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Writing Resumes and Cover Letters




Employers will scan a resume for about 30 seconds to decide if whether to consider the applicant. Some may use an automated scan instead to short list resumes (see Electronic Résumés). Get your resume in the ‘for consideration’ pile.

A resume is a "snapshot" of you and needs to be:

  • Written with the employer’s interests in mind
  • Professional in appearance
  • Targeted for a particular job or organization
  • "Letter-perfect." Spelling and grammar mistakes can mean an automatic trip to the reject pile
  • An honest and clear demonstration of your skills, abilities and achievements
  • A clear indication of what you offer to the employer

Cover Letter


The covering letter shows the employer why they should consider your resume. It is the first impression you make on the employer and shows how well you communicate in writing.
  • A cover letter should be typed unless the employer specifically requests a handwritten letter.
  • It should never be more than one page long.
  • Break the text into short paragraphs—that makes it easier to read.
  • The cover letter provides the opportunity to highlight how your skills and qualifications will benefit the employer.
  • It provides an individual touch
  • Never send a resume by regular mail without a covering letter.