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Resume & Cover Letter Seminar

Seminar on resume writing and cover letter

Jean-Michel Paquette

on 21 December 2010

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Transcript of Resume & Cover Letter Seminar

Résumé Writing Agenda Purpose of a résumé Types of résumé Key elements in a résumé Purpose of a résumé: 1. Give a brief summary of your life on a page or two 2. Illustrate your talents and abilities 3. Demonstrate your involvment, commitment, and accomplishments 4. Indicate your technical skills and soft skills 5. Show your compatibility, suitability, and versatility 6. Impress the reader to obtain an interview Types of résumé 1. Chronological résumé
for Co-op
list jobs and experience in reverse chronological order
Work best for people at the start of their career 2. Modified chronological résumé
differs from chronological résumé in the section of work expexperience
work best for peoples with an establish track record (work experience)

3. Functional résumé
highlights skills and accomplishments Key elements in a résumé 1. Your Name (no contact information on Neptune) 2. Objective (optional) 3. Education (University, Cegep, special high school) 5. Academic & Special Projects Why?
most important section on your résumé (if no work experience in your field)
feedback/comments from employers
résumé more attractive
make your résumé related to your profession
increase the chance of getting an interview Academic Project:
it's a project that you do for a class
you received a grade Personal project:
for yourself, to secure a work term, for your career advancement
it can be done alone or in a group
project related to your profession
interesting and fun for you
minimum of 10 to 15 hours
for suggestions talk to your professors 6. Work experience (part-time, summer, internship) 7. Extracurricular activities
sports, clubs, events 8. Volunteer experience 4. Computer skills 9. Accomplishments & achievements 10. Language skills 11. Activities, hobbies, interests General Recommendations General Recommendations Content:
Identify and present your experience and qualifications that are most relevant to the job you are applying for
Emphasize the skills most desired by the employer hiring in your field
Be specific and concrete (provide examples)
Be honest - Do not stretch the truth!
Brievity is the rule! Style & Appearance:
Create well-organized material and layout
Make it easy on the eye
Use the whole page
Use headings
Writing & Formatting:
Use an easy-to-read typeface, in 11 or 12pts
Avoid graphics and lines
Use action verbs
Be precise and concise
Eliminate grammar and spelling errors
Make the format esthetically appealling Do not include in your resume:
Date of birth
Social Insurance Number
Driver's license number
Citizenship status
Marital status
Sexual orientation
References Things to remember Things to remember Follow the reverse chronological order in each section (most recent first) Do not use ''I, Me, and My'' - no complete sentences Use abbreviations only if they are universally understood Use past tense of verbs for previous jobs or activities Use present tense of verbs for current jobs or activities Use action verbs to described what you have accomplished List all your achievements, experiences, proficiencies, certifications, interests Proofread very carefully for;
accurate information
correct grammar
consistency in style
consistency in spacing and typeface
proper punctuation and capitalization
correct spelling Qualities and competencies employers seek;
Positive aatitude and enthusiasm
Communication skills (verbal and written)
Team player - good fit with team
Interpersonal skills
Strong work ethic
Analytical thinking
Computer skills
Leadership skills You should have two résumé;

1. Résumé for jobs on Neptune
created on Neptune
same design with Concordia & Co-op Logo
sent by the Co-op Institute

2. Résumé for jobs outside Neptune
personal résumé
used for jobs that you find on your own
no Concordia & Co-op logo
check CAPS website

Content can be the same 1. Operating systems
i.e. Linux, Windows

2. Applications
i.e. Eclipse, Visual Studio

3. Programming languages
i.e. Java, C++ Résumé on Neptune CAPS website Bachelor of Engineering - option Software Fall 2010 - Present
Concordia University, Montreal, Quebec
GPA of 3.4
Dean's list
Member of the Institute for Co-operative Education
Relevant courses: Java, C++, Databases

DEC in Social Science 2009
Vanier College, Montreal, Quebec
Graduated with distinction

