If you are looking for a job, you must have probably come across a cover letter and a resume. Resumes and cover letters are not always the determining factor that gets you a job. The bottom line is that a company is only going to hire you either if you are exceptional for the position or you are a likeable and good cultural fit. On the other hand, a resume and cover letter can help you land an interview with the company you want to work. In this article, we are going to talk about the guidelines for writing a good resume and a cover letter that will guarantee you the job you want.
So what are the critical differences between a resume and a cover letter? First of all, by definition, a resume is a summary of your qualification and experience. A cover letter, on the other hand, is a summary of your work experience that is related to the job at hand. A resume is written to itemise your employment history, for example, the tasks you have done over the years, your education, the certifications and skills you have acquired and many others. You should write a resume in the third person, and it should summarise your experience as briefly as possible.
On the other hand, a cover letter is written to show the qualifications and skills you have for the job you are seeking. A good resume should provide the employer with additional information on why you are the best candidate for the position. A cover letter comes in the form of a message, and unlike the resume, in a cover letter, you should use the first person when writing.
Dissecting The Cover Letter
A cover is a letter that is used by job seekers to introduce them to their employers in a memorable and personal way during job applications. A cover letter must accompany any resume you send. A cover letter can be the only difference between getting an interview and having your resume ignored. For you to be successful in obtaining a meeting, a good cover letter must make a connection between the needs of the company and what you have to offer. There are three types of cover letters, and they include.
- The application letter. You write this letter when responding to a known job opening.
- The prospecting letter. The letter is applicable when you are inquiring for a particular position.
- Lastly, you can write the networking letter when you are requesting for information and possible assistance on your job search.
What to Include in The Cover Letter:
When writing a cover letter, you must ensure it compliments your resume and does not duplicate it. The message should not be about you but rather about your qualifications for the job. You should also ensure you focus on the credentials you have that match the job description. When writing a cover letter, you should try some of these techniques.
Tell a Memorable Story
You should describe in details what makes you choose the company and not any other. You should ensure you also tell the employer why you feel the company is unique to you. Everyone likes the feeling of being, and no company wants to think that it is just one of the many companies you would like to join. Therefore ensure that you say exactly why this particular company is fit for you.
Address The Recruiter by Name
A lot of people have the habit of addressing the recruiter as dear sir/madam or even To Whom It May Concern. If you want to make a good impression with your cover letter, then it is crucial that you know the name of the person you are writing the letter. Knowing the person’s name is not an easy task to do, but on the brighter side, your recruiter will be very impressed by you.
Use Some Humour
Humour is only for those who are confident that they can pull it off. It is a dangerous approach, but when carefully done it can push a recruiter who was at the edge of the fence to your side.
When writing a cover letter, some guidelines must be followed to ensure that you write a perfect cover letter. When writing a cover letter ensure you customise the message to become a strong endorsement of your skills and ability to do the job you are applying. Some of the guidelines include:
A Letter Must Have a Header
The header consists of both your contacts and the employer’s contacts. After the connections, the date follows. The communications should include First name, street address, city or state Zip. Phone number and lastly email in that order.
The Next Step is The Salutations
You must begin your letter with Dr/Mr./Ms then the last name, and if you want to be more interesting, you can use the recruiter‘s full names. And if you don’t know the name, you can start with ‘Dear Hiring Manager’.
In the introduction, you will begin by stating the job you are applying. You can also explain where you had the job from and then mention how your skills and experience are relevant to the company. Your goal in this part is to make sure you get the recruiters attention.
Body of Letter
This part should be one or two paragraphs. You should explain why you are interested in the job and the company. You should also tell me why you are the best candidate for this job. When writing the body you should also be careful not to restate your resume, but it is wise to state some specific examples that demonstrate your abilities.
Closing Section or Conclusion
In this section ensure you reiterate how your skills make you an ideal candidate for this job. You can also state the reason why you would like to work on that particular company. Make sure you also mention that you would like to have an opportunity for an interview. Then end your letter by thanking the employer for his/her considerations.
