Resume & Cover Letter Writing
Computer Science, Computing & Business, CNET
Presented by:
Co-op Programs Office
Sarah Kitsemetry
Senior Career Consultant
Objectives

To learn effective techniques and strategies to capture the
employer’s attention.

To understand how to write content for your cover letter and
resume by communicating your skills and how you achieved
business objectives

To better prepare you for the competitive job market
Truths & Myths
There are clear rules for developing the perfect resume.
FALSE. There is no such thing as a perfect resume. You
need to determine how to develop a strong marketing
document that highlights your experience.
The purpose of the resume is to get a job.
FALSE. Resumes are an introduction of your skills and
experience – its purpose is to get you an interview.
It is smart to copy words/language from the posting to use on
your resume.
TRUE. Incorporate as much of the language from the posting
as you can in order to demonstrate your fit for the job and
organization.
Truths & Myths
Your resume should identify your job responsibilities for
positions you held.
FALSE. Do more than restate the job description – create
accomplishment statements that identify your achievements
and contributions, and only highlight aspects of the job that
are relevant to the employer.
When it comes to resumes, less is more.
TRUE. Simplicity is the key. Employers will spend 20-30
seconds reviewing your resume. Too much text can be
overwhelming.
A cover letter is a sales pitch and a proposal for further action.
TRUE. The purpose of the cover letter is to encourage the
employer to review your resume.
Truths & Myths
It is important to provide a record of every job you have held.
FALSE. Your resume is a marketing document, not a biography.
For students, 5 years is an appropriate timeline.
It is important to provide a list of references with your resume.
FALSE. Never include references with your initial application.
Using a template is a good idea.
FALSE. Common templates that can be downloaded online or
through common Microsoft programs are not effective – it
shows a lack of creativity and employers can spot them.
Instead, use samples for ideas on how to display your
information appropriately.
Understanding Your Skills

Skills are developed and acquired through various activities
and experiences: work, volunteer, extracurricular, etc.

Recognizing the skills you have and how you have
demonstrated them successfully will be the foundation for
your cover letter and resume.

Being able to effectively communicate your skills on your
cover letter and resume takes time and practice.
Skills Employers Look For
Technical skills are important to include in your cover letter and
resume but you need to demonstrate transferable (soft) skills as well






Communication
Problem Solving
Research
Organization & Time
Management
Flexibility/Change Agent
Decision Making/Good
Judgment







Positive Attitude
Interpersonal/ Teamwork
Negotiation/Ability to
Influence & Persuade
Leadership
Creativity/Innovation
Critical Thinking
Ability to Learn
Resume Writing-Basic Content
INCLUDE:










Contact Information
Education
Academic Projects
Computer & Technical
Skills
Work Experience
Extracurricular
Experience
Volunteer Experience
Awards and Scholarships
Memberships/Associations
Certifications
OMIT:






Gender, Age, Marital Status
Social Insurance Number
An Objective Statement
Detailed Interests or
Hobbies
A List of References
Your Student Number
Choosing a Format
Reverse Chronological

Organize your experiences from
most recent to least recent

Highlight job titles, company
names, and dates

Include a few bullet points with
each experience to describe
your skills and contributions
Personal Information
Incorrect
Correct
Carol Jones
346 Glen Ave.
St. Catherines, ON, L2S 3A1
(905) 680-5559
[email protected]
Carol Jones
346 Glen Avenue
St. Catharines, Ontario L2S 3A1
(905) 680-5559
[email protected]
 Check spelling and grammar carefully
 Use the full spelling of abbreviated terms
 Choose/create an appropriate email address
Personal Information
Include your current and permanent address:
Use Brock ema
Carol Jones
[email protected]
Current Address
(until April 30, 2011)
346 Glen Avenue
St. Catharines, Ontario L2S 3A1
(905) 680-5559
Permanent Address
(as of May 1, 2011)
588 Smith Road
Waterloo, Ontario L1N 2P8
(519) 458-3391
Education
Common Mistakes:
• Computer Science
• Bachelor of Computer Science
• Comp. Sci.
Correct:
Honours Bachelor of Science, Computer Science Co-op
Brock University, St. Catharines, Ontario
Honours Bachelor of Science, Computing & Business Co-op
Brock University, St. Catharines, Ontario
Education – Relevant Courses
The keyword is relevant courses
1.
2.
3.
4.
Don’t include Foundations of Computing
Don’t include Algorithms and Data Structures
Use course name and not course number
Focus on courses that are unique / considered elective




Data Structures and Abstraction
Advanced Data Structures
Introduction to Operating Systems
Mathematics for Computer Science
Could add these courses at later time:
 Software Engineering
 Algorithms
Awards & Scholarships

Use this section only if you have 3 or more scholarships / awards
Might include:
Academic Achievements
 Awards
 Scholarships
 Grade point average above 80% (major or overall average)


Ensure information is recent – nothing older than 5 years
Projects

Used correctly, this section can set you apart from other students

Show any lengthy, impressive, or relevant projects to which you
have made real contribution * can be academic or extra –
curricular projects

