Tips for writing a winning resume and cover letter
Whilst it may only be a couple of pages, your resume is your first impression.
The quality of it can be the difference between getting an interview or not. Your resume showcases your previous work history and therefore potential suitability for the role you are applying for.
The role of a cover letter is to ensure that your resume gets read. A strong cover letter paired with a well-written resume can mean you stand out from the crowd of tens or even hundreds of resumes that may appear to be similar to yours in terms of skills and experience.
7 tips to make your resume stand out
- Know what you should and should not include. Make sure your contact details are clear on your resume. They should include: email address, phone number, and at least the city and state you live in. You do not have to include your date of birth, marital status, religion or nationality.
- Showcase your qualifications. Many roles require particular qualifications. If they do, bullet point these after your contact details; showing you meet the job requirements in terms of qualifications ticks the first box and will encourage the hiring manager to read on.
- Quality not quantity. You may have only had one job previously or you may have had ten. Regardless, list them in reverse chronological order, but only go into detail about the most recent and relevant positions. Bullet-point your key responsibilities within the organisations, making sure you mention any that are key to the role you are applying for.
- Time to shine. Mention your achievements! If you accomplished something in your previous role you are particularly proud of or received praise for, mention it!
- Keep it simple. Your resume should be easy to read. Keep the font and layout simple and clear. There are many resume templates available and it can be tempting to choose one that stands out, but you want it to stand out for the right reasons. A creative resume is generally only suitable for a creative role.
- Use a resume template. If you are unsure of how to structure your resume, you may want to consider using a resume template. This will ensure your resume is easy to read and you’re not missing out any key information. Here, we’ve created a resume template for you.
- Proof your resume. Before you hit send, make sure you check your spelling ask someone else to read over your resume to check it reads well and makes sense.
How to write a cover letter that gets noticed
Always address the cover letter to the contact person in the job advert (if it’s stated, if not ‘hiring manager’ is fine) and include your contact details. Tailor the cover letter to the role you are applying for, generic cover letters won’t be given a second look.
Try to open with a direct reason why you should be considered for this role.
Only include information relevant to the role you are applying for, previous work experience from 10 years ago that isn’t relevant isn’t necessary to include in detail.
In the next paragraph highlight the best of your resume and respond directly to the job description, matching your skills and experience with their requirements. Give specific examples of any relevant achievements you have had in your career or previous role, preferably ones that relate to the position you’re applying for.
Conclude with thank you for being considered for the role and a call to action, ‘I hope to hear from you in due course’, for example, and if you have any plans to follow up, you can let them know how you plan to do so.
Click here to download cover letter and resume templates, which will help you, showcase your skills and stand out from the crowd, giving you the best chance of making it to the interview stage!