How to Write an Application Letter and Resume

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It doesn't matter how lengthy or substantive your resume is -- if it is not properly written and not accompanied by a strong application letter, you will rarely get noticed. To get hired at your dream job, format your resume correctly and write an interesting and detailed application letter.

The Application Letter

  • Introduce yourself in the opening paragraph and specify what position you want. List your current position or any previous experience. Mention how you discovered the program.

  • Address any specific questions the company asked for from the application letter in the body of the letter. Avoid rewriting your resume in paragraph form or turning it into a catalog of your achievements. If a software company asks you to list your relevant skills, don't list how you are a strong salesman, for example. Show what separates you from other applicants.

  • Tie together any loose ends and write how the job will help your long-term goals in the conclusion. If you listed a personal story in the introduction but didn't tie it specifically to the job you want, do it now. Ask for an interview at the end of the letter.

The Resume

  • Write your name in bold and your email, phone number and permanent address in normal font at the top. Each new piece of information should have its own line.

  • List your educational information. Write "Education" in bold and make a new line. Write the college and the city the college is in, the degree, what date you obtained the degree on and what your cumulative GPA is. Include your major GPA if it helps you look stronger when applying for a job related to your major.

  • Make a new line, write "Experience" in bold and make a new line. List your relevant work experience in reverse chronological order by writing out your title, your employer, its location and the dates you worked there. Italicize the dates. Tailor your resume to the job you are applying for and do not list everything. Emphasize outcomes, accomplishments and the breadth of responsibility at your previous positions.

  • List any computer and language skills you have underneath "Skills," written in bold. Employers assume you don't have any computer skills if you don't list them. Write how proficient you are in writing, speaking and reading any languages you know.

  • Write "Honors and Awards" in bold, make a new line and list any academic, leadership and athletic honors and awards you have won. List your academic honors underneath the education section if you do not have leadership or athletic honors and awards.

  • Write "Activities/Special Interests" in bold, make a new line and write out any activities or special interests you partake in, including leadership positions and their responsibilities. These activities and interests should be applicable to the job you want.

  • Write "References available upon request," at the bottom if you need to fill space.

Tips & Warnings

  • You can use "I" in your application letter.
  • Don't duplicate information from your resume in your application letter or vice versa.
  • Make your application letter as brief as possible.
  • Do not use the first person or contractions in your resume.

References

  • Photo Credit Digital Vision./Digital Vision/Getty Images
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