Resume Tips (10)

Resume and Cover Letter Tips





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Online Résumé Warnings

 Online Résumé Warnings

Be careful when posting your résumé online - Here are the top reasons not to post your résumé on the web: newcvonline

1) Your current employer might see it and determine that you are not loyal. So, why should they be loyal to you? Some employers fire employees just for searching for jobs. Of course, they may not be that blunt. They might just pass you up for potential opportunities and promotions. 

2) Your information is not secure. There is no way to totally secure the information. Some sites claim they can keep your employer from seeing it. But what if your company has acquired or merged with another company that you don't know about? What if a corporate partner, subsidiary or division accesses your résumé and tells your company? No database can track this if the information is not entered into the database! 

3) You're posting personal & sensitive information for anybody in the world to see. Why would you want to give complete background information about yourself to anyone who wants to see it? 

4) Encouraging telemarketing and spam. People often put there phone number and email address on their résumé. This opens you up to receive spam and unwanted telemarketing calls. 

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5) Unwanted contact from recruiters or companies. Posting your résumé on the web opens you up to anybody who wants to call whether the job meets your description or not. You will likely receive calls about multi-level marketing, business opportunities, undesirable jobs, etc. We recommend that applicants control their search. This means researching companies carefully before sending a résumé. 

What can you do?  

1) Instead of posting your résumé for anyone to see, send résumés to companies you know and trust. 

2) Research each company thoroughly and apply when you feel the company meets your criteria. 

3) If you do post your résumé online, be sure that the site allows you to determine exactly who sees it. For instance, you might be able to give a company a password to see it. But, it would still be just as easy to send it to the company! Also, the companies may not take the time to login to see your résumé when they have 100 other résumés on their desks.



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Resume Writing Styles

resume3Resume Writing Styles

There are several styles of resumes along with numerous variations. Your experience and the kind of job you are applying for will help to determine the style of resumeyou use. The two basic styles are: Chronological Resumes and Functional Skills Resumes. Some of the variations include the main themes of business, academic, general, student, standard, professional, or engineering.


A Chronological Resume lists employment and employment-related experiences in reverse chronological order (the most recent experience first). It includes some descriptive text about each position, usually described in about one paragraph. This type of resume offers several advantages: it is widely accepted, they are easy to read, and they show a clear pattern of your development. The disadvantages include: it does not highlight your major accomplishment(s), nor do they effectively show your other skills.

The chronological resume is a good format for those with a consistent employment history, no gaps in employment, and whose past employment experiences are related to their current employment goals. It effectively showcases a steady work record with increasing upward responsibilities. This may not be the best for new graduates, individuals with job gaps, or persons changing careers.


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The functional resume highlights skills, experiences, and accomplishments without identifying specific dates, names, and places. This format is organised by functions or skills, which advertise the specific qualifications needed for an occupation. This resume works well for people changing careers. It is also effective for those re-entering the workforce, first-time job seekers, and when highlighting experiences that occurred in the distant past. There is no chronological listing of employment. Consequently, some employers do not like this format because they suspect that the person may be trying to hide something.

Functional Skills Resumes highlight your skills and accomplishments rather than providing a chronological record of your job history. Your accomplishments and skills are listed at the beginning. Your job history is listed at the end of the resume. This type of resume allows you to call attention to your achievements. The major disadvantage is that employers may find it difficult to follow your work experience.


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Many people discover that a combination of these two kinds of resumes is the best way to go. You may want to try several different types of combinations before settling upon a final design. The combination resume brings together the best of both the chronological and functional resumes. It features a functional section that highlights skills, accomplishments, and experiences. It also includes a chronological listing of employment, education, and employment-related experiences. This is a very effective format for many job seekers. The best chronological resume is enhanced with a section highlighting skills, accomplishments, and experiences. The best functional resume is strengthened with a chronological listing of employment experiences.

