Cover your résumé to get a job

By Nicholas Cipollone
November 14, 2012

The first initial 10-second impression can make the difference if someone will hire you or not.

“It’s hard to write your life in clips,” the assistant director of Cooperative Education and Career Services said.

On Monday, Nov. 5th, Melissa Moravec spoke about how to make a lasting impression, as well as writing a résumé and a cover letter.

Employers want a snapshot, not a full biography or essay. This is where résumé and cover letters come into place. A résumé is a document used by individuals to present their background and skill sets. Résumés are typically one page in length and are one of the most difficult things to write.

Moravec talked about five main bullet points you want to have after your heading when making a résumé: objective, education, experience, activities and skills. The heading includes your contact information: full name, address, e-mail and phone number.

As you write out each section of a résumé, you need to bold the headings and make them stand out.

The objective is the first thing the employers will see on your résumé after your contact information. Objective should include why you are even sending this application, and should be personalized to who you are applying to.

Below the objective, should be your past education: high school, and undergraduate and graduate studies in college. The name of the school should be bolded, then the location of the school, and then below that the area of studies which should be italicized followed by the expected date of graduation. You can choose to add your grade point average (GPA) but it is not required. Remember if you do include a GPA be sure to include the scale.

Now you have basic information on why you’re applying, and where you have studied skills, but when did you actually apply those skill? The experience section is where you will cover practical uses focused toward the job you are applying to.

This section is confusing because most of the time you’re not sure what to include or what not to include. Get all of your experience down and only elaborate on a couple. You want to showcase the job title in bold, then the location, dates employed and then a bulleted list of what you did at the job.

The bulleted list is the “I” did this. The bullets in the bulleted list replace the word “I” in a sentence that you would write. When you first write these bullet points, write as many as you can for each experience, then pick and choose which ones are practical for the job you are applying for.

After experience you want to have other activities or clubs that you have taken part in and you can elaborate just as you did with experience in this section.

Finally you want to include some skills that you may have. Think of “hard” skills that you have learned such as, Microsoft Office Certified or proficient in social media. You want to stay away from “soft” skills such as, “I’m a people person,” or “I have great video ideas.”

Skills you want to include that you have learned on your own can be questionable to include.

“Just ask yourself, do I feel comfortable with my skill,” Moravec said, “Can I do this on the spot with no problems?”

Moravec went on to explain what a cover letter is.

“A cover letter goes hand in hand with a résumé,” Moravec said.

Cover letters are just as difficult to write as a resume but they have more flexibility than a resume. They are to be kept the same length as a résumé at one page and consist of different aspects to more of your personality. Cover letters consist of three paragraphs, introduction, experience and skills and what you are looking forward to.

In the first paragraph, talk about why you are writing to the employer and mention the employers name as well as some specific things about the company that interest you in joining them.

In the second paragraph, highlight a specific experience or skill that relates to the job that you are applying for. In this paragraph you should also include why you should work for them and some “soft” skills along with some “hard” skills that are in your résumé already.

The third paragraph should be about what you are looking forward to being a part of the company as well as how to contact you.

Finally end the letter with a sincerely and then sign below it. Also, don’t forget to include “ENC” at the bottom of your cover letter. This stands for enclosure which tells the employer that a résumé is attached.

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Nicholas Cipollone

Junior at Cabrini College, Sports Editor for @LOQwitter, Graphics Coordinator for @LoqationNews, Social Media Specialist @BadRhinoINC, Social Media Manager for @cabrinicareers

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