Does anyone even know what a resume, cover letter or curriculum vitae are? These fancy words are your passport and visa into the professional world. Without these, your access will be denied and you will be deported back to McDonald’s so fast your head will spin.
The following information will decode these words and give you a few tricks up your sleeve as you apply for jobs and internships this summer.
Simply put, a resume is a one-page document to sum up your qualifications for a specific job. It summarizes the most important information that an employer needs to know such as relevant qualifications, training, previous experience and education.
A typical resume will include:
- Contact information: name, address, phone number(s) and email
- Education: highest level of education completed or in progress
- Work History: present or past employment including dates, company, job title and description, as well as any relevant skills and accomplishments
Your resume should always be tailored to fit the job you are applying for. Do not include every job you’ve had since birth: just the ones that are relevant to this particular position. Also, don’t include an objective statement. They are more often than not just generic crap that doesn’t mean anything and takes up valuable real estate on your page.
While your resume is a condensed and precise list of your skills and experience, a cover letter is basically you on a page. Your resume gives your background while your cover letter digs deeper into that and uses more persuasive language.
A cover letter is a single-page letter written directly to the hiring manager and typically accompanies each resume you send out. Cover letters are a good way for employers to screen applicants, so give it your best shot.
A well-written letter should not only introduce you but highlight your strengths. It should answer the question, “Why are you the best person for this particular job?”
The letter should provide detailed information on why you are qualified. Do not simply repeat the same information that is on your resume. You want to include specifics about why you are a strong applicant. Think of your cover letter as a sales pitch that will market your credentials, show your personality and convince the hiring manager to give you an interview.
The purpose of a resume and cover letter is not to land a job. Their sole purpose is to land an interview.
Curriculum Vitae is Latin for “course of life,” but to the working world, it is a detailed account of your professional and academic history. CV’s, like resumes, typically include work experience as well as any academic achievements or awards.
But a CV also includes scholarships or grants you have earned as well as coursework, research projects, and publications of your work–and it’s not necessarily limited to stuff within the same field that you are applying to.
CV’s are most often asked for when applying for jobs in academia or outside of the United States.
A CV and a resume are similar in that they are both summarizing your education, work history, skills and achievements. But in a resume, you only include work experience that relates to the position you are applying for while a CV encompasses large projects and achievements across many fields.
Whether we like it or not, social media has become an integral part of our lives, and that includes our search for a job. LinkedIn is a special form of social media geared directly towards connecting employers with potential new hires.
Having a LinkedIn profile is a very good addition to your job seeking toolbox and may even help you find an opportunity you didn’t even look for.
When creating your profile, it’s important to remember that less is not exactly best. Unlike a resume, you have a lot of space to work with online, so use it!
Whatever you may put on your profile, remember to not leave the summary statement blank. Think of it as a miniature cover letter and take the opportunity to display your personality and the things you are passionate about. Be creative and have a little fun with it.
As for your profile picture, go for professional and current. Leave those summer beach pictures on Instagram and get a clear headshot with a plain background. If you don’t have one on hand check with SUU’s career center, they might be able to help you get one for free.
For the work and education section, take the opportunity to include things that don’t fit on the resume you’re sending out. Include some of the classes and coursework from your CV and any marketable skills you have. You don’t have to cater your profile specifically to the job you want, you have the space to include interests and skills you have outside of your chosen career field.
Find connections; LinkedIn included in the social media family for a reason. Connect with classmates and professors, as well as people already working in your desired field. Making these connections will make it much easier to get recommendations and endorsements.
One of the cool parts about LinkedIn is the ability to record your skills and have others endorse you for those skills. When asking for an endorsement, don’t just rely on luck. Reach out to past coworkers or classmates who would know about your competency and sincerely ask them. Write them a letter or meet up in person to do this, you want them to say nice things about you so don’t just expect them to remember you. It’s just like asking for a formal letter of recommendation, you want to make a good impression.
A Few Final Tips to Remember:
- Always include keywords. These are words and phrases taken directly from the job description. Take these words and use them to show why you are the best fit for the job.
- Quantify everything! Always use the most exact numbers. If you are saying that you managed a team as part of a previous job, be specific. Say you managed a team of five people who completed ‘X’ amount of daily tasks.
- Be brief. You always want to condense as much as possible. Eliminate any redundancies or unnecessary details.
- Tailor every document to the desired position and company.
A clear and precise presentation is the best way to break your way into a professional work setting. When it comes down to hiring you or another applicant, following these few simple tips will give you the edge you need to get the job.
Story by: Alexis J. Taylor
Photo by: Alexis J. Taylor