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Human Resource position
A cover letter serves as an introduction to your résumé and is often the first impression a potential employer will have of you. Employers frequently use cover letters as screening tools. Even when limiting your job search to online venues, create a cover letter and use the body of the letter as the primary content of your e-mail message. Whenever possible, tailor your cover letter by including information found when researching the company and position for which you are applying.
When writing a cover letter, convey a friendly yet professional tone using complete sentences and proper grammar. The goal of a cover letter is to communicate how your key skills, experience, and accomplishments can meet the employer’s needs. A basic cover letter contains three paragraphs. The first paragraph contains the purpose of the letter, the specific position for which you are applying, and how you learned of the position. If you have a contact within your target company, share the name of this individual and refer to how that individual informed you of the open position. In one sentence, summarize why you are interested and/or qualified for the position. Finally, share why you are interested in the organization, indicating any research you have conducted on the position and/or employer.
The second paragraph refers to the attached résumé and highlights the skills and qualifications you possess that the employer is requesting for the target job. Summarize how your key skills and qualifications match the employer’s needs. Communicate what you can offer the company, not what you want from the company. Do not duplicate what is already listed on your résumé; instead, emphasize your experience and key skills.
Although it is acceptable to use the words “I” and “my” in a cover letter, be cautious to not begin most of your sentences with the word “I.” Instead, focus the attention toward the employer by placing the company first and making its needs the priority. For example:
Instead of writing, “I am proficient in the most recent version of Word.”
Write, “Your company will benefit from my proficiency in the most recent version of Word.”
The purpose of the final paragraph is to request an interview (not the job). Do not state that you look forward to the employer contacting you; instead display initiative by stating that you will follow up on your request for an interview within a week. Include your phone number and e-mail contact information, even though it is already included in your information heading. Close courteously and include an enclosure notation for your résumé.
Do not address your cover letter to a department, the company name, or “to whom it may concern.” Address the cover letter to a specific person, ideally to the person who will be making the hiring decision. This is typically the individual who directly supervises the target position. Research or call the company to identify a specific name and title, including the appropriate spelling and gender. If you still cannot secure a specific name, use a subject line instead of a salutation. Instead of “To Whom It May Concern,” write “Subject: Account Clerk Position.” Use the proper business letter format for your cover letter presented in Chapter 9. Each word and paragraph in your cover letter must have a purpose. Your goal is to communicate how your knowledge, skills, abilities, and accomplishments fill a targeted company’s needs and make the reader want to review your résumé. The cover letter setup and sample cover letter in Figure 14.6 will assist you in creating a winning cover letter.
May 31, 2021
William Fuller, HR Manager
Raken Construction Company
Mobile, AL 36602
Dear Mr. Fuller:
As a highly skilled project manager with 4 years of experience, I am reaching out to express my
interest in the project manager position in your company. The job announcement was posted
online, but one of your employees, Misha Young notified me of the position. I have worked for
the past several years with an organization and gained a lot of knowledge. The experiences that I
have gained would coincide perfectly with your job announcement and it provides me room
grow. After researching your company, I see that your company has an excellent reputation and
a reputable company to work for and Mrs. Young feels that I would be ideal for this position.
Over the past four years, my project management background encompasses a focus on big data,
cloud security, cyber technology, and technology management. My resume shows that I excel in
team building, project management, and my job experiences covers the other areas listed on my
resume. This, combined with my education has allowed me to be efficient and experienced in the
details of project management. By using my experiences and expertise, I am qualified for the
position advertised. During my years as project manager, I have tried to anticipate the potential
challenges and issues, so I could be proactive and prepare for the resolution.
I would love to come in for an interview to further discuss how my experiences would benefit
your company. You can reach me at 251-656-8504, or by email at [email protected] I
can be reached anytime. Thank you for taking the time to view my resume and I look forward to
hearing from you.
Experienced and motivated project manager with four years’ experience managing different
projects and software development projects. Managed different projects, with a keen sense of
strategic ideas. The budget of these projects exceeds $250,000 to $500,000. Responsible for
resolving complex problems. Manages daily activities and oversees staff. I am looking to
expand my expertise and spearhead larger projects.
