Are you preparing for a job or internship search? You’ll put lots of time and energy into your job search, so make the most of your efforts by ensuring your resume and cover letter are the best representations of your skills. Before you send them out, make sure you follow these do’s and don’ts of resume and cover letter writing.
Use Stock Cover Letters or Resumes
Your cover letter and resume should be unique to the job you are applying for. Your cover letter should address the hiring manager–not ‘to whom it may concern.’ The body of your cover letter addresses how your specific skills and experiences qualify you for the job and leave the reader wanting more information. Your resume shouldn’t change drastically from job-to-job, but it should be tweaked to ensure you highlight the skills the job you are applying for requires.
Include Details from High School
Keeping some of your activities from your later high school years is ok for your first year of college, but after your first year you should have enough new information to phase out your high school activities and jobs. Also, don’t include your high school education on your resume. You only need to put down the information for the degree you are currently pursuing or previous college degrees you have earned.
Include Your GPA
Including your GPA in your resume typically depends on if you are applying for an internship while still in college or applying for a job post graduation. It is an important indicator when applying for an internship because you might not have much experience yet for a potential employer to trust you are hardworking. However, if you’ve built up an impressive resume during college and are now graduated, potential employers care more about your experience and recommendations, so GPA isn’t always necessary then.
Send a Cover Letter
You should always send a cover letter, even if the job description doesn’t ask for one. A fantastic cover letter can sell a sparser resume. The information on your resume is limited to a page, so the cover letter is the place for you to show your personality and stand out from the crowd. If a formal cover letter isn’t requested, you can write it in the body of an email and attach your resume.
Highlight Skills if You Lack Experience
If you’re looking for your first job or internship, you can write what is called a ‘skills resume.’ As opposed to a traditional resume, a skills resume focuses more on the skills you have and less on your experience. Highlight how you are very organized and detail oriented based on your experience as class president. Or, showcase your customer service skills based on your summers spent babysitting.
Careless mistakes are the easiest way to get your resume tossed in the trash. Once you finish your resume and cover letter, step away from it for a few hours or even a day and come back to it later with fresh eyes. You should also always have another person review your resume and cover letter for grammatical errors, content and general flow.
Contact the South College career center if you need assistance writing your resume and cover letter.