Other Variants

(i) Keyword 
The keyword resume is a variation that adds a listing of skills to the beginning of any standard resume format. Placing critical occupational skills as keywords at the beginning adds impact to the resume and helps capture the reader’s attention. This variation is effective for all career fields and levels of skill. It is a very effective strategy for creating scannable resumes.

(ii) Targeted

More of a strategy than a style, the targeted resume directs skills and experience to the specific needs of an employer.


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Résumé Submission Follow-up Tips

Résumé Submission Follow-up Tips

You have sent a resume to a company you'd like to interview with and you haven't heard back right away. What do you do next? You can either wait patiently, presuming the employer will contact you if they are interested, or you can choose to follow-up with the employer.

How to Follow Up

If you don't hear back from within two weeks, it may be beneficial to follow-up. Employers and recruiters may prefer follow-up by email. If no email address is listed, try sending a note or calling. If neither email, address or a phone number are listed, or the posting says not to contact the employer, following the instructions and don't follow up.

What to Ask

  • What are the next steps in the recruiting process? Will all candidates be contacted?
  • Do you need any additional information about my candidacy? (Or briefly share new info that adds to your candidacy.)
  • If you plan to visit the company’s location, mention the timeframe and your eagerness to meet – ask if it’s possible to arrange an interview during your visit.

 View a sample follow up E-mail



Tips for a Great Cover Letter

 Tips for a Great Cover Letter

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A cover letter is the first method of introduction an employer uses to get a feel for prospective employees. It should therefore highlight qualifications, experience and other relevant information that will make the employer want to move on to the attached resume. The goal of a good cover letter is to quickly show an employer your best qualities and pique their interest in you so that you make through  to the next round of the application process. 

Following these tips, you will be well on your way to a great cover letter:

1)    Read the job requirements that are advertised carefully
The fastest way for employers to not even consider a job application is when the minimum requirements are not met. Be sure that you apply for jobs that you are qualified for. For example, a company that states it is looking for someone with five (5) years of experience will not, in all likelihood, hire a new University graduate. Similarly, if the posting requests a Masters degree or PhD, someone with a first degree or lower qualifications will not be considered.

2)    Do Your homework 
Research the company you are applying to as well as the title of the position. Find out the name of the Human Resource Director or Manager and be sure to address them directly using their name (spelt correctly) and correct title in the heading and opening of the letter.  The information of the position can give you some ideas when wording the body of the letter. 

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3)    Writing the Cover Letter (click here to see layout of this cover letter) 

a.    Begin with the current date, followed by your full name and address. 
b.    Follow this with the Name of the HR Manager/Director, their title, Company and Company address
c.    Next, state the position that you are applying in the title of the letter  
d.    Summarize your resume:

  • Give an overview of the contents of your resume. Experienced job seekers should include your educational qualifications, volunteer work, internships, summer jobs etc. and all other experience that is relevant to the job.
  • New comers to the job market should include courses and other schoolwork that an employer would see as relevant to the position.

e.    Use the language of the job posting in the cover letter:  

  • Employers will include skills and qualities that they are seeking in potential employees when they post jobs. The content of the cover letter should reflect the requirements or qualities as stated in the job posting. For example, the posting may state that the individual must be “proficient in Microsoft office”, “have three years of experience in a similar position” or have “excellent interpersonal skills”. Write these in the cover letter exactly as stated in the job posting. This will show the employer that you have read and understood the job requirements and that you believe that you possess these qualities.

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f.    Close the body of the cover letter by indicating that a resume is enclosed and expressing an interest in meeting with the employer at their convenience.

g.    Close the letter itself with your full name and contact information (telephone numbers and e-mail address)  (see sample Cover letter for tips) 

4)    Don’t wait until the last minute 
Just because a deadline is a two weeks away doesn’t mean that a cover letter and resume should be sent one week and six days later. Create and send off the cover letter and resume as soon as possible from the date you saw the job vacancy.  Most importantly, ensure that your cover and letter and resume are received before the deadline. Applications received after stated deadlines are not usually considered. 

