Any good job hunter needs a resume package and the best well-structured cover letter. The cover letter and resume always go together and do the same basic thing in slightly different ways. A job hunter without both of them will probably not get very far in the search for a good career position.
Cover Letters, Resumes, and the Job Hunter…What’s it All About?
How a cover letter and resume go together and how to present a resume.
Resumes, Cover letter, Career, Job,
With that in mind, let’s take a look at what these crucial documents should do for you. The first part, the cover letter, is a short one-page letter consisting of three or four paragraphs. It serves as an introduction to the resume. It is the part that will always be seen by the gatekeeper.
The second part is the resume itself. Many job hunters make the mistake of thinking they can just leave a resume without a cover letter. That is like putting on a suit and tie, but forgetting the shirt or the pants. They are a package and they go together.
The resume itself may be in either functional or chronological format. The functional format concentrates on skills. The chronological format concentrates on employment listings. The most effective resumes use elements of both formats to create a combination resume that gets results. It should be laid out in a graphically appealing style, with adequate use of white space, bullet points to draw attention to important parts, and conservative fonts used. While you will occasionally bold face or italicize a font to draw attention to a point or break up a large section of type, changing fonts often makes it hard to read, so stick with one basic font. Also never go smaller than ten point type, and if possible stick with twelve or eleven point. Those sizes are easier to read. If your cover letter and resume are in a small type and hard to read, they simply will not be read, and will not help you.
Many job seekers wonder how they should present the resume package to the decision maker. There are several acceptable methods. If mailing it, use a large nine by twelve white envelope to avoid folding your materials. The white envelopes look nicer than the tan manila commonly used in business. Also large envelopes are generally the first thing people open when they get their mail. If not the first then they may save the large envelope for last. Since people tend to remember the first and the last – the alpha and the omega – while forgetting much of what is in the middle, either first or last is a good thing.
If you are hand delivering your documents stop by an office supply shop and pick up a clear plastic folder with a pressure binder spine and place your cover letter and resume in it. It makes a great presentation and will complement it perfectly. Use these tools well and you are on your way.
Tips for Cover Letters to Get More Interviews
How to use a cover letter to get you more interviews. Tips on how to use bulleted or boldface formatting to get your resume noticed.
Resumes, cover letter, job, career
Here’s a tip for cover letters to get more interviews. Use a bulleted format cover letter rather than a standard letter in paragraphs. The bulleted format is more eye-catching and is more likely to be glanced at by the hiring manager or other person assigned to sort through resumes. This format will help you get your resume seen by more people and as a result get more interviews and more job offers.
If you follow this advice and decide to use the bulleted format, make sure that each bullet point specifies a reason for the hiring manager to talk with you. This reason can be your number of years experience, your education, a personality trait that you have, or an accomplishment.
Examples of bulleted points would be:
• Over 20 years of experience in Human Resource Management.
• Outstanding work ethic. Lead by example.
• Master of Science in Education. Currently enrolled in a Doctorate program.
• Saved the last employer $30,000 in revenue through the modernization of the accounting system.
• Increased sales by 25% last quarter.
This bulleted format allows you to toot your own horn, but in a way that does not seem egotistical because it is obviously part of a resume package.
Another tip that will increase the readability of your cover letter is to use bold-faced fonts on occasion to emphasize points you want to read. Boldface catches the eye and is a common device used by graphic designers in advertising copy. Your resume and cover letter are marketing tools for you, just as a print media advertising piece is a marketing tool for a business. Consider using boldface as a tip from the Fortune 500 ad agencies that you can use without charge.
The next piece of advice to consider concerns the final paragraph of the letter, and will help you in your follow up efforts. When following up often times the hardest thing to do is to get past the gatekeeper.
The secretary or administrative assistant that screens call for his or her boss has an important job to do, but so do you, and reaching the decision-maker will make you look good.
The gatekeeper will try to stop you if the decision-maker is busy—after all, he has better things to do with his time than speak with job seekers. So, in the final paragraph of your letter, before the “sincerely” and your name, simply state “I will call you next week to check on a convenient time to speak with you in person.
” You’ve told the hiring manager you will be calling. Logically he should be expecting your call. For this reason, you may tell the gatekeeper that ” Mr. HR Manager is expecting my call this week.”
This will increase your chances of getting through, and of getting the interview.
This tip is a variation on techniques that good business-to-business salespeople use, and will work for you as well, bringing you more interviews and more job offers.