KEY SKILLS AND QUALIFICATIONS
Estimating projects budgets will all supporting documentation for approval
Works closely with Project management office to determine human capital needs
Insured compliance with all regulations
Worked closely with stakeholders to ensure all requirements are met
Track budgets and secured timelines
Manage cloud security
Budget and Accounting Expertise
Carefully planned morning meeting with project team players
Manage, monitor and evaluate the performance of employees
Vendor and Contract review
EDUCATION AND CERTIFICATIONS
MS Office (Word, Excel, Access, Project Certification 04/2017
Bachelor of Science- Management 05/2021
Apprentice Program for the U.S Army Corps 04/2017-05/2021
Army Corps, Mobile, AL
Under direct supervision of Supervisor, works on the budget and accounting, administrative
duties. Works closely with IT department to monitor our cloud security, where I updated
software and observed cyber technology. Deals with the stakeholders to ensure all their
requirements are met. Plan meetings and work closely with the staff, to ensure all duties are
Administrative Assistant 01-2010-04/2017
Army Corps, Mobile, AL
Served under the Colonel as his administrative assistant. Corelated the colonels schedule,
managed his calendar and set up all of his appointments. Worked closely with other districts
setting up Webinars and conferences. Proposed any needed training and advised colleagues
when their training was due. Managed over a million-dollar hand receipt, with no losses.
Worked with the stakeholders to ensure all of their requirements have been met.
SWOT ANALYSIS (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats) Analysis
A SWOT analysis helps an organization determine it internal strengths and external weaknesses.
SWOT stands for strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats. Project managers use this as
a tool to come up with solutions to improve their personal self or the businesses current overall
business. This analysis can help as a cost-effective measure or provide everyone a visual
overview and can help people see things in a totally different perspective.
Strengths: I have great leadership skills. By listening and understanding, I am able to earn the
trust of my teammates. I feel that communication is the key to all success when you are acting as
a leader. It is important to articulate your thoughts in a way that understood by all. By staying
positive and very ambitious, I am able to bring a positive atmosphere to my colleagues and help
them also feel like we are all part of a team.
Weaknesses: At times, I have a tendency to be impatient. I am a person that thinks why put off
thing for tomorrow when you can do them today. Sometimes this can make colleagues think you
are pushing them to work faster. Also, sometimes I am a little compulsive when it comes to
acting on things. When I am under pressure to get the job done, I might give off the impression
that I am irritated when really it is just me anxious to complete the job.
Opportunities: By being a great leader, it is important to know that you can take advise from a
employee, without it being criticized. By taking advantage of knowledge from other leaders that
have some of the same duties as you, are a great opportunity.
Threats: During Covid, the threat of losing a lot of customers hurt the economy, which closed a
lot of businesses. This hurt the business dramatically and caused layoffs
Consider that you found an online job posting for your dream job. Practice completing a résumé package that includes a cover letter, a résumé, and a professional strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats (SWOT) analysis. This résumé package is designed to help you prepare for a future job search.
The cover letter must be at least a one-page (three-paragraph) memo that has been tailored to a specific job that interests you. Outline your cover letter using the following steps:
an opening paragraph that describes the position you are applying for,
a body paragraph that explains your skills and experience, and
a closing paragraph that requests an interview and provides your contact information.
The résumé must be at least one page in length and should adhere to the steps outlined in Chapter 14 (see page 206). The details within the résumé must be current with all relevant and up-to-date information.
The SWOT analysis should address the professional strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats related to your professional career. Be honest with yourself as you create this analysis. You may use bullet points for the SWOT analysis, but please use detailed and complete sentences. Your SWOT analysis must be at least one page in length.
Compile all three sections into one word document. Your complete assignment must be at least three pages in length. Adhere to APA Style when constructing this assignment, including in-text citations and references for all sources, if used.
Building Your Résumé Package
Before employers decide to meet you, they first view your application materials. Traditionally, the set of application materials is referred to as a résumé package, which includes a résumé and a cover letter. Although many employers only allow online applications, which may not require a résumé and/or cover letter, every job seeker needs to create a formal résumé and cover letter. This information is used as a foundation for information an employer will require in the application process. The creation of a quality résumé package provides a job seeker with personalized, concise, and accurate information that can be used in any job search situation.
