The Write Stuff. Do you really need a resume, cover
letter or thank you letter? Western Maryland employers recently
took part in a survey conducted by the Maryland Job Service.
The employers represented a variety of industries and occupations
from both small and large companies. They offered some advice
about resumes, cover letters, and thank you letters.
40% of the employers said they ask most of their job candidates
to supply resumes. While many employers only ask candidates
for professional or managerial jobs for a resume, some employers
ask for them at all levels.
So, do you need a resume? It’s a good idea to have one
even if the employer doesn’t specifically ask. As one employer
said, "An application only has limited space – a resume
can tell the employer more about you and your experience."
Tailor your resume to the job you are seeking and clearly
highlight relevant skills.
Have a friend proofread your resume to make sure there
are no spelling errors. The Maryland Job Service offers
resume workshops and has resume software to assist job seekers
in writing their own resumes. Copiers and fax machines are
also available for job search purposes at no charge at Maryland
Job Service One-Stop Career Centers.
Most employers that want resumes say including a cover
letter with your resume is important. Many commented on
how they use the cover letter to evaluate a person’s writing
ability, attention to detail, personality, communication
skills, and professionalism. "A cover letter is a way
of showing personality and getting a better chance of your
resume sticking out", said one employer. One said lack
of a cover letter would be a "deal breaker" and
several said poorly written ones are "killers."
The cover letter should explain why you are interested
in the specific position for which you are applying. Keep
it brief -- no more than 3 or 4 paragraphs. If possible,
address it to a specific person. Highlight your qualifications
and tell the employer what skills and talents you will bring
to the position. "Sell yourself" is how one employer