High School Diploma 2007
Les Estacades, Montreal, Quebec
International Baccalaureat Software Developer May 2005 - August 2007
Soft Tech Inc., Saint-Laurent, Quebec
Carried out software development in C++ and .NET 3.5
Designed and programmed WPF UI controls
Created Tools to facilitate development
Accomplishment: Reduced production cost by $50,000 per year Key notes:
follow this format
use action verbs
be technical and give details
Position year
company, City, Province
action verb (responsibility)
action verb (responsibility) Title Year
action verb (describe what you did)
action verb (describe what you did)

note: be technical and give details Conclusion References:
on a separate page
3 references (employer or academic)
submit only if needed http://caps.concordia.ca/ Neptune Conclusion Maximum of 20 résumé on Neptune No spell check when creating résumé on Neptune Résumé can be saved and edited Have you coordinator review your résumé Regurlarly update your résumé (twice a year) Prepare a list of references Commonly Asked Questions: 1. Do I have to write something about my objectives? 2. Shall I include my babysitting experience? What will that add to my qualifications? 3. Shall I include all my previous experience? 4. I worked in telemarketing. Is it appropriate to inlcude it? 5. How many bullet points should I have under each job title? 6. I did volunteer, work but only a few times a year. How should I present this in my résumé? 7. Regarding my work experience, shall i specify from which month to which month? 8. Is it advisable for me to submit an English and French résumé to show that I'm bilingual? Commonly Asked Questions Cover Letters Agenda Purpose of a cover letter Content of a cover letter Types of cover letters Structure of a cover letter Things to avoid Cover letter check list Purpose of a cover letter 1. Identify who you are
engineering student at concordia
member of the Co-op Institute
first, second, third, or final year 2. State what position you are applying for
written on the job description
co-op employers post many jobs 3. Explain why you are applying for the position
your interest in the position, company, industry
what you can bring to the company
what the company will be benefit from having you 4. Advertise your qualifications, your accomplishments, and your motivations
focus on the skills/qualifications described in the job description
provide examples/past experiences 5. Demonstrate your writing communications skills 6. Provide or expand your resume objective
what you wish to accomplish
your career objective 7. Give you an opportunity to impress the prospective employer Purpose for you:
enticing the reader to read your resume to learn more about you Purpose for employers:
Looking for individualized and thoughtfully written cover letters to get to know why you are interested and what you can bring to them Content of a cover letter First Paragraph
identify yourself
specify which job you are applying for
show your interest in the company and position - principal reason (s) for applying Second (maybe third) paragraph
explain why you are the right candidate for the job
demonstrate your relevant skills and accomplishments
give concrete examples Last paragraph
extend thanks for the reader's time and consideration
express your hope for an interview Finding the information:
Read the job description carefully
highlight the skills/qualifications required
read the company website for more info finding the information:
research the company
understand their culture and values
be different and creative Types of cover letters:

1. cold-contact cover letters (letter of inquiry)

2. invited cover letter
(letter of application)

3. referral letters Cold-contact cover letter:

(your contact information)
(employer contact information)

Dear XXX,

I am writing to seek an employment opportunity with your company as an event manager. I have read a lot about your company and I am impressed with the services you provide. This has led me to submit my résumé to you

(second paragraph omited)

I look forward to discussing opportunities at your company with you. I will call you next week to make sure you have received my resume and to set up a mutually agreeable time for us to speak.

yours truly,

XXX Invited cover letter:

(your contact information)
(employer contact information)

Dear XXX,

Your advertisement in the New York Times has attracted my attention. I am interested in building my career in the food industry, and I am currently
seeking an opportunity to manage a newly open store. Your plan to open up a new branch of HM Confections has provided me such an opportunity. I have thus decided to submit my application to you for the position of Store Manager.

My relevant experience includes three years as a candy chef for sticky sweets of Boston and my current position as assistant store manager of Little Scoops and Lollipos.

Attached please find my résumé. I look forward to hearing from you and to meeting with you to further discuss opportunities at your company. Thank you very much for your time and your kind consideration.

Yours truly,

XXX Referal letter:

(your contact information)
(employer contact information)

Dear XXX,

John Smith at the Montreal Museum of Modern Arts suggested I contact you to ask for advice about pursuing a career in Fine Arts Administration.

I worked with John last summer through the national youth internship program. It was a great experience for me, which further confirmed my career interest in Fine Arts Administration. John suggested that an excellent first step in my career search would be a discussion with you.

I am going to visit your city from february 18th - 20th. I'd like to schedule an appointment with you during that time. I'll call your office next week to see if you'll be available.

best regards

Yours truly,

XXX Structure of a cover letter first paragraph:

why am I writing this letter?
introduce yoruself, state your interest, and mention teh position you are seeking

Dear Mr. Smith,
I happened to read the career section in the Montreal Gazette, and I came across your company. What you do interests me, so I have taken the liberty of enclosing my résume.

