Role of the Resume
The resume is the backbone of your job application. It supplies the key points of your work history in an easily readable format. The average hiring manager only spends roughly 30 seconds on each resume, so organizing your experience into easy-to-read bullet points is crucial. Your resume will either be uploaded digitally or delivered in print format. Either way, you should perfect your formatting and your grammar before you send the resume to an employer.
Types of Resumes
Though there are many different types of resumes, two major types of resume formats are available for job applicants. Your situation will determine the best format for your application. A chronological resume outlines your work experience based on reverse chronology. Your most recent job and its description is listed first, followed by all other positions in reverse chronological order. In contrast, the functional resume organizes your work experience into skills categories and lists relevant experience from all your activities, even volunteer work and internships. Skills categories might include customer service skills, accounting skills, supervisory skills or administrative experience. Regardless of whether you choose a chronological or functional resume, you will include your name, address, email address and telephone number at the top of the resume. You will also include your education, your relevant skills, and an objective statement or summary of qualifications. Typically the objective statement is best for an entry level worker, while a summary of qualifications is best for an applicant with ample work experience.
Role of the Cover Letter
The cover letter speaks specifically about your work experience and highlights key qualities that set you apart from other applicants. The hiring manager usually only reads a cover letter if the resume contains the minimum qualifications for the job. The cover letter should state the position you are seeking and where you found it, followed by an overall philosophy about your career. For example, the cover letter might begin with "I am highly interested in the position of Accountant posted on Careerbuilder. I am a UF graduate with internship experience in accounting and bookkeeping seeking an entry level position at a growing firm." After the first paragraph, you should speak specifically about your prior work or education experience and show how this experience will make you beneficial in the position you seek. For example, "With three years of experience with bookkeeping and records in a medical office, my organizational and accounting skills allow me to learn quickly and produce detail-oriented work." Follow your body paragraph with your contact information and a formal salutation. For example, "Thank you for considering my resume. I can be reached at xxx-xxxx, and look forward to hearing from you about this position. Sincerely, Jane Doe."
Tailoring Your Documents
Resumes and cover letters should always be tailored to specific jobs. The resume should contain relevant experience that will appeal to each individual employer, and the cover letter should include specifics about why the position appeals to you. Name the company within the cover letter, and always adjust both documents before sending a new application. You should look at the job advertisement for information about where and how to send the documents. Sometimes, you will upload them through an online system. Some businesses accept resumes and cover letters in person or by mail. If you are invited in for an interview, you should bring both documents with you and supply enough copies for everyone in the interview meeting. If you are unsure about who you will be interviewing with, bring five or six copies of your resume to the interview.