Resume & Cover Letter Writing Career Services Presentation October 14, 2016 Rebecca Leaman firstname.lastname@example.org www.mta.ca/careers
Why do I need a resume? • Summer jobs, internships & full time employment • Apply for graduate programs • To build LinkedIn page & other social media • Detail relevant skills, strengths, experience, interests • Create interest and help you secure an interview
Comments From an HR Manager • Your resume may not be the only “first” impression any more – clean up social media profiles and create a LinkedIn account • Please make it easy to access/open/read/print (hint: save as a .pdf file!) • Research & target your resume for eachposition – form letters and resumes are obvious and are ignored • Any grammatical mistakes are an excuse to toss your application – PROOFREAD carefully
Most common resume sections for an undergraduate • Header/Personal Profile • Skills Summary • Education • Work Experience • Volunteer Experience • Activities and Interests • Awards and Scholarships • Skills: Laboratory Skills, Technical Skills, Scientific Instrumentation, Languages The sections you use will depend upon your objective, your experience, the type of job you are applying for, etc. There is no ‘one-size-fits-all’ resume.
How to build a good resume • Not a list of job descriptions, rather a list of success, skills, strengths • Focus more on how you did your job, not what duties you performed • Balance people and technical skills/qualifications • Balance between detail and brevity – 1-2 pages typically • An Academic Curriculum Vitae (CV) may be longer • Visually pleasing: Consistent, concise, professional, uncluttered • Always accompanied by a cover letter!
How to build a good resume (2) • Do not include: • References (unless requested) or they link you to the organization • Age • Photo • Personal details • Small font size (i.e. no less than 10 pt.) • Excessive/irrelevant information/detail • Reasons for leaving a past job
Make sure it’s targeted • Analyze each point listed in the job description: what are they looking for and how do they describe it? • Pull out key words – “power words” – and use them in your application; resume & cover letter. • Applicant Tracking Systems: At large organizations, your resume may first be reviewed by software, looking for matching words, not a person • Prove you’re the best candidate for that particular job
Power words to keep in mind (from resumetemplatetop.info)
Header: large (16+ font), contact info, visually separated from body Visually clean, good font, not cluttered, consistent layout between sections, relevant sections
Relevant sections, targeted for marketing position (relevant experience up front, less relevant education later), great use of ‘power words’/keywords (e.g optimized, increased, improved, developed etc.)
Creative, non-tradition, targeted for marketing position. Shows individuality. Very well done, but use with caution – format/informality may not be appropriate for all (most) situations.
Formatting Recommendations • Use a standardized font • Keep the important RELEVANT info at the top • Page rules are more flexible – 2 pages • PDF – cover letter & resume = 1 document • Use headings like your own personal letterhead – consider using it on your cover letter too to make a cohesive application
Cover Letters • Always include a cover letter • Add value & expand on your resume • Your introduction using your own voice • Be clear and concise. Don’t use overly formal language. • What can YOU do for THEM? • NEVER SEND A FORM LETTER
Cover Letter Format • Business/formal format: header, address, date and salutation (find a name to address it to!) • Paragraph 1: • Introduce yourself and your interest in the organization • Showcase the research you’ve done. Make allusions to the company’s values & goals and how it fits with your aspirations. • Paragraphs 2 & 3: • Highlight specific experiences that align with the job you’re applying for. • Include successes and soft skills • Closing Paragraph: • Reiterate your interest, develop a strong closing statement that proves you’re the best candidate • Signature
Both examples are formatted as a formal letter, demonstrate research of prospective employer, outline relevant skills/experience, convey personal suitability, are positive and professional
Summary • Cover Letters and Resumes should showcase your skills, but also your personality • They should be targeted, ensure that relevant experience is highlighted • Prove to the hiring committee that you’re the best candidate for the job • Resumes are living documents. They will and should change, not just as you add new experiences, but depending upon the type of positions you are applying for For more resources: www.mta.ca/careers Follow us on: Twitter @mtacareer and Facebook: Mount Allison Careers