Dear Ms. Taylor,
I will graduate from Concordia University with a degree in investment finance. Along with my high motivation, I offer you a unique opportunity of propelling your already successful organization in the investments field.
Second paragraph:

How am I qualified?
Why am I the best candidate?

Briefly describe your academic and professional qualifications.

Relate yourself to the company and the job you are applying for (using their own words and substantiating with examples).

example 1:

I'm very organized. I'm a self-motivated worker, but I enjoy working as a team player. I’m reliable, competent, and pleasant. Although I have little experience in this field, I’m a quick learner.

example 2:

My academic training and work experience in the field of marketing makes me feel confident as a successful candidate for your position. For the past three years, I have been successfully handling the Administrative and Marketing role for Seven Stars, a nationally-recognized event planning company, where my daily responsibilities include office management; communication with clients, consultants and staff members; proposal writing and editing; special event planning, and many others. Moreover, I worked before as a Sales Associate for Sunrise. There I learnt a lot about customer service, client consulting and relationship building. As a Sales Associate, working both independently and alongside the Area Manager, I was responsible not only for organizing and coordinating the sales contract process, but also for developing effective marketing tools to attract and retain potential clientele via utilizing my creative skills and knowledge in applications of marketing principles. Having been
responsible for generating new sales, while maintaining strong
business relationships with existing clients and juggling a multitude of administrative tasks, enabled me to build a solid foundation for
leadership, time management, and problem-solving skills.
Closing paragraph:

I'll thank the person and ask that we talk further about my qualifications
mention follow-up and request an interview

example 1:

Thank you for taking your time to consider my application and resume. I look forward to hearing from you.

example 2:

I am a dedicated and hard-working person who is motivated to become a financial expert and would like to have the opportunity to be a part of your team and experience the best practice. I would like to have a chance to meet with you in an interview, and thank you for your time and consideration.

example 3:

I have enclosed my resume for your review. I am sure it would be mutually advantageous for us to meet and discuss more about how I can contribute to your company. I appreciate your time for considering my application, and hopefully we will
have the opportunity to meet if you feel it is appropriate.
I will anxiously wait to hear from you. overall structure:
your contact information (not for co-op)
employer contact information
date of the letter
subject (optional)
first paragraph
second (and maybe a third paragraph)
the final (closing paragraph)
complimentary close
signature and name
attachment Things to avoid 1. your weaknesses
example: Although I have little experience in... 2. Negative comments about previous employers

example: I do not like my current supervisor, so i have decided to seek a new employment 3. Your salary requirements

example: I am seeking a position that pays between ... with a great benefit package 4. your anxiety to get the job

example: I really need the job. I am waiting anxiously by the phone for your call 5. Your plan to soon leave the position you are applying for

Example: In the near future I plan to return to school to work on
my ultimate career goal of being a lawyer. 6. Lies

Example: I was CEO of GE before leaving the company to
take four years off. 7. What the employer will do for you

Example: Working for your company will help me immensely with my career goals. 8. Inappropriate idioms

Example: I am the diamond in the rough that you
need at your company. Things to remember:

Address the person who is indicated in the job posting, e.g.Dear Mr. Smith:

Explain your skills developed from the responsibilities listed in your résumé that are relevant to this position

Demonstrate your passion/enthusiasm/qualifications

Be clear, concise, and well-composed

Market yourself!
Cover letter checklist:


Normally one page long
Addressed to a particular individual
Inclusive of pertinent contact information (not for co-op)


Stating the purpose of the letter
Tied specifically to the target company and job
Stating the contribution you can make to the company
Demonstrating your energy and enthusiasm
Actively selling your skills, interests and experience
No negative information or comments

Writing style

clear, concise and to the point
Long enough to whet the reader’s appetite for more
details but short enough not to bore the reader
Free of grammatical and spelling errors
Well-organized and inclusive relevant ideas
Use powerful action verbs Using Neptune for application:

Students’ contact information not to be included
One Concordia Co-op template for the cover letter
Number of cover letters unlimited
A new and unique cover letter encouraged for each job application
Advisable to save and name each cover letter using the job number, e.g. Coop 302 S’08, and add an E or F to indicate English or French
Full transcript