Making Yourself the Ideal Job
• Application (cover) letters
• Résumés: traditional, scanned, web
• Follow-up letters: no fault, thank you, accept,
refuse, stall
Application (Cover) Letter
• Purpose: persuade your audience to move you
onto the next step of the job search process
• Tone: project self-confidence and maturity; do
not be apologetic, timid, stuffy, or arrogant
• Homework: learn something about the
company that you can mention in the letter.
Can you tie your qualifications to what you
learned or the way you might benefit the
• Letter conventions: heading, inside address,
salutation, complimentary close, end notations
• Single spacing
• Introduction, body, and conclusion paragraphs
• Letter length-- one page (entry level job)
Letter Format
• Heading: your address; city, state, zip code; date
• Inside address: audience name and job title,
company name, address, city, state, zip
• Salutation or attention line
• Body of letter
• Complimentary close, signature block
• End notations
• Use an attention line when you don’t have a
specific person to address
– Ex. Attention: Human Resources Department
• Choose a traditional complimentary closing
– Sincerely yours,
– Very truly yours,
– Respectfully yours,
Specifics 2
• End notations
– Signature block: typed name four lines below
complimentary closing phrase with space for
– Enclosure: can include name or type of enclosure.
Use the entire word or abbreviate.
– Ex.
• Enclosure: résumé
• Encl.
Types of formats
• Block style: all parts of letter start on left
• Semi-block style: heading, complimentary close,
signature block flush right margin; all other parts
on left margin
• Single space within paragraph, skip line after
each paragraph
Heading and Inside Address Example
• 4912 Starsplit Way
• Gwynn Oak, MD 21207
• November 28, 2006
Dr. Freeman Hrabowski, President
1000 Hilltop Circle
Catonsville, MD 21250
• Dear Dr. Hrabowski:
Complimentary Close, etc. Example
• Sincerely yours,
• Mattias Cowpens
• Enclosure: résumé
Introduction (paragraph 1)
• Begin by stating purpose (cold contact or
advertised position)
• Tell how you learned about job
– Name drop if applicable
– Include specifics: name of newspaper, date you saw ad,
job title
• Describe self here or at start of body
– Tell name, student status, major/degree. Can
include reference to research on company.
Body (paragraph 2-3)
• Discuss work and education experience, one
paragraph each
– For education, include specifics about work done in
classes. Class titles without supporting specifics
won’t tell your audience much about you.
– For job, include specifics about duties,
accomplishments, rewards, promotions
• Education example
– In my technical writing course, I designed a web site
and worked on a collaborative manual on using
Front Page.
• Job example
– During my 4 years of IT experience, I have spent
time as a Level I Help Desk Specialist, providing
end-user support via telephone, email, and the
Remedy system.
Conclusion (paragraph 4)
• Ask for action from audience: an interview
• Give contact information
– E-mail address
– Landline phone number(s) (mention answering
machine or voice mail)
– Cell phone number
• End all letters with a courteous closing sentence
– Ex. Thank you for your assistance.
Traditional Résumé
• Major categories: personal data, education,
work experience, references (almost optional)
• Optional categories: job objective,
computer/professional skills, organizations,
awards, publications, interests, military
experience, extracurricular activities
• Order: personal first and references last. All
other categories organized by importance.
Personal Data
• List name, address(es), phone number(s), e-mail
address(es), website URL. For online résumé,
don’t list address and phone numbers.
• Do not include marital status, race, ethnic group,
health, date and place of birth, age
• Reverse chronological order-- list current school
first and work backwards
• School name, dates of attendance (if no large
gaps), major/minor/certificate, GPA (3.0+),
courses, internships, awards
• High school information not needed
Work Experience
• Job title, company name, city, state, zip, dates of
• Job duties
• Verb phrases best for describing duties (present
tense=current job, past tense= former job)
• Descriptive action verbs: administer, analyze,
conduct, create, design, develop, direct, edit,
evaluate, manage, operate, organize, supervise,
• Use phrase “Available upon request” if out of
space, or omit this category if you don’t have a
list of references.