Each project should have at least two bullets (outcomes)
Market Basket Analysis System
Course Name, Brock University, St. Catharines, Ontario
○ Designed and implemented a Java application for predicting future
purchases based on a probabilistic analysis of past purchase records
○ Deployed system as a web service using XML and SOAP and an Oracle
database on the backend
○ Used synchronized threads to increase overall throughput of the system
to handle up to 50 client requests per second”
Computer & Technical Skills
This is where you emphasize your technical skills
Programming Languages
 Put in order of familiarity
Platforms
 Nice to list Windows and Linux
Packages
 Eclipse, Oracle 9i, MS SQL Server, ClearCase, Rational Rose, …
Development Methodologies
 Rational Unified Process, Extreme Programming, Agile
Development
Work Experience

Can have two Work Sections: Career Related Experience and
Other Work Experience

Career Related = any technical work experience in IT

Work Experience or Other Work Experience = all other
employment

Chronological order – most recent to least recent
Sample: Before & After
WORK EXPERIENCE
______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
Web site Developer
Scotiabank, St. Catharines, Ontario
Sales Associate – Technology
2009
Best Buy, St. Catharines, Ontario
Office Assistant
2008
The Burke Group, St. Catharines, Ontario
August 2009 - Present
May 2009 – August
May 2008 – August
Lawncare Technician
January 2008 – April 2008
BMG Landscaping Service, St. Catharines, Ontario
Sample: Before & After
CAREER RELATED EXPERIENCE (OR IT EXPERIENCE)
_____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ __________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
Web site Developer
Scotiabank, St. Catharines, Ontario
Sales Associate - Technology
Best Buy, St. Catharines, Ontario
August 2009 - Present
May 2009 – August 2009
OTHER WORK EXPERIENCE
_____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ __________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
Office Assistant
May 2008 – August 2008
The Burke Group, St. Catharines, Ontario
Lawncare Technician
January 2008 – April 2008
BMG Landscaping Service, St. Catharines, Ontario
Work Experience: Techniques

Use industry keywords and language

Articulate your work experience based on business objectives

What was your contribution, accomplishment, impact, or
acquired learning?

Result + Skill + Action bullets (70 %, listed first)

Skill + Actions + Result (30%, listed after RSA bullets)
Sample: Poor, Better, Best
Poor:
 Advised customers on IT related products
Better:
 Provided information about IT products to customers, which
resulted in sales
Best:
 Exceeded monthly sales targets by 20% by assessing
customer needs and providing relevant IT product options
Sample: Poor, Better, Best
Poor:
 Stacked pool supplies in secure area
Better:
 Participated in, and documented annual inventory counts
Best:
 Reduced costs associated with seasonal merchandise by
reviewing consumer purchasing activities and managing
inventory accordingly
Use Action Words

Each bullet point should begin with an action word (verb) – not
responsible for, duties included etc.
A list of action words can be found at:
http://www.brocku.ca/co-op/current-students/employmentresources
(current undergraduate  employment resources  action
words)
Outcomes & Results
Some of the best outcomes and results are as follows:







Increased/generated revenues
Faster time to market
Decreased costs
Improved operational efficiency
Increased market share
Decreased employee turnover
Improved customer retention levels
A list of sample outcomes / results can be found at:
http://www.brocku.ca/co-op/current-students/employmentresources
(current undergraduate  employment resources results list)
Formula for Bullet Success
What business objective did this meet?
(to increase, decrease, expand, improve, etc)
+
What was your task? What did you do?
+
What was the outcome, result, achievement or acquired
learning?
(something that can be measured/evaluated)
=
A VALUE STATEMENT or ACCOMPLISHMENT STATEMENT
Sample: Before & After
Before:
Sales Associate / Key Holder
July 2006 - Present
Danier Leather, Niagara Falls, Ontario
 As a sales associate and key holder I have learned the
importance of meeting personal and store sales goals,
listening closely to each customer, asking the right
questions, following store standards and wardrobing.
I’ve also learned how extremely important customer
service and organization is in the retail industry,
especially when taking and following up on special
orders, being an expert on our product and anticipating
our customers’ needs and wants.
Sample: Before & After
After:
Sales Associate / Key Holder
July 2006 – Present
Danier Leather, Niagara Falls, Ontario
 Exceeded monthly sales targets by 20% over a six month
period by reorganizing merchandising displays
 Retained client base representing 25% of store sales by
developing a follow up calling system
 Reduced inventory control issues by implementing a loss
prevention program
Additional Content




Languages (Fluent in English & French)
Extra-Curricular Involvement (committees, clubs)
Volunteer Experience
Professional Memberships
References
References: “Available upon request”
 Place references on a separate page
 Include personal information at the top (copy from resume)
Provide three references:
• Work-related references are preferred
• Academic references are acceptable (in some cases)
References will include: Person’s Name, Position Title,
Organization/Company, Phone Number
Make sure to ask your references for permission to use their name
Carol Jones
346 Glen Avenue, St. Catharines, Ontario L2S 3A1
(905) 680-5559
[email protected]
REFERENCES
_______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
Mr. John Taylor
Manager
Danier Leather
(905) 123-4567
Ms. Sue Ann Jones
HR Administrative Coordinator
The Burke Group
(905) 222-2222
Dr. John Smith
Assistant Professor
Brock University
(905)866-5550
Remember…

