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Resume And Cover Letter Workshop


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This workshop is the 2nd in a 5-part Career Series. It covers the mechanics of writing a cover letter and resume.

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Resume And Cover Letter Workshop

  1. 1. The Nuts and Bolts ofResumes and Cover Letters
  2. 2. Cover Letter Pop Quiz1. Which of the following is NOT a function of a cover letter? a. To tell the employer what kind of job you seek b. To show how well you write or express yourself c. To inform the reader of your expectations in the job d. To entice the reader to want to get to know you better by interviewing you2. The best way to tailor your cover letter to a want ad is to: a. Avoid keywords and buzzwords in the ad because that‟s plagiarism b. Tell the employer your resume is scannable c. Use keywords and buzzwords from the ad d. Try to sound a little overqualified
  3. 3. Cover Letter Pop Quiz3. How can you make the most of your college experience in your cover letter? a. Describe skills gained in the classroom b. Describe sports and extracurricular activities c. Discuss hands-on projects d. All of the above4. The fact that few jobseekers demonstrate their knowledge of the company in their cover letter means that: a. It‟s an incorrect practice b. It‟s hard to research companies c. You will stand out if you do demonstrate knowledge d. They are not really interested in the job
  4. 4. As A Reminder…As of August 2011, average length of unemployment is 40.3 weeks, or a little more than 10 months. This is the longest time ofunemployment since statistics were collected beginning in 1948.
  5. 5. Some More Statistics• 1 out of 4 Human Resources Managers said they receive, on average, more than 75 résumés for each open position; 42% receive more than 50 résumés.• 38% of Human Resources Managers spend 1-2 minutes reviewing a new application; 17% spend less than one minute.Source: Recent nationwide survey
  6. 6. Importance Of WorkExperience To Employers 2009 2008• I prefer to hire candidates 76.3% 76.2% with relevant work experience.• I prefer to hire candidates with 18.9% 18.2% any type of work experience.• Work experience doesn‟t typically 2.6% 4.8% factor into my decision when hiring a new college graduate.• Other 2.2% 0.7%Source: Job Outlook 2009 and Job Outlook 2008, NationalAssociation of Colleges and Employers
  7. 7. A Quote To Consider“The candidate who gets the job is the candidate who has the best total package from start to finish” Diann Lloyd-DennisEmployer Research Specialist at Northwestern College, Minnesota
  8. 8. Hiring Managers Want ToKnow 3 Things• Who are you?• What motivates you?• Can you do the job?So....• How do you show this on your cover letter and resume?
  9. 9. The Cover Letter Gets Your Resume Read
  10. 10. ADMISSIONS REPRESENTATIVEResponsibilities include set up and carry through a schedule of high school visitswithin the recruitment territory, attend scheduled college fairs, conduct appropriatefollow-up via phone, written correspondence, e-mail, and/or personalvisits, represent St. Ambrose University at alumni functions and at regionalconventions, attend and assist coordinating open house events and attend all first-year orientations. Travel and overnight stays required. Experience in sales isbeneficial. Individual must have superior verbal, written and organizational skillswith the ability to multi.-task. AA/EOERequirements: Minimum of Bachelors degree and experience in area ofresponsibility or related area preferred. Please send letter of interest, resume andcontact information for three professional references by 3 p.m. September26, 2012 to:Email:HumanResources@sau.eduPostal Mail:Director of Human ResourcesSt. Ambrose University518 W. Locust StreetDavenport, IA 52803
  11. 11. DUTIES SPECIFIC TO THE POSITION:§ Supervise and assure safety of the residential unit§ Monitor clients utilizing the Behavior Modification Program§ Provide crisis intervention, including intakes§ Administer medications§ Complete documentation as required§ Assure cleanliness of unit§ Provide positive role model for clients§ Provide information and referral as appropriate§ Other duties as assigned.
  12. 12. The Cover Letter Creates Interest InReading Your Resume• A cover letter serves as a formal introduction and should briefly reflect why you are qualified for a position. • Gives an employer a snapshot of your personality. • Signals that you pay attention to details. • Conveys professionalism. • Demonstrates immediately your written communication skills. • Gives you an opportunity to highlight your skill sets and experience.
  13. 13. Basic Grammar Lessons• Know your homophones • Their, They‟re, There • Two, Too, To • Your, You‟re • Whose, Who‟s• Keep tenses consistent • Past work experience = Verbs in past tense • Present work experience = Verbs in present tense
  14. 14. Tips for Writing The Cover Letter1. Conduct Targeted Research• Take time to get to know the employer • What is on their company website that stands out to you? Or what have you heard from others? • What skills can you bring that adds value to the company? • What impresses you about the organization?
