Help with a Resume and Cover Letter

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Jub
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Help with a Resume and Cover Letter

Post by Jub » 2019-04-24 07:01pm

I know we have several professionals on this forum that may have an eye for a good resume and cover letter. I'm fairly confident that my freshly updated versions (more a template in the case of the cover letter) of each but this board's frank assessment of what I have is something I would find valuable given the breadth of experience within our community.

As such, if anybody expresses interest in giving these documents a once over I'll post them to the board for public viewing. If not I'll understand, reading a resume is hardly the most stimulating activity and nobody here owes me any unpaid work.

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Re: Help with a Resume and Cover Letter

Post by Starglider » 2019-04-26 03:52pm

Go ahead and post them. I've done a fair amount of hiring (i.e. ran hundreds of interviews, read thousands of CVs) and have done this for a few friends and family members over the years.

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Re: Help with a Resume and Cover Letter

Post by Surlethe » 2019-04-26 04:16pm

Happy to take a look.
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Re: Help with a Resume and Cover Letter

Post by Jub » 2019-04-26 06:45pm

Awesome! Thanks for taking a peek at them. The current setup is geared towards warehouse positions which were the last jobs I was looking for before taking time away from working to fix some mental health stuff.

https://www.dropbox.com/s/jod8rbpfssq61 ... .docx?dl=0

https://www.dropbox.com/s/blq5bdiiz4l4p ... .docx?dl=0

I've recently worked on both my resume and cover letter so I think I've got a handle on things but you can never have too much feedback.

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Re: Help with a Resume and Cover Letter

Post by DesertFly » 2019-04-26 08:37pm

I'm coming from an accounting focus, so keep that in mind, but I have worked on my resume and cover letters extensively over the last year.

I would recommend:

From your cover letter:
  • You will stand out more if you can find the name of someone who is going to be reviewing your application and put that in, instead of the generic "Van-Whole Produce Manager". I would be willing to bet that you can get a name if you go there and ask some current employees who interviewed/hired them.
  • Start with a description of yourself in the first paragraph, as well as how you are ideal for this position. You still want to keep it to two or three sentences.
  • The second paragraph is a good start as well. Try to put in more details about specific examples of you doing some of the things that make you a great fit for this job.
  • I like your third paragraph. You provide clear contact information and times you are available (although the pedant in me thinks you should capitalize PM).

From your resume:
  • Try to keep it at one page.
  • Remove the Objective section.
  • Remove the Skills section.
  • To make the Employment section stand out, put the Employer and Job Title on separate lines, in different sizes.
  • Put in starting/ending months for each job and educational experience.
  • Remove the About Me section.
  • Move the Education section to the top (below your name and contact info)
  • For Education, put just "Studied Computer Information Systems". It is apparent from the years on the right side that you weren't there long, so there is no need to draw extra attention to only being there one year. (I have personal experience with this from several failed university experiences.)
  • Remove the redundancy in your high school part as well. You have "Graduated in 2006" and "Graduated with High School Diploma". You can just put in "High School Diploma" below the name of your high school.
  • If there are any Organizations/Charities/Clubs/Groups/Non-work or school activities, add those in a section at the end.
  • If you take my advice and remove the sections I recommended, and you are still over one page, start cutting jobs - oldest/least-relevant first.
  • In general, try to think about what would make you most interesting to this (or any) potential employer.
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Re: Help with a Resume and Cover Letter

Post by DesertFly » 2019-04-26 08:42pm

For reference, here is a recent version of a cover letter and my resume. These links are only good for a week.
Cover Letter:
https://emailwsu-my.sharepoint.com/:b:/ ... g?e=6Jn5ec

Resume:
https://emailwsu-my.sharepoint.com/:b:/ ... g?e=OlAPKV

EDIT: Also, I am a giant old hypocrite with my cover letter, but I could not find any information about who would be reviewing these materials in searching, and I don't live in Bellevue where this firm is located, so I couldn't just pop on over and ask. You gotta do what you can.
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Re: Help with a Resume and Cover Letter

Post by Jub » 2019-04-26 10:10pm

DesertFly wrote:
2019-04-26 08:37pm
I'm coming from an accounting focus, so keep that in mind, but I have worked on my resume and cover letters extensively over the last year.

