Writing Resumes and Cover Letters

 

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Resume Writing Tips

Sample Resumes

Alternative Resumes

Cover Letter Writing Tips

Sample Cover Letter

Infographic: Robots Reading Your Resume

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Resume Writing Tips

  • There is not an absolute right or wrong way to write a résumé; however, there are ways that look more aesthetically pleasing than others.
  • We work with employers on a daily basis to ensure that we are giving you the best advice when it comes to writing a résumé.
  • Please remember that templates are not your friend. A lot of online employment systems are unable to read templates due to the use of text boxes. Use a blank document, such as Word, to create your résumé.
  • 10 tips to writing a resume (External Link).

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Sample Résumés


The sample résumés listed below are to be used as a guide when creating your résumé. If we do not have a specific sample for your major, you may use any of the samples listed below.  

Please contact us at careercenter@una.edu if you need a resume sample in accessible format.

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Creative Resumes—No matter how clever the design, a résumé will still need to convey to the employer your potential to bring value to the organization. If you put all your effort into the style of your résumé, you may neglect to develop the substance. Focus first on the content of your résumé. Think of creative projects you have done as a volunteer, organization member, employee, or intern that demonstrates your talents. Employers recommend promoting creativity through a portfolio. Research the organization to which you’re applying and try to determine if a more cutting-edge résumé design is your best bet. If the organization receives hundreds of résumés for each position, you might go with a design that will positively stand out from the rest. If using a more creative style, be mindful of the fact that some Applicant Tracking systems may not be able to read the graphics, textboxes, etc.   

Resumes for Government Jobs— Résumés for federal jobs include more details than those written for jobs in private industries. You can begin building a résumé for federal employment in the same way you build any résumé--by listing jobs, skills, accomplishments, projects, leadership positions, and activities. After generating this list, visit www.federaljobresume.com or www.usajobs.gov to learn how to put your information into the required format.  

International Resumes—If you are interested in working in another country, be sure to research guidelines for writing an appropriate résumé for your desired location. A resource that may help you is www.transitionsabroad.com. 

The Military-to-Civilian Résumé —Military experience provides opportunities to develop a range of skills, many of which transfer to civilian jobs. When you review potential job descriptions, you may quickly identify specific responsibilities in the military that allowed you to learn or strengthen those skills and abilities. Once you begin targeting jobs, you’ll want to write a résumé that includes your military experience described in terms readily understood by someone without a military background. Avoid using military jargon, abbreviations, and acronyms. Focus on the skills you developed in leadership, communication, teamwork, management, supervision, training, translating, coordinating, planning, monitoring, and organizing. A resource to help you translate your military experience and job titles into terms familiar to civilian employers is the Veterans’ Employment & Training Service Transition Assistance Program: www.dol.gov/vets/programs 

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Cover Letter Writing Tips

Once you’ve identified positions to apply for, it’s time to prepare your application materials.  You should include a cover letter each time you submit your résumé for a position. The cover letter is your opportunity to highlight your skills and qualifications and to explain why those experiences make you a good candidate for the job. Do not just reiterate your résumé. Instead, focus on several key areas and go into detail including what you did and what you learned. 

  • Always tailor your cover letter to the specific organization and job for which you are applying.  Research the organization and include sentences that correspond to the job duties or qualifications from the job description. Employers will know if your cover letter is generic and mass produced.  
  • When submitting a résumé by email, consider the body of your email as the cover letter. Include your contact information in your email signature. 
  • When submitting your application by web upload or mail, the cover letter should be typed in the same font as your résumé in business letter format. The heading of your cover letter should match the heading of your résumé. The letter should be 3 or 4 paragraphs and should not exceed one page in length. 

Remember, the cover letter is a sample of your writing ability. Employers will assume that the quality of your letter is indicative of the quality of your work. Proofread and spell check carefully! 

Salutation – Never address your letter "To Whom it May Concern.” If you don't know whom to send the letter to, call and request the name of the person who is responsible for hiring entry-level professionals in your area. You can also check the company’s website directory to find names of people to contact.  Be certain to get the name and title (and correct spelling). Whenever possible, avoid sending your letter to the personnel department as it generally does not have the power to hire - only the power to screen you out. 

Section I – Your opening sentence should state the purpose of your letter (your objective). Mention a name if you have permission (e.g., John Smith recommended I contact you.). You should also mention how you heard about the job and why it interests you. Try to make the first paragraph interesting to get the reader’s attention. 

Section II – Address the particular strengths you have which qualify you for the job, but do not repeat information word-for-word from your résumé. Highlight coursework, skills, or experiences that will be of greatest interest to the organization. Reference actual job duties from the job description. This section can be more than one paragraph and should answer the question, “Why should I hire you?” Match your skills and experience to the job description. 

Section III – Thank the reader for their consideration. Indicate your desire for a personal interview and state how the employer should contact you (phone, email). Offer any assistance to help in a speedy response.   

Sample Cover Letter

 

Please contact us at careercenter@una.edu if you need a Cover Letter sample in accessible format.

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Contact us if you need ASSISTANCE in WRITING a RESUME or a COVER LETTER.





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