Resume & Cover Letter Preparation

Resume Preparation

A resume must be clear and easy to read. Potential employers must be able to see if the qualifications and experience in a candidate's resume match what they are seeking in an employee.

An effective resume should:

  • Ensure correct spelling and grammar
  • Provide accurate dates and contact details
  • Keep paragraphs brief and highlight achievements related to the role
  • Not provide personal information that is not related to the job
  • Use standard fonts, single colour (black) and simple formatting
  • State clearly the name of the role and reference number (if applicable)
  • State the basics such as name, address and contact details
  • Use bold type for headings only, to make it easier to recognise and summarise strengths
  • Provide an employment history overview starting with the most recent experience and achievements with the following structure: job title, employer, duration of employment, full-time or other status and job description
  • Provide a brief description of past employers as these may not be known by the employer
  • List key job achievements, job responsibilities and prioritise to list the most important first
  • List education and training starting with the highest qualification
  • List referees at the end of the resume (preferably previous managers and supervisors) including best daytime contact number

Cover Letter Preparation

The role of the cover letter is to ensure the resume gets read by the employer, is tailored specifically to the job role and clearly highlights why the candidate's skills and experience are a good match for the role.

Cover letters are generally one A4 page in length, use standard fonts and formatting similar to the resume and should include the date, name of the position and the candidate's name and contact details, including phone number and email address.

An effective cover letter should follow this process:

  1. Underline the key words used in the employer or recruiter's position description
  2. Personalise cover letters using the recruitment consultant or employer, manager or supervisor's name, title, company name and address at the top of the letter
  3. Use clear, simple language and include the job title; be confident in your opening paragraph
  4. Use the first three or four paragraphs to indicate how your experiences and career achievements match the job
  5. The final paragraph should bring the letter to a close and indicate your interest in meeting the employer and joining the company. Highlight what you can do for the potential employer, not what the employer can do for you.