOUR RESUME AND COVER LETTER
  • 35. FINAL THOUGHTS • To pdf or not to pdf? • Objective vs. Summary • Important to know your company • Network • LinkedIn – DelVal’s Student and Alumni Networking Group
  • 36. Center for Student Professional Development • One-on-one appointments available • Mock interviews, resume reviews, job searching, career guidance • Segal Hall, 1st floor • Stacy.Swearengen@delval.edu QUESTIONS?