The signature is the last part of the cover letter. Your cover letter must end with a complimentary close followed by a signature. The signature must first be handwritten then followed by your typed name.
Before you send in your cover letter, you must ensure that it is formatted. Ensure you format your message like a professional business letter. For example, the font used should match the font used in writing your resume and should be simple and easy to read. There must be a space between the header, salutations, between the paragraphs, the closing, and the signature. After following all of the above steps ensure that you edit and proofread your cover letter. Always double check to ensure that everything is correct and there are no spelling mistakes.
How to Write a Good Resume
Now that we now know how to write a perfect cover letter it is also fit that we talk about how to write a good resume. While we have learned that cover letters act as attention grabbers which make you stand out from the rest. Resumes, on the other hand, do not have the same effect as cover letters as they tend to be too formal. An excellent and job winning resume must have one goal in mind. The goal should be to convince the hiring panel that you have skills an experience that will make you succeed in this job. To ensure that you write a good resume there are some things that you must do when writing and they include.
Copy The Job Description
Recruiters will be looking for some exact crucial word in your resume that matches the job description you are applying. For you to write a good resume, you must ensure you tweak resume for every job you are using.
Ensure you write a more about what is relevant
For example, if you have worked in multiple industries and you are now set to join another one let’s say a portfolios managers position. Then most parts of your resume should be about the skills that are relevant to the manager’s job.
Lastly, You Should Ensure That You Put What Matters on Top
There are no rules that require one to put the education section before the work section. For example, if you went to an outstanding university and with a good GPA then it might be advisable that you put this first. Another example is that you might be applying for a job as a data administrator and you only have a degree in microbiology. Then it would be advisable to keep this information on the down low and mention your education t the bottom of a resume.
Before you start writing your resume, it is essential that you set out what you are trying to accomplish. Your goal when writing a resume is to wow the recruiter and present a document that will demonstrate that you are an ideal candidate for the position. If you understand your goal, you will be able to paint the correct picture of yourself and what you want. If you do this be sure, you will win yourself a fantastic job.
Some of the steps and guidelines that will help you write an interview and job winning resume include.
- Compile Your Personal and Employment Information: Compiling your data is the first step in writing a good resume. You need to collect all the information you will need before you start writing your resume to ensure that you also make a list of all the required contact information that you might want to use. If you do this your work becomes much more relaxed.
- Writing a Resume: Writing a resume is the second step, and it includes the actual writing of the resume. This step is the most critical step, and it needs a lot of attention. The most acceptable and standard format of writing a resume is the chronological format. You should note that it is upon an individual to choose the style of how he or she wants to write a resume. All you have to do is ensure you are consistent with your style.
- Contact information. Ensure you put these contacts at the top of your resume. Your contact information should consist, your name, address, phone number and email address.
- Your Objectives should follow. Objectives give the employer a brief overview of your qualifications. Objectives are optional.
- You can also add a summary of your qualifications. Mainly involves a review of your skills, abilities and what makes you an ideal candidate for this position.
- The next thing to write about is your experience. This part is the most critical component of a resume. Employers will want to know where you have worked, what were your responsibilities.
- Education. The education section should come next. On this section, you need to list all the degrees and certificates that you have earned from the highest to the lowest. When listing your education achievements, you should do it in reverse chronological order with the most recent one being the first on the list
- Awards and Accomplishments. You should never be shy in mentioning your achievements and awards .this shows the employer that you are a good candidate who has received recognition for your accomplishments.
- Skills. Mention the skills that you have acquired that are relevant to the job.
- Personal interests. It is also important to mention those own interests that you have that are closely related to the job you are applying. Personal interests might be useful if you are applying for a job that you do not have any work experience.
- Choosing Your Format: Make sure you select a great font that is easy to read. It Is also advisable that when writing you use the bullet form as it is easier to understand compared to when a resume you write in paragraph form. If you follow all the above guidelines and steps mentioned above, then I believe you will have a perfect CV that will land you in an ideal job.