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Business 101

Writing Your Cover Letter and Resume

Setting Up A Resume

Once you have an idea in mind of the type of job you want, you will need to type up a resume. Before you do this, make sure you have accurate contact information on hand since most employers will check them. If the contact information you list is invalid it will make you seem untrustworthy and almost immediately disqualify you from a position.

Also, be realistic. If you have no experience or education, you will have to start at the bottom and work your way up. Don't make up phony references to your so-called abilities. If you get hired on bogus qualifications for which you have no training, your inexperience will show up and you will quickly lose that job. It is better to be on the ball and a hard worker to work your way up in the field of your choice than to lie and flounder from job to job.

Leave off any mention of what you made in your last jobs and what you want to make if hired. You can mention this in an interview if they are seriously considering employing you. Only then you can negotiate a fair payment for your work. If they are curious as to what you made in your last job, they will ask your former employer and may even confirm it with you during an interview.

Know before you set up the resume what your goal is for employment. What position are you seeking? What do you want to do on the job? What would you like to contribute to the company? Remember, a resume is nothing but a sales letter to sell yourself to the company. They want to know what you can do for them. This is why it is crucial that you exclude what you want out of it when selling yourself to a company. They are in business to make a profit for themselves. They are only willing to pay the money to those who will be an asset to the company and help them make more money. So your goal should be to push the good of the company.

This is where you must make sure your contacts are valid. Contact former employers and schools. Make sure they are still at the same address and phone number. Make sure you have a name that can verify you were actually at that place in the times you specify. If possible, try to get a written reference as to your character and past performance.

Try to make your resume confined to one page, but no more than two pages. If you have a two page resume, make sure they are not on the same sheet front and back.

To put it simply, your very basic resume should include this:

City, State, Zip Code
Phone Number
eMail Address
Position You Are Seeking
What Are Your Goals For The Company
List Your Qualifications
Previous Employment History
School History

Be sure when you do create a resume for print that the color is not loud or brash and the text is in black. A white or cream color are appropriate. Do not use day glo colors, astrobrights, heavy patterns or anything that will distract from your sales pitch. Don't go wild with the fonts. Try to keep it between 8-12 in size. Make clean copies.

It is best to bring a resume with you on an interview. You can mail it to a potential employer, but you risk the chance of it being ignored without a follow up. It is better to approach an employer in person with a resume with the intention of setting up an interview at a later time. Even if you do this, bring a fresh resume to the interview.

The Cover Letter

If you want to impress a potential boss, do your homework. Learn everything you can about it: when it was founded and by whom,

founder's personality and work ethics, what the company does and who they do business with, every possible statistic, the work environment, the HR department and/or the one who decides to hire, the stakeholders [not stockholders alone, but everyone at large who is affected by the company] and how they fit with the company.

The next step is to create a personal letter to the ones who will decide the employee. It could be head of the human relations department or the owner of the company or both. Find out who. Write a cover letter addressing them personally. Using the knowledge you have acquired about the company, write a letter about who you are, which job you are seeking, what makes you qualified, a few sentences of what impresses you about the company.

Try to condense it to one page by elimination of fluff words [or, and, if, a/an, etc...]

Remember, when it comes to a career, you want to shine. The employer wants brevity.

City, State, Zip Code
Phone Number
eMail Address
Person You are Addressing
Department You are Addressing
RE: Title of Position

Salutations [Insert Formal Name]:

My name is [your name] and I am applying for [the position].

I believe I am the most qualified applicant for this position because [3 sentences or less on why and what you bring to benefit the company].

What impresses me most about this company is [show off your facts as to how it relates to the job in less than 3 sentences]. I believe this fits me perfectly because [your explanation here].