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Articles About Resumes & Cover Letters


Test Your Cover Letter Acumen

How much do you know about writing cover letters? Are you a semi-pro who just needs a little fine-tuning and a constructive suggestion or two? Are you a self-effacing neophyte who doesn't know where to begin? Or are you a job search commando who assumes his knowledge of the subject will guarantee him an easy win in cover letter combat? To find out if your self perception is on target, spend a few minutes on this cover letter quiz, which contains some common cover letter facts and myths.


Why Are Cover Letters So Hard to Write?

Cover letters. Along with resumes, they represent probably the most dreaded part of the job search. Even cold calling and committee interviews rarely produce the avoidance behavior these written "sound bites" do. Why are cover letters so hard to write?


Writing a Scanner-Friendly Resume

When a company like EDS has 200,000 resumes in its system, it has to use a sophisticated automated tracking system to match people to new available positions. To keep the number of resumes at a reasonable level, EDS has to purge all but the most qualified technical candidates once per year and the non-technical ones every six months. Here are some tips on writing scannable resumes to make sure your resume stays out of a potential employer's trash bin.


Resumes on the Internet

"Now that I find myself in the job market, it only makes sense to use the internet to research potential employers and reply to job listings. Having had problems opening people's email attachments, I know there are things I must do to put my resume into a legible format that both computers and recruiters will enjoy reading. But what are they?"


How to Write a Great Cover Letter

"Give me a choice between writing a cover letter and swimming with sharks, and I'll head for the beach! Can you offer an easy-to-follow approach for writing cover letters that captures a recruiter's attention and increases my chances of landing an interview?"


When Your Resume Falls Into The Big Black Hole

You've sent your resume in response to an ad which matches your qualifications perfectly. Because the job listing requested you to mail your resume to a post office box, you don't know the name of the company or the person soliciting candidates. There's no way you can follow up to make sure the recruiter received your information. A week, then two go by and you haven't heard a word. You grow increasingly frustrated and angry with the company's incompetence and rudeness in ignoring a person who's obviously perfect for the position.


The Cover Letter Dilemma: To Write or Not to Write

Given the range of recruiter opinions, do you really need a cover letter with your resume? If you do, what should it say?


Resumes and Cover Letters

Job seekers often complain that their resumes disappear into the "Great Circular File in the Sky" never to be acknowledged, not even by a form letter. "After all," they say, "it's only common courtesy for companies to let you know they've received your resume, even if they decide you're not a viable candidate for their opening." While they certainly have a valid point, job seekers may not know the realities of a recruiting system, which often values expediency over good manners. Here are some facts to ponder.


Minimizing Dates on Resumes

"Last week I was told for the third time in the last five years that my company is being acquired. While I haven't been let go yet, I know it's only a matter of time until my department is eliminated or moved to another state. Consequently, I'm revamping my resume once more. Is there any way I can minimize my changing jobs three times in the last five years and de-emphasize the recent gaps in my employment?"


Cover Letters that Stand Out from the College Crowd

If you are a college student looking for an internship or your first job, you'll want to stand out from other entry-level job seekers. Even with minimal experience, it's possible to impress a recruiter, if you research her company, tailor your resume and cover letter to her requirements and interview and follow up effectively.


Chronological Resumes With a Functional Twist

"Given that most of my experience has been in one area, how do I put together a resume that will emphasize my accomplishments in other things. What is the best way to represent my experience in my resume without writing a functional resume?"


The Advantages of a Functional Resume

"I've decided to change jobs after eight years with the same company. While there, I've held three different positions. The first two were enjoyable; the third one is not. Neither the work, nor my coworkers are a good fit. Sitting here, trying to write my resume, I realize that by following the typical format of putting my last job first, I'll be emphasizing skills and experience I prefer not to use. Are there other ways to put together a resume aside from chronologically?"


Why There is No Such Thing as a Single Perfect Resume

The perfect resume. Job hunters pursue it as avidly as Ponce de Leon sought the Fountain of Youth. A single resume format that works in every situation, however, is as elusive to find as the youthful elixir. Companies rightfully expect to receive information that's tailored specifically to their hiring needs.


Cover Letter Basics

In 20 years of working with job seekers, I've discovered that writing cover letters typically produces more avoidance behavior than either cold calling or committee interviews.  The question is why.  After all, we're talking about a one-page piece of correspondence here, not a doctoral dissertation or a key client proposal.


Cover Letters-True False

Ask ten different experts about cover letters and they will give you to different answers. Iím so confused I have no idea what works and what doesnít.  Here are four statements that produce a variety of opinions:


Test Your Cover Letter Acumen Part 2

Cover letters continue to be a mystery to many job seekers. We addressed some of their questions last week. Here are several more commonly asked by my readers and client


How to Write a Great Cover Letter

Can you offer an easy-to-follow approach for writing cover letters that captures a recruiter's attention and increases my chances of landing an interview?


Reference Protocol

I have a good working relationship with my manager and peers, and I've consistently had excellent performance appraisals.  However, I don't want to tip off my boss that I'm looking before I have an offer in hand.  Who, then, should I approach for references?


Resume Tips for Job Seekers

Here are some important guidelines that will land your resume in the interview pile.


How to Use Different Resume Formats

Is there an established format for writing a resume? I have visited at least a dozen employment consulting services during my career and each has come up with a different approach. Is one better than another?


When References Are Worrisome

Most people can think of at least one person with whom they have a massive personality conflict.  Unfortunately, that individual is often their boss, college department head, biggest client or volunteer coordinator; in other words, the person they will most likely have to ask for a reference. 

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