A resume is normally the first contact point between an employer and a job seeker. It serves the purpose of providing a summary of why a candidate is suitable for a job (cover-letter) and his relevant qualifications/experience. In this article, advice about creating effective cover letters will be provided and followed by the rest of the resume.
An Effective Cover Letter:
An effective cover letter is a 1-page introduction of your resume that has
the ultimate goal of helping the job seeker get the first interview from a job
advertisement. This is easier said than done as HR Managers have to go through
quite a number of job applications. If your cover letter is rather formulaic and
your only concern is that the printing is smudge-free, then here are more useful
Be careful to direct your resume to the right person. If you address the
wrong person in your cover letter, you may not get a response. Along the same
lines, quote the correct reference number that is highlighted in job
advertisement and ensure that you have applied for the correct position that
corresponds to your expertise.
In you cover letter, you should just state your highest relevant academic
qualification. You need not get into the specifics like the grades of your final
semester. An exception is if you have won an academic prize or attained a
prestigious scholarship. The rest of your academic achievements can be placed
after your cover letter.
Relevant Working Experience and Skills:
You can include a paragraph in your cover letter about how your relevant
working experience will directly benefit the goals of the department. In this
area you have to spend time researching about the company through the internet
and offline materials.
Be A Team Player:
Your cover letter must not come across as an opportunity to highlight your
achievements in isolation. You must communicate that you are a team player and
are willing to undergo continual skills upgrading.
With the current workplace interconnectivity, it will not be surprising if
your job requires occasional overseas trip. If you are agreeable of this
requirement, it will be appropriate if you state your willingness to travel
overseas in the cover letter.
Do a Spell-Check:
Remember to run a spell-check to ensure that there are no grammatical
mistakes in your cover letter. A good exercise is to print out a draft copy and
scrutinize for mistakes.
Get that First Interview:
This point sounds rather superfluous but your cover letter has to help you
get an interview. It will not help if you provide a wrong contact number or
appear to be too busy to come for an interview.
Do not be critical:
Do not be critical about your previous employer or your previous work
environment. It is more forward-looking and professional to explain about how
your previous job has provided you with relevant working experience.
The Rest of Your Resume
State your Academic Qualifications in Chronological Order:
It is important to state your academic qualification in chronological order
for ease of viewing. It is also optional to send photocopy of exam results. Your
interviewer will request them during the interview.
State Relevant Training Courses:
It will be advantageous for you to state the relevant training courses that
you have attended. This will signal to your prospective employer that you are
proactive in upgrading your skills and directly improve the productivity of your
Your choice of referees is crucial in providing extra information about your
abilities. Remember to inform your referees that they may be called to furnish
information. It is advisable to provide their email addresses if they are
Broadcast your website:
You can provide the link to your personal website to add more information
about yourself. An added benefit is that you can provide links from your site
that you feel will help your boost your chances. A good example is to include
your feature in the newspapers/magazines. However, your site should not be a
replica of your resume.
by Colin Ong TS
Colin Ong TS is the Managing Director of MR=MC Consulting (http://www.mrmc.com.sg)
and the Founder of the 12n Online Professional Networking Community (http://www.mrmc.com.sg/12n)