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Resumes and Cover Letters

Trainer script

Length: 2 hours

Introductions and housekeeping (where bathrooms, etc.)

Summarize what will be covered in the workshop


Topics to think about as you develop your resume:

How to write a traditional resume.
How to reformat that resume as an ‘eresume’ so that you can send it as email.
How to maximize distribution of your resume
• Traditional mailing
• post it online at one of the mega-job sites
• send it electronically to a company web site
• to post it on the web or not to post it on the web

MIJOB.INFO has links to books and online discussions about writing the perfect
resume. Book cited on MiJob.Info is a NetLibrary electronic book:
Complete Idiot’s Guide to the Perfect Resume, by Susan Ireland. One of the
EBOOKS in the statewide collection!!
(Browse this book. DETAILS: can check out 6 hours.)
Ms. Ireland also has a great web site with detailed instructions about how to
create an eresume and other resume tips that we will look at shortly.


Numerous Internet sites offer very good RESUME WRITING TIPS. Let’s take a look
at the variety of articles and examples of resumes.

GO TO “resume writing’ heading

Resume Writing from HotJobs

Notice that they are promoting a professional resume writer in the primo
place on their web page. We’ll talk about professional
writers soon, but for now scroll down to the articles and open one or two
Exercise: Have everyone read one article. Then go around the room
and have everyone give one RESUME WRITING tip that they have
just read.
Wall Street Journal Career
RESUMES AND COVER LETTERS: Articles like “Should you pay for
resume writer?”
Most of the mega-job sites advertise professional resume writers.
You can pay someone from $80 to mega-bucks to write your
resume. Is this a good idea? Employers say they can always tell if
you have not written your own resume. They recognize the
“generically perfect employee” described in generically glowing
adjectives by the professional resume writer.

At The Resume Guide is very

detailed approach to resume writing.
From the Massachusetts Division of Employment & Training They
interviewed 50 employers: Lots of useful tips – click NEXT at bottom of
page and skim the employer’s comments for a few minutes.
"Remember, if you write your own resume, it will sound like you. It will say what
you want to say. You will be more familiar with its contents."

Resume-Writers' Associations

If you decide to hire a ghostwriter for your resume, you will want to find a
competent writer.

Go to the MeL Business Economics / Careers Employment / GUIDES &

TIPS /” and select “Certified Resume Writers” TRY SEARCHING for a writer. Find bio on a
What does it mean when a writer says he/she is 'certified' as a professional resume writer.
ANSWER: from the web site:Certified Professional Resume Writer (CPRW)
Professional Association of Resume Writers & Career Coaches
A resume writer possessing the CPRW credential must pass a timed examination consisting of
four modules, which test the writer's industry knowledge and understanding of the resume writing
field, his/her command for grammar, punctuation, spelling and proofreading, and his/her skills in
strategic thinking on resume related issues. In addition, the writer is required to develop a resume
and cover letter based upon background information provided by the PARW/CC on a hypothetical
client.Certification examinations are reviewed and graded by three CPRWs who are members of
the Certification Committee Board. Organizational membership of writer is required to maintain
the CPRW credential. The CPRW credential was established in 1991 and is recognized as the
standard of the industry.

PROFESSIONAL RESUME WRITERS handout lists this association and two other
leading associations that are reputable.

See OTHER ARTICLES AT MEL: “10 minute resume”

10 min resume exercise is an interesting exercise.

DON’T OVERLOOK FREE sources of help for reviewing your resume.
• your professional colleagues or friends in the industry
• your college / university alumni office may offer a career builder
• job search support groups – people you meet in online discussion
o professional associations web sites have links to discussion
o or
• if you have been laid off and your company offers free training or
placement services, TAKE THE OFFER!


Step # 1 in writing your resume is selecting a presentation format.
• Chronological - The chronological format is the most traditional
resume format. It highlights your job titles, places of employment,
and dates of tenure by presenting them as headings under which
your achievements are listed
• Functional - The functional format presents your experience under
skill headings, giving you the freedom to prioritize your
accomplishments by impact rather than by chronology. In this
format, your work history is listed very concisely in a section
separate from your achievements
The DAMNGOODRESUME series by Yana Parker will help you make this
decision and also give you lots more writing tips.