I would recommend:

From your cover letter:
  • You will stand out more if you can find the name of someone who is going to be reviewing your application and put that in, instead of the generic "Van-Whole Produce Manager". I would be willing to bet that you can get a name if you go there and ask some current employees who interviewed/hired them.
  • Start with a description of yourself in the first paragraph, as well as how you are ideal for this position. You still want to keep it to two or three sentences.
  • The second paragraph is a good start as well. Try to put in more details about specific examples of you doing some of the things that make you a great fit for this job.
  • I like your third paragraph. You provide clear contact information and times you are available (although the pedant in me thinks you should capitalize PM).
Yeah, the name thing is one I need to do better on. Networking, in general, is an area of weakness for me that I'm trying to work on.

Hmm, I've always heard that companies prefer to learn about how you found them and what you like about them in that first paragraph which is why I structured mine the way I did. Though thinking about that, I could probably do both if I wanted to...

Yeah, I focused a bit too much on brevity with my cover letter and detail in my resume which at least according to your tastes I should consider reversing.

Yeah, I always use am and pm instead of AM and PM. It's gotten into my head that both are an accepted standard but I really should have checked that for something formal like a cover letter.
From your resume:
  • Try to keep it at one page.
  • Remove the Objective section.
  • Remove the Skills section.
  • To make the Employment section stand out, put the Employer and Job Title on separate lines, in different sizes.
  • Put in starting/ending months for each job and educational experience.
  • Remove the About Me section.
  • Move the Education section to the top (below your name and contact info)
  • For Education, put just "Studied Computer Information Systems". It is apparent from the years on the right side that you weren't there long, so there is no need to draw extra attention to only being there one year. (I have personal experience with this from several failed university experiences.)
  • Remove the redundancy in your high school part as well. You have "Graduated in 2006" and "Graduated with High School Diploma". You can just put in "High School Diploma" below the name of your high school.
  • If there are any Organizations/Charities/Clubs/Groups/Non-work or school activities, add those in a section at the end.
  • If you take my advice and remove the sections I recommended, and you are still over one page, start cutting jobs - oldest/least-relevant first.
  • In general, try to think about what would make you most interesting to this (or any) potential employer.
This just goes to show how much of a difference in perspective there can be with these things. I'm taking a career explorations course at my local community college and the instructor there is who suggested the objective statement and skills section which were things I had previously been omitting from my resume.

As for focusing on my work history, that's something I'd prefer not to do. I've worked a lot of jobs without lasting more than a year at most of them.

The complete list, including breaks where I did other things, is:

Subway*
Safeway
Starbucks
Subway
Little Caesars
Home Depot
-College-
Overwaitea
Bio Agriz
Shaw
Value Village*
Bottle Depot
-Australia Trip-
Dollar Tree
Liveport
Walmart
Urban Fare
Old Farmhouse Kitchen
Amazon
Safeway
-Currently Unemployed-

*Jobs I was at least than a month and don't typically include on my resume. I usually state Safeway as my first job when asked for this reason.

A collection of fairly shit jobs that don't represent me in a light I consider especially positive.

It's why I chose a two-page resume with a bit more skills and objective fluff than I otherwise would have liked.

I'd appreciate your thoughts on how I might reconcile how I feel about my work history with your resume building advice.

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Re: Help with a Resume and Cover Letter

Post by Ralin » 2019-04-27 09:21am

I've never been a hiring manager, but I'm looking the Skills part of your resume and it seems like about half of it is either generalized comments about your character and personality "Enjoys challenging work", "Naturally takes leadership roles" and the rest is stuff you've done. The former is unprovable fluff and the latter seems like it would be better served by giving succinct, adverb-less summaries like:

Stock handling and pallet loading
Trained to use pallet jack, cardboard baler and symbol gun
Trainer for new retail/warehouse associates
Experienced working in high volume warehouse and retail environment
Tech support (Type)

Also any other specific roles or standards you're trained in.