5)    Follow up 
Unless the vacancy specifically states “No Calls”, follow up with the company within 3-5 business days of sending them the cover letter and resume to ensure that it was received.  

6)    New job application means New Cover letter 
It is a good idea to create a new cover letter for each company you apply to, using the same process described here. Much of the information will remain the same (qualifications etc.), but company information and relevant experience will change on each cover letter and depending on the type of job.

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Standard Cover Letter Format

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(Click here to view a sample cover letter using this format)

[Current Date] 

[Your full name]
[Your address] 
[Your addres ctd.]  

[Name of Human Resources Manager/Director]   
[Positon/ Title]  
[Company Name]
[Company Address in Full]

Re: Vacancy for [Title of Job as seen in posting]  

Dear Mr. 
[Name of Human Resources Manager/Director] 

I have been made aware of an employment opportunity within the Company Name  for the position of  [State Position here]   through its job posting with [Career Jamaica (or website, news paper where posting was published)]  and believe that my skills and experience  have qualified me for this position. 

(Give an overview of the contents of your resume) 

Experienced job seekers should include your educational qualifications, volunteer work, internships, summer jobs etc. and all other experience that is relevant to the job. 

New comers to the job market should include courses and other schoolwork that an employer would see as relevant to the position. 

(Use wording from the job posting itself to reinforce to the employer that you are qualified)

(Click here to view a sample cover letter using this format)

My education, internships and volunteer work have fostered [strong interpersonal, analytical and organizational skills, as working as part of a team and inter-organizational cooperation is at the core of all social justice advocate institutions]. I am therefore certain that  my experience in [list previous relevant experience] have qualified me for the job of [Position Title] within the [Name of Company/ Orgnaization]  

(Closing of Body)
The enclosed resume only summarizes my capabilities and I look forward to meeting with you at your convenience to discuss in detail the positive contributions I could make to your organization. 

(Closing of cover letter) 
Thank you for your consideration. 

Respectfully yours, 

[Your Name]
[Youe email address e.g. This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.]
(876) 555 5555 
(876) 556 5555

(Click to see 1) An actual job vacancy posting and 2) a cover letter created for the posting using this format)

Encl: Resume 

* Items in brackets ( …)  Should be excluded in actual letter 
[…] Insert stated information or the information from job posting in square brackets


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Resume Power Words

Action Words for Powerful Resumes

When HR managers see the same resume over and over with phrases such as "detail oriented individual" and "great team player" you are decreasing your chances of getting an interview. Poorly chosen and repetitive phrases will cause the reader to lose interest.

Correctly using power words or action words will help you stand out from your competition and increase your chances of getting an interview.

The strongest words on your resume are not always verbs. Employers and their software aren’t scanning for “managed” and “assisted.” They’re looking for skills, certifications, degrees, job titles, names of products or services, names of processes, names of hardware and software, company names, names of professional or trade organizations, or names of schools.

One great way to discover which nouns your potential employer cares most about is to study the job description. Use those nouns and noun phrases in your resume. For example, if the employer states that they are looking for someone to build their customer base then those are the exact same words you should use on your resume if you have the experience.

Remember to check your potential employer’s website (Or: our Career Jamaica's convenient company information section here). You’ll learn a lot about the corporate culture and maybe glean some valuable words to include in your resume.

If you notice the same keywords on both the employer’s job description and the website, you should use them more than once.

Here is a list of our TOP POWER WORDS

Be sure to use them in your resume!




Resume Mistakes to Avoid

Top Resume Mistakes

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It is extremely easy to make a mistake on  your resume. There is no way to repair the damage that is done once an employer gets it. Preventing these mistakes is the key to landing a job interview and making the best first impression to potential employers. Here are the top resume mistakes employers continue to report: Here are the top resume mistakes and ways to avoid them:    

1. Typos and Grammatical Errors

Your resume needs to be grammatically perfect. If it isn't, employers will read between the lines and draw not-so-flattering conclusions about you, like: "This person probably cant speak well or write" or "This person doesn't pay attention to details.

