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What to (really) Include in Your Resume and Cover Letter
It's vague, non-committal and tells an employer nothing about the person's skills. In fact, we don't even use the word "Objective" anymore. In its place, we help the student create a Summary Profile or Summary Statement that specifically touches on his or her job skills with the goal of making them stand out immediately.

Working with high school juniors and seniors in our Resume Lab, and adults looking for employment through the Job Seekers program, I've counseled thousands of people on how to craft resumes that will get them hired. This is the only chance they've got to tell their story to employers, and the message needs to be clear and concise.

Nowadays, in nearly all cases, resumes are sent to employers digitally, either via email or uploaded to the web, with the accepted format being Word, a pdf file or via Google Docs. But I recommend potential hires bring a hard copy of their resume to any interview so they can reference it during the dialogue.

Here's how to create a winning resume:
  • Be honest.
  • Keep it to one page (unless you are a mature job seeker with a lot of relevant experience).
  • Include all of your specific skills, certifications, awards and recommendations.
At all costs you should avoid:
  • Grammatical errors - even the tiniest one will have your resume headed for the circular file.
  • Padding a resume with non-relevant information. If you don't have the job skills a company is looking for, you shouldn't be sending a resume in the first place.
  • Sending a resume without a cover letter. This is a missed opportunity to sell yourself.
How to write cover letters and build LinkedIn pages that get you noticed.
The purpose of a cover letter is not to repeat the resume, but to highlight how your qualifications mirror the job being offered. In addition to your skills, you may wish to explain transferable skills you possess that also make you a good hire, such as communication and time management.

Keep the language clear and direct, with plenty of action words. And speaking of words, don't overdo them. Less is more. Write an introduction, a body and a close that will peak a hiring manager's interest.

Once you have developed an effective resume and cover letter, it's time to put yourself out there to employers. Creating a LinkedIn page is an important path toward doing that. Everyone should have a presence on LinkedIn.

I recommend once you build your page, with the same information from your resume along with a professional photo of yourself, that you join different groups within your industry. And taking part in various webinars can only help you expand your network as well.

These tips are some of many that are reviewed with our students and adult job seekers, but we don't stop there. Once a student or adult has gone through our program, we keep his or her resume and pertinent information in our database. And we encourage students to stay in touch, keeping us updated on their career path. We support job applicants every step of the way. Our Job Board is active as well, with new employment opportunities popping up daily.

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