  15. 15. Tips for Writing The Cover Letter2) Have a Real Person in Mind• Never send a cover letter addressed to a general title or with the salutation, “To whom it may concern.”• If the ad does not list a specific person, contact the Human Resources Manager and ask for a name to address the cover letter.
  16. 16. Tips for Writing The Cover Letter3) Writing the letter• Highlight your strongest qualifications for the job in one page.• Do not restate everything on your resume.• Invest in high-quality stationary and envelopes that match.• Do not have ANY spelling or grammar errors.
  17. 17. Name Address Phone Number E-mailDateName of the specific person to receive application materialsProfessional Job TitleCompany NameCompany Street AddressCity, State and Zip CodeDear Ms. Jones:Paragraph one: Grab the readers attention. Also mention the position youare applying for and how you heard about it.Paragraph two: Highlight 1-2 key skills for the position and how youcan demonstrate those skills. In another paragraph, you coulddemonstrate knowledge of the organization.Paragraph three: Provide an action plan and express appreciation.Sincerely,Your signatureTyped first and last name
  18. 18. Resume Pop Quiz1. What‟s a good way to sharpen the focus of your resume and provide the reader with a summary of what you‟re good at? a. An Objective Statement b. A Summary or Profile section c. A small, tasteful graphic d. All of the above2. The most important element to highlight on your resume is: a. Duties and responsibilities from past jobs b. Skills c. Names of supervisors d. Accomplishments
  19. 19. Resume Pop Quiz3. What types of words are most important to include in your resume? a. Action verbs and job-specific keywords b. Colorful adjectives c. Multi-syllabic words that make you sound sophisticated d. As much use as possible of the verb “to be”4. Students with little experience, especially in a chosen field, should consider this resume technique: a. Detailed explanation of transferable and applicable skills b. Use of a combination resume c. Descriptions of class projects and coursework that are relevant to the chosen field d. All of the above
  20. 20. The Resume Gets You TheInterview• Become Your Best Advocate• Follow Some Basic Rules• Choose A Format: Chronological, Functional or Combination• Produce Your Resume
  21. 21. 10 Ways Your Resume IrksHiring Managers1. Spelling mistakes 6. Excessive bragging and grammatical 7. Outdated errors information2. Generic objective 8. False information statements 9. Unexplained gaps in3. Personal attributes work history4. Interests and 10. A lack of hobbies professionalism5. Details of every task ever performed in every job ever had
  22. 22. Step #1:Become Your Best Advocate• What SPECIFIC SKILLS and EXPERIENCES make you stand out?• Which ACCOMPLISHMENTS would distinguish you from other applicants with the same experience?• What benefits do I offer employers over other qualified candidates?• Avoid descriptions such as „good communicator‟ or „strong leadership skills‟.
  23. 23. WHAT IF I DON’T HAVE WORKEXPERIENCE RELATING TO A JOB IAM APPLYING FOR?• Think about classroom activities and projects.• Think about academic accomplishments.• Think about extracurricular, volunt eer and community service projects.• Think about leadership positions.
  24. 24. Step #2:Follow Some Basic Rules• NEVER make spelling or grammatical errors!• Do not use the word „I‟ anywhere on your resume. • Start with action verbs to describe accomplishments, experience and skills.• No information from high school • Exception is volunteer experience or exceptional accomplishments.
  25. 25. Step#2:Follow Some Basic Rules• Do not type your information into a resume template.• Optimal Resume: Free resume building program provided by Career Service Office.• Go to:
  26. 26. Step #2:Follow Some Basic Rules• Do not abbreviate or use acronyms. • IWC, B.S.• Use buzzwords in the field. • Vocabulary that has been used in your courses that relates to the industry • Use language from the job description
  27. 27. Step #2:Follow Some Basic Rules• Use numbers whenever possible. • Increased company sales by 15% • Tutored 3rd grade student • Mentored 2 children• The resume is about more than past work experience. • Volunteerism • Leadership • Management • Communication
  28. 28. Step #3:Choose A Format• Chronological/Traditional • Consider using when your past experience is directly related to future goals.• Functional • You are a new graduate with a limited work history.• Combination • Great for new college grads because it combines the qualities of a chronological resume with the concept of a functional resume.
  29. 29. Step #4:Produce Your Resume• Purchase resume paper at Walmart, Staples or college bookstore.• Select colors such as cream, ivory, gray or beige. Stay away from trendy colors and styles.
