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 Cover Letter and Resume Tips

By Joe Stein

 
Cover Letter & Resume Tips
(10 Tips You Might Not Have Thought of Before)
 
There are so many important aspects of a Cover Letter and Resume that go unnoticed yet can have a meaningful impact on the success of these documents.
 
Not doing a Cover Letter? Start immediately! A Cover Letter is a separate document included with the Resume that allows you to narratively introduce your candidacy and more personally “sell yourself” in comparison to the open position.
 
Let’s rundown today a list of important but more unnoticed tips that will give you an edge in your job search.
 
1.      If you have a “gender neutral” name such as “Taylor”, indicate your gender with a Mr. or Ms. in the address section of your Cover Letter. This will allow the recruiter to identify you correctly the 1st time and avoid the awkward moment associated with addressing someone by the wrong gender.
 
2.      Instead of resorting to “Dear Sir/Madam”, always try to address the Cover Letter (& envelope) to an actual person. The person you should try to be reaching with your documents is the Hiring Manager. This is the person you most need to “wow” and you will want them as your advocate right from the beginning. This will also personalize the message and will increase the odds of your documents reaching the hands of the right person. You, of course, are not guaranteed that the Hiring Manger will actually view your resume, as there is always the possibility that someone will be screening the mail.
 
3.      Always sign your Cover Letter and use professional looking black ink that will not smudge. If you are sending your Cover Letter electronically, consider having your signature scanned and include in your document. This will give you a more personal and less mass-produced look to your documents.
 
4.      Your Cover Letter should be no more than 3-4 paragraphs and never more than one full page. Keep in mind that most Recruiters are stressed and have limited time to review documents. You will want to grab their attention without having your document become a burden to have to read.
 
5.      In your Cover Letter provide the best time to reach you with the appropriate phone number to call. Make sure you have voice mail attached with this number.
6.      It is important that you have a resume that allows for an easy, quick review by the Recruiter. One way to create a little “white space” in your Resume is to drop your “References” section from your Resume. If you feel you must note References, simply state, “References are available upon request”. References are an expected part of the process and will be required to be submitted to the prospective employer, so there is not a need to elaborate with specifics or even mention.
 
7.      For individuals with some employment gaps in their work history consider dropping the months from your Resume. This will keep you from advertising absences of a few months in your recent work history. You can also omit positions that you held that were transitional in nature and not directly related to your regular field of employment. This will also help you from creating a cluttered resume that will be so full of information it will appear overwhelming to the Recruiter.
 
8.      If you have had multiple positions within the same company you will want to make sure you promote this positive progression without providing too much detail. Consider providing the detail on the job that is closest to the actual position you are applying for with the company. Simply list the other positions with dates so that the Recruiter is aware of your tracking through the organization.
 
9.      Consider tying the chronological length of your Work Experience in your Resume with the job you are applying for or 15 years ago, whatever is greater. For example, if the position you are applying for requires 20 years of experience then your Resume would reflect it. In most cases, because of the rapid change in today’s work environment, experience generated greater than 15 years ago has little relevance to the position you are applying for. By editing your “Work Experience” in this way it will help you in your desire to keep your Resume concise and easy to read.
 
10. Finally, make sure you spell check both documents and thoroughly review for grammar. Let a friend or family member read each document to make sure you do not have any errors in the document. Any errors that are viewed by a reader will negatively reflect upon your attention to detail and overall professionalism.
 
The little things count tremendously in your job search. Consider these tips and you will be on your way to success!
 
As always, best of luck in your job search.
 
 
The following has been prepared for the general information of WNY Jobs readers. It is not meant to provide advice with respect to any specific legal or policy matter and should not be acted upon without verification by the reader.
 
Joe Stein
WNY Human Resources Professional
Feel free to contact Joe Stein regarding questions or comments at:
              http://www.wnyjobs.com/contact.asp