Writing Effective Resumes and Cover Letters. Center for Career and Professional Development Wheelock College ACW

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1 Writing Effective Resumes and Cover Letters Center for Career and Professional Development Wheelock College ACW

2 Purpose of a Resume Professional in your Field Marketing tool Highlights Skills Experience/Background Accomplishments Opportunity for first professional impression Successful resume job interview Job interview hiring Employer First step to determine if you are a good fit with the organization Resumes reviewed quickly Lead to job interview hiring

3 Types of Resumes Chronological = lists information beginning with most recent employment experience Benefits: Logical sequence, easiest for employer to read Disadvantage: Shows gaps in employment Functional = information arranged according to skill areas Benefits: Accomplishments highlighted Disadvantage: Employers would not easily be able to match up particular experiences with skill sets Combination = combines chronological + functional Benefits: Highlights jobs, skills, and other experiences related to career path Disadvantage: May take additional preparation time

4 Resume Headings Name + Contact Information Current street address + phone number Permanent address + phone number address Professional address Check on a consistent basis Career Objective (optional): Include only if specific (i.e., setting, type of population, etc.) Example: Social Work Challenging position in the field of clinical social work serving at risk youth individually and in groups through Adventure Based Therapy Education/Licensure OR Education/Certification: Degree Titles - most recent first with graduation dates Example: Social Work Bachelor of Social Work Include GPA: 3.0 or above/4.0 Massachusetts LSW: Anticipated 6/2010

5 Resume Headings Experience (Examples: Education, Social & Human Services, Child Life, etc.) Use reverse chronological order to illustrate increased level or diverse responsibilities Professional Experience OR Other Experience Emphasize information related to position Volunteer Experience Examples: Rosie s Place, Habitat for Humanity Additional Certification CPR First Aid Leadership Wheelock or other organizations where leadership role was taken Activities Membership(s): Wheelock or other organizations Professional Affiliations/Development (relevant to your field) Examples: Member, National Association of Social Workers Member, Massachusetts Teachers Association Skills Computer Language(s)

6 Action Statements What are Action Statements? *Project = task Action = specific action you took to complete the project/task Result = impact of your actions on project/task Quantify results when possible Highlight positive action + results: Accomplishments Experience related to your discipline Professional Experience Volunteer Experience * MIT Careers Office

7 Action Statements Example I: Education Before Worked with students in a classroom setting and helped to plan curriculum. Assisted with other classroom activities. Met with team members and discussed children s progress. After Instructed a class of 21 third grade students from a variety of backgrounds in an urban environment. Planned and implemented curriculum to meet student needs in a diverse, inclusive classroom setting. Collaborated with a team of 5 professional staff members, including a Speech and Occupational Therapist, and participated in I.E.P. meetings.

8 Action Statements Example II: Social Work Before: Responsible for group treatment sessions in a substance abuse program. Had several meetings and took notes. Talked about future prevention with co-workers. After: Counseled, evaluated, and provided diagnoses in an outpatient substance abuse program. Facilitated 10 group treatment sessions and executed psychosocial assessments involving 30 patients. Developed materials and presented a training session on relapse prevention to 20 colleagues.

9 Exercise Write Action Statements for your discipline Project Action/Task Result Use Active verbs to begin Statements Examples: managed, administered, collaborated, conducted, designed, developed, implemented, reviewed, insured, tested, trained Avoid Responsible for Include quantifiable results when possible

10 Resume DO s Use conservative typestyles Include only most relevant information for potential employer Maximum = 2 pages Employ active verbs within statements Quantify experience when possible Overall appearance must be aesthetically pleasing not crowded Ensure that resume is easily readable appropriate white space Keep bold, italics, capitalization to a minimum and consistent throughout Use spell check + proofread = friends, colleagues, Career and Professional Development, Advisor Use high quality bond paper, laser printer

11 Resume DON Ts Use I Include personal information (age, marital status) Include religious or political affiliation Use negative words Be too wordy Use bold, capitalization, or italics too frequently Lose emphasis on most relevant points NEVER send your resume to employer without review by other objective eyes

12 References Individuals who can provide positive information about you through: Experience relevant to your major (including experience in a practicum/internship), Other or Related Experience, Volunteer Experience, etc., or through an Academic setting. (i.e., Advisor, Faculty member) Always contact reference for permission prior to interview Ask if he/she can give you a positive reference Bring copies of your reference sheet to interview Set-up Use same heading as your resume References Name Title Organization Address Phone Number

13 Cover Letter Purpose Present resume (marketing tool) to employers Used in conjunction with sending resume to apply for a position ALWAYS send cover letter with resume Pique employers interest to review resume Emphasize qualifications for position Opportunity to highlight skills, educational background, and experience that all meet employer s needs May include additional information that may not be found in your resume Example: Objective

14 Cover Letter Set up Greetings section Always address letter to specific individual First paragraph Indicate specific position applying for How position located Example: referral, newspaper, employer website Second paragraph Summarize qualifications Match employer needs (job description) with your skills/experience State additional skills/experience (if applicable) that may not be included in resume which matches position

15 Cover Letter Set up Third paragraph Closing statement Action you will take next Example: contact in X days to confirm resume received Thank employer

16 Final Tips Letter should be error free Proofread by objective eyes Use same high quality bond paper as resume Length = no longer than 1 page Be concise

17 Web Resources U.S. Department of Labor Statistics: Occupational Outlook Handbook (describes a variety of occupations in terms of future employment outlook, earnings, working conditions, etc.) Federal Jobs Database Job Search Engines Wheelock Works: Nonprofit sector: Job Opportunities: Education (includes conferences, workshops, future teacher section, and job search function) Job Opportunities: Social Work

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