Resumes and Cover Letters

It is just a fact that there will always be challenges, but you can’t let these things derail you, instead the struggle must be your teacher as you learn to persevere. It is at your hardest moments that you find your inner strength and where we learn to bend, but not break.

Nina Vaca, CEO and Chairperson of Pinnacle Group

Resumes and Cover Letters are the two most important pieces of a job application. Developed over decades of recruitment cycles, they are the most common parts of the job search process and developing both is an art form all by itself. Hopefully, in following our guide and using the examples provided, you will be well on your way to a successful job hunt. First, we should talk about the documents and provide a baseline for understanding their unique components.

The resume is your professional and educational history on a piece of paper. In lieu of an interview, this document should be a brief yet specific history of your education, relevant or professional experience, extracurriculars, honors/awards, certifications (if you have any) and interests. These should be laid out in a standard, serifed font, size 10-12, and in black ink.

Many applicants find it easiest to create a resume using platforms such as Microsoft Word and then convert these to PDF files, though this is one way to accomplish the same goal. Using a table within the document can help with organization, as shown in the Sample Resume 1 below- just remember to remove them after editing.

The cover letter is your statement of interest in the position you are applying to. Back in the days before virtual applications, recruiters could receive hundreds of physical job applications in the mail for several different positions. Without a cover letter, employers found it quite difficult to identify which candidate was applying for which position, though this has largely been resolved with the advent of the internet. Despite the transition to 21st-century recruitment, employers often ask for cover letters as a way to get to know applicants and to understand their motivations for applying.

Cover letters are often used to compare applicants who may have similar backgrounds on their resumes, and to separate those who applied for the job on a whim and those candidates who legitimately wish to work for the company. It’s important to tailor both documents to reflect the position you are applying to. Employers will often say in the job posting what they are looking for in an applicant, so make sure they are reflected throughout your application.

Access our sample resumes and cover letters to get a sense of what employers expect from these documents.