Avoid making this mistake by having at least two persons proof read your resume for you before sending it off. Also, if you are sending your resume in via email, send it to yourself first to see what the employer will see once they get it.

2. A Bad Objective

Employers do read your resume objective, but will often overlook candidates that use clichéd phrases like "Seeking a challenging position that offers professional growth." Your objective should provide employers with a clear impression of your professional goals and how they would potentially benefit their organization. For example: "Seeking a challenging entry-level marketing position that allows me to contribute my skills and experience in fund-raising for a non governmental organization."

Be sure your objective fits with each position you apply for. Do not send an employer hiring for sales reps the same objective you would if you were applying for a post as a brand manager. Read the job posting carefully and tailor your objective to match.

3. Lack of Specifics

Employers what to know what you have accomplished not a list of you duties. For example:

From the perspective of an HR Manger there is a huge difference between a candidate who states, "Worked with employees in a restaurant setting" as opposed to one that states "Recruited, hired, trained and supervised more than 20 employees in a restaurant with $2 million in annual sales"

Both of these phrases could describe the same person, but the specific accomplishments given by the second candidate will make them more likely to be the one called for an interview.

4. Attempting One Size Fits All

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Whenever you try to develop a one-size-fits-all resume to send to all employers, you almost always end up with something employers will toss in the recycle bin. Employers want you to write a resume specifically for them. They expect you to clearly show how and why you fit the position in a specific organization.

5. No Power Words/Action Verbs

Avoid using phrases like "responsible for." Instead, use action verbs: "Resolved user questions as part of an IT help desk serving 4,000 students and staff." Click here for a list of our top Power Words to help you get started.

6. Leaving Off Important Information

You may be tempted the jobs you took "just because" or "just for the money" The soft skills you've gained from these experiences (e.g., work ethic, time management) are more important to employers than you might think.

Be sure to include them on your resume

7. Visually Unappealing

If your resume has four different fonts with italics, colours and and stylization, it may be too busy on the eyes. This may give a negative impression to the employer and in general, is just difficult to read.

Show your resume to several other people before sending it out and ask them if they it visually attractive? If what you have is hard on the eyes, edit. Remember: sometimes less is more!

8. Incorrect Contact Information

This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. / This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. Notice the difference?

One incorrect digit, character or letter means that an employer will not be able to contact you. Check and recheck your contact information to make sure it is current and correct. Most importantly (and yes, more people than you would this do this) ensure that your full name is on your resume!

CJ Admin

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Writing a Winning Cover Letter

Structure of a Cover Letter

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coverletter2If you’re unsure how you’re actually going to write a cover letter, it can help to break the letter down into its various parts and concentrate on just one section at a time. Here’s what goes into each of the four main sections of a cover letter:

The Beginning:

This is where you tell employers who you are, why you’re writing , and how you heard about the organization or the specific opening. The “who you are” par t is a brief introduction of yourself with a phrase like: “I am a senior at XYZ University graduating in May with a major in biology.” Just mention the basic facts about you and your situation, choosing the ones that will be most relevant to the employer. The “why you’re writing” part is where you mention which position you are applying for, or what your job ­objective is if no specific opening has been advertised. Then be sure to tell them how you heard about the organization or the job. You might say, for example, “I saw your posting for a Marketing Assistant at the Career Services on Career Jamaica.” Or, “I read about the expansion of your East Coast operations in the Jamaica Gleaner am ­interested in ­discussing entry-level opportunities you might have ­available.”

The Middle:

1. The Sales Pitch
It’s best to get right to the point. The objective of this part of the letter is to list–either in paragraph form or as an actual list of bullet points–the reasons why the reader should see you as a viable candidate. It’s best to start with a statement that provides an overview of
your qualifications, then go into them more specifically, using the examples you ­identified ­before you started writing. A typical opening statement might sound something like: “As a political science major and former campaign volunteer for the Liberal party, I offer the following skills and accomplishments.”