An effective value or accomplishment statement describes
what you did in terms of tangible results; it draws interest
and shares a success story within a few words

Start every bullet point with an action word; avoid starting
any point with “duties include” or “responsible for”

Only highlight points that are relevant to the job and
employer

Organize your bullet points based on relevance and
significance

You are not your audience – think like an employer
Cover Letter Writing:
A cover letter is a tool to analyze:






Written communication skills
Technical skills
Organizational skills
Abilities and accomplishments
Focus and goals
Your understanding of the job and organization
Understand the Job Posting
Before writing the cover letter you need to analyze the job
posting and look for:
 Business objectives or goals
 Industry key words
 Technical and Soft Skills
Date
EMPLOYER INFORMATION
First and last name, title
Full company name &
address
Address the letter to a specific
person:
“Dear Ms. Cockell:”
Avoid “Dear Sir or Madame:”
Avoid “Dear Jennifer Cockell:”
Paragraph 1:
Why you are writing.
State the following:
 Job title
 The company name

Where and when you saw the posting
Quote job code/number if instructed
Cover Letter Writing: Paragraph 1
Sample: Paragraph 1
It was with great interest and enthusiasm that I read your
advertisement for the IT Helpdesk Associate (#JC11555) on
Brock University’s Co-op job postings board. I am actively
pursuing my
Honours Bachelor of Science, Computer
Science degree and am seeking my first co-op placement
beginning in January 2011.
Sample: Paragraph 1
Please accept this letter and attached resume as my
application for the co-op position of Network Security
Specialist (Job ID: 288764), as posted on Brock University’s
Co-op job postings board. I am confident that my previous
work experience combined with my academic training make
me an excellent candidate for this position.
Paragraph 2:
READ THE JOB POSTING CAREFULLY
 Begin with your technical skills 23 sentences. Provide evidence to
support these skills.
 Evidence that your experiences
match the employer’s needs.
 Summarize your skills as they
relate to the skills and
competencies outlined in the job
posting and provide evidence.
 Focus on the top 2 or 3
objectives, skills or competencies
from the job posting.
Cover Letter Writing: Paragraph 2
Sample: Paragraph 2
Currently, I am completing my second year of a Bachelor’s
degree in Computer Science at Brock University. My academic
experience has provided me with the necessary tools to
become an effective analyst/programmer. Through the design
and implementation of several projects completed in both
individual and group environments I have become proficient in
programming, using Visual Basic, C, C++, GUI, Java, as well as
Windows NT 4.0.
Paragraph 3:
Your research of the employer.
 Evidence of your research
 Why this employer/job appeals
to you
 Common values and beliefs
Cover Letter Writing: Paragraph 3
Sample: Paragraph 3
After attending RBC’s information session at Brock, it was
evident that the company places great emphasis on its
surrounding communities. Impact Day at RBC is an
impressive collective effort put forth by the company’s
people and would be a very rewarding experience. A full day
of helping surrounding communities would be of great
interest to me, as I volunteer my time frequently for
activities and events coordinated by Brock’s Computer
Science Club.
Sample: Paragraph 3
I am interested in working at RBC because I believe in your
vision of earning the right to be a client’s first choice
through excellent service. In my experience, I have valued
my relationships with customers and thrive in an
environment where I can provide excellent service in order
to meet customer needs.
Paragraph 4:
Closing
 Express your interest in an
interview
 Provide your contact
information
 Thank the reader for their
time and consideration
Cover Letter Writing: Paragraph 4
Sample: Paragraph 4
I would greatly appreciate the opportunity to personally
describe my potential contributions in more detail and I
would welcome a personal meeting at your convenience. I
can be reached at (905) 688-5050. Thank you for your time
and consideration.
Sample: Paragraph 4
I would welcome the opportunity to discuss my
qualifications further. Please feel free to contact me at
(905) 688-5050 should you have any questions. Thank you
for your time.
“Yours
Truly” or “Best
Regards”
Your first and last name
Remember…





The cover letter is your first introduction to the employer
Be clear and concise
The employer wants to know what position you are applying
for and why YOU are the best candidate for the job
Spend the time to understand the role and tailor your cover
letter to meet the needs of that employer
It is recommended that you include a written signature
above your printed name at the bottom of your cover letter
What Do Employers Say?
“Customize each cover letter and resume to the company & job”
“Quantify as much as possible (numbers, percentages)”
“Highlight experience that is most relevant to the position”
“Be honest”
“Include volunteer work”
Next Steps
1.
Cover Letters and Resumes due September 13, 2010 at 4:30.
Cover Letters / Resumes that are submitted after this deadline
will be reviewed behind students who adhered to the deadline.
2.
Please submit to [email protected]
 1 document / MS word attachment
3. Subject line of your email & file name should be as follows:
Last Name_First Name_Program_Entry Year program
Questions / Concerns:
Sarah Kitsemetry
Ext. 5577, [email protected]
Descargar

Name of presentation