GO TO MiJob Info:

Click on JOB SEEKERS / [top menu bar far left]
Look at the GOOD RESUME EXAMPLES / [1st para, 4th link down]
Example of a chronological format: Marguerite (older worker)
Example of functional resume: Josephine Teller
READ the 3 skill groups

We are going to do a free exercise that will help you decide which format is
best for you. CAREER VICTORY Go to “RESUME
CALCULATOR” Do this exercise. Click on the red and green formats when you finish
and read about chronological and functional formats. [Stop after you get the results.
Next page they are selling their software]

MORE INFORMATION about which type of resume is your best ‘fit.’

Chronological Resume The chronological format is most useful when:

• You are staying in the same field.

• Your overall work history shows growth, making your job objective a natural next
step in your career path.
• Your most recent (or current) position is one you are proud of.
• You have no gaps in your work history.

Functional Resume The functional format is most useful when:

• You are changing careers.

• You are reentering the job market.
• You need to emphasize skills or experience from an early part of your work
• Your volunteer experience is relevant and needs to be highlighted.
• Your most recent position is not impressive.
• Your job titles don't accurately reflect the level of responsibility you had.

If filters block damngood, use the definitions and examples of the formats
here at this site.
Lots of help in the writing process, including sample resumes
GO HERE to look at the definitions of Chronological and functional
resumes. “What is the right resume for me.” Definitions of formats
again and some sample chronological and functional resumes. Look at
functional and talk about adding company names to bullets and
including a chronological list of jobs even in the functional resume

What Employers Say About Choosing a Resume Format

There are two basic resume formats: CHRONOLOGICAL and FUNCTIONAL

The chronological resume lists jobs in order, starting with the most recent job you held
and working backwards. Functional resumes group accomplishments under specific
areas of skills and abilities. The other resume formats are a combination of these two
basic types. Most employers today prefer a chronological resume.

Always begin a resume with your name, address, and telephone numbers (work and
home, if possible). This information should be centered in the middle of the top of the
page and your name should be bold face so it stands out. If you do not have a
telephone, find a phone number where you are confident you will receive all your
messages in a timely fashion. In addition, there are companies that provide telephone
services for a fee.

Employers surveyed explained that they did not like flashy writing, bright colors or
resumes with pictures on them. Also, they do not want your resume enclosed or
encased in plastic or in a folder. It is too much work to get at the resume. The exception
to this is someone seeking a marketing or high-level sales position. Employers generally
agreed that they like a lot of white space and a professional presentation.
There are three elements (listed in order of importance) that make more of an
impression on an employer than any resume you could put together:

• An influential networking contact who speaks highly of your skills, qualifications,

and personality.
• Accomplishments and skills that match the position.
• A dynamic presentation of yourself to the employer.

Key points to remember when using a chronological resume:

• Detail only the last three to five positions or employment covering the last ten to
fifteen years.
• Detail three or four accomplishments in each position with the most relevant ones
in the top half of the resume.
• Show promotions, increased status and increased responsibility.
• Keep your resume to one page when possible, never more than two pages
(unless writing a curriculum vitae).

Key points to remember when using a functional resume:

• Select three or four general skill areas.

• Utilize accomplishment statements that are relevant to the position you are
applying for and put those at the top.
• Include an educational/professional affiliation section.
• Create an employment history section that lists position title, company name,
city, state, and dates of employment.
• If you have no work experience or a spotty record, list your
employers/experiences, leaving out employment dates entirely, but be prepared
to talk about this at the interview. Put this section at the bottom of the resume
after educational information. If your chronological resume is not working for you,
try a functional one. People are getting interviews deviating from the traditional
formats. However, there are usually other contributing factors such as networking
contacts or unique skill qualifications

If you use functional resume, you must make it easy for employers to visualize your
overall chronological work history. Never omit a bare-bones chronological listing of
your work experience and try to include the company names in your ‘bullets’
describing each skill level or accomplishment so the employer can link these bullets
to your work history.


Go through the Resume Tips handout. Explain you will be using MS Word today
to create a resume.

