A cover letter and resume is the first representation of you as a candidate to a potential employer. While even an amazing cover letter and resume won’t get you the job alone, it can set you apart from other candidates, get you in the door and set the tone for your first conversation with a hiring manager. Below are some expert tips to consider when putting your experience and objectives down on paper.
Use Action Words and Customize Your Pitch
When highlighting your professional experience, use accomplishment statements rather than descriptions of your role. Start with an action verb. Then detail the impact that action had: Did you increase, decrease, modify, or change anything in your work? Finally, be sure to quantify the accomplishments. Data helps.
Include the Same Keywords That Appear in Your Job Description Searches
Most companies use recruiting management software to screen candidates for job openings. Resume keywords are the words that hiring managers use to search their database of resumes.Increase your chances of your resume matching available positions – and of you being selected for an interview by including the same keywords in your resume and cover letter that appear in the job descriptions you are searching.
Don’t over-complicate things.
A resume does not need color, intricate fonts, borders, icons or pictures; unless you are in the creative industry. All a resume truly needs is the four sections: Summary of Qualifications, Education and Certifications, Work Experience and Technical Skills [or Additional Skills and Activities].
Don’t Repeat Your Resume in Your Cover Letter
Use your cover letter to show personality, curiosity, and an interest in the field you are applying to work in. My favorite pro tip: Google around for the history of your field or company, and sprinkle some cool historical facts into your cover letter (or even use one as a lead). If I was applying for a job in tech, I might talk about how thrilling it was to see Moore’s law transform technology before my eyes, and how thrilled I am to be a part of this transformation.
Comment below with some of your hire-worthy resume and cover letter tips.