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Writing R ésumés and Cover Letters. Part III: Personalizing Your R ésumé and Cover Letter for a Specific Job Adapted in part from The Resume Handbook , 3 rd ed. by Rosenberg and Hizer. First Step: Find a Job Listing. For a list of job search resources, search the Internet or click here .

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Writing r sum s and cover letters l.jpg

Writing Résumésand Cover Letters

Part III: Personalizing Your Résumé and Cover Letter for a Specific Job

Adapted in part from The Resume Handbook, 3rd ed.

by Rosenberg and Hizer


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First Step: Find a Job Listing

  • For a list of job search resources, search the Internet or click here.

  • Use a site (such as Monster.com) to do a keyword search for areas related to your field.

  • Find a job listing you would be interested in applying for after you graduate.

  • Highlight key words and phrases:


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Sample Job Listing

Technical Writer

Description:

As a Technical Writer, you would be responsible for producing large documents as well as work with direction from the lead technical writing specialist to produce new & revised documentation. You will be held to the document library maintenance standard and be responsible for record keeping.

Requirements:

To be considered for this position you will need expert knowledge of MS Word, experience with large documentation projects, strong organizational skills and be detail oriented. You will also need the ability to work independently. It would be extremely helpful if you know information regarding a change log. Please send your resume in MS Word format only.


Sample job listing4 l.jpg
Sample Job Listing

Technical Writer

Description:

As a Technical Writer, you would be responsible for producing large documents as well as work with direction from the lead technical writing specialist to produce new & revised documentation. You will be held to the document library maintenance standard and be responsible for record keeping.

Requirements:

To be considered for this position you will need expert knowledge of MS Word, experience with large documentation projects, strong organizational skills and be detail oriented. You will also need the ability to work independently. It would be extremely helpful if you know information regarding a change log. Please send your resume in MS Word format only.


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Applying Job Listing Information

  • Using the information from the job listing, think about how to apply your education and work experience to the specific characteristics they are looking for in an employee.

  • Show, don’t tell. For example, if the job listing requires “strong organizational skills and attention to detail,” show how your experiences honed or demanded these skills in you. Do not merely say, “I have strong organizational skills and am detail oriented.” Prove it.

  • Whenever possible, however, use the same words and phrases from the job listing in your own document: “Extensive use of word processing in virtually all my courses has given me expert knowledge of MS Word.” [highlight added to emphasize previous slide]


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Skills

Organizational

Leadership

Communication

Computer/Technology

Characteristics

Detail-Oriented

Team Player

Self-Motivated

Self-Starter

Able to work individually

Some Common Skills and Characteristics Employers Want

Most employers are looking for several, if not all, of these skills and characteristics. Plan ahead by making a list of how your experiences have helped you developed these.


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Writing a Cover Letter

  • Conventionally, includes all the standard sections of a formal business letter (see Markel Ch 15, see page 367-70 for format), as well as 5 specific body paragraphs:

    • 1st: clarify the job you are applying for and the source of the information

    • 2nd: emphasize your personal qualities (how you became interested in the field, your career goals, and areas in which you would like to work during your career).  Overall, try to generate a picture of yourself as an individual rather than a collection of statistics to be found on your transcript.


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Writing a Cover Letter

  • 3rd/4th: point out highlights of your education and your work experience; discuss the one first that you will be able to develop in the most depth. 

    • In the education section, mention courses that may qualify you for the job and other individual factors such as internships, problems courses, lab work, and other such areas. You might also add clubs and organizations and offices held while at college. This information is very important because it not only shows what you have done, but also the things that interest you.


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Writing a Cover Letter

  • 3rd/4th cont’d:

    • In the work experience section (if it is included), discuss jobs held that have a direct application to the job being applied for; for other jobs, emphasize skills that would carry over to the new job, such as communication, meeting the public, self-discipline, and responsibility.

  • 5th: In the last paragraph, ask for an interview at a mutually convenient time and place; tell the reader how you can be reached.


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Some Final Advice

  • Remember, the function of a résumé and cover letter is to get you invited for an interview.

  • Approximately one interview is granted for every 245 résumés received.

  • Research shows that a piece of advertising matter (such as a résumé) has about a second and a half in which to attract the reader’s interest.

  • By personalizing your résumé and, especially, your cover letter to a specific employer’s job listing, you greatly increase your odds of attracting that interest.


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