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Constructing a Resume and Cover Letter

LUC's Career Developement Center explains how to create an effective resume.

Jon Rosenfield

on 28 February 2017

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Transcript of Constructing a Resume and Cover Letter

Demonstration of Capabilities
Group an employer’s needs into categories
technical skills/qualifications
transferrable skills
time management
...VS the wrong reasons.
Standing out for the right reasons...
Use formatting + layout strategically

skills (transferable and technical)

Be descriptive (quantify and qualify)

Use concise language (think: caption or headline)

Key words | Personalized | Genuine (VS jargon)
You can also include or even substitute links to
sites like LinkedIn or About.me
Resume ==> Job
Resume ==> Interview
You can be strategic in how you
Organize your information
What do we
she is capable of?
What did she
in any of these experiences?
These aspects likely to be?
Consider a "Profile" or "Summary" instead:
Draw a direct line from you and your skills
to the organization/position you
are pursuing.
How about them bullet-points?
Phrases, not sentences
Begin with a verb - one that refers to your action/capability
The rest of the phrase should demonstrate why this action is important in the context of the experience you are describing
Where possible, quantify to demonstrate the scale or complexity of your experience (approximations can be okay)
Don't forget to mention any honors or awards that were part of your experiences!
Run research procedures
Participate in meetings
Manage data from procedures
Train and supervise 5 undergraduate team members
Acclimate participants to procedures
Record and perform requested analyses on data
Maintain supplies for 12-member team
Ensure proper lab equipment setup and storage
“Managed front desk duties” is more active, but not descriptive.
What about my references -
Doesn't the employer need to see them
or know that they are available "upon request"?
“Responsible for front desk” doesn’t help reader understand what you did.
“Distributed incoming mail, directed guests/callers to appropriate staff, and maintained security logs"
Nope! Make a separate document -
Employers will assume you have this
ready if they'd like to see it.
There are no spelling, grammar, or punctuation errors
Reading out loud
and having others read your resume are good strategies
Resume is clear and concise, and makes a positive impression quickly
Descriptions use action verbs, and are not vague or confusing
Resume uses font size, formatting, and blank space to allow easy reading

"Best Practices"
[Profile Statement]
No Objective?
Objective statements are largely obsolete...
“Recent psychology
graduate with mentorship and
administrative background seeks
human resources position.”
Cover Letter
Cover Letter Basics
What makes an effective
cover letter?
Not a recitation of your resume
Tailored to position/organization
Correctly Formatted
Error free
How do you do make these things happen?
First Paragraph: The Intro
State what position you are interested in,
and how you became aware of it.
Use the official position title (from the job description)
If you have a name to drop - this is a good place.
Express your interest and enthusiasm for the position | organization | clients | etc.
Be genuine - if it feels fake to you it will be completely obvious to a disinterested reader.
Introduce yourself, and provide some context for your professional status.
e.g.: "I am a recent graduate..." or, "I am currently working with...", etc.
Second Paragraph: Making Connections
Determine the needs/wants of the organization
Analyze job description
Research the organization
Consider info from networking conversations

Consider how the information listed on your resume connects with these categories
“My internship experiences with ____ and _____ allowed me to develop leadership and
project planning skills…”
“In my work with ______, I collaborated constantly with other team members to ensure…”
“Beyond my _____ coursework, my experience with _____ allowed me to further develop my capabilities in _____...”
Best Practices
Create a coherent, conversational structure
Make strategic connections - don't just restate your resume
Consider your experiences broadly: work, internships, volunteer, coursework - but everything you reference should be represented on your resume.
Third Paragraph:
Wrap-up, next steps, and appreciation
Restate your interest in the position
Summarize what you have to offer
Provide your contact information (in the paragraph)
Thank the reader for their time and consideration.
The Career Development Center's
Cover Letter and Career Correspondence guide
can be found at:
The Career Development Center's
Resume Guide can be found here:
Set expectations
that your resume
will confirm
Entice the reader
to read your resume
Timeline of Involvement
Description of duties

[ ]
Does not share your
experiences + memories
.5" - 1.0" margins
10 - 12 point font for main text + headers
Use basic formatting tools to differentiate sections
Bullet points, not paragraphs
Formatting should help the reader make sense of the page quickly and easily.
Rules that must be followed...
1-page max for undergrads, 1.5 for grads
Reverse-Chronological order (recent-to-oldest) within each section
Present tense can be used for current engagements (but not present-participle)
"Assess", not "Assessing"
Past tense can be used for both current and past experiences, but should be used consistently
Master's candidate with higher-ed experience seeks counseling practicum in a university setting.
Magic Words
Jon Rosenfield
Career Advisor
Loyola University Chicago

Scan #1
is formatting easy to follow and consistent?
Is Reverse-chrono order obeyed in each section?
Scan #2
Are there spelling/grammar issues?
Are verb tenses correct?
Scan #3
Does each bullet begin with a verb?
Does that verb demonstrate a skill or just name an action… e.g.: answer phone VS direct callers/answer inquiries?
Are the verbs “assisted, helped, or managed” used?
Read the Cover Letter
Do you understand the person’s current status?
The position they’re interested in?
Do you understand why the person is interested in a NO-BS way?
Does the letter make clear connections between elements of the resume, and specific functions or requirements of the job description?
Are you bored or do you lose focus reading the letter?
Is the letter conversational in tone, or does it read awkwardly/stiffly?
Is it clear how to contact the applicant?
Read the Job Description
What are the
needs of the employer?
Full transcript