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Tips for Getting a Job When You Graduate
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Part 2: Creating an Impactful Résumé & Cover Letter
So you're getting ready to start applying for jobs you've found. Whether you already have a résumé drafted, or are writing your very
first one, these tips will help you craft a cover letter and résumé that can help get your foot in the door. Continuing our series,
here are some tips about the content of your résumé and cover letter and applying for a job.
Creating a Résumé & Cover Letter:
Be smart when filling out your résumé.
As you're listing your job history, don't just recite what you did at the job, explain what you accomplished or
solved. If you don't have a lot of employment history, don't make up false experience, rather, fill in the gaps by
including relevant skills you've gained in college. This could include volunteer work, internships or other
non-work-related activities, such as professional organizations or clubs.
Show you're qualified.
With larger companies, a hiring manager might receive hundreds of résumés for one job opening. These companies often
use résumé-scanning programs as a first step to eliminate candidates who aren't a right fit for the job. Get to the
next step by using keywords from the job description to describe your strengths and talents, instead of just
generic descriptors, like hard-working or punctual. It's important to remain authentic and truthful, but word choice
can make a difference.
Write a cover letter.
Even if you're emailing a résumé or filling out an online application, a cover letter is important because it lets
the recipient know what you're applying for and why. It's also a great way to introduce yourself to the hiring manager
by highlighting some of your key qualifications and personality traits. Customize each cover letter with the name of
the contact you'll be sending it to, as well as include the name of the job you're applying for.
Proofread and pay attention to the details.
Proofread your résumé and cover letter at least three times. Have someone else read it, too. That way, you can make sure
there are no spelling or grammar errors. Often, even the tiniest error can create a bad impression to the hiring manager,
especially if you write 'detail-oriented' as a strength of yours. Also, if you're sending out multiple résumés in a short
time period, be sure to check that you've listed the correct company name and contact in your salutation.
Applying for the Job:
Use a professional email address.
First impressions are important. Make a solid first impression by using a professional email address. Set up an email account
using just your first and last name. That way, when you submit your résumé and correspond with the hiring manager at the
company, you'll represent yourself well.
Read the application instructions carefully.
Always follow the instructions that the company provides. The job description may state 'Please apply by visiting x site. Please
do not send a résumé.' But many job seekers are guilty of overlooking these details and will end up doing the opposite of what
has been described and send a résumé. Employers can't help but disqualify these candidates because it shows a lack of
attention to detail and the failure to follow directions.
Utilize these tips, and your résumé may land you an interview. In the next issue, we'll do an interview tips article, so you'll be fully prepared if you're called to come in for an interview.
Read more of our tips and suggestions & come work for us »
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