Job Search Assistance:  Resume Help & Cover Letters 
The interview, along with the resume and cover letter, can make or break your success 
at finding the perfect job.

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Cover Letters

Things You Need to Know...


  • A resume being reviewed by a hiring manager has between 10 to 30 seconds to impress them to read on

  • Good resumes are essential. Today, hiring managers look at your cover letter and resume as an indication of how well you may perform in the job. It is an indication of your (1) organizational skills, (2) writing skills and (3) presentation skills.

  • Don’t write job descriptions. Hiring managers want to know

    • Do you have any experience?

    • Are you good at what you do?

    • Do you like this kind of work?

  • Key words or power phrases impress. (See “Power Phrases” below.



Key Elements of a Resume...


  • Career Summary or Career Profile: In a short time the hiring manager should get a picture of who you are and what you have done, both functionally and by industry. This is what gets you noticed and gets the rest of the resume reviewed. This is placed after your name and address. Example:

    • ​Strong interpersonal communication and problem
      solving skills

    • Excellent written and oral communication skills

    • Extensive customer service experience

    • Organize and complete projects on time, meeting deadlines

    • Achieved 100% attendance 4 years running


  • Education: This can appear at the beginning of your resume if you have limited experience or the job you’re applying for emphasizes a specific degree. Otherwise at the end of resume.

  • Other Experience (civic organizations, etc.) or Special Skills (computers, languages) or Associations, or Accomplishments/Awards. At end, after education.

  • References: Available Upon Request – Should be after everything else.



Power Phrases...

add important clout to your resume.   Some samples:



Things You Need to Know...


Developing a strong cover letter to accompany your resume is critical to opening doors and getting interviews.


A good cover letter is important because:


  • It is the first opportunity a hiring manager gets to see an example of the work you can perform.

  • It provides you with an excellent sales tool to market yourself – to demonstrate just how unique your skills and experience are in relationship to that company’s specific needs.

  • It allows your personality to shine through.



Key Elements of a Cover Letter...


  • Contact information:  Name, phone number and e-mail address is at the top-centered

  • Date:  Usually left side above Employer address

  • Employer Address

  • Reference Line:  States the title of the position or reference code or job number

  • Salutation:  Dear Mr. Jones, Dear Hiring Authority/Manager, or Dear Sir/Madam:

  • Opening paragraph:  Who you are and why you are writing.

  • Main body:  Your unique skills and why you are an ideal candidate for the job in question.

  • Closing paragraph:  Where you ask for an interview.

  • Closing:  Sincerely, or Respectfully, followed by your signature 

  • Enclosures:  Reference what other documents are enclosed in the “package”….resume, reference list, job application. (this is optional)


Important Do's...


  • Target your letter specifically to the Company or person, focusing your skills and experience to the advertised job. Each cover letter should be tailored to the job at hand.

  • The cover letter must match your resume.

  • Don’t forget that cover letter writing is a sales process…selling yourself.

  • Know your targeted employers and understand their needs and desires and then try to put yourself in the employer’s shoes when writing your letter.


Sell it, don't Tell it!


Luke warm (telling)
“I performed customer service duties and inside sales for a company selling fire alarm kits.”

Hot (selling)
As an account rep for ABC Company, I maintained a 91% customer satisfaction rating (2nd highest in the region) and was a consistent leader in our office in selling additional products to clients. (See “Power Phrases” under RESUMES.)


Important Don'ts...


  • Don’t make your letter overly long…too many words may make your letter less readable and passed over.

  • Don’t make your font too small. Stick with 10, 11, or 12 point. Stick with common typestyles (Times New Roman).

  • Don’t overuse bold, italics and underlining.

  • Don’t send an untidy letter (wrinkled, stains, etc.) Your letter is a reflection of you!

  • Make sure your letter is not poorly reproduced. If possible use a laser printer.

  • Don’t use bold colors or background paper. Use quality watermarked paper – white, off-white, ivory.

  • No handwritten changes

  • Typographical errors are totally unacceptable.  You have one opportunity to make that impression, and you should do everything you can to make it a strong and positive one.


Proven track record…          

Specific responsibilities/functions included…

Total/Complete responsibility for…  

Total accountability for...    

Personally responsible for...                                        

In addition to…  /  responsible for…                  

Expertise and demonstrated skills in…                       Acted / Functioned as…                                               Instrumental in….

Extensive training in…..                                 

Promoted from……to…….

Regularly undertook….                                               Consistently…….

Proficient/Competent in….                             

Familiar with….

Recipient of…..                                                           Instituted….

Possess strong analytical and assessment skills


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