Today I attended ‘Resume Writing’ and the ‘Cover Letter’ workshop. About one dozen of us sat around a table set up in a U shape with our facilitator Jingling at the front ready to lead us. I also brought the latest version of my resume to make notes on. Let me say now in the early evening my resume is covered with helpful hints. And I have tried to incorporate the suggestions on to my new and improved resume.
Jingling spent time talking about the styles of resumes and what style is best for each person. I am best suited for the functional resume, this style emphasizes my skills and talents and downplays the fact that I have been home raising my children as well as helping to raise other families children for the past 8 years. It appears being home, helping to shape our future is not a positive attribute for reentering the workforce.
Jingling strongly emphasizes that we customize our resume to each job you apply for. Your resume should be one page (if you are fresh out of school) or two full pages, never a page and half. Your resume should not be over two pages unless you are applying to a professorship at some fancy university. Also just a little note never, never, never have your resume printed double sided (so much for trying to save a tree) and for some strange reason you must also avoid stapling your pages together. The use of paperclips is acceptable. I guess this is why I haven’t gotten a job yet, darn those staples.
The last hour of our workshop we spent working on the cover letter. Again like the resume it must be customized to the job that you are applying for. It must be a minimum of three paragraphs long. The first paragraph you talk about just how great you are and all your wonderful qualifications.
The second paragraph is where you are discussing something on a personal level that relates to the company in which you are applying to. But of course it can’t be too personal, you are never to mention your sex (or lack of), your spouse and children. It must be personal but in a unpersonal way.
The third paragraph is where you wrap everything up and let them know you are desperate for them to call you but of course don’t make it sound desperate. Also this is where you leave your telephone number and it must be your real number not the rejection hotline number you give to the creepy guy who keeps asking you out even after you have told him numerous times you are not interested.
This afternoon when I got home I spent two, yes two hours customizing my resume and cover letter and emailed it to a prospective employer. After all this work I am sure the 22 year old HR (fresh out of school) administrator will look at my resume and think “Wow she is just what we are looking for” and hopefully not look and say “Wow she sounds just like my mom!”