8 Rules for Cover Letters

Regardless of what kind of letter you’re writing, use this advice from recruiters to guide your efforts and maximize your chances for success:

  1. Remember Your Purpose: “Candidates need to ask themselves why they’re writing to the recruiter in the first place,” Anderson says. “Are you answering an ad? Introducing yourself? Or just spamming some generic letter out, which is never going to be very effective.”
  2. Be

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Corporate Restructuring and Your Resume

When an organization undergoes a merger, acquisition or closing, job seekers are left wondering how to handle the information on their resumes. Follow these tips to make your resume shine.

Mergers and Acquisitions

If your organization restructured, combine your employers and position history under one employment heading. By consolidating your job titles, you’ll avoid giving the impression that you’re a job-hopper.

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Cover Letters to Recruiters

In the world of recruiters and executive search firms, resumes rule. But this doesn’t mean you should ignore or forgo sending cover letters. So what do recruiters look for in a cover letter? It depends on which of three scenarios you fall into:

  1. Ad-Response Cover Letters: If a search firm is handling a job opening, gear your cover letter to the desired qualifications the ad

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How to Submit a Cover Letter When Applying via Email

If you don’t know the employer’s preferences for receiving resumes, paste your plain text (ASCII) cover letter and resume in the body of the e-mail message and attach the (virus-free) Word doc of your resume.

Objective Section or Qualifications Summary?

While it’s important for your resume to include a clear career goal, you don’t have to convey it through an Objective section. The majority of job seekers may incorporate their career goals into a Qualifications Summary instead.

Career changers and entry-level workers should consider incorporating their objectives into their resumes, because their goals may not be clearly defined by their work history alone. … [ Read more ]

Put Your Resume to the 10-Second Test

Many resume reviewers skim resumes for as little as 10 seconds during the initial screening, so your resume needs to quickly relay your objective and key qualifications. Show it to someone unfamiliar with your career field, and see if the person understands your goal and top credentials after a 10-second review. If not, revise your resume so your important selling points are easy to find … [ Read more ]

Quick Tip: Keep Your Kudos to Update Your Resume

Want to make updating your resume a snap? Keep an ongoing kudos file, containing performance reviews, notes about recent accomplishments, letters of reference, awards, training and new skills developed. When it’s time to update your resume, your kudos file will put your recent achievements at your fingertips.

Reduce Resume Redundancy

Review the words you use to describe your accomplishments on your resume, and try not to use any verb more than twice. For example, if multiple sentences begin with “managed,” substitute some of them with “directed,” “oversaw,” “coordinated” or “led.” This helps keep your writing lively and readers engaged.

Resume Critique Checklist

First Impression

  • Does the resume look original and not based on a template?
  • Is the resume inviting to read, with clear sections and ample white space?
  • Does the design look professional rather than like a simple typing job?
  • Is a qualifications summary included so the reader immediately knows the applicant’s value proposition?
  • Is the length and overall appearance of the resume appropriate given the career level and objective?


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What Every Resume Needs

Check your resume for these four must-haves:

  1. An error-free presentation—no typos and a consistent design.
  2. A clear focus with an easily determined job objective.
  3. Evidence of your accomplishments; show that you went above and beyond your job duties.
  4. Keyword density. Include industry keywords so your resume will be found in electronic applicant searches.

Get Written References

Before you leave a job, always ask your supervisors for written references. You can add your letters of reference to your career portfolio, and they may come in handy during your job search. You can even add letter excerpts to your resume to show how much your previous employers valued your performance.

Getting the Interview

A proactive approach to your job search can improve your chances of landing interviews. Listed below are six tips to maximize your success.

  1. Make Contact Before Sending Your Resume
    Unless you’re responding to an ad that requests “no phone calls,” try to contact the hiring manager before you send your resume. Even if you don’t know the name of the person handling the search,

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Job Acceptance Letter

Writing an acceptance letter is a good policy for any job seeker who’s decided to take a job offer. For one thing, it reinforces your professional approach. It also gives you the chance to document a few key things about your new job, such as your title, supervisor, salary and benefits. In the vast majority of cases, you’ll never need to rely on this documentation. … [ Read more ]

Which Font Should I Use?

For resumes in electronic format that will be emailed, select a font that’s standard on most computer systems. Good choices include Arial, Book Antiqua, Century Schoolbook, Garamond, Tahoma, Times New Roman and Verdana.

What Tense Should I Write My Resume In?

Write previous jobs in past tense. For your current job, write accomplishments in past tense and job responsibilities in present tense.

Should I Include Salary Information on My Resume?

No, unless you are writing a federal resume. Indicating your salary history or requirements could eliminate you from consideration. If the employer requests salary requirements, acknowledge the request in your cover letter with a line like: “I would be happy to discuss my salary requirements after mutual interest has been established.” If you feel pressed to give a number, provide a wide range to give … [ Read more ]