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resume & cover letter tips

Below are some useful tips on building your resume and cover letter as you move forward into the work force. Remeber your resume and cover letter should be living documents, you should update them continously with new experience, and consider keeping multiple versions for different types of applications. We've also included some general job-hunting tips.

Resume Tips

  • Tailor your resume to the job you are applying for. This will emphasize the skills/experience that make you an ideal candidate. Remember, resumes are marketing tools.
  • Update your resume often as your skills improve and you gain more experience.
  • Avoid multiple page resumes as there are many applicants for each position and employers do not have time to review everything.
  • Be honest about yourself. If you have a lack of work experience, use a functional resume, which emphasizes your skills, rather than lack of work history. 
  • Be specific about your skills and experience. Employers want to see how you have succeeded in your positions, rather than just read a list of duties.
  • Proofread. Spelling and grammatical errors greatly reduce your chances at getting an interview. 
  • Include volunteer/internship experience and courses that may help you stand out.
  • Do not include personal information like your date of birth or marriage status.

Cover Letter Tips

  • Just like your resume, your cover letter should be tailored to the job you are applying for. Do not use a form cover letter.
  • Highlight your accomplishments to grab the employer's attention.
  • When emailing your resume and cover letter, the cover letter should be in the body of the email with the resume attached in a format that is easily opened.
  • Proofread. The cover letter is an introduction to how well you communicate and demonstrates your professionalism and respect for the potential employer.
  • Think about the skills the employer needs and emphasize how your experience or skills make you the best candidate. 
  • Do not ramble. Keep your cover letter to one page in length.
  • Keep track of all the companies/positions you apply for. Follow up with a courteous thank you note after you have an interview. If you emailed your application, contact the employer a few days later to ensure they have received it. This also gives you an additional opportunity to emphasize your interest in the position.

General Job Hunting Tips:

  • If you're emailing your application, make sure to save your resume and cover letter as a common format, such as doc, rtf, or pdf (some job descriptions will specify which format to send in).
  • If you can, bundle your cover letter and resume together in one document, to make it easier for the employer to save and access.
  • When applying by email, copy and paste your cover letter text into the email and attach the full cover letter and resume document(s).
  • If the job description specified a job title and/or number, be sure to reference this in the email subject line.
  • Send a thank you note not only after the interview, but also after you have been given the job. This demonstrates respect for the employer. 
  • If you are not accepted for a position, it is a good idea to send a post-rejection follow up letter. Although you may not have been suitable for a specific position, you may be considered for other opportunities. It may also be that the first choice is not ideal and you may be called back.