When entering college, focusing on building a resume and cover letter is a great step to consider.
But what is a cover letter? It is a letter sent to a potential employer including an introduction, employment history and skills that may be beneficial for the job. A resume is a summary of one's skills, education, work experience, credentials and accomplishments.
A cover letter and resume are essential for scholarships, internships or to display one's potential. It is important for students to understand that no matter how strong one's skills are, a cover letter and resume are the outlets that display those skills. Writing them properly can be the difference between getting an internship or not.
So what are the steps one should take in order to have an exceptional cover letter and resume? Before writing a resume, a student should focus on the cover letter and apply it to the company they wish to apply for.
- Introduce themselves to the hiring manager
- Explain why they are a perfect fit for the job
- Fill in information that doesn't apply to the resume (certain courses or certifications)
- Explain more about the resume
For a resume, students are encouraged to:
- Decide what resume is the right one
- Create a header including the students name, address, phone number and email
- List experience or skills
- List activities the student is involved in
- List education
- List personal interests
Different types of resumes are as follows:
- Chronological - which is used for a more conservative employer or position
- Functional - which displays the student's functional skills and is used when changing careers.
- Combination - which serves as a mix between chronological and functional and highlights skills and accomplishments
So what type of skills do companies and businesses look for in a potential employee? Skills are categorized into two sections, hard skills and soft skills.
Hard skills students can add in their resume include knowing different languages, a degree or certificate, and computer knowledge. Soft skills can include communication, leadership, teamwork, time management or work ethics.
Kean University is home to the Office of Career Development and Advancement, where it specializes in preparing students for today's job market.
It also provides information on the latest career resources, techniques and strategies designed to meet the needs of the diverse student population at Kean. It also develops career fairs where they provide companies with the opportunity of finding potential employees and provide students with a networking opportunity.
There are also courses within the communications and business departments that strive to help students in all aspects of career development such as public speaking, business professional communication or business and professional writing.
Lastly, students should understand that the cover letter and resume should accurately reflect them and their skills. Whether a student has work experience or not, an impressive resume can make a difference!