  30. 30. Recommended Fonts Arial Palatino Georgia Tahoma Impact Trebuchet Courier Verdana Lucida Sans Serif
  31. 31. Heading First and Last Name Current Address Phone Number APPROPRIATE e-mail address Create a new e-mail account for job/work-related information if necessary---------------------------------------------------------------------------- Example Heidi Seegers 601 N. Main St. 319-385-6375
  32. 32. Writing the SummaryStatement• Summary of your training and background as itrelates to the position you are applying for ---------------------------------------------------------------- Summary Statement Educated and trained professional in the sports industry with proven leadership and organizational skills seeking a position as an event manager.
  33. 33. Professional Profile: It is my desire as an educator to help students uncover their artistic potential by providing an environment that is safe, supports risk-taking, and invites a sharing of ideas.Extremely well-rounded employee with experience in sales, management andinformation technologyPROFILE Responsible, committed and self-motivated. Holds a high self-standard and works hard to meet those standards. Strong communication, natural leadership and good relationship-building skillsSummary of QualificationsExtensive academic preparation in Psychology and Criminal Justice.-Leadership experience through various college organizations.
  34. 34. Education • Listed in reverse chronological order, with the most recent education listed first. • No high school information. • Only list colleges which you have received a degree. • Relevant Coursework and Academic Honors and Awards may be listed in this section------------------------------------------------------------------------------------Education Bachelor of Science, Anticipated May 2013 Iowa Wesleyan College; Mount Pleasant, Iowa Major: Marketing GPA: 3.7 Deans List, 2 semesters Champion of Character Award, May 2011
  35. 35. Work Experience • Include job title, company name, location and length of time in position • List responsibilities and accomplishments by following the basic rules of resume writing. • Information listed in reverse chronological order with most recent information first.---------------------------------------------------------------------- Relevant Work Experience Intern, Mount Pleasant Chamber of Commerce Mount Pleasant, Iowa January 2012-May 2012 • Assisted director with Rock Around the Block event • Created brochure for area businesses • Attended meetings with community partners
  36. 36. Work History• Work experience not relevant to the position you are applying.• Shows company loyalty/name recognition----------------------------------------------------------------Work HistoryCashier and Customer Service, WalmartMount Pleasant, Iowa August 2008-present
  37. 37. Volunteer Experience • Include company name, location and length of time in position • Service Learning projects and volunteer hours are listed in this section • Volunteerism shows time management skills, commitment to your community and leadership skills---------------------------------------------------------------------------- Example Mentor, Iowa State Extension Office Mount Pleasant, Iowa August 2010-present • Meet with 13 year old girl to work on homework and visit • Attend meetings once a month • Collaborate with other mentors to discuss new ideas
  38. 38. College Activities • It looks better to be involved with a couple activities than to have a laundry list of 8 activities with no participation or commitment.------------------------------------------------------- Example Homecoming Committee, 2011 and 2012 Track and Field Team, 2011-present College Choir, 2011-present
  39. 39. Other Optional Headings• Leadership Experience • Member of Executive Board of campus organization; Captain of athletic team; Started new campus organization• International Experience • Global Issues; Mission Trip; Study Abroad; Fluency in a foreign language• Computer Skills • Specific computer programs
  40. 40. Tips on Electronic Resumes• More employers are requesting resumes sent electronically.• Send your resume the way an employer requests: • Attachment • Cut and paste in the body of an e- mail message• The subject line should catch the reader‟s attention.
  41. 41. E-Mail Subject Line andCover Note ExamplesSubject: Cover Letter and Resume for RegisteredNurse in Cardiac Rehabilitation UnitDear Mr. Johnson,Please see my attached cover letter and resume forthe Registered Nurse at Henry County HealthCenter‟s Cardiac Rehabilitation Center. I lookforward to hearing from you following the reviewof my application materials.Sincerely, Heidi Seegers
  42. 42. Final Recommendation• Have at least 3 people review your resume and cover letter before sending to an employer. • Career Services Director • English Professor • A professor who has high writing expectations • Human Resources/Hiring Manager • Someone who works for the company you are applying • Family member or friend who has been through this process
  43. 43. Dress For Success and Professional Image Workshop Monday, October 22nd4:00 in Room 201 of Hershey Hall Tuesday, October 23rd12:00 in West Private Dining Room
  44. 44. For more information onCareer Services Contact: Director of Career Services, Heidi Seegers Office Hours: Monday-Friday 8 am-12 pm and 1 pm-5pm Or by appointment Hershey Hall, Room 231 319-385-6375 Check out the Career Services website at Click on Current Students Click on Career Services