Your résumé package needs to efficiently and effectively sell your skills and communicate how your attributes are unique compared to all other candidates vying for your target job. A résumé is a formal written profile that presents a person’s knowledge, skills, and abilities to potential employers. Your résumé is an important job search tool that should be created in advance of a job search and continually updated throughout your career. Even if you are not currently searching for a new job, a time will come when a current résumé is needed. Do not wait until that time to create or update your résumé. Continually add new job skills, accomplishments, and experiences to your résumé.
When you begin to create your résumé, you will quickly discover that there are various types of résumés and résumé formats. You may also receive conflicting advice as to how the perfect résumé should look and what it should include. The appropriate type of résumé used depends on your work experience, education, and other factors. A well-written résumé makes it easy for potential employers to quickly and easily identify your skills and qualifications that make you the right choice for the job.
This chapter will present the tools for creating a professional résumé and cover letter. As you go through the process of constructing your résumé package, make every word sell your skills and career accomplishments. Your résumé package represents you. Therefore, be honest with the information you provide and display character by not lying or embellishing the truth. There are five steps toward building a winning résumé:
Creating an Information Heading and Utilizing Proper Layout
Writing a Skills Summary or Personal Profile
Inserting Skills, Accomplishments, and Experience
Reviewing the Completed Résumé
Step One: Gathering Information
The first step in building a résumé is to create a draft document with key headings. This involves collecting and merging all relevant information into one document. Begin identifying and listing the following information into an electronic document:
Education. List schools, degrees, certificates, credentials, GPA, licenses, and other relevant education-related information, including military experience. Include dates with each entry.
Skills. List all skills you possess and identified from the completed accomplishments worksheet (Activity 13.1) in Chapter 13 .
Employment. Starting with the most recent job, list the employer, start and end dates of employment (month and year), job title, and responsibilities.
Languages. List foreign languages, fluency levels, and if you can read, speak, and/or write the foreign language.
Honors and awards. List any honors and awards you have received at school, work, or from the community.
Professional/community involvement. List volunteer work and community service projects. Include any leadership role you took in these activities.
Note that when compiling information to include in your résumé, there is no personal information listed. Personal information such as birthdate, Social Security number, marital/child status, ethnicity, or religion should not be included on a résumé. It is also inappropriate to list hobbies or include photographs. There are laws that protect employees from discrimination in hiring and advancement in the workplace, and employers should not be aware of personal information unless it is relevant to the job for which you are applying. Additional information regarding this subject is presented in Chapter 15. Older job seekers should not list the date of graduation on a résumé, as it could be used for age discrimination.
Step Two: Creating an Information Heading and Utilizing Proper Layout
The second step in developing a successful résumé is to begin your electronic document. This includes listing personal contact information and identifying and arranging your information in the proper résumé layout. The top of your résumé is called the information heading. An information heading contains relevant contact information, including name, mailing address (city, state, ZIP code), contact phone, and e-mail address. Use your complete and formal name, including a middle initial if you have one. When listing your e-mail address, remove the hyperlink. If your current e-mail address is unprofessional, secure an address that is professional. Include only one contact phone number that is active with a professional voice mail message. Review the information heading for completeness, proper grammar and spelling, and accuracy. Spell out the names of streets. When using abbreviations, check for appropriate format, capitalization, and punctuation.
Once you have created your information heading, lay out your résumé. If you are at the start of your career and/or do not have extensive work experience, create a résumé using the functional résumé layout. This layout is used to emphasize relevant skills when you lack related work experience. A functional résumé focuses on skills and education. When writing a functional résumé, the first section contains the skills summary statement that you will create in step three. Immediately below the skills summary you will list relevant skills and education. Include your high school in the education section only if you have not yet graduated from college. Finally, list your work experience. Most functional résumés are only one page in length. Refer to Figure 14.1 for the functional résumé layout and Figures 14.2 and 14.3 for examples of a functional résumé with and without career-related work experience.