Discuss the “Action words for your resume” handout (make your resume
sizzle) and the other side of the handout “…a few examples” of
accomplishments from your library work history. It’s like writing a grant!
Presentation, presentation, presentation
Go over the Resumes: Before You Start handout.
Emphasize that references should be work related and not personal.

Give class 10 minutes to work on the chronological Resume Worksheet. Tell

them to use fictional information, if desired.

Have class open MS Word.

Demonstrate the Resume wizard in MS Word

• File New  Other Documents tab (or Resume Wizard tab after Other Docs)
• Point out the available styles: Contemporary, Elegant, and Professional
• Walk through the wizard using data from the Resume Worksheet. If a lab-based
class, have participants do their own along with you.
o Choose Contemporary style
o Choose Entry-Level (the other types—Chronological, Functional, and
Professional offer different checkboxes for content later in the wizard)
o Enter address info
o Add References by checking the box
o Add Qualifications
o Change the order of Education and Experience
o Finish the wizard
o NOTE: be sure to copy and paste the cells for any area where you
need multiple entries before you enter data. Demo copying and pasting
the cells in Education.
o Enter some data in either the Experience or Education section. Note that
the tab key does not move between cells within the section. Need to
use mouse.
• Demonstrate changing the style of the resume to Professional
o FormatThemeStyle Gallery
o Select Professional Resume from the list on the left
• Save the resume to the desktop or to a floppy disk
• If time, let class work on entering data into the resume

ALTERNATIVE is to look at some examples of resumes and build your resume

with MS Word, rather than using a template. This may be easier for you than using
an autoformat template.
Demonstrate File – New – Other Documents – Professional Resume
You will need to modify your resume slightly for each job
application. Be sure you save your master and each time you
modify it, resave it under a new file name; such as resume
Coco Cola.doc

Now that you have a BASIC RESUME, you are ALMOST ready to start applying
for jobs.

Talk about what we mean by ‘key words’ in a job description.

Library director: budget, grant writing, board development,
Circulation clerk: automated library system, check out, supervise
Network administrator: Windows 2000, unix…whatever the OS
Cataloger: MARC, Dublin core, metadata, OCLC
When you find a job opening, you must look at the job description and decide
what are the keywords. Then be sure you work them into your resume. Some
companies allow for acronyms and synonyms, but don’t count on it. If the job
description refers to an automated library system, call it that in your resume – not
an integrated library system ILS or “Dynix.”

A new trend in large & mid-size corporations that helps them cope with the
2,000+ resumes they receive daily: Special software scans resumes, looking for
key words, and then stores the resumes that include the keywords in databases
for future review and job openings. A resume may be rejected because it is
missing critical keywords. If the resume is sent in electronic format, scanning
is accurate. If the resume is sent in print format, OCR (optical character
recognition) software has to first convert print to text and sometimes keywords
are not recognized. This is one argument for submitting electronically when the
company gives you this choice.

To read more about resume scanning, MIJOB.Info

Electronic Resume Guide [link in 2nd para]
Scroll down to “Resume Scanning” and look at this site
See “The Problem with resume scanning” & steps to
“Formatting a scannable resume”
‘Everything you need to know about Electronic Resumes – emailing resumes…


The Internet can help you distribute your resume.
In the previous class we talked about searching for job listings and
openings in a variety of ways, from networking contacts, newspaper ads,
professional associations, and the Internet. Employers are using the Internet
more and more to post a diversity of jobs online at their own company’s web site
and at mega job sites, like America’s Job Bank, CareerBuilder, Monster, and The megajob locator sites, as well as some company web sites,
allow you to post your resume online.
Start some class discussion about eResumes.
When a company says it’s OK or prefers electronic resumes, do you send
your resume as an attachment or paste it into email? Your attachment will have
all the pretty formatting and great presentation style. Email paste jobs take out
all the pretty stuff except capitalization. Capitalization is the only way to highlight
1. Definitely, send an attachment if the company says it’s ok.
2. Some companies hate attachments because of network security.
3. If you are going to post online at a company web site or at one of
the mega-job locator sites like, you’ll have to remove
the formatting.

