Ask Vicki: What makes a great resume and cover letter?
In this answer on Quora, Monster career expert Vicki Salemi tells you what you need to make your credentials shine.
Each week, Monster’s career expert Vicki Salemi—a former recruiter who utilizes 15-plus years of experience in recruiting and human resources to empower job seekers—answers user questions on Quora. We’ll be republishing the answers here. If you have a question for Vicki, send it to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Q. What makes a great resume and cover letter?
A. Ah, the million dollar question! A spectacular resume speaks directly to the recruiter and hiring manager. It shows what jobs you’ve held in the past; it features keywords that are included on the company’s job description; it’s free of errors (typos, I’m talking to you); and most important, it outlines how your skills and workplace experience are relevant for the position you’re pursuing.
An outstanding cover letter should be succinct and clear. It highlights your accomplishments and tells the hiring manager why he/she should hire you. Your letter should express interest in the position and briefly explain why you’re a superstar. Maybe you won a nationally recognized award in your company or industry. Maybe you’re fluent in Portuguese, and the job description indicated the company is looking to expand into Portugal. You get the idea. You can also leverage your cover letter to allude to your social skills and emotional intelligence—your passion, authenticity and ethics—which can be difficult to emphasize on a resume.