Writing your Resume and Cover Letter
You’ve seen the perfect job on the website, and you’re busting to get in there and start it. First though – you need up update your resume and write a cover letter. Don’t worry if you don’t have one or have no work experience – you can still put one together!
Some employers believe the cover letter is more important than the resume, as they can see how you write, and your passion for wanting the job. The cover letter should not be a summary of your resume, but rather address the job criteria in the job application and talk about how you are the most appropriate person for the job.
It is most important to make the letter specific to the job and the employer. You should NOT have a standard letter for every job you apply for. Also make sure you’re positive in the cover letter and make the manager WANT to keep reading. Oh – and keep it to three or four paragraphs long.
Now with the resume, and let’s start at the beginning. Contact details are at the top of your resume, and make sure they are clear and correct! Include all the necessary information like, full name, address, phone number and email address. Make sure you don’t list the email you made in Year Seven, such as email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org and you go and make a new ‘professional’ gmail account if you don’t already have one. Oh – and don’t forget to make your Facebook profile private. If you think employers don’t research their applicants – think again! Probably best you change your profile pic to something that ISN’T you passed out in a gutter…
A lot of people have a lot of opinions on what should and should not be on a resume, but resumes are not what they used to be – we are Gen Y, after all. Whether you include your date of birth is up to you, but don’t include your relationship status… [Yes, some people do that…CRAZY!] Photos are also a tricky decision as it may or may not work against you. Probably best to leave that out as well.
Make sure the layout of your resume is clear and easy to read. Have the font simple and consistent throughout the resume, and in size 12 or 14. Don’t go overboard with colours either, but you are allowed to personalise your resume to make suit your character. Having said that – we don’t want your resume looking like a bowl of Fruit Loops – this IS a marketing document for yourself.
Now for the content. Start with your schooling information; where you went to school, the years you were/are there and perhaps the elective subjects you are doing/did if they are relevant. Any extra curricular activities at school should be included too, if they are going to make you look fantastic.
Order your work experience with your latest experience first. Make sure you include your job title, your employer, start and finish dates, and what your duties were. Don’t list EVERY thing you did at the job though, unless it’s relevant. You don’t want your resume going into next week. It should be no longer than two pages. If you have done any voluntary work experience you should definitely include this as well.
Include 2-3 referees and make sure you include their phone numbers. Do not say “references available on request” as the employer is very likely to just throw your resume out. The simplest reason to make their search easier and they will throw your resume to the curb - which brings me to my next point.
Make sure you get someone to proof read your resume, because one of the worst things in the world is having spelling mistakes in your document. Remember – spell check does is not a mind reader.