How to make a resume and cover letter that lands more interviews

Your resume and cover are the first impression an employer will have of you. First impressions are critical because they shape any further interaction with a person. For that reason it is important that your resume and cover letter accurately portray who you are and what you can offer a company. Below is a list of do's and do not's, and general tips for making your resume and cover letter the best it can be.

Resume do's and do not's

Using a resume template is discouraged because it can cause difficulty with maneuverability; however when creating your resume always keep design in mind.Be sure your resume looks great and reflects who you are.Managers only look at your resume for a few seconds, so make sure yours catches their eye!

Try and keep your resume between 1 to 2 pages. When starting out in a new field aim for one, unless quantity of experience doesnt allow it. Keep the font at a legible size. Avoid shrinking text to fit in more content. Your name should be large and bold with your contact information near it. Do not split names between two lines. If you do not have enough space for the entire name, use a new line.

Your objective for the position should be stated at the beginning of your resume. Simply state what it is you want in your objectives. Objectives for internships may indicate that you wish to enhance your skills. Objectives for employment should state the skills you will bring to the employer.

Include all related experiences and licenses in reverse chronological order. For students without much professional experience include extra curricular involvement. Include your current degree program and graduation date (anticipated or past). Be accurate about your degree title and add your GPA if it is above a 3.0. Include any academic awards, and scholarships. Use past tense when describing duties in your current job or internship and write in first person. Include any foreign languages you speak or are familiar with, and extended time spent working, living, volunteering, or studying abroad. Include special skill in computer programs, databases, spreadsheets, and systems.

Do not include the street address, telephone number, zip code or supervisor’s name.Do not include personal information such as date of birth, marital status, height or weight. Generally exclude hobbies, interests and religion /ethnic background unless they would be considered relevant to an employer. Do not include the high school you attended.

Have a page, with the same heading as your resume, that lists 3-5 professional references. Include their names, titles, place of employment, business telephone numbers and their e-mail addresses. Take this list to interviews or send it upon request. Carry additional copies of your resume to interviews.

Cover Letter Do's and Do not's

A cover letter should always accompany your resume. It is important that it does not simply repeat what is in your resume. Think of a cover letter as a supplement to your resume providing additional information for an employer about who you are.

Cover letters should be specific to each position you are applying to. Modify your content as needed to fit the positions description and requirements. Be sure at address your cover letter to a specific individual. If the individuals name or position in unknown address it "To whom it may concern".

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The cover letter should be neat, concise, and easy to read. Provide a dynamic first paragraph which captures the readers attention. Avoid overly wordy responses or complicated sentence structures. Avoid phrases like "I think", "I feel", "I believe". Phrases such as these tend to contradict or weaken assertions made about yourself. Do include information about where an employer can reach you during business hours.

Providing personal examples of your skills and qualifications will strengthen your cover letter and make it stand out. Be sure to use these examples to directly respond to specific qualifications of the employers. Let the employer know you can meet their immediate need. 

Be proactive and don’t expect an employer to take action. Provide details on next actions and then follow through with them! Don’t forget to personally sign the letter.