Resume, Cover Letters, and More

Your Resume is the Key

Given that the average amount of time that a recruiter spends reviewing each candidate’s resume is approximately 6 seconds, you need to stand out to make an impression. Take advantage of this window of opportunity to market what you have to offer. Use our helpful resources below:

  • View the Illinois State Resume Guide – Use the Resume Creator in MassCIS or improve your current version with the Resume Guide provided by Illinois State University.
  • Use the Bloom’s Taxonomy – Clearly articulate your learning, value, and importance to your new employer by identifying the proper verb to describe your impact on the organization.
  • Get Feedback Fast – Schedule a 15-minute drop-in session on a first come, first served basis. Bring a printed draft of your resume or cover letter with you or upload it to your MassCIS Portfolio.

Your Cover Letter Paints Your Picture

If your resume gets your foot in the door, your cover letter will kick it open!  Cover letters help you color in the line that your resume provides by presenting a more full version of you.  Even if they are presented as optional on a job application, sending a cover letter sets you apart from other candidates.  Show the employer some of your personality by following the guidelines below:

  • Write a new cover letter for every position. The best cover letters are customized for the employer receiving them. You also avoid the dreaded mistake of submitting a letter addressed to the wrong employer.
  • Demonstrate you’ve done your employer research and show them how you’re the best candidate for THEM. This means talking about THEM and how you’re a fit for what they need/want.
  • Use a professional, simple, and direct writing style that also expresses personal interest in the career path that you are pursuing and excitement for the opportunity.
  • As with your resume, your cover letter is a writing sample. Proofreading for grammatical and spelling errors, typos, and content/style is just as important. Grammatical errors derail your chances of moving to the interview stage.
  • Don’t overshare! You don’t have to tell them your life story but you’re telling them enough to convince them they want to invite you to an interview and learn more.
  • Make sure that your cover letter and resume match in style.
  • Address the letter to a specific individual whenever possible.

Communication with Employers

Your resume and cover letter are professional documents designed to get you in front of a potential employer for an interview.  As 93% of all communication is non-verbal, negative interactions with recruiters can wreck any opportunity.  Be sure to be courteous, positive, and responsible as you put your best self forward at all stages of the recruitment process.  Below are some tips to help you communicate with good intent:

  • Offer yourself to help out rather than looking for help in return.
  • Remember your manners – Say please and thank you when appropriate.
  • Send a personalized thank you letter after all interviews within 72 hours.