Those with extensive career experience should use an advanced skill set résumé layout. An advanced skill set layout best highlights, communicates, and sells specific job skills and work accomplishments. In the advanced skill set layout, the skills summary is replaced with a personal profile, which you will write in step three. Your personal profile will emphasize key skill sets. These skill sets will be used as subheadings in the professional experience heading, which will be the section listed immediately after the personal profile. When writing a personal profile, include key general skills and qualities desired by your target employer. Related work experience, specific skills, important activities, and significant accomplishments will be detailed under each respective subheading. Share major accomplishments and responsibilities from each position listed in your work history. Education and then work history are listed after professional experience. If necessary, add a second page to your résumé. Refer to Figure 14.4 for the advanced skill set résumé layout and Figure 14.5 for an example of an advanced skill set résumé.
For both résumé layouts, present employment history and education in reverse chronological order (most recent job first). When listing work history, bold the job title, not the place of employment. Only the month and year should be used when listing dates of employment. Be consistent in how dates are listed on the résumé.
Once you have determined which résumé layout is best for your current situation, in your electronic document, arrange the information gathered in step one into the correct résumé layout. Avoid résumé templates; these can be difficult to update, modify, and personalize.
Step Three: Writing a Skills Summary or Personal Profile
A foundation for both your job search strategy and building a winning résumé is to write a skills summary statement or personal profile. A skills summary is an introductory written statement for individuals with little or no work experience and is used on a functional résumé. The summary statement replaces the traditional one-sentence career objective. A skills summary statement encapsulates a job seeker’s knowledge and skills in a brief statement that communicates his or her career objective while highlighting the value an individual brings to a prospective employer. A personal profile is an introductory written statement for individuals with professional experience related to their target career and is used on an advanced skill set résumé. The skills summary or personal profile will be the first item listed on your résumé following the information heading.
Employers spend little time looking at the entire résumé, and most of that time is spent looking at the top of the résumé. A good summary or profile is a way to make your résumé personalized and powerful. The responses from your completed accomplishments worksheet and career assessment from Chapter 13 provide a focused summary of your current career goal based on the knowledge, skills, and abilities you possess for a specific job. Depending on the layout of your résumé, this information will either have the heading “Skills Summary” or “Personal Profile.” Make your skills summary or personal profile specific to the employer and job for which you are applying to increase your chances of being considered for the job. The skills summary or personal profile is the only place on a résumé where it is acceptable to use the words “I” and “my.”
Those with little or no work experience in a targeted career will utilize the skills summary. In creating a skills summary, include your target job, employer, and key skills and experience into a one- to two-sentence statement.
Skills Summary Examples
Skills Summary: Highly motivated and positive person seeking to obtain a position as an Office Professional with Roxy’s Clothing Company that will enable me to utilize my current customer service skills and office assistant education.
Skills Summary: To obtain a Medical Assistant Clinician position at Healthcorp, where I can demonstrate and increase my current medical assisting skills such as pharmacology, laboratory, and diagnostic procedures.
Those with extensive work experience will utilize a personal profile. In creating a personal profile, review your key skills and accomplishments and group these items into general categories. Also identify key qualities you possess that are required for your target job. Take this information and turn it into a two- to three-sentence statement that provides a snapshot of your professional qualifications in a manner that sells your knowledge, skills, and abilities.
Personal Profile Example
Personal Profile: Highly professional and detail-oriented accounting professional with demonstrated leadership and success in the areas of payroll, collections, and project management. Possess excellent analytical, communication, computer, and organizational skills. Bilingual English/Spanish (read, write, and speak).
Step Four: Insert Skills, Accomplishments, and Experience
After arranging your information into the correct layout and inserting your career summary or profile, it is time to detail the information listed in your skills, work experience, and professional accomplishments. List skills relevant to your target job first. Be specific when referring to common workplace skills. For example, computer skills are too general and typically include many different areas such as networking, programming, applications, data processing, and/or repair. An employer needs to know what specific computer skills you possess and the proficiency level (e.g. basic, intermediate, or advanced) with specific software. Work experience includes learned skills, job duties, and accomplishments from paid, unpaid, and volunteer work. When presenting work experience, list the job title, company name, city, state, and duties of the position. Make every effort to not state “responsible for . . .” Instead, list specific accomplishments. Accomplishments are activities you achieved beyond your job duties. Do not assume the reader will know what you have done. Whenever possible, quantify outcomes related to your skills, responsibilities, and professional accomplishments. For example, if your duties included working with others, phrase your duties to read “Worked with team of 12 to assist over 350 customers daily.”
