How to Write a Resume and a Cover Letter

in Job & Employment

Writing a resume and a cover letter is an essential part of applying for a job. A typical job receives several hundred applications, and your application must stand out from the crowd in order to get the chance to land an interview. Below are some tips to make sure that your job application will catch the employer’s eye.

The most important part of writing the application is to understand what qualities the employer is looking for. You want to highlight your matching qualities prominently on the first page of your resume, as well as on your cover letter. One way to do this is to begin with a “Summary of Qualifications” section right after listing your personal information. The section must describe your profession, your area of expertise, and two or three statements touching on your mix of skills and any notable achievements. Make sure that the entire summary falls on the first page, so that a person does not have to flip the page to completely read it. Understand that the employer typically receive hundreds of applications, and has time only to scan the first page. This is also the reason why the same section should also be worked into the letter, as some employers might only scan the cover letter and not the resume.

Now that the most important part of the resume is done, the rest should be a breeze. The next section should be the “Professional Experience” listing your jobs, with the most recent job listed first. Decided whether your title or the company you worked for is more impressive, than list that first in bold type. You can include an “Achievements” section if you have notable achievements or awards (and those should also be listed in the “Summary of Qualifications”), but if you have few or none, omit it instead of including routine accomplishments into that section. Finally, list your educational qualifications under the “Education” section, again in reverse chronological order. For specialized jobs, such as medicine or academia, a section on publications may also be necessary. Otherwise, this is the end of the resume. Do not include a “Personal Interests” section, which is unprofessional.

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