Preparing Your Resume and Cover Letter for the Virtual Hiring Event

by Kristy Amburgey

VirtualHiring-final-trans400pxThe Career Services Office is hosting the Virtual Hiring Event (VHE) for ERAU candidates seeking full-time employment. The VHE will be Monday, February 11 – Thursday, February 21 in the EagleHire Network with preview days on Saturday, February 9 and Sunday, February 10. Job seekers will have the ability to view and apply to full-time job postings from companies who are seeking candidates.

In order to best prepare for the Virtual Hiring Event, you need to have an up-to-date resume and cover letter ready to use.  Some companies will have you submit your resume via EagleHire Network, so you need to have a “ready” resume in the system.  Other companies will direct you to their websites for application.  Either way, you need to ensure that your resume and job search documentation is suitable for the application process.

To prepare both your resume and cover letter, here are several key tips to understand and use.

  • Customize your documents for each and every position you pursue; using the job description and your company research, integrate key information into your resume and cover letter to prove that you have what it takes to do the job for that specific company
  • Focus the documents on what you can offer the employers and not necessarily on you
  • Relate your experiences and accomplishments to the employer’s needs; ensure that an employer can answer this question using the information you provide – “can this person positively impact my department and my company?”
  • Showcase your achievements; provide outcomes and results of your experiences instead of just listing general skills that most anyone could have
  • Avoid submitting generic documents that are addressed and customized to no one or nothing in particular; take the time to submit a resume and cover letter that was meant specifically for that job and that company
  • Ensure that a reader can understand what you want by reviewing your documents; an employer does not want to guess what job you want or why you are applying even after reading both documents
  • Prioritize and organize your documents; ensure that the important and relevant information is towards the top of the resume and is read from left to right; organize your cover letter so that you have three to four paragraphs
  • Know that an employer spends no more than 30 seconds reviewing each document if at all; most readers only glance at a resume to obtain a first impression; keep both documents easy to read and make it easy for them to find relevant information quickly
  • Rely on several people to review your resume for grammar, clarify and formatting; use spellcheck as well but follow it up with a review by someone who knows resumes
  • Review all information to ensure it is 100% accurate and verifiable

For resumes, here are some additional points.

  • Follow all general resume rules such as having some white space on the page, being consistent with all formatting, using font size no smaller than 10, spelling out abbreviations, avoiding using the personal pronoun “I”, etc.
  • Remove resume errors to prevent your resume from being dumped into the trash; remember that every recruiter will have their own set of standards and pet peeves, so do your best to understand the company you are pursuing and revise your resume to their standards
  • Understand Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS); many employers use this type of application system to preview and then select resumes for further review; once your resume is submitted, the ATS program will evaluate your resume based on programmed algorithms that match your document to predetermined words/order of words, including qualifications, skills, key words from the description and more; understanding the mechanics of ATS will help you know why customizing your resume is so imperative; also avoid using tables, graphs, images, etc. in your resume as most of these inserts won’t translate into an ATS program
  • Treat the resume as a marketing document that appeals to your target audience and not as a historical summary of everything you have ever done

For cover letters, here are some additional points.

  • Use a traditional one-page, business letter format
  • Address your cover letter to a specific person; do an internet search (LinkedIn, for example) to find the correct name if it is not listed in the EagleHire Network
  • Keep the cover letter concise but detailed; for example, when relating your background to the employer’s needs, give three to four accomplishments composed using a few sentences for each

As you select jobs to apply to via the Virtual Hiring Event, take the time to customize your resume and cover letter, if needed, for each position.  Leave the employers wanting to talk to you further; create documents that show employers how you are going to help them and why you are the best candidate for the position.

Kristy Amburgey is the Associate Director of Career Services – Daytona Beach campus and currently manages marketing and employer relations for the department.  She has been with Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University for approximately 10 years and with Career Services for nine years.

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  1. The Virtual Hiring Event Starts Today! Learn More About Participating Companies… « Going Places with Embry-Riddle Career Services

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