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How to Write Resumes and Cover Letters

Tips and tools on the do’s and don’ts of cover letters, resume writing, and references.

Resumes

A resume is one of the most important pieces of any job application. It is a showcase of your education, work experience, credentials, and accomplishments. If done the right way, it can get you in the door for an interview.

Are there different types or styles of resumes?

There are several basic types of resumes used to apply for job openings. Depending on your personal circumstances, you might choose one of these formats:

  • a chronological resume
  • a functional resume
  • a combination chronological and functional
  • a targeted resume

What should I include in a resume?

Resumes are usually a one-page document listing your:

  • work history
  • education background and personal skills
  • summary of qualifications
  • details on skills, education, and work history

Resumes can also have optional sections, such as an Objective, a Summary statement, or Career Highlights.

Why should I use action words on a resume?

Action words for a resume include verbs that clearly and vividly demonstrate an action.

Because you have a limited amount of real estate on the page and less than a minute to make a good impression, using powerful, dynamic verbs can describe your experience very specifically and in fewer words.

Some action words to use on a resume include:

“advised, coached, designed, directed, invented, guided, recruited, and resolved.”

Why should I use keywords on a resume?

Using resume keywords will increase the chances of your resume being compatible with a job that’s open, and your resume showing up in the hiring manager’s search results.

Keywords should reference specific job requirements and represent your skills, software and technology competencies, relevant credentials, and previous employers.

Cover Letter

Cover Letters

Why write a cover letter?

To be considered for almost any position, you will need to write a letter of application.

Such a letter introduces you, explains your purpose for writing, highlights a few of your experiences or skills, and requests an opportunity to meet personally with the potential employer.

What should I include in my cover letter?

As much as possible, you should try to tailor your letter to each job opportunity. Use action verbs and an active voice; convey confidence. Arrange your points in a logical sequence; organize each paragraph around a main point.