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Cover Letters and Resume Tips

Cover Letters

Employers screen many, many resumes every day. Make yours stand out with a well-written cover letter that is targeted to the opportunity you're applying for.

  • Be sure your spelling and grammar are correct. Spell Check won't catch every mistake, so ask a friend to review your cover letter and resume to check for accuracy. Some employers will screen out applicants if their cover letters or resumes have grammatical or spelling mistakes.
  • Your cover letter should have a professional tone and be specific to the job you're applying for. Research the company on the Internet. Explain how you can fill the employer's needs.
  • Keep the letter brief. Describe your qualifications and skills and state why you're a good match for the job. What value can you bring to a company? What do you know about the company?
  • Remember that a good cover letter is your chance to make an impression as a good communicator.

Expert Tips for Creating a Powerful Resume

Your resume is your ticket to getting an interview with a prospective employer. This document creates an opportunity to make a great impression on a hiring manager. It's a written record of your qualifications, work history, skills and education. It is critical that your resume be well-written, clear and concise while including all the necessary details.


Almost all employers use electronic applicant tracking software, so it's important that your resume is scannable, regardless of how it's submitted. When submitting a resume to Certified, apply online or email your resume as an MS Word attachment.

Three ways to make your resume scannable:
  • Use a standard, clear, legible font such as Arial, Helvetica or Times New Roman.
  • Use a 10 or 12 point font size and default margin settings
  • Avoid italics, underlining, and bold or reversed type, as these effects may cause the scanning software to misread characters.
To insure that your resume comes up in searches, using key words that apply to your skills and experience is critical.
  • Use concrete key words and phrases to describe your job titles such as: Receptionist, Biologist, Case Clerk, Programmer, Manager, Law Librarian.
  • Use key words when describing your skills such as: MS Excel, electronic assembly, PowerPoint, HTML, shipping and receiving.

Standard items:
  • Your resume heading should include your name, address, phone number and email address, if you have one.
  • If you decide to include an objective section, make sure it's specifically targeted to the job you're applying for. It should not include vague statements like - I'm seeking a position where my people skills can be utilized. It is better to say - Seeking a bookkeeping job in a medium to large accounting firm. You might consider substituting a qualifications section under which you list items like excellent customer service skills, etc. Qualifications that match the specific job opening should be listed first.
  • The body of your resume should consist of positions held with the most recent job listed first. For each job listing include the name of the company you worked for, the dates you worked there, your job title and a description of tasks you performed. Feel free to include any notable accomplishments such as increased sales by 50%.
  • List software packages that you are proficient in and can use immediately upon hire.
  • Do not include your age or the date that you graduated from high school.
  • List any college degree or certification earned and your major area of study.
  • Go light on listing hobbies or other personal information. A list of interests or awards should consist of job-related or community-related activities. Do not list political associations that you belong to.
  • Don't forget to include any volunteer work that you've done.
Job search:
  • Before starting your job search, be sure that you've represented yourself professionally on any social or professional networking sites like LinkedIn, Facebook, etc. Potential employers frequently check these sources to aid them in forming an impression of a candidate.
  • To help build your resume, stay flexible about accepting the variety of assignments that you may be offered. Keep track of any new skills you acquire and update your resume.
  • We'll be glad to help you construct or improve your resume.


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