How to prepare Cover Letters and Resumes

Posted on 29th May 2013 00:00:00 in Interview

There’s something to be said about cover letters and resumes. It is a minefield of persuasion; a piece of paper that tries to convince anyone in the radius of the human resources office that you are worthy of employment. It’s an example of homemade marketing except instead of marketing a mass item like coffee or soda, you are marketing yourself. But, how does one do that if they are not aware of the risks? Yes, there are risks to creating cover letters and resumes. 

First, you have to use active verbs. There is no room for passivity. You are not passively learning new skills, but are actively aware and doing them. One does not answer a phone without some sort of thought process. You might have to learn a script or develop an answering phrase that states your purpose. For example,

“Hello accounting office. This is [insert name here] may I help you?”


Second, resumes and cover letters need not look pretty, but they have to be cohesive and informative. There is a lot of investment being made--time, money, compensation--and you have to convince your future employers that you are worth the risk. And yet, I often wonder if cover letters and resumes have to be--oh, I don’t know-- entertaining and intriguing. 

Consider this scenario:  imagine you are a preview for the next big Hollywood blockbuster. To appeal to the audience, you must show that you have a good story to tell. You have to show some of the tricks that you have up your sleeve (not all---please). Do you have special effects? Dinosaurs? Car crashes? Are they different? Are they exceptional? In general, how are you different than any other Hollywood blockbuster, and why should an audience pay their hard earned money to see you and invest in the story that you to tell?

Third, sell, sell, sell. Do you have the education that is required for the job? Do you have the skills and experience that is needed? If you do or, in the case of many job seekers, do you have the minimum requirements? If you only have the minimum, what are other skills and knowledge that you can bring to the table?

As I said before, cover letters and resumes are a minefield. If you step on the wrong mine, you can blow your chances of getting the job or, at the very least, an interview. That is the difficulty that I have had in my years of job searching. I know that I’m worth more than what I have now, but how to convince others of same?


Here are several rules that I have not broken quite yet:
According to several job sites there are rules for writing the right cover letter and/or resume. The risk you take is not abiding by the rules, or disregarding them out of...ignorance, malice, rebellion, laziness? I was not aware of these rules until I started job searching after college. I've made a lot of mistakes; some of them remarkably foolish. For example, who sends in a resume without their school graduation dates? Who sends in a resume without the job titles? Me, that's who. Oy!There’s something to be said about cover letters and resumes. It is a minefield of persuasion; a piece of paper that tries to convince anyone in the vicinity of a human resources office that you are worthy of employment. It’s an example of homemade marketing except instead of marketing a mass item like coffee or soda, you are marketing yourself. But, how does one do that if they are not aware of the risks? Yes, there are risks to creating cover letters and resumes.


First, using active verbs. There is no room for passivity. You are not passively learning new skills or doing a job. You are actively aware and you are actively doing them. One does not answer a phone without some sort of thought process. You might have to learn a script or develop an answering phrase that states your purpose. For example,

“Hello, accounting office. This is [insert name here] may I help you?”

"Hello, file room, may I help you?"


Sure, you might go on autopilot after a while. But, you are still actively doing a job. Even if you consider yourself a "work zombie", you are still doing something.  If you are answering phones or filing, you are DOING something. If you are eating brains or other body parts, you are still DOING something.

Second, resumes and cover letters need not look pretty, but they have to be cohesive and informative. There is a lot of investment being made--time, money, compensation--and you have to convince your future employers that you are worth the risk. And yet, I often wonder if cover letters and resumes have to be--oh, I don’t know-- entertaining and intriguing. 

Consider this scenario:  imagine you are a preview for the next big Hollywood blockbuster. To appeal to the audience, you must show that you have a good story to tell. You have to show some of the tricks that you have up your sleeve (not all---please). Do you have special effects? Dinosaurs? Car crashes? Are they different? Are they exceptional? In general, how are you different than any other Hollywood blockbuster, and why should an audience pay their hard earned money to see you and invest in the story that you have to tell?

Third, sell, sell, sell. Do you have the education that is required for the job? Do you have the skills and experience that is needed? If you do or, in the case of many job seekers, do you have the minimum requirements? If you only have the minimum, what are other skills and knowledge that you can bring to the table? Prove it and sell it!

As I said before, cover letters and resumes are a minefield. Step on a mine, you can blow your chances of getting an interview. That is the difficulty that I have had in my years of job searching. I know that I’m worth more than what I have now, but how to convince others?