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How to create an effective Résumé and Cover Letter

Résumé / Curriculum Vitae (CV)

Making sure your résumé is well structured and in a sequential order is essential when applying for jobs. For Interns who are on the job market for the first time, the first step is to learn how to write a résumé. Here are some basic steps to follow when putting together your résumé.

Step 1: List

Make a list of all work related experiences including volunteer work or activities such as editing the university magazine.

Step 2: Understand

When applying for a specific job it is important that you read the advertisement carefully and address each requirement outlined within your résumé. Also, follow the instructions on how to apply for the job and make sure you include examples that illustrate you soft skills such as leadership or organization.

Step 3: Represent

As your resume is the initial step in presenting yourself to a future employee, it is vital that it looks professional and does not have any spelling and grammatical errors. Have another person review your résumé and ask for feedback.

Step 4: Include

Your résumé should summarise your experience, education and qualifications. Make sure you keep your résumé short (1-2 pages for first time job seekers) and never lie on your résumé.

Résumé Builder - To further assist you in creating an effective Résumé, we have made available a free tool that will take your information in a structured and straightforward manner and produce a downloadable PDF file for your use - simply Login to Your Account to access the Résumé Builder now!


Cover Letter

Including a covering letter with your résumé is always a good idea. Here are some helpful hints when writing a covering letter:

  1. Avoid using slang or abbreviations.
  2. Make sure you address the letter to the correct address and try to address the letter to a specific person by name if possible.
  3. Keep the letter short, outlining how you fit the requirements and why you want the position.
  4. Use words that create a positive impression such as capable, responsible and committed.
  5. Check for correct grammar and spelling.
  6. Sign and date the letter.

How to structure a covering letter

Paragraph 1: Make sure you outlined the position you are applying for and when and where the job was advertised. Include a job number if applicable.

Paragraph 2: Outline your credentials, present/previous work experience and any other relevant skills and capabilities.

Paragraph 3: State why you are applying for the job and what you can bring to the job.

Paragraph 4: State that you have included a copy of your résumé and other relevant information with the letter.

Paragraph 5: End your letter with ‘Yours sincerely’ or ‘Yours faithfully’.