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Writing an Effective Resume and Cover Letter Career and Professional Planning.

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Presentation on theme: "Writing an Effective Resume and Cover Letter Career and Professional Planning."— Presentation transcript:

1 Writing an Effective Resume and Cover Letter Career and Professional Planning

2 Presenters Erick Larson, Manager Career Advising & Professional Development

3 Career and Professional Planning (CAPP) We help students with all aspects of the job and internship search process, as well as serve as a resource for service-learning and other experiential education opportunities.

4 Overview of Workshop Resumes, Cover Letters and Interviewing Techniques  Basic outlines  Philosophy and purpose  Common pitfalls The Next Step

5 Purpose of a Resume A self-marketing tool. Represents YOU—your accomplishments and skills. Summarizes what you have to offer employers—your unique selling points—in an easy-to-read format.

6 Basic Resume Outline

7 How we read resumes…. Top to bottom, left to right 10-second glance, most recent and relevant Important information needs to be found easily and quickly!

8 Resume as Map: Make it easy for your reader! Bold, italics, underline Font size Category headings Order of categories Use of white space Bullets Don’t “lose” the employer in a maze of job descriptions and extracurricular activities.

9 Common Pitfalls of Resumes Manger for manager: Failure to proofread! Microsoft Word or other widely distributed templates.

10 Microsoft Template

11 Resume Pitfalls: Objectives Too specific: A mechanical engineering position at Micron Too vague: A summer internship where I can gain valuable work experience. Leave off objective. This information is already in your cover letter. Mention field: A human resources internship for summer 2005.

12 Resume Pitfalls: “Special Skills” DON’T: List subjective, vague skills – Sample: Good people skills, excellent teamwork capabilities, enthusiastic, hard worker. DO: List concrete, job-specific skills – Computer Skills – Certifications – Languages – Skills relevant to field

13 Resume Pitfalls: Not Making the Most Out of Your Experiences Use strong action verbs and key words to describe your work experience. Numbers count! Create a section of “Projects” or “Course Highlights” to show specialized knowledge in your field. Don’t forget about extensive volunteer or extracurricular activities. - Use these “experiences,” even if you were not paid.

14 Volunteer and Extra-Curricular Activities as Experience: Examples Treasurer, Delta Chi Fraternity (2004-Present)  Manage over 100 active accounts receivable for members on campus.  Manage and prepare payroll and benefits for nine employees.  Work with collection agency to collect delinquent accounts. Student Alumni Relations Board (2003-Present) Committee chair responsible for coordination of “Graduation Salute” event. Assist with organization, planning, and execution of campus events such as Homecoming and Moms’ Weekend.

15 Putting It All Together: Before

16 Putting It All Together: After

17 Cover Letters: What Your Resume Can’t Do Show writing ability. Demonstrate specific interest in the organization and position. Allow for greater personalization.

18 Basic Cover Letter Outline

19 Sample Cover Letter

20 Cover Letter Pitfalls: No Personalization DON’T use the same letter to apply for all positions. DO your research and tailor your letter to the position and the organization: – “Based on the project descriptions, it is clear that my skills and experience would be a valuable contribution to your program. Both the University Residences and Commons projects, for example, will require a complete analysis of student, faculty, and staff needs.” – “I am very interested in an internship position with your agency. I was impressed with your recent campaign for Nike, and I would enjoy the opportunity to work in such an innovative environment.”

21 Cover Letter Pitfalls: Generic Statements Avoid vague clichés: – “I am a hard worker and a good team player.” – “I have excellent problem-solving skills.” Use specific details and examples. – “One project in particular demonstrates my teamwork skills. Last year, I participated in a robotics design competition with four other students….” – “My strong background in accounting would be a valuable addition to your team. As an office assistant for ABC Rentals and Sales, I was responsible for accounts payable, accounts receivable, payroll, and quarterly reports. I have also completed several upper-division accounting courses.”

22 Cover Letter Pitfalls: No Action Plan DON’T wait for the employer to take the next step: “Thank you for reading the enclosed application materials. I look forward to hearing from you about the opportunities available at Micron.” DO be proactive and suggest a plan of action: “Thank you for reading this letter and my resume. I shall call you the week of February 7 to discuss opportunities at Micron and the possibility of an interview.”

23 What Now?: Taking the Next Step Review sample resumes for more ideas. – Websites: and – CAPP Library: Resume guides and student samples Sign up for an individual resume review with a career advisor at Career and Professional Planning. Participate in a resume clinic. Send it out! Visit Career and Professional planning for suggestions on how to begin your job search.

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