How To Write A Powerful Resume & Cover Letter To Stand Out From The Crowd

2020 has been an eventful year so far. We are living through a pandemic and considering the unprecedented times, many people are either unemployed or have lost their jobs which is heartbreaking. Hopefully, things return to normal soon and when they do–people can return to work.

Aside from running my blog and writing stories, I also enjoy resume writing. I have written numerous resumes with cover letters for several family members and friends. I wanted to write a post about what I think many people should know: how to write a resume and make yourself stand out from the big pile of other applications an employer will be sorting through. This post was requested by followers on Twitter. I also believe it can be considered a necessary read when people are able to return to work and are searching for new jobs.

I will provide you with the necessary steps you need to write an outstanding resume.

Photo by Andrea Piacquadio on Pexels.com

How To Structure Your Resume: Beginning To End

  • OUTLINE. List your employment and education from the last 10 years. Write down the jobs you held with 2-3 sentences about what your job entailed and what your duties/responsibilities were.
  • STYLE. The standard format should be size 12 font and Times New Roman. However, if you want to be creative, you can choose a font that is similar to Times New Roman, still professional, and easy to read. The style of your resume is entirely your preference.
  • HEADLINE. At the top of your resume should be your headline. Your headline should include your full name, address, current phone number, if providing more than one number, identify if it is a cell/business phone, etc., current email, LinkedIn, or other important social links you want to provide.
  • EMAIL. Your email should also be professional. Refrain from emails that are too long. I would always recommend first initial, middle initial, last name, or however you see fit. However, if your email has a nickname with numbers after for instance, this is not necessarily appropriate.
  • LENGTH. A resume should be 1-2 pages max, However, I would recommend trying to contain everything in one page. If you have 2 pages consider having the resume printed double-sided.
  • PAST TENSE. Your resume should be written in past tense. When detailing a current position, you can use present tense.
  • USE ACTION VERBS. For example, supervised, managed, etc.
  • SHORT AND SWEET. You always have to remember that your resume should be read in 30 seconds or less. You have 30 seconds to sell yourself.
Photo by Peter Olexa on Pexels.com

What To Do If You Lack Job Experience:

Begin With Highlighting Your Education

If you have held few jobs, 5 or less for instance, you should consider beginning your resume by highlighting your education.

  • EDUCATION. When highlighting your education these are the areas you should cover: name of university or program, license or certificate acquired, your GPA, classes you took, clubs you participated in, or other essential information you believe will help you land the job.
  • NO WHITE SPACE. You do not want white space anywhere in your resume. Fill that space in with content.
  • Include a SKILLS & ACCOMPLISHMENTS section. This is where you can highlight any awards or certificates you have acquired as it pertains to the job. It provides more detail on who you are, what you enjoy, and your work ethic.
  • VOLUNTEER EXPERIENCE. This section of your resume allows the employer/company to see that aside from your daily activities you have also participated in other groups/organizations, etc. Therefore, you are depicting yourself as a well-rounded individual who is community oriented.
  • REFERENCES. If you want to go the extra mile, I recommend including your references already listed. It shows you are prepared and planning ahead.

How To Write A Cover Letter In 7 Simple Steps

Your cover letter is your chance to be personal, really highlight why you want the job, why you are the right candidate, and really leave a lasting impression on the employer reading your application, which could possibly lead to a phone call for an interview.

  • When you have the name of the person you will be interviewing with or the name of the company, you want to address the letter to them. It makes it more personal. Go this extra mile.
  • Format the letter properly with name/address of company, your address and information, along with the date.
  • You should highlight who you are and why you want the job in 2 paragraphs or less.
  • QUALITY OVER QUANTITY.
  • You should cover the following: note any background information you know abut the company or position being applied for, why you are qualified, how your past experience is relevant, and why you are the right candidate for the job.
  • Always ensure your information is up-to-date especially your email and phone number.
  • Ensure you SIGN the letter.
Photo by Oleg Magni on Pexels.com

I hope this post can help my followers with building a powerful resume and cover letter to land the job they want.

Last but not least, CONFIDENCE. You can always sell yourself on paper, but if you are called in for an interview, confidence is of the utmost importance. If you would like to see a follow-up post describing what you should do the day of the interview, feel free to connect with me on twitter to let me know!

As always, please feel free to comment below, email me: msdakotawrites@gmail.com, or tweet me: @msdakotawrites on twitter. I would be delighted to hear about your experiences with creating a resume!

Until next time,

Dakota 🙂

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