Resumes and cover letters
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Resumes and cover letters. Doesn’t matter what group you’re in, you’ll be updating these documents for the next few years – get used to it and get good at it. . What not to do - . A resume isn’t a memoir. “Played/raised money for Broward Women’s Adult League for basketball.”

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Resumes and cover letters

Resumes and cover letters

Doesn’t matter what group you’re in, you’ll be updating these documents for the next few years – get used to it and get good at it.

What not to do
What not to do -

  • A resume isn’t a memoir.

  • “Played/raised money for Broward Women’s Adult League for basketball.”

  • “Founder of the Delray Monkeys climbing club.”

  • “Spent a month last summer biking the east coast of the United States from Daytona Beach, FL to Atlantic City, NJ.”

  • Put yourself in perspective

    • “University Press, staff writer, February 2009-present: Covered Student Government (2009) and the basketball team (2010) for the weekly newspaper at Florida Atlantic University, a state school with 28,000 students.”

  • Objectives are subjective.

  • “To gain experience and knowledge in a field I am interested in pursuing for a career.”

  • “To obtain a position that will allow me to utilize my experience and skills in order to make a positive contribution within the organization with the opportunity for growth and advancement.”

  • “To obtain gainful employment that allows me to utilize and strengthen skills (writing/editing skills, computer skills, interpersonal skills, problem-solving skills, professional flexibility, etc.) that are vital to the numerous fields.”

What not to do1
What not to do -

  • Your education doesn’t come first

    • You’re supposed to have an education, and no one’s impressed by what you’re supposed to do.

  • Your references don’t have to say a word to wow a boss.

    If you’ve ever impressed some media pros, listing them as references is an objective way to say you’re worthy of an interview.

  • Little errors add up.

  • Don’t: Brag about high school.Get sketchy about your skills.Go into detail about retail.Go long.

  • Ignore Google. And your school.


  • Dear Dave,

    I call you that because I feel I’ve known you for years.

  • Dear Mr. Todd:

    I would like to aply for the position of editoralasistent

  • Dear Mr. Todd:

    My mother told me I should …

  • Dear Mr. Todd:

    You don’t know me, but …

  • Dr. Mr. Todd:

    Your company appears to be violating the Equal Opportunities Amendment and to help you rectify the situation, I would like to…

What to do
What to do:

Type your résumé ─ Use 8 1/2" x 11" quality bond paper if you print your résumé. (be sure to pay attention to watermarks on résumé paper. Watermarks should face towards the reader and should not be upside down)

  • Do not include irrelevant personal information (e.g. age, weight, height, marital status, etc.)

    Do not include everything you've done ─ be selective! It's best practice to include skills and experiences that contributes or relates to the company you are applying. Reference 10 years of work history, if possible.

  • Do not include salary and wages (some exemptions exist for online applications, including federal résumés)

    If you use abbreviations, be sure to spell it out elsewhere on your résumé

  • Be positive. Identify and quantify accomplishments. Sell it! Don't tell it!

    Use concise sentences (keep it short, sweet, and to the point)

  • Keep your résumé to 1-2 pages. In some cases, your résumé may be longer if you are writing a curriculum vitae (CV) or federal résumé

    Use action verbs

  • Make sure your résumé looks attractive, neat and organized

    Proofread your résumé. Print or email your résumé and have someone else provide feedback

  • Use white space, CAPITALS, underlining, indentations, and bold to make your résumé stand out

    Use bullet statements to emphasize a point

Be creative
Be creative!






Get a blog
Get a blog

  • It’s free

  • It’s easy


Cover letters
Cover letters

  • Address your letter to a specific person by name, when possible, and refer to the job opening, when known

  • Ask yourself...does your cover letter explain what you have to offer in the first 1-3 sentences?

  • Tell your story in terms of contributions you can make to the employer

  • Do not repeat information found in your résumé in your cover letter

  • Your cover letter should not exceed one page

  • Type your letters

  • Additional questions to ask yourself when writing your cover letter:

  • Is my cover letter format unique, and does my letter stand out? Use bold, underlining, etc.

