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6 Important Tips and Tricks for Writing the Best Resume and Cover Letter

We’ve reached the last quarter of the year and while the upcoming holiday months may be typically accompanied by hiring freezes, there will still be many companies actively hiring new talent before the new year.

This means Q4 is as good a time as any to review your career goals, revamp your resume, and remain hopeful about executing a successful job search that lands you a new gig before 2021. 

To help with said successful job search, here are some tried and true tips and tricks to keep in mind when writing your resumes and cover letters.

1. Understand the job and industry you’re targeting.

Oftentimes, the day-to-day job search process gets reduced down to a series of exhausted “try my luck” resume submissions. Applicants read less and less of the job posting and begin to hastily apply for jobs they don’t really want at companies they know little about.

Before hitting that apply button, carefully review the job description and spend some time researching the company, their values, and the work they’re already doing. This enables you to confidently apply for the job knowing that you’ve aligned your resume with the needs and goals of your potential employer.  

2. Keep handy a master list of your skills, experience, and achievements.

Save time and stay flexible when tweaking your resume for different jobs by creating a full inventory of your career attributes. This way, you’ll be able to easily pick and choose only the most relevant and convincing information to include in your resume and cover letter. 

3. Go for an easy-to-follow format.

Before a hiring manager or recruiter can even get to what’s actually written in your resume, they have to get past the visual appearance of the document. If your resume is laid out in a confusing or unconventional manner, or if it’s too crowded with not enough white space, you may instantly be ruled out. 

The best way to avoid instant rejection in this situation is to follow these simple rules:

  • Use a clean template with traditional fonts

  • Type clear and concise sentences

  • Use bullet points instead of paragraphs to keep it scannable

  • Don’t get too wordy

  • Don’t distract the reader with unnecessary colors

4. Focus on the value that you add.

Your resume and cover letter are the ultimate value propositions. When it comes to communicating your experience, you should focus on highlighting your accomplishments. 

Employers want to envision the results you’ll bring them, so tell them more than just what you do and how you do it. Talk about what happened as a result of your work. (BONUS TIP: Use numbers to quantify your outcomes)

5. Make a keyword checklist.

If you want your resume and cover letter to make it past the Applicant Tracking System (ATS), your submissions must include some of the key terms and phrases used in the job post. This is how the ATS deems you qualified enough to be seen by an actual human being.

As you read the company statement and job description, pay special attention to and make note of any specific skills, values, titles, software, or deliverables that you can incorporate directly into your writing. 

6. PDF IT!

Always apply with a PDF version of your resume and cover letter. Sending Word documents (.doc, .docx, or .rtf) leaves your formatting at the mercy of the reader’s device. Whereas, sending a PDF is like giving the reader a picture-perfect copy with all of your margins and spacing intact.

Put these tips and tricks into play as you apply for new jobs and end 2020 on a career-positive note!

To get a standout resume that hits all of the marks and wins you an interview, reach out to me via my LinkedIn profile or visit for personalized resume writing services.

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