Seniors concerned with graduation and entering the job market have a valuable ally in Dana Wherli, Director of Career Development. From her office in the back of the Spellman Center, Wherli counsels students in developing effective resumes and cover letters.
“Preparing for Success”, her presentation, provides valuable insight into what employers search for in candidates applications. Cover letters and resumes are important to the hiring process, though students often do not realize the image that each projects.
Cover letters, Wherli advises, should be well-written and engaging. The document is an employer’s first writing sample from applicants, and it is important to send the correct message. This can be achieved in a few ways.
First, it is important to write individual letters. Mass producing may sound like a smart idea, but ultimately comes off as impersonal, and may leave out key targets for each job.
Targeting is also important. Employers post job requirements, and it is wise for candidates to explain why they meet each.
Focusing on the company is also vital. Excessive use of self-directed words suggests that the prospective hire is really interested in himself, and any job will be sufficient. This focus on the company can also be demonstrated in the simple detail of hand-signing each letter.
While cover letters are important, Wherli advises that resumes are the true key to obtaining an interview, and ultimately a job. It is a valuable personal marketing tool. When designing and choosing a resume style it is important to remember that each resume gets an average initial look of only 30-40 seconds. This time can be the deciding factor of whether or not an applicant will be interviewed.
The types of resumes, chronological, functional, and combination, each have strengths and weaknesses. Lindenwood graduates will often find that the combination method is most effective. This style focuses equally on education and employment experience as well as personal skills.
Currently there are several resume workshops in planning stages as well as a large career event in February. The Career Center is an important place for seniors to utilize in the coming months.
For assistance writing or revising resumes, contact Wherli or Brandi Goforth in the Career Center at CareerDevelopment@lindenwood.edu.