  • Have I highlighted my most relevant qualifications and recent achievements?

  • Have I researched the company and included information I know about them in my letter?

  • Have I highlighted reasons why I want to work for this company?

  • Did I proofread my letter?

  • Do I ask for an interview in my letter?

  • P.S. Make sure that you’re cover letter heading matches your resume. Same font, etc. And use the same paper

Join spj
Join SPJ



Cover letters cont d
Cover Letters (cont’d)

  • If someone has referred you, point them out first

  • Exhibit how your previous experience, employment and abilities MATCH the job description

  • Clarify how you will make a sizeable contribution to the new employer

  • Opening Paragraph

    • Here is my resume

    • This is the job I am applying for

    • This is how I know about the job

  • Second Paragraph

    • I am qualified

    • Here is why

    • a general summary of your work experience and education.

    • Detail specific parts of your experience, education, and talents that are most related to the job.

  • Optional Paragraph

    • Why your organization?

  • Last Paragraph

    • Looking forward to hearing from you

    • Here is how to reach me

    • mention your availability for an interview

    • thank the employer for his/her consideration.

Tips from a pro
Tips from a pro

  • The job description is your secret weapon

    • They are telling you EXACTLY what they are looking for

      • So, tailor your resume to match the job description

      • Turn the job description into an outline

        • Turn your flaws into strengths

          • I can learn the software because I already know…

          • Because I am familiar with…

          • I have used…

            • If you have two years and they require four, say you have SEVERAL years of experience

              The most important thing I can tell you to is to do research about the company showing you want to work there.

              Invite EVERYONE to read your cover letter and resume

              For the subject line, include your name and the post from the original job posting

Better ideas
Better ideas…

My experiences in office administration and client services have equipped me with a multitude of skills including office management, business operations, and exemplary customer service. I am confident that my application of these and my many other skills would be an asset to your company.

Better ideas1
Better ideas…

Integrity. Innovation. Initiative. If you have these qualities in mind for the position of _____ then I suggest we meet to discuss the numerous qualifications I would bring to your organization. With my demonstrated track record of successfully directing pharmacy operations and introducing initiatives that directly impacted the bottom line, I am confident that I would be an excellent fit for the position at _________.


July 8th, 2012

Mr. John Smith

Alco, Inc.

217 West Street

Johnson, VA 24132

Dear Mr. Smith:

Enclosed find a copy of my resume. Please consider me for the position of welder that was advertised in the Roanoke Times and World News.

I believe I am qualified for your position. I have six years of welding experience in an industrial setting. Furthermore, I am a very dependable worker as shown by the fact that I have only missed two days of work in the last five years. Finally, I am available to work any shift at any of your three plants.

I look forward to hearing from you. I can best be reached after 3:00 p.m.on weekdays and anytime on weekends.


Andrew S. Jones


Simple? Yes (brief, clean)

Memorable? No

Inviting? Maybe

Fun to read? Nah

Letter grade C


  • “Thank you for your consideration. I hope to hear from you shorty!”

  • Thanking them for their time and stating your next move “I will call you on May 3rd” or “I will contact you next week” or “You can expect to hear from me by May 3rd”

    • Shows you will take charge and take the lead

    • If you say you will, you better!

Social media
Social media

  • What does your social networks say about you?

  • Create a brand for yourself that reflects your personality and skills.

  • Consider your entire digital presence and consolidate it into one simple manageable entity that is attractive to employers.

  • Think about where you want to work and who you want to work for.

  • Do your research on the places and the people you are applying to.

  • You will spend half your time in your place of employment so do the groundwork beforehand.

  • Review all the content you have created online and decide whether or not it is suitable for a potential employer.

  • Get someone to find all drunken pictures of you on the internet. Get rid of them. Or at least hide them.

  • Above all else do something creative, interesting, engaging and effective