Cover Letters
Career Centre Cover Letters Improve Your Cover Letter

Improve Your Cover Letter

The most important things to remember when writing is to keep it clean, keep it organized, and keep it short! No employer wants to read a resume that looks messy or is several pages long.

1. Follow A Standard Layout:

No employer wants to have to search through a resume to find the information they are looking for. Your resume should be organized with distinct titles such as "Work Experience", "Skills & Interests", etc. Make sure to bold your titles and add an underline. Dividing your resume into several clear sections will make your resume easier to read and more likely to be viewed by an employer.

2. Sell Yourself:

Look through your resume for areas that you could improve by adding more details. For example, in your work experience section, rather than saying something like: "Sales at a retail store from 2008-2010" Add some details that tell your employer more about you: "Reached the top ten percent in sales for XYZ Company (International retail chain) as the sales manager from 2008-2010. The latter description tells the employer about an accomplishment in your previous position and implies that you are already motivated and good at what you do. The same goes for other sections of your resume such as "Skills". Rather than saying "Good with computers", one could say "Experienced with Microsoft Word, Excel spreadsheets, network & server management, and general computing". Most people can go back through their resumes and identify several areas where more details or accomplishments could be added. This will do wonders as far as the content of your resume is concerned.

3. Target Your Resume/ Cover Letter:

Make sure that you read the job posting thoroughly prior to applying to the job. Identify exactly what the employer is looking for and ensure that you tailor your resume to demonstrate that you can meet the requirements of the job. A generic resume or generic cover letter will not generate the same results that a targeted resume and cover letter will.

4. Proof-Read, Proof-Read, Proof-Read:

Read your resume a few times before you submit it and run a spell-check. It is also a good idea to have a friend or family member review your resume for missing words. Sometimes we get so familiar with what we have written down that we fail to see that we missed a word or a letter. Spelling errors are a huge red flag for employers and avoiding errors in your resume is one of the easiest ways to get a leg up on the competition.

5. Prove Your Value:

The ideal job candidate is not one that meets the criteria of the job posting. The ideal job candidate is the one who meets and exceeds the criteria listed in the job posting! If you can meet an employer's expectations and demonstrate clearly in your resume that you can add value beyond what they are looking for, you will have a great chance of being hired.

6. Do Not Include Hobbies:

Some job applicants will have a hobbies section which reads "Enjoy walking", "Play Sports", etc. Keep in mind that you are applying to a job not a dating website! Employers will get to know the more intimate details once they hire you. It is more important to explain in your resume how you can help an employer grow their business rather than to give them personal details and interests.

7. Use Black, White, and Gray For Online Submissions:

Using colour and images can greatly enhance the look of a resume and can really make you stand out. You should be cautious though, as images and colour can also make a resume look very unprofessional! One thing to keep in mind when using colour is that it is expensive for employers to print out colour resumes. When submitting an online job application it is recommended that you submit a black and white resume. One great thing about online applications at is that you can fill out your jobseeker profile with tons of supplemental resume information. If you choose to make your profile viewable, employers will receive a link to your profile along with your application and will be able to learn far more about you then what you have written on your resume!

8. Keep It Formal And Professional:

You are not chatting with a buddy on Facebook or MSN, you are selling your services to an employer! You should never use words like "I" in your resume. It can be difficult to get used to this style of writing, but it will pay off in the end by making you sound more professional.

9. Be Creative:

Even if you are a bit shy, it doesn't hurt to try to grab some attention when you're applying to a job. Take a moment to think about how other applicants to the job will be submitting or styling their resumes. Try to do something completely different to get your name heard by the employer. When an employer scans through a pile of job applications at a later date, they may recall hearing your name before and it will pique their interest. An example would be following up an online application with a phone call to the company. You could express your interest in the position and let them know that you have applied online at Let them know that you would appreciate the chance to interview with their company as you feel that you have a lot to offer.

10. Use Heavier Paper:

If you look closely at packages of printer paper, you will notice that they have different weights. Print your resume out on paper that is slightly thicker or heavier than regular printer paper. If your resume feels different than all the rest, employers will be more likely to pay attention to it. Also, using a heavier paper will help to make your resume appear more professional.



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