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Writing Resumes & Cover Letters

Today’s job market remains tight. An employer typically has a wealth of qualified candidates from whom to choose. You will be seriously considered for an employment position only by showing a prospective employer that you know who you are, where you are going, and what you have to offer. You must convince an employer that you can do the job, can do it well, and are highly motivated to do it. The best way to do this is to properly prepare. Treat the job search as a job, because that is exactly what it is.

Your resume is a marketing tool which should act as a door opener, encouraging an employer to examine your credentials as a precursor to inviting you for an interview. All too often it may act as a door closer, ending up in the “circular file” because it lacked what was needed to make it — meaning you — stand out.

Style and content are of utmost importance in writing your resume. Since your resume is your marketing vehicle, it must be capable of grabbing an employer’s attention; style does this. Once the employer has begun to read, your content must persuade him or her that you are worthy of consideration. If you have described your past jobs purely in terms of duties and responsibilities that characterized the work, you should think about reframing those experiences to match the scenario of the career you are seeking.

It is important to tailor your qualifications to the job for which you are applying. To do this, review your career assessment worksheets and the job description information you have available. You accomplish your goal of being granted an interview by writing a winning resume and cover letter. Time is money here. Remember, your job search is your job. It may be cost effective to hire a professional resume writer to write your resume or assist you in polishing your existing one. Services such as A and A Resume provide inexpensive, professional resume and cover letter writing; A and A ResumeA and A Resume will even critique your existing resume for free.

Your job search should not begin until your resume is fully written. As mentioned above, it may become necessary to tailor your resume to specific jobs. This task can often be accomplished in your resume cover letter. Your cover letter is extremely important. It is here that you get the opportunity to personally introduce yourself and address topics pertaining to a specific job and employer or those not appropriate for inclusion in your resume.

Writing an effective resume and cover letter will help you achieve your desired career objective, ultimately leading to a rewarding career and greater job satisfaction.

Authored by Kenneth L. Anderson.  Original article published 25 July 2003, updated 20 December 2005.

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