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Re: Help with a Resume and Cover Letter

Post by Jub » 2019-04-27 09:41am

[Double Post]
Last edited by Jub on 2019-04-27 09:44am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Help with a Resume and Cover Letter

Post by Jub » 2019-04-27 09:41am

Ralin wrote:
2019-04-27 09:21am
I've never been a hiring manager, but I'm looking the Skills part of your resume and it seems like about half of it is either generalized comments about your character and personality "Enjoys challenging work", "Naturally takes leadership roles" and the rest is stuff you've done. The former is unprovable fluff and the latter seems like it would be better served by giving succinct, adverb-less summaries like:

Stock handling and pallet loading
Trained to use pallet jack, cardboard baler and symbol gun
Trainer for new retail/warehouse associates
Experienced working in high volume warehouse and retail environment
Tech support (Type)

Also any other specific roles or standards you're trained in.
The skills section is supposed to compliment the work experience section and give a suggestion of my personality as it relates to the job in question. I laid out the skills as 6 firm skills and 2 soft skills at the suggestion of an employment counselor. Though it seems like prevailing sentiment is that I ought to cut that section entirely and focus on other areas.

I was told that using descriptive words was a way to stand out from the crowd from the instructor teaching a work search technique class. Hence using terms like efficiently, tackled, etc. My preference would normally skew towards simpler statements of skills.

I did take your advice to heart and revised that section to:

• Takes a plan-act-plan approach to problems such as loading a trailer
• Operated pallet jacks, cardboard balers, and Symbol gun in past roles
• Managed staff and stock as Assistant Store Merchandiser for Dollar Tree
• Trained new staff at in retail and stock handling at Safeway and Dollar Tree
• Provided customer-focused technical support with Shaw and Liveport
• Programmed a new point of sale for Old Farmhouse Kitchen
• Enjoys high-paced work such as Amazon’s peak period or a lunch rush
• Naturally takes leadership roles in areas of comfort such as training staff

I think the firm skills are better-supported now while the leadership role has an example which fits with the other skills I listed.

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Re: Help with a Resume and Cover Letter

Post by DesertFly » 2019-04-27 12:09pm

Hey, my suggestions are just that. As I said, I'm coming from a certain angle; the career you're in may want it differently. There is no one right way to do a resume, but a million wrong ones, so take everything with a dose of skepticism.
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Re: Help with a Resume and Cover Letter

Post by Jub » 2019-04-27 12:29pm

DesertFly wrote:
2019-04-27 12:09pm
Hey, my suggestions are just that. As I said, I'm coming from a certain angle; the career you're in may want it differently. There is no one right way to do a resume, but a million wrong ones, so take everything with a dose of skepticism.
I appreciate it!

The more points of view I can get the better I can get a sense for what works for me as well as what other people look for. A resume is a balancing act and feedback makes the tightrope a little easier to walk.

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Re: Help with a Resume and Cover Letter

Post by Surlethe » 2019-04-27 09:01pm

A few small comments:
CPA eligible at graduation
Do you have a concrete for how you'll obtain your CPA? If so, and especially if you've started executing, would be good to mention that.
Assisted in any requested administrative tasks
Such as...?
Kept store clean,...
Did you clean it yourself, did you quality check, or did you organize cleaning schedules? Or some combination?

I ask because I tend to think that making concrete statements that demonstrate how you created value are superior to just stating the value you added. So I'd recommend something like, "Regularly checked for restroom and dining area cleanliness and implemented a restroom cleaning schedule."
Set up tills and reconciled them at end of shifts, showing responsibility and trustworthiness
This is good, I don't know if you need to say "...showing responsibility and trustworthiness" as that's pretty heavily implied by setting up and reconciling tills at end of shift.
Prepare tax returns for low-income taxpayers
How many did you prepare? Were they all successfully filed?
Tutored students in Math 202: Calculus for Business and Economics...Tutor Accounting students in Introductory Accounting coursework
Consider briefly mentioning what material in these classes you tutored and what student outcomes were, if you know them. Detail helps illustrate value added. Ex: "Tutored 8 students in Math 202: Calculus for Business and Economics, including limits, differentiation, Riemann sums, and related rates. Students achieved an average grade of B+ in the class, compared to a class average of C-."
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Re: Help with a Resume and Cover Letter

Post by Aether » 2019-04-29 12:50pm

DesertFly wrote:
2019-04-26 08:37pm
I realize Jub probably has enough information by now, but some of your suggestions I disagree with even in a general sense because it seems like you are implying hard rules.

