light bulb

Cover Letter Tips

A cover letter is a unique letter that is addressed to a specific person for the purpose of identifying yourself as a person before they see your résumé. You must write it in an attempt to generate interest, enthusiasm, and action from your reader.

What characterizes an online cover letter?

  • Brevity
  • To-the-point style and tone
  • Written in brief paragraphs or a bullet-style format
  • Generally written in response to a specific advertisement or online posting

Writing your Résumé

Keep in mind that there is no "official résumé format". Basically, you can make your résumé look however you want, but it must be neat and easy to read. It can contain brief information on the following:

Heading: This is your contact information. It should include your full name, mailing address, telephone number, and e-mail address.

Job Objective: Answer why you chose this position and what you hope to accomplish when hired.

Education: Include any education, apprentice training, seminars, self-study, high school, vocational school, or colleges you attended that pertain to the job you are applying for.

Skills and Abilities: Write your skills needed for the job and list the examples of how you used those skills.

Work Experience: (If Applicable) List your work experience starting with your most recent employer.

Military Service: (If Applicable) Give your date of separation, your highest rank and rate, and your branch of service. Include any special assignments and decorations.

Interviewing Tips

So much can be said about preparation for an interview. The steps taken, though, can be arranged in the following order:

Do Research: It is always important to do some research on the company you are planning to work for and orient yourself with their views and goals. In the interview, you want to make sure you sound competent when speaking about the company and your interests in joining. Visit The Vault's Career Insider, an online career resource, to research industry profile, read career advice blogs, email the message board and more. The Career Insider is only accessible at the Office of Career Services or any on-campus computer lab. 

Dress Appropriately: First impressions are very important so you should look presentable in your interview. Although the final selection of a job candidate will rarely be determined by dress, first-round candidates are often eliminated because they've dressed inappropriately. This is not to say you should invest in a new wardrobe; just be sure that you're able to put together an adequate interview outfit. Typically, men should wear a clean, conservative, two-piece suit; a white shirt; and silk tie. For women, a professional looking dress or suit with low-heeled shoes makes the best impression.

Address Good Body Language: In an interview, you want to show your confidence, dependability, enthusiasm, and capability by having the desire to talk with your hands and facial expressions. Here are some important things to think about: Do you smile when you meet? Do you make just enough eye contact without staring at the recruiter? Do you shake hands firmly? It is human nature to judge people by their first impression, so make sure yours is a good one.

Develop Communication Skills: It is important to develop nonverbal skills such as body language, but also verbal skills. Employers may want to conduct an initial phone interview with you before bringing you in the office. Make sure that you are prepared when the employer calls. 

Know Your Basic Dining Etiquette: Sometimes employers will take you out to lunch or dinner to conduct the interview. You may go alone or with a group of candidates. Remember you are there to ask questions about the job and the expectations. 

Be Ready for Response: Often, recruiters will ask universal questions such as: Why do you want to work in this industry? What do you want to achieve in your next job? For more information and potential questions, stop by the Office of Career Service located in the Student Center, Room 114. You must know how to respond to certain questions in the proper tone to better your chances for approval. 

Call us to schedule an appointment for a mock interview (956) 326-4473.