Having an impressive resume is a key factor in getting an interview for your dream job. While having the right experience and training is important to job recruiters, it also matters how your cover letter and resume looks. Most applications are not read in full but skimmed. Your personality and qualifications should jump of the page and draw the recruiter in. Here are a few tips to help you make the most out of your on-paper impression.
Begin your cover letter strong right out of the gate! This is your opportunity to make a statement of intention which reflects who you are professionally and what you are hoping to achieve. A strong cover letter is succinct and precise. Keep it to a minimum of 3 paragraphs and follow a simple structure:
• Open with an introductory statement: Who you are, why you are writing to this specific company or recruiter, and what your intentions are.
• Use the middle paragraph to paint a picture of your experience and how it relates to the position you are applying for. This is your sales pitch! List up to 3 things the employer is looking for and how you can contribute to these goals. Do not copy out your resume – use this section to actively engage while outlining how your experience relates to the desired job.
• Your final paragraph should be short and sweet. Conclude by restating your intentions at the company and how you can add to their business. Thank them for their time and let them know you look forward to hearing from them.
In your cover letter as in your resume, use language from the job posting itself. Resume sifting algorithms may use key words to pull out potentially relevant applications. Try to respond to each task or responsibility listed in the job description with ways in which you naturally bring these skills to the table. Reference past work experience or, in your cover letter, you can use personal examples if they directly relate to the position.
Keep your resume itself to a minimum of one, two pages at most. Think quality over quantity here. When listing temporary work experience, include only those which were long term, were related to the position you are applying for, or that explain permanent working gaps in your resume. For work experience, focus on what you achieved in the position and not so much on the tasks assigned to the job. Show your future employer what you brought to the table and how you excelled in your field.
Finally, PROOFREAD! None of the above tips matter if you send in a resume with spelling errors and grammatical mistakes. Have a friend or family member look over your CV for you.
Now you are all set to send your cover letter and resume out to recruiters and land the job of your dreams! Just remember to tweak your cover letter for each position so that it is specific to the company and job you are applying for. Good Luck!