GO BACK on browser to MiJob and click on Susan Ireland’s Resume

Writing Workshop
Electronic Resume Guide
TO Posting Your Resume Online tricks
How to post 1. on company web site or 2. public resume bank
Emailing your resume tricks

Some career counselors recommend pasting your resume into the main body of email. If
you do this, you need to save your resume UNDER A NEW FILE NAME as Text Only,
Plain Text, or Notepad. Susan Ireland explains exactly how to do this in her Electronic
POSTING – steps to convert MS Word to text. Look at the samples before / after at end of

EXERCISE: Have class remove formatting from one of the prepared sample
resumes in MS Word.
1. Go to MS Word. File New Other Documents and open the
Professional Resume.
2. File > Save As > Select File Type “Text Only”
3. Save as new file name: resume test only.txt
4. Minimize Word. Open Notepad and open up the resume test only.txt to
see the reformatted resume.
What are the different file types available in the 'Save as' window in MS Word?
ANSWER: The short answer is to use "TEXT ONLY" when you save a traditional pretty
formatted resume in order to create a new electronic resume suitable to cut and paste into
a company web site or other job locator site or in the body of an email.
Rich Text Format: This is a portable type of file that can be more easily opened in a word
processing program other than MS Word; such as, Corel Word Perfect. The Word formatting
may not transfer perfectly. For instance, italics may carry over but special fonts may not carry
Plain Text: This preserves the formatting best for an electronic resume. When you create your
electronic resume, try opening it up in NOTEPAD rather than MS Word to best see how it has
Plain Text with line breaks: This seems to do stranger things to your Word resume. For
instance, it substitutes question marks for bullets.

GO TO MiJob link:
Creating the Internet Resume 1st site
Learn the differences between print and online resumes and how to protect yourself
should you decide to post a resume online.
At this web site go to “Cyber-safe resume” read some of ‘Making your resume
Cybersafe” From there go to
“Protecting your privacy” [link way down the page on cyber safe
resume READ all this great info on protecting your personal identity
information (PII) before you post online.

DISCUSS HANDOUT – Cyber Resumes: Should you or shouldn’t you?

ALWAYS RESEARCH THE EMPLOYER before sending your resume. Write

your cover letter and modify your resume to fit the employer’s needs.

In our last workshop we talked about how to research a potential

employer. For those who were not there or as a refresher, let’s quickly review
the ways you can find information about a corporation or employer:
• the company’s web site
• regional newspapers
• Mel databases like General BusinessFile ASAP & General
Reference Gold and Custom Newspapers -read latest news
• for online discussion groups for insider and
industry gossip
• Hoovers Online

The Cover Letter

Your cover letter is the interviewer’s first impression of you. Will you be
thorough, neat, and accurate when you are on the job? Use MS Word spell and
grammar check feature!! Get someone to proof read your letter. A cover letter
with poor grammar is worse than no cover letter.

AT MIJOB>INFO Just above the INTERVIEWING section find SAMPLES.

Both these sites have LOTS of examples.
Sample resumes and cover letters
GO TO: JobStar Sample Cover Letters MORE examples here.
“Cover letter template” gives definition of paragraphs to include.

Go over the Cover Letter Tips handout and the Practice Writing the Cover
Letter handout.

Explain that they will learn how to use MS Word to create a letterhead and type a cover

Demonstrate creating a letterhead in MS Word. If lab-based class, have participants

follow along.
• FileNewLetters & Faxes tabProfessional Letter
• Double click on the little envelope in the text of the template and see how to
save template changes
o To delete the logo and ‘company name’, click on the BORDER and
delete button
o Nice set up for name and address, etc. Look at ‘save as’ to save as
new template
 File Save / choose DOCUMENT TEMPLATE / give new
name / go back to File / New / / and it’s there under “General”
• Show how to enter the name and address information at the top
• Show how to add information to the fields
• Enter some text in the body of the letter, making a spelling mistake. Show how to
use the spellchecker to correct spelling errors.
• Save letter to desktop or floppy disk
• If time, let students work on creating their own letter. Be sure to save.
• Close MS Word

DISCUSS the follow up after you send your cover letter and your resume.
(This ‘after the cover letter’ and ‘follow up with phone call or email’
information is on the back of the ‘Practice Writing the Cover Letter’

Wrap-up and evaluations