As you insert professional accomplishments and responsibilities into your electronic file, include job-specific, transferable, and soft skills. Job-specific skills are those that are directly related to a specific job or industry. If you were to change careers, job-specific skills would probably not be useful. For example, if you are a medical billing clerk who knows how to use a specific software program such as Medical Manager, you will not use this skill if you become an elementary school teacher.
Transferable skills are skills that are transferred from one job to the next. Should you change careers, you will still be able to use these skills. For example, you learned how to input data into a computer for billing purposes. If you then become an elementary school teacher, you will use these keyboarding skills when you report student data. Speaking a foreign language is an excellent transferable skill. If you are bilingual (speak or write a second language), include this information in your résumé. Inform the employer if you read, write, or only speak that second language.
The term soft skills refers to the people skills necessary when working with others. Employers want employees that are reliable, team players, good communicators, and able to get along well with others. Employers need employees with job-specific, transferable, and soft skills; therefore, list all these skills on your résumé.
Résumés do not normally contain complete sentences. They contain statements that sell your skills, qualifications, and work experience. Except for the skills summary or personal profile, the words “I” and “my” should not appear.
Step Five: Review the Completed Résumé
Prior to finalizing your résumé, ensure you have added all information identified in steps one through four to your electronic document. As you finalize your résumé, check for information that is frequently forgotten or not presented appropriately. Confirm your information heading contains complete contact information.
Carefully evaluate the skills summary or personal profile to ensure it introduces the reader to who you are and motivates him or her to learn more about your specific knowledge, skills, abilities, and key accomplishments.
In step two, you determined whether a functional or advanced skills set résumé layout was appropriate for your situation. Review the respective layout for proper heading order and refer to the sample résumés. Confirm that your experience and education are listed in reverse chronological order (most recent first). Keep your résumé consistent in its presentation, including all periods or no periods at the end of each line, line spacing, alignment of dates, date format, bold/italics, upper- and lowercase words, underlines, and other formatting. Also, review for consistency with the use of tense in each section (e.g., -ing and -ed) and with the use of the postal abbreviation for your state (e.g., the state is CA, not Ca., not Ca, not C.A.). When your draft résumé is complete, spell-check and proofread the document to ensure it is free of typographical errors and inconsistencies.
Underlines, bold, and italic print are acceptable for emphasis but should not be overdone. Avoid using bullets throughout your résumé; use bullets only to emphasize key areas. Only use small round or square bullets. Fonts and sizes should be easy to read. Times New Roman or Arial are most common. Apart from your name on the information heading, do not use more than two different font sizes (no smaller than 11 point and no larger than 14 point). Unless you are in the graphic design industry, avoid using different color fonts, highlights, or graphics on your résumé; use only black ink. It is not appropriate to state, “References Available Upon Request” at the close of your résumé. Professional references are to be listed on a separate sheet and provided only when requested. Refer to Chapter 13 for proper format for a professional reference list.
Once you have made sure your résumé is presented professionally, is free of errors, and does not contain unnecessary or inappropriate information, print the résumé in black ink on 8½ × 11–inch, letter-sized paper. Double-sided résumés are not appropriate. If your résumé is more than one page, place your name at the top of each page after page one. Proper résumé paper is cotton-fiber, 24-pound white or off-white (not bond) paper of good quality. Colored paper, especially if dark, is both difficult to read and does not photocopy well. Do not use fancy paper stocks or binders. Also, avoid stapling your résumé or other job search documents. Since résumés are frequently photocopied, stapled résumés and other job search documents may be torn in the process.
When you have completed your résumé and believe it is ready for distribution, have several individuals whom you trust review it for clarity, consistency, punctuation, grammar, typographical errors, and other potential mistakes. Remember that complete sentences are not necessary and, with the exception of your career objective, the words “I” or “my” should not be used. Your résumé must create a positive, professional visual image and be easy to read.
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