Writing a Résumé / Cover Letter
Much like an essay, a résumé or cover letter lets a company know why you are suited to work there. We are all well aware of how difficult it is to land a job right now, so you must work hard at proving yourself as a worthy candidate.
a. Tailor your cover letter to the job.
Read the job description thoroughly and ensure you letter covers the qualifications and requirements. Do not send out generic cover letters and résumés in an email-blast fashion. You’re not a spammer, you’re a job applicant. This process is time-consuming but necessary if you want to be considered for the job.
b. Proofread, revise and edit your résumé/letter.
Companies do not want to hire employees who do not possess at least basic writing skills. In addition, letters which are full of mistakes will often not be seen by the person doing the actual hiring. A screener (perhaps someone in HR) will simply disqualify an applicant who submits a cover letter and/or résumé that is full of mistakes. Again, take the time to proofread, revise, and edit before submitting an application!
c. Do your research.
What do you know about the company for which you will potentially work? How many people will you be working with? To whom will you report? What are the job expectations? What is the work environment like? What are the company’s goals? Can you find any newspaper articles about the company, and what do they say? Knowing as much as you can about the company will help you not only when applying, but also when you are interviewed. Those reviewing your cover letter/résumé are likely to be impressed and flattered if you are familiar with the company’s intricacies.
d. Focus on your accomplishments.
The company to which you are applying wants to know that you will help them to be successful. What have you accomplished in previous jobs, internships, or volunteer organizations that would increase productivity at your potential job? What kind of software does the company use, and how familiar are you with it? Did you reorganize your former office’s supply closet, thereby mainstreaming the ordering process and decreasing over-ordering? This would be an appropriate accomplishment to mention if you’re applying for a professional organizer or administrative assistant position.