Resume/Cover Letter Information

Just how important is your resume?

Since it is the first work sample that a potential employer sees, it is extremely important. Writing an effective resume is no accident, it doesn’t just happen. You can’t sit down the night before an important interview and type out a resume that will accurately represent your background, education, knowledge, skills and related experience. Resume writing requires careful thought and planning.

Resume Styles

Basic Resume
Best suited for those seeking an internship or entering the job market without related experience, this resume should contain the following information.  You may vary the order of the information.

  • Name, address, phone number and e-mail address
  • Objective (optional)
  • Education (honors and awards)
  • Experience (summer or part-time employment)
  • Activities (optional)
  • Skills (language and computer (including social media)
  • Interests (optional)

Chronological Resume (most preferred)
Most frequently used by applicants who have related experience, this highly popular resume offers the best opportunity to highlight achievements.  The experience is shown in reverse chronological order, the most recent to the past.  Multiple positions held at one company should also be listed in reverse chronological order showing the applicant’s growth and development, characteristics of interest to potential employers.

  • Name, address, phone number and e-mail address
  • Education
  • Related Experience, listing name of company, city and state, title of position, dates, and a brief description of responsibilities and accomplishments
  • Additional Experience, listed the same as related experience except with smaller or no description of position
  • Activities (optional)
  • Affiliations (optional)
  • Skills (language and computer)
  • Interests (optional)

Creative Resume
This resume is most commonly used when applying for creative positions.  The creativity may consist in layout, design and/or creative writing.

Basic Steps to Resume Writing

  1. Assemble the raw data
  2. Write an initial draft
  3. Select the most relevant data
  4. Translate the data into suitable language (your sentences and paragraphs are the building blocks that you can move around to fit your chosen resume style)
  5. Select your resume style
  6. Write your resume

 

Resume Writing – Action Verbs

Use strong action verbs (in the correct tense) to describe your experience, responsibilities, and duties on your resume.

Examples:

accomplished              defined                       initiated                      recommended

achieved                       delegated                   inspected                    reconciled

adapted                         demonstrated          instructed                   reduced

addressed                     designed                   interpreted                 reflected

adjusted                        developed                 launched                    reinforced

administered               directed                     lectured                      repaired

analyzed                       discussed                   led                               reported

applied                         drafted                        maintained               researched

approved                     educated                     managed                   revamped

assessed                       edited                          mediated                  reviewed

assigned                       enforced                     motivated                 revised

attained                        enlisted                      negotiated                scheduled

collaborated                established                operated                   screened

collected                      estimated                   organized                 selected

communicated           expedited                   participated             served

compared                    evaluated                   perceived                  serviced

compiled                     expanded                   performed                solved

completed                   facilitated                  persuaded                 stimulated

composed                    founded                     pinpointed                structured

conceived                    fundraised                 planned                     succeeded

conducted                   gathered                     prepared                   summarized

contributed                 generated                   processed                 supervised

controlled                    guided                        produced                  support

coordinated                hosted                         programmed           trained

counseled                    implemented             promoted                translated

created                         improved                    proposed                updated

critiqued                     increased                     provided                 utilized

decided                       influenced                   published                wrote

 

HOW TO WRITE A COVER LETTER

In your introductory paragraph, clearly state your purpose—that you are writing to apply for “XYZ” position at “ABC” company. Give a brief overview of what you will discuss later in the letter, which is usually your professional background and why you are interested in working for this company.

EXAMPLE:  I am a participant in Boston University’s LA Internship Program, and I am writing to apply for a production internship position at XYZ Corp.  As a camera operator, director, and student of film and literature, I appreciate the level of cinematic talent XYZ Corp represents.  Few companies are connected with as many craftspeople as XYZ, and I am excited by the opportunity to contribute to your business.

 

In the next paragraph(s), highlight your professional background/profile, in other words, what experience you have gained during past jobs or internships. You do not need to regurgitate information that is already on your resume, so do not provide detailed lists of your responsibilities in your various positions. Your cover letter serves to augment and enhance the information on your resume, not repeat it. Instead, focus on what skills you honed or developed, what things you learned, or a new appreciation you came to have. In other words, what did you take away from this experience? Highlight applicable and related skills that will show your strength as a candidate for the particular job/company you are applying for.

EXAMPLE:  Previously, I have interned at John Doe Productions, where I adapted to the fast rhythm of a production company.  Whether I was fact-checking, logging tapes or doing a coffee run, I was excited to play a role in production.  At BUTV100, I took on larger tasks and was responsible for editing a feature-length performance in two weeks’ time.  Currently, I work at BU Productions, where I work with producers to meet deadlines in ever-changing situations.  No matter the size of the task, my experience has taught me how to be an effective communicator and a team player, and I believe my background would make me a valuable asset at XYZ Corp.

 

In the next paragraph(s), discuss why you particularly want to work for this company you are applying to. Why does this company appeal to you? Is it the outstanding content they produce? Their approach to reporting, public relations, entertainment, etc.? Their strong reputation? Connect it back to the skills you discussed in the previous paragraph to tie everything together. Remember, your cover letter’s objective is to clearly demonstrate why you are the best candidate for this position at this company.

EXAMPLE:   XYZ Corp’s collaborative nature speaks to me personally.  I am a born collaborator, and I often find myself representing my colleagues. Helping people develop relationships energizes me, and I feel that my passion for networking fits in with XYZ’s aims.  I also identify with your focus on customer service.  While working at ABC Corp, I found going the extra mile to help patrons to be rewarding.  By addressing problems resourcefully and taking extra time to explain how equipment worked, and I earned patrons’ respect and built strong relationships.

 

Finally, end with a brief and polite closing. Something like, “Please refer to my resume for more detail regarding my qualifications. Thank you for your time and consideration, and I look forward to hearing from you.”