resumes
March 13, 2018
2 mins read

What to know when writing your resume and cover letter

Did you know that recruiters take less than 20 seconds to scan a resume before moving on?

Whether you’re a first-year or masters student, when it comes to writing a resume (or curriculum vitae) and cover letter, everyone worries about their application being good enough. Although there are multiple online resources on how to write the perfect resume or cover letter, the majority of the information won’t provide personalized suggestions or tips based on your experiences and desired positions.

So how can you stand out among the other candidates?

Meet with a Career Peer Coach

Luckily, that’s where I come in. As a Career Peer Coach at the Centre for Student Involvement & Careers (CSIC), I’m part of a team of student coaches who can answer your job search questions and provide constructive and personalized feedback on your resume and cover letter – the kind you won’t get from reading a generic online article.

Personally, I became a Career Peer Coach because of my own experience as a student. Over a year ago, a coaching session helped me change my mindset when I was approaching applications for my Arts Internship Program. Instead of giving me an “application 101” lecture, my student coach guided me with an open conversation and helped me realize the importance of tailoring each resume to different jobs.

One of the most impressive things that I learned was to have a recruiter’s perspective when tailoring my cover letter and to think about what my personal experiences do for the company. Feeling grateful for my student coach, I decided to apply to become a coach and to help my peers with their application process.

Along with the CSIC's resume and cover letter tips, here are 5 pointers from the Career Peer Coach team to consider when you’re creating your next job application:

DON’T

Use jargon in position titles and experiences.

DO

Explain the meaning of the jargon by elaborating on the significance of your work or volunteer experiences.

DON’T

List all of your personal skills and strengths that are not directly related to the job.

DO

Read the job description and the required skills carefully, and match your skills to the job description.

DON’T

Have a general description of experiences in your cover letter.

DO

Write specific stories to describe an experience in the cover letter, using the STARR formula (Situation, Task, Action, Result, Relevance).

DON’T

Only list your most impressive tasks in your resume.

DO

Use accomplishment statements to showcase results when describing an experience.

DON’T

Stress out about the application by yourself.

DO

Book a session with the Career Peer Coaches to discuss personal ways of making the application stand out!

I can’t stress enough the value of having a second set of eyes to look over your resume or cover letters. Drop by the front desk of CSIC at Brock Hall to book a session with a Career Peer Coach. The coaches are more than happy to help you succeed and to have a “careerious” (career-curious) conversation with you.