• Always ask before listing someone as reference.
• Give name, job title, company address and
phone number for each person.
• Do not give personal address/phone.
Optional Categories
• Job objective: neither too specific nor too
• Computer skills: use separate sub categories-applications, languages, platforms, operating
systems, etc. (must include)
• Honors, awards, publications: brag if you can
• Organizations: include offices held
Functional Résumé
• Emphasizes skills and strengths before specific
• Works better than chronological if there are
gaps in history
• Use headings for skills, expertise, or roles
• Include descriptions of abilities in each section
• Can be problematic if employers can’t match
skills and jobs
Functional Résumé 2
• Education and work categories placed after
functional sections
– Other items that show your abilities may fit in these
• Job descriptions appear in functional section,
rather than in the employment section
• Sample Functional Résumé
• Functional Résumé Template
Scanned Résumé
• Can send both traditional and electronic
• Begin all categories on left margin, one column
• Name, address, phone number
• Keywords: to identify job titles, job related
tasks, skills or special knowledge, degrees,
certifications, colleges. Use terms from ad.
Scanned Résumé 2
• Paper and typeface: smooth white paper, black
ink, simple fonts (use only one font) like Courier
or Times Roman as long as letters don’t touch.
• Don’t use: graphics, shading, script fonts, italics,
underlining, bold, horizontal or vertical lines,
parentheses, brackets, abbreviations.
• Don’t fold or staple pages. Send in a 9x12
mailing envelope.
Scanned Résumés 3
• Don’t use: compressed lines of text, tabs, dot
matrix printers
• Do use: wide margins around text, 8.5”x11”
• Send an original, not a photocopy
• Mail, don’t fax
WWW Résumé
• Definition: résumé that contains clickable text
and images created in HTML
• Hyperlinks:
– establish at start of résumé to link to important
– should support data, not distract viewer
– should aid in navigating through résumé
WWW Résumé 2
• Should be one web page long
• Provide prioritized keyword summary, 25-35 keywords
• Only list e-mail address in personal section as contact
information for security
• Use a variety of internal links
• Keep design simple
• Register résumé with search engines
• Choose most appropriate résumé for you from these
types: traditional, scanned, web
Follow-up Letters
• Several types fit search
• Companies use them as
invisible obstacle to
narrow applicant pool
• One type chosen for this
No Fault Letter
• No response to initial mailing
• “No fault” approach
– ex. Because something might have happened to my original
letter, I am enclosing another copy of my letter and résumé.
• 2 paragraphs long
• Final paragraph asks for notice of decision, positive or
negative as well as contact information
• Don’t forget the courteous closing sentence.
Thank You Letter
• Thank you for the interview
• Say thanks and something flattering about the
company-- ¶ 1
• Repeat a qualification that was impressive or give an
answer that you couldn’t think of at the time; remind
audience about your strengths-- ¶ 2
• Close with contact information, hope for continued
participation, and courteous closing sentence-- ¶ 3
Acceptance Letter
• Job acceptance = direct approach
• Say yes and thank you-- ¶ 1
• Schedule interview, meeting, medical exam, etc.–
respond to any specifics mentioned with job
offer-- ¶ 2
• Close with enthusiastic comment about working
for company and courteous closing-- ¶ 3
Refusal Letter
• Job refusal = indirect approach
• Say thank you for job offer and something
flattering about company--¶ 1
• Refuse job and give reason--¶ 2
• Close with hope that might apply again to
company in future--¶ 3
The Stall Letter
More time needed to decide
Thank you for job offer-- ¶ 1
Ask for more time with the reason-- ¶ 2
Assure audience that you will decide
immediately if you can’t get the extension and
repeat contact information-- ¶ 3
Letters Exercise
• Keyword summary
– Using the job you’re applying for, create a 25 word
summary. Include specific key words and phrases
from the job ad as well as from your personal
– Places to look for good keywords are the job
– If you aren’t using a job ad, find one online to use
for this exercise.
– Send this exercise to the Discussion Board.

METAPHORS - University of Maryland, Baltimore County