College Success: "Chapter 12, Section 12.7: Resumes and Cover Letters"

Read this section to get a good picture of the purpose of a résumé and cover letter and to learn how to write them. Make sure to complete the checkpoint exercises except for item 3. You will create your own résumé and cover letter in subunit 13.7. For now, keep in mind that it is a great idea to have a draft of a résumé and a cover letter that you can easily update as needed for job applications; but also remember that you should plan to make significant alterations to your drafts for each job application, in order to tailor both your résumé and your cover letter to a company's specific needs.

Consider what your own purposes for your résumé will be as you consider your personal skills and job interests. Brainstorm how you will organize the three résumé elements - the header, the objective, and the résumé body components - in your own résumé. Think about how you can state your best accomplishments using action verbs.

It is usually better to keep formatting of a résumé as simple as possible. In today's electronic age, many résumés are read by machines before they are read by human eyes - so fancy formatting could compromise your résumé or even eliminate you from consideration before a person ever reads your résumé!

Be sure to understand the purpose of the cover letter, as well as the important elements that should always be included in the letter. Keep in mind that a cover letter should be adapted to the specific job being applied for and geared toward the specific company being applied to. This knowledge will help you avoid producing a general cover letter that might go unnoticed.