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2. The Flattery

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 This is the “why them” section of your letter. It’s where you flatter the reader a bit by commenting  on something positive about the organization and letting them know why you would want to work   there. You might mention the organization’s reputation, sales record, size, corporate culture,  management philosophy or anything else that they take pride in. Prospective employers like  to know that you have chosen them for a reason and that they’re not just one of hundreds of  companies you’re writing to as part of a mass mailing. (Even if you are doing a mass  mailing, you must tailor each letter to “flatter” the reader and show that you’ve done some  research on that organization or that person.)

 The End:

 A Request for Further Action

 Some people think of this final section of a cover letter as the closing , but it’s much more than that . The closing paragraph isn’t just about thanking the reader for taking the time to read your letter or for considering you as a candidate for a job. It ’s also about where to go from here–about opening the door to fur ther contact . It’s where you suggest how to proceed, usually by saying that you will call or email the reader to follow up and see if a meeting can be arranged. The important thing is to end the letter in an assertive, but courteous way by taking the initiative to follow up Once you’ve gotten these four sections of the letter completed in terms of content, go back and smooth out any rough edges of your writing and check for typos, misspellings and grammatical errors.

Then you’re ready for “Sincerely” or “Best Regards” and your signature,and you’re off and running on the road to a great job.

For more tips read:

Job Letter Writing Tips Writing a Letter of Inquiry Format of a Cover Letter

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Resume Checklist

Resume Checklist
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Did you know that a resume will only get less than a 15-second glance at the first screening?
If you don't make a good impression within those 15 seconds, it's straight to the "no pile". Before sending off a resume to an employer, be sure that ALL your answers are YES to the following questions:  
First Impression
  1. Does the resume look original and not based on a template?
  2. Is the resume inviting to read, with clear sections and ample white space?
  3. Does the design look professional rather than like a simple typing job?
  4. Is a qualifications summary included so the reader immediately knows the applicant's value proposition?
  5. Is the resume's length and overall appearance appropriate given the career level and objective?
  1. Does the resume provide a visually pleasing, polished presentation?
  2. Is the font appropriate for the career level and industry?
  3. Are there design elements such as bullets, bolding and lines to guide readers' eyes through the document and highlight important content?
  4. Is there a good balance between text and white space?
  5. Are margins even on all sides?
  6. Are design elements like spacing and font size used consistently throughout the document?
  7. If the resume is longer than a page, does the second page contain a heading? Is the page break formatted correctly?
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Resume Sections

  1. Are all resume sections clearly labeled?
  2. Are sections placed in the best order to highlight the applicant's strongest credentials?
  3. Is the work history listed in reverse chronological order (most recent job first)?

Career Goal

  1. Is the career objective included toward the top of the resume in a headline, objective or qualifications summary?
  2. Is the resume targeted to a specific career goal and not trying to be a one-size-fits-all document?
  3. If this is a resume for career change, is the current objective clearly stated, along with supporting details showing how past experience is relevant to the new goal?
  1. Does the resume include a solid listing of career accomplishments?
  2. Are accomplishments quantified by using numbers, percentages, dollar amounts or other concrete measures of success?
  3. Do accomplishment statements begin with strong, varied action verbs?
  4. Are accomplishments separated from responsibilities?
  1. Is the information relevant to hiring managers' needs?
  2. Does the resume's content support the career goal?
  3. Is the resume keyword-rich, packed with appropriate power words, buzzwords and industry acronyms?
  4. Is applicable additional information, such as awards and affiliations, included, while personal information like marital status, age and nationality unrelated to the job target omitted?

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Writing Style
  1. Is the resume written in an implied first-person voice with personal pronouns, such as I, me and my, avoided?
  2. Is the content flow logical and easy to understand?
  3. Is the resume as perfect as possible, with no careless typos or spelling, grammar or syntax errors?
Adapted from: Resume Critique Checklist
By Kim Isaacs, Monster Resume Expert

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