Entering the job market (3.1)

Writing a Resume
How you present yourself on paper is very important. Be sure to put a lot of time and effort into writing your resume and have many different people look at it: from a trusted professor to a career placement counselor at your college to your best friends. Nowadays, a functional resume can serve you better than a chronological one. If you want help to do the resume, check out Quintcareers.com for excellent functional resume advice and a list of other Internet resources.

More resources are available at the Career Transitions section.

Writing a Cover Letter

Download a cover letter template (11K)

Whenever you send you resume out, whether you mail, fax, or email it, it must be prefaced by a cover letter. A mailed or faxed cover letter must follow a standard business letter format, but when sending your resume as an email attachment, you can paste your cover letter in the email message. In that case, you can delete the mailing addresses but the letter itself must still have 3 short paragraphs and a formal tone.

Know that you cannot get by with just one general cover letter, but that you will have to write a slightly different one for each position you apply to. The font type and size should be the same as your resume-Times New Roman 12 or 14 is standard. Print both resume and cover letter up on good quality off-white paper. Do not use fancy colored papers or fonts; they give a message of flakiness. However, in some creative fields, you are expected to have an individual approach to a resume and cover letter. Be sure to consult with a career advisor at your college on this, but for most occupations, simplicity and adherence to traditional forms are what’s expected.

Writing a Thank You Letter

Download a thank you letter template (11K)

You MUST mail a thank you letter within 24 hours after an interview, even if you don’t want the job. You never know how far good manners will take you – the interviewer may have another position with you in mind once she sees how polite and on-the-ball you are.

Write it in standard business format and be sure to name everyone you met with. Repeat key highlights of your interview to remind the interviewer how wonderful you are and what an asset you’ll be to the company. Reinforce your enthusiasm for the position and company as well.

State that you will call to follow up and do so: call within three days, so that you know they will have received your thank you letter, and ask about when you will be scheduled for a second interview.

DO NOT send a thank you letter by email. Using old-fashioned snail mail takes more effort and shows that you have that all-important skill of paying attention to detail that impresses every employer.


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