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Carving Out a Great Cover Letter and Resume

I love October! This is the time of year that I get to pick out the perfect pumpkin and carve it into a welcoming jack-o-lantern. Jack-o-lanterns show our personality and creative abilities and invite trick or treaters to our homes. So do cover letters and resumes. By carving out a great cover letter and resume, we can creatively and effectively display our expertise and “invite” employers to learn more about us… who we are, what value we bring, and what problems we can solve for them. Here’s how...

Open it up and get out all the goo! This part is kind of gross but you have to remove all the seeds and membranes before you can carve a good pumpkin. In your marketing materials, you need to get rid of all the fluff. Avoid buzz words that don’t buzz (“good communication skills” or “results-oriented”.) Other goo you don’t need: Objective statements are passé and you never need to write “References Upon Request.”

Know your trick or treaters! With pumpkins, you have to know who is coming to your door: Do you have little children looking for a little treat or teens hungry for a frightening trick? With resumes, you have to know whose door you are knocking on. If you have more than one career goal, create more than one resume so that each one is targeted for and, therefore, appealing to each specific employer. If you try a one-size-fits-all approach or try to appeal to everyone, you will please no one.

Design before you carve! You never want to dive right into a jack-o-lantern carving; practice a few designs on paper first then transfer your design to the pumpkin. With resumes and cover letters, layout and format is important. You want your resume to pull the reader through a story of your career highlights and experience. If it is disorganized and hard to read, guess what? They won’t read it!

Carve with precision and focus! Once you have your design, get to carving but be careful, use good knife skills, and stick to your plan. Resumes require the same attention and focus and an effective resume is not easy to create. If you worked hard on your resume but it is not yielding results, you may need help. For help with carving a pumpkin, ask a neighbor; if you need help carving a great cover letter or resume, call the Business and Job Center of Richland Library. We have 2 certified professional resume writers and soon to be 4 certified career development facilitators to assist you by appointment and during resume class sessions on Wednesdays.

Light it up and Let it Shine! In the end, the jack-o-lantern is a shining light to welcome revelers to your door. Cover letters and resumes should also be inviting to employers so that they want to call you in for an interview to learn know more about how you will fit within their organization. Your personality should shine through your marketing materials and tell a compelling story about you.


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