How to Write a Good Resume and Cover Letter: The Ultimate Guide
If you’re looking for a job, it’s important to write a great resume and cover letter. Many people don’t know how to write a decent resume, and as a result, they don’t get the jobs they want. In this guide, we will teach you to write a resume that will help you stand out from the competition. We’ll also show you how to write a cover letter that will make hiring managers want to interview you!
Getting The Attention of Hiring Managers
Most job seekers make the mistake of sending their resume and cover letter to a generic email address, like email@example.com, and never following up with the desired job. This is a big mistake, because it’s very difficult to stand out in a pile of resumes and names if your application doesn’t get noticed. The easiest way to get the attention of a hiring manager is to send your resume and cover letter directly to them.
If you are responding to a job ad or job posting, you need a professional resume that will grab the attention of the hiring manager and showcase that you fit the needs of the job description. Your resume is your first opportunity to make a good impression and you want to be sure that it is a strong one! Here are some tips on how to write a good resume:
Use Simple & Professional Language
Your resume objective should be straight to the point and use simple, professional language. You want to sound like you are confident in your skills relevant to the job title and appear ready to take on the new role immediately. To do this, make sure that relevant skills and experience are easy to find and that your resume is typo-free.
Include Personal Details
Before your resume summary statement, your resume header should contain contact information and personal details about you so that hiring managers can input it easily and quickly into their applicant tracking systems. Make sure this information is up-to-date so if they call or email you to schedule a job interview you are ready to go.
Write a Clear Resume Objective
Your resume objective statement, or resume summary statement, should be tailored to the job description to showcase why you are the best candidate for the role. It should be no longer than a sentence or two and highlight your skills and experience. A resume summary should also include a brief description of your career goals.
Your resume summary should mention key skills that are relevant to the job you are applying for. If you have little or no experience in the field, focus on your transferable skills instead.
Here are 5 quick tips for writing a good resume summary:
- Use keywords from the job description in your resume summary
- Highlight your skills and experience that are relevant to the job
- Mention your career goals in your resume summary
- Talk about how your soft skills or hard skills would be beneficial
- Keep it short and sweet – no longer than a sentence or two
Use Keywords from the Job Description
When writing your resume, be sure to use keywords from the job listing so that your resume is easily found by employers who are searching for candidates to fit a job title with specific skills. You can also use keywords in your cover letter to demonstrate why you are a good fit.
Use a Professional Format or Resume Template
Your objective or career summary should be at the top of your resume regardless of the format you choose but the rest of the resume format is important. A professional format, or resume template, and good resume summary are key. Your resume should be clear and easy to read, with no more than two pages if possible. The font should be professional and the layout should contain a resume objective, skills section, work history with relative or professional experience, and relevant coursework or a resume education section.
There are different choices you can make for a the right resume format depending on your hard and soft skills and what you want to emphasize.
If you have a lot of professional experience, a chronological resume format is likely your best bet. This will allow you to demonstrate how you’ve progressed in your career over time and show off promotions or increased responsibilities at each job.
If you have gaps in your work history or are changing careers, a functional resume format may be a better choice. This emphasizes your skills and experience rather than the chronology of your past jobs.
A combination resume format is just what it sounds like—a mix of the chronological and functional formats. This can also be a great choice if you have some gaps in your work history or are changing careers because it allows you to highlight both your skills and your job experience.
No matter which resume format you choose, make sure to tailor it to each specific job application. Highlight the relevant skills and experiences that match the job description of the position. If you use a bullet point list, make sure each bullet point directly addresses a requirement for the job.
Your resume should be easy to read and free of errors. Use clear, concise language and avoid typos at all costs. If you’re not confident in your proofreading skills, ask someone else to look over your resume for you.
Use Action Words To Describe Your Accomplishments & Experience
Don’t just list job responsibilities you had which are obvious from your job title, but also include specific accomplishments that demonstrate your skills and abilities. For example, if you are a nurse, list how many patients you have cared for in a shift or the time it took you to implement a new process into your work routine. Job seekers who have difficulty writing about their accomplishments can look at their performance reviews or ask a former boss, supervisor, or co-worker for help.