Try to keep it at one page.
This depends on how many years of experience once has. There is no rule that a resume (or CV for our European friends) should be *any* specific length. It is as long as it needs to be to highlight one's positions held over the years, key projects and responsibilities, etc.
[*]Remove the Objective section.
[*]Remove the Skills section.
Why? Having a short description of what your are looking for in a position allows the employer to instantly know your immediate goal. This can go either way (I am applying for the position, so why do I need to state that I am in my resume?). But you will be surprised how many people simply apply for a job and even go as far to say in the interview "I want to get my foot in the door."

Why remove the skills section? Depending on the structure of your resume, highlighting one's skills is known as a "Functional Resume".

[*]To make the Employment section stand out, put the Employer and Job Title on separate lines, in different sizes.
[*]Put in starting/ending months for each job and educational experience.
Starting and ending month/year for each position is practically mandatory, but Employer and Job Title on separate lines is a matter of personal choice. This isn't critical.

I could see separate lines if you do it like I do: Employer Name, Division/Business Unit Name, Title. And if one of those is just too long to fit on the one line (because that same line will have start/end date) then a separate line would be used for every other position for the sake of formatting.
[*]Remove the About Me section.
Yeah, this can be condensed in a short sentence or two in the Objective Statement.
[*]Move the Education section to the top (below your name and contact info)
This isn't critical. There are 3 general forms of resumes: Chronological, Functional, and Combinational, and some will also include Targeted.

None of these are wrong. I personally use the a Targeted Combinational resume at this point in my 14 year career:

Name/Contact info, Objective Statement, Skills/Knowledge, Publications, Work history, education/extra curricular last that tailored for the specific job description. I want the skills, knowledge, and any publications that pertain to the new position are front and center.
[*]If you take my advice and remove the sections I recommended, and you are still over one page, start cutting jobs - oldest/least-relevant first.
Since there is no rule for resume length, this is not needed. If one was going for a targeted resume, this would be more palatable and be prepared to explain gaps in ones work history.

In all my years these are the hardest rules for any resume:

1. Spelling errors. Don't have them.
2. Don't lie.
3. Be consistant in formatting.

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Re: Help with a Resume and Cover Letter

Post by Jub » 2019-04-29 01:20pm

Surlethe wrote:
2019-04-27 09:01pm
A few small comments:
I think you looked at DessertFly's posted resume instead of mine, but the advice seems sound.

-----
Aether wrote:
2019-04-29 12:50pm
In all my years these are the hardest rules for any resume:

1. Spelling errors. Don't have them.
2. Don't lie.
3. Be consistant in formatting.
.

I cut most of your post because it jives pretty much with the advice I've been given offline and there was no need to agree with things point by point.

The only thing I'll specifically comment on is why I removed the months from each position and went with simply years. The fact is that most of those positions only lasted a few months with gaps on months in between positions. If an employer wants to find out how long I was there they can easily ask the company but if it doesn't come up things tend to work out better for me.

This reasoning is also why the objective statement, skills, and about me sections are padded out and the employment section is more limited. I'm trying to move away from areas I've spent the most time working because they aren't a good fit for me. I'm hoping to grab funding for some retraining, specifically an A+ certificate before I have to start pounding the internet for jobs again so this resume is very much in flux in terms of what I feel should be emphasized.

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Re: Help with a Resume and Cover Letter

Post by DesertFly » 2019-04-29 05:10pm

The only thing I would worry about when removing actual dates, is that it may come across that you are trying to hide things. Having short employment times is not a great mark on your record, but, in my opinion, looking like you are not being honest is worse. I seriously thought about listing all of my jobs and the (lack of) length of many of them, to show how you are not the only one who has bounced from job to job. It's not the end of the world, and perhaps some day you can return to college (or university, depending on what it's called in your corner of the world), and continue expanding your skill set. I did that 1 1/2 years ago, after not completing a degree, and so far it has worked out for me, and it might for you. But even if that's not the route you choose to take, limited time at any one position is not necessarily as poisonous as you might fear.

