Spring into your job hunt with these résumé and cover letter tips

Spring is officially on its way in and for many of you job hunters out there, your résumés are almost on their way out. Before you really shift into full gear for your spring career hunting, perhaps you should take the time to revamp your résumé and cover letter? Metro spoke with Suzana Simic the director of career development at the Computer Systems Institute to get some tips and ideas for how to revamp and polish your spring job hunt!

What are your top tips for revamping your résumé?

I would research some in-demand jobs right now, and then go ahead and utilize the job descriptions to tailor your résumé to those jobs. For instance, if a job description is asking for someone who is detail oriented and knows how to use Word and Excel, those keywords should definitely be in your résumé. That way when employers are looking through [résumés] those words stand out to them.

For people going into technology based positions I would [suggest] you create a video résumé. You can easily upload it to YouTube, and add the link to your résumé or your cover letter. It’s a great way to get your face out to an employer before they even meet you. A lot of employers are doing phone interviews now, it’s an easy eliminating factor for the employer, and this way you’re standing out to them and showing them that you know how to use technology. A video résumé is a great thing to have.

Can you provide any guidelines for these video résumés?

It should be short and to the point. No employer is going to spend 20 minutes looking at your video résumé. It should mimic an elevator pitch. It should talk about who you are, what your background in regards to work and things that are applicable to the job that you’re applying to. Mostly you should address the things that you have that the employer would be looking for. Previous work experience, what software you’re familiar with, what you would bring to the table. Dress professionally as if you were going into an interview. It’s a great way to get yourself out there and be presentable before an employer before they even see you.

Optimal time for these videos?

No more than two minutes.

Any design tips for résumés?

The classic rules hold true: Résumé should be no more than one page (unless you have an extensive work background). I would stick to one page, and I would shy away from any color. It’s actually a deterrent and not an eye catcher.

Number one way to make your profile stand out?

I would have a skill section right at the very top. I would highlight all of the key features that make you different and make you stand out from other people. Chances are your employment background and history mimics what a lot of other people have done. [Avoid] vague job titles like receptionist or even IT When an employer sees that they tend to already have in their mind what that position entails what they do. You may do some things that a typical admin or IT person doesn’t do. Those should stand out in your skills section and that should be at the very top of your résumé.

Any tips regarding cover letters?

A rule of thumb is if it is not required don’t send it. Not every employer will look at it. If it is a requirement make sure you are utilizing what that employer is looking for in your cover letter and make sure any employment gaps are explained there. If you were out for an illness and didn’t work for two years that should be incorporated into your cover letter. If you have some employment gaps, and they are for legitimate reasons, you should attach a cover letter.

Is writing “to whom it may concern” that bad?

I think it’s great to write to whom it may concern. You could also write hiring manager, HR representative, you could write any number of things.