Creating a resume and cover letter is an important and necessary step in making any kind of a career change, even if the move is within your organization. If you do not make a good first impression with your resume, you will not get a second chance.
There is an infinite number of resume books on the market and most of them are very helpful. The important thing to remember is that, although there are no 'sure things' that will get your resume to stand out, there are characteristics that will ensure that you are putting your best foot forward while applying for a job.
- Customize each resume for the position that you are applying for. Highlight the skills that most closely match the requirements of the job that you are applying for by listing them first.
- Use active language by leading with powerful verbs that will give your resume more impact.
- Use dates to demonstrate specific levels of experience. Omitting dates will give the appearance that you are trying to hide something.
- Be concise and limit your resume to two pages. Remember that your audience has a short attention span.
- Proofread every resume that you send. Mistakes will guarantee that your resume will make it to the circular file (read: garbage can).
- Always include a cover letter.
The cover letter, like the resume, should be customized for each position that you apply for. When composing your cover letter, keep the following points in mind.
- The first paragraph should state the position that you are applying for.
- The next paragraph should highlight the skills that you have acquired through your education and work experience. Identify skills that directly relate to the position that you are applying for, while ensuring that any skills referred to are supported in your resume.
- The third paragraph should state some positive things about the company and why you would like to work there. Show that you have done some research and have some knowledge about the company and what they do.
- In closing, state some form of expected action. Finish the letter explaining that you will follow up with a phone call, or that you look forward to hearing from them.