Aether seemed to miss this, but my suggestions are still just suggestions, except for what I emphatically believe to be a hard and fast rule: keep your resume to one page. Employers always have many applicants to look through for any position. The more extraneous information you include on your resume, the more likely it is that it will be tossed aside because it takes too long to skim through. Stupid as shit, I agree, but that seems to be common. My advice about "Skills", "Objectives", and "About Me" is more focused to my profession, and may not be applicable to where your career is heading, but I strongly believe that keeping your resume to one page is important.
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Re: Help with a Resume and Cover Letter

Post by DesertFly » 2019-04-29 05:13pm

Also, I completely agree with what you have condensed as advice:
1. Spelling errors. Don't have them.
2. Don't lie.
3. Be consistant in formatting.
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Re: Help with a Resume and Cover Letter

Post by Elheru Aran » 2019-04-29 05:32pm

DesertFly wrote:
2019-04-29 05:10pm
The only thing I would worry about when removing actual dates, is that it may come across that you are trying to hide things. Having short employment times is not a great mark on your record, but, in my opinion, looking like you are not being honest is worse. I seriously thought about listing all of my jobs and the (lack of) length of many of them, to show how you are not the only one who has bounced from job to job. It's not the end of the world, and perhaps some day you can return to college (or university, depending on what it's called in your corner of the world), and continue expanding your skill set. I did that 1 1/2 years ago, after not completing a degree, and so far it has worked out for me, and it might for you. But even if that's not the route you choose to take, limited time at any one position is not necessarily as poisonous as you might fear.

Aether seemed to miss this, but my suggestions are still just suggestions, except for what I emphatically believe to be a hard and fast rule: keep your resume to one page. Employers always have many applicants to look through for any position. The more extraneous information you include on your resume, the more likely it is that it will be tossed aside because it takes too long to skim through. Stupid as shit, I agree, but that seems to be common. My advice about "Skills", "Objectives", and "About Me" is more focused to my profession, and may not be applicable to where your career is heading, but I strongly believe that keeping your resume to one page is important.
Is that one page front and back, or one page, one side only? Because one page one side only seems a bit... meager. (of course I haven't had to write a resume in probably ten years, so...)
It's a strange world. Let's keep it that way.

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Re: Help with a Resume and Cover Letter

Post by DesertFly » 2019-04-29 07:21pm

Elheru Aran wrote:
2019-04-29 05:32pm
DesertFly wrote:
2019-04-29 05:10pm
The only thing I would worry about when removing actual dates, is that it may come across that you are trying to hide things. Having short employment times is not a great mark on your record, but, in my opinion, looking like you are not being honest is worse. I seriously thought about listing all of my jobs and the (lack of) length of many of them, to show how you are not the only one who has bounced from job to job. It's not the end of the world, and perhaps some day you can return to college (or university, depending on what it's called in your corner of the world), and continue expanding your skill set. I did that 1 1/2 years ago, after not completing a degree, and so far it has worked out for me, and it might for you. But even if that's not the route you choose to take, limited time at any one position is not necessarily as poisonous as you might fear.

Aether seemed to miss this, but my suggestions are still just suggestions, except for what I emphatically believe to be a hard and fast rule: keep your resume to one page. Employers always have many applicants to look through for any position. The more extraneous information you include on your resume, the more likely it is that it will be tossed aside because it takes too long to skim through. Stupid as shit, I agree, but that seems to be common. My advice about "Skills", "Objectives", and "About Me" is more focused to my profession, and may not be applicable to where your career is heading, but I strongly believe that keeping your resume to one page is important.
Is that one page front and back, or one page, one side only? Because one page one side only seems a bit... meager. (of course I haven't had to write a resume in probably ten years, so...)
One side of one piece of paper: one page. This might be different in other industries/countries, but that's the advice I've been given from 16 years ago till now, from over a decade before I was in the business/accounting world.
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