Surefire resumes and cover letters are targeted to the employer’s perspective.
When constructing your resume and cover letter, put yourself in the mind-set of the employer. Ask not what the employer can do for you but what you can do for the employer. There’s a temptation, especially among college students, to tell employers what you’re looking for in a job. We frequently see that tendency in Objective statements. The old chestnut about “Seeking challenging position with growth potential,” is so overused that it is meaningless to employers.
Employers want to know what you can do for them, how you will benefit their companies, how you will impact their bottom lines. While they’re not totally oblivious to your career hopes and dreams, your aspirations are not their primary concern.
Read more about resume objective statements in Chapter 2.
Employer Expectations of All Resumes
Employers expect a number of key elements on successful resumes:
- Contact Information. Since your goal is for an employer to contact you — either for a first interview or for a follow-up interview — you must give employers as many ways to reach you as possible, including postal mailing address, email address, home phone number, cell phone, etc.
- Accomplishments. Focus the descriptions of your experiences on accomplishments, not duties and responsibilities. Accomplishments, especially those you can quantify, will sell you to a potential employer. Read more in Chapter 5 and see our Accomplishments Worksheet in Chapter 8.
- Education/Training. Include all the pertinent information regarding education, degrees, training, and certifications. Spell out names of degrees. List your major(s) and minor(s). Include the educational institution’s name and location. If currently enrolled in an educational program, list expected graduation month and year. List your GPA if 3.0 or above. If your major GPA is higher than your overall GPA, you can list your major GPA separately.
- Targeted and focused. Tailor your basic resume to specific jobs and specific employers. There is simply no excuse for having one generic resume anymore. Tweak each resume you submit to the specific job you are seeking or to the specific employer. Chapter 2 is all about achieving this specific targeting.