If you’re using chronological and functional formats for your resume format, make sure to list your past jobs in reverse chronological order. Start with the most recent job and work your way back.
Highlight Most Relevant Skills & Professional Experience
Make sure to list relevant skills and experience on your resume. This will show the employer that you are qualified for the position. If you have relevant volunteer experience, make sure to include that as well. When resume writing, do not include previous jobs that are from before your career progression. For example, if you worked at Pizza Hut in college but have been a nurse at a hospital since graduating, your job history only needs to include your recent job of nursing. Write in past tense when talking about your job history in the past, and present tense when describing the work you are currently doing. If you have relevant volunteer work, make sure to include that as well.
Some skills and experience should be included, such as:
Your education section should contain academic achievements and any relevant coursework which could help you land your dream job. If you are a recent graduate, your GPA should be listed on your resume as well, but if you have been in the workforce for awhile you can leave your GPA off of your resume.
Your skills section should contain both soft skills and hard skills. Soft skills are interpersonal skills that are not necessarily related to your job, such as being able to work well in a team or being able to communicate effectively. Hard skills, on the other hand, are specific skills that you have learned from previous jobs or coursework which would make you a good fit for the job you’re applying for.
You can use bullet points to list your skills, and each bullet point should describe a skill that you have.
Tailor Your Resume To The Job Description
Job seekers should take the time to write a resume that is tailored to each job opening they are interested in. This means highlighting skills and experience that are relevant to the position, and downplaying information that doesn’t pertain to the role.
Include A Cover Letter
When you’re writing your cover letter, it’s important to remember that you’re not just summarizing your resume—you’re selling yourself as a candidate. The goal of your cover letter is to demonstrate to hiring managers why you’re the the best out of their pool of job seekers.
A well written cover letter will increase your chances of getting an interview. The cover letter is an opportunity to introduce yourself and explain why you are the perfect candidate for the job. Here are 6 tips on writing good cover letters:
- Be clear and concise
- Write in a professional tone
- Avoid using “I”
- Proofread your letter
- Highlight why you are the perfect candidate for the job
- Include keywords from the job listing in your resume and cover letter.
Proofread Your Resume!
Once you have picked one of the standard resume formats and finished the resume writing process, give it a final proofread before sending it off to potential employers. Misspelled words or incorrect grammar can be a major turnoff and may cost you the job opportunity even if you are otherwise qualified.
The perfect resume will not only have the right resume format but it will also be free of errors. Use a spellchecker and have someone like friends or relatives review your resume for mistakes before responding to a job ad.
Do I Need a Professional Resume?
You may have the experience and skills required for the job, but if your resume is not up to par, you will not get the job. A professional resume writer can help you create a resume that will get you noticed by employers. If you are applying for jobs that require a specific set of skills or qualifications, it is essential to have a professionally written resume.
Should I Use Resume Writing Software?
If you are not comfortable writing your resume, there are many software programs that can help you. Microsoft Word and Google Docs both have resume builder templates which are easy for most job seekers to use. Many mid level job seekers choose to use these resume builders because they are simple and easy to follow.
5 Tips For Job Seekers To Land The Job
Resume writing is only half the battle, in addition to writing the perfect resume you can also follow these 5 tips to stand out:
- Research the company in the job ad and find out what they do
- Tailor your resume to fit the company’s needs
- Prepare answers to common interview questions
- Practice interviewing with a friend or family member
- Dress for success and be on time for the interview
I Still Need Help Resume Writing – Help Me!
There are many benefits of using a resume writer. First, a professional resume writer knows how to write a resume objective and professional summary that will get you noticed. They know what employers and hiring managers are looking for and what keywords to use to ensure your resume is found when employers search for candidates with your skill set.
We tailor each resume to the specific job title you are applying for and make you stand out among most job seekers who are using do-it-yourself resume builder programs. If you need help with resume writing for your job search, contact us today and we’ll help you to find your new job!