3F: Cover letter, resume & Interview Skills

You can do anything, and be anything if someone helps you!

A 21st century cover letter, and resume is a requirement if you want to get an interview. As stated in Step 6, employers value soft skills more than job skills. Why? Because they are looking for people whom they will enjoy working with. Employers do not care how good you are at your job, or how great your credentials are, unless they like you. Many of my students have gotten jobs that they were unqualified for simply because they were likable, meaning that they had soft skills, and a one page, single spaced, cover letter. You should always send a one page, single spaced, cover letter when you apply for any job. Before going any further, please watch the following video: Cover letter and Resume Recommendations

More importantly, make sure that you know how to interview. First, watch as many mock interview videos as possible such as this one from Harvard University: Harvard University Ace the Interview. Second, ask questions in the interview. Here are a few examples: Questions to ask during a job interview. Lastly, know the difference between Legal and Illegal interview questions. Please take a look at these illegal interview questions: Illegal Interview Questions.

Below is a sample cover letter. Note how it is formatted. Your name is in the center of the page. Typically we recommend that your name is in 18 point font, and the rest of the document in 12 point font. Never use anything smaller than 12 point, and nothing larger than 18. A cover letter is your effort to market yourself. Look around, in every advertisement the name of the product, or store, is the largest thing on the page. You are your own product. Therefore your name should be the largest thing at the top, and bottom of the page. Take a look at this video from Harvard University, they recommend the same format: Harvard Cover Letter & Resume recommendation.

Next, research, and find a contact person at the place you want to work. If you don’t someone else will. Always mail your cover letter to a person, never to Dear Sir, or Madam. The extra effort will pay off.

As the Harvard video says, you only have 7 seconds to convince the reader of your cover letter that they would enjoy working with you. That is why the first paragraph is all about your SOFT SKILLS. If 93% of employers care about soft skills, more than job skills, would it be smart to start off with anything else? Of course not. Whenever you apply for a job, the person reading the resume is looking for someone whom they will enjoy being around, is that you?

After talking about your soft skills, you have to show that you are qualified for the job. How do you do that? You look at the job description, and you basically copy all of the key terms from that job description and place them into paragraphs 2,3, and 4 of your cover letter. The job description is their way of telling you exactly what they want. If you are not exactly what they want, they will move on. Make sure that you never lie. If you do not have a quality they are looking for then just say, “Although I do not have ……qualification, I am a fast learner.” Never lie, be likable, and take a copy of your cover letter and resume with you into the interview.

Before you get started, here is list of things NOT TO DO on your cover letter, or resume. Jeanne Sahadi of CNN Money wrote this article back in November of 2014: What gets your resume rejected? As you read the samples below, you will see that we avoided all of the pitfalls listed in the Sahadi article.

SAMPLE 21ST CENTURY COVER LETTER : One page, single spaced. Some portions of these examples are not single spaced simply to make them easier to read. Whenever you apply for a job, your cover letter, and resume, should be single spaced, unless otherwise directed.

LeBron James

1234 World Champion Boulevard

Miami, Fl 98795

Email address: lebronjames@winners.com

Cell Phone Number: 289-666-6667

To: Adam Silver

46906 Washington Dr.

New York, New York, 36097

Re: Retail Sales Manager in Miami

Dear Mr. Silver,

My name is Lebron James, and I am applying for the position of Retail Sales Manager in Miami. I consider myself to be a team player, professional, punctual, trustworthy, an excellent communicator, not afraid to take responsibility, a critical thinker, and a problem solver. I also consider myself to be a high achiever but not a perfectionist, and I understand the importance of being part of a winning team and the value of respecting all of my coworkers regardless of our differences.

The job description asks for someone with the following qualifications:

  • Team player
  • Hard worker
  • Excellent communicator
  • Critical Thinker
  • No work experience required
  • Associates Degree

I will have my Associates Degree in August of this year and as my opening paragraph states; I am a hard worker, team player, excellent communicator and critical thinker. My sincere desire is to meet with you to discuss my qualifications further.

Yours truly,

Lebron James

 

Sample of a 21ST century resume:

Notice that this resume is concise, clean, and brief. As the Harvard video recommends, always let the reader know that you have accomplished things. Be an accomplished applicant. Work hard to be the top applicant for every job.

LeBron James

1234 World Champion Boulevard

Miami, Fl 98795

Email address: lebronjames@winners.com

Cell Phone Number: 289-666-6667

Education:

Ivy Tech Community College                                               8/2014

Janice Joplin High School                                                       5/2012

Professional Experience:

Taco Bell                                                                                            2014-Present

Service Manager

  • Collaborated with Senior Management
  • Improved customer service
  • Increased sales by 33%

Wall Street Top Stock                                                                 2010-2014

Sales Representative

  • Managed the new recruit division
  • Decreased employee turnover
  • Stabilized the marketing budget

Valuable Experience:

Janice Joplin Track Team, Shot put and Discus          2010-2012

Baby Sitter, various families                                                  2007-2012

Certifications/Skills:

Certified in CPR, Critical Thinking Skills, Time Management Skills, trained in Soft Skills at Ivy Tech Community College

References:

Available upon request

COMPLETE p. 68 of the workbook and create your own cover letter and resume, then proceed to p. 69: Break the cycle of failure

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