The Purpose of the Résumé
As mentioned previously, your reason for doing a résumé is to become a candidate for a potential position. It should present pertinent facts about your education, skills, qualifications, involvement in activities and other related information. It should reflect the thought that you have given to your future and highlight those facts that enhance your candidacy for a particular position. Remember that your résumé and cover letter are tools to help you move to the next step; the interview. You should review the information that you provided to a particular company before you go to the interview.
Research and Analyze
We have mentioned on several occasions the need to do your own self-assessment and inventory of what you have to offer. Do some soul searching and capture how your knowledge, skills, abilities and values relate to the qualifications required for the position you seek. Write this information down on paper before you begin to prepare your résumé and cover letter. Research employers and develop "accomplishment statements" that match the job specifications that the employer wants. Consider the skills that are your strengths, how you have used them and relate these experiences to the position. You have probably solved countless problems and resolved conflicts. If this trait is what an employer needs, take the time to briefly state that this trait was used in your residence assistant position.
Getting it Organized
First, you need to start with the framework of your résumé. It should begin with a heading that includes your name, address and telephone number of your temporary and permanent domicile. You should include an e-mail address if you will answer communications using this tool.
Next, you should include an objective that is clear, focused and positive. However, it is important that it be open-ended enough so that you are not excluded from positions that are possible considerations. This requires some thought so you may want to consult the career office or your Board of Advisors to get some assistance.
The education heading should be next and indicate your present school, Franciscan University of Steubenville, and any other higher education institutions that you attended. Provide information on your degree including major, minor or concentrations, date of graduation, your cumulative GPA and any other pertinent information such as your semester study in Gaming, Austria.
The next section is your experience. Your work experience should be a chronological listing of full and part time positions that you have had since you started your higher education with a brief description of the major duties and accomplishments. Showcase your accomplishments where possible. Related experience is a description of specific experiences that complement your academic program such as an internship, a clinical experience or student teaching.
The activities section can be an effective way to enhance your profile through a listing of a representative cross section of organizations or activities that you have been involved during your college years. Volunteer work and leadership activities are examples of items that you may list in this category.
Some individuals will have other characteristics that may not fit into any of the above categories. The other category should be used to provide information on particular areas such as computer skills, language fluency, exceptional talents, licenses, certificates, etc.
The last section on the résumé is the reference area. If you have room on your résumé, you may indicate that your references are available upon request. If you are forwarding references or have referred to them in your cover letter, it is not necessary to have this section on your résumé. Generally, these categories are the items included in most résumés of a recent college graduate.
If you returned to your position as the staffing manager, it is quite possible that you would be using a scanner to search for candidates that might be a good match for the position in question. You would be looking for keywords that represent the characteristics that are related to the position. Therefore, as a student, you should be trying to pack your résumé with the "buzzwords" that are key words or terms for an entry level position associated with your search. A resource listing of such words is available. A scanner more easily reads white or off-white paper and has difficulty with a folded piece of paper.
Cover Letter Preparation
The Purpose of the Cover Letter
A cover letter should accompany your résumé and is usually your introduction to a prospective employer. It is your opportunity to express your interest in a particular position and to let your prospective employer hear your voice. How and what you write tells potential employers a great deal about your professionalism, competence and personality. You should demonstrate that you have done your homework about the employer and that there are good and sufficient reasons to believe that you can be an asset to the organization by briefly describing how your qualifications match the requirements for the position. It should reflect your personality, attention to detail, your enthusiasm, intellect and communication skills. You may want to direct the employer's attention to something specific in your résumé concerning your background and their needs. The cover letter should be the stimulus for an employer to read your attached résumé and invite you to be interviewed. If you neglect the importance of a good cover letter, you neglect one of the most important elements of a successful job search.
The address should be to a specific individual at an employer. In most cases, it is possible to find the name of the appropriate individual with a little research. The specific person to whom the letter should be addressed is the person who has the direct responsibility for hiring for the position you are seeking. If you are unable to find a name, you should send the letter and résumé to the Personnel or Human Resources Director.
The opening paragraph (the introduction) states your reason for writing. It should state the position that you desire and how you found out that it was available. If it was based on a recommendation of another individual, you may want to indicate that and provide the name of the individual if he/she is connected with the organization.
The body (marketing pitch) of the letter should explain what you can offer to the organization and why you believe that you will be an effective employee. It should demonstrate that you have done your homework and know about the organization and the qualifications for the position. You should reinforce your résumé without being redundant and take the opportunity to highlight some important item or project that is not in your resume.
The closing paragraph (follow-up) is your opportunity to let the organization know when you may be available for an interview. You also should take the initiative to indicate that you plan to follow up with the next few weeks to determine what the next steps will be for you to be interviewed. Thank the individual for any considerations.