A Good Resume And Cover Letter

A Good Resumé and Cover Letter
By Siphat Lim, PhD

A resumé is written record of your education, working and professional background, skills and other relevant information. A cover letter is a summary of your relevant qualifications that is to convince the employer why you are a good candidate for the positions you are applying for. Writing a good resumé and cover letter important steps in a job search process to get your foot in the door for the job interview.

Before writing your application, you should first think about your working experience, achievement and skills, which are relevant to the position you intend to apply for. It is always important to do some research about the company you intend to apply for and the qualifications they are looking for. 

1. A good resumé

It is always the case that employer needs to go through multiple job applications, so in your resumé you should use headings and dot points with key verbs to convey your message to the employer. A good resumé should include:

  • Professional statement at the top of resumé to provide a quick summary of your experience, skills and achievements.
  • Education and training: Include only what is relevant, do not include your high school or  language  schools.
  • Employment history: Present in a reverse chronological order, highlighting your key responsibilities (preferably relevant to the job you intend to apply), and your achievements. Where available, try to quantify your key responsibility and achievements (what they represent).
  • Career strength such technical skills, soft skills, language skills etc
  • Contact detail

References are optional. You can include one or two references if it is stated as a requirement in the selection criteria (job advertisement). Otherwise, you do not need to include this section. However, do not put “References Available Upon Request” on your resumé. It just takes up the valuable space in resumé for nothing.

2. A good cover letter

A good cover letter is more than just a shorter version of your resumé but generally tells the employer why they should read your resumé. In a good cover letter, you should write something more than just your educational background and working history. You should highlight your skills (hard and soft skills) and qualifications that makes you different from their other potential candidates and express your interests/enthusiasm in the company/industry.

Last but not least, it is worth noting that good resumé and cover letter should be concise and focused. A good resume should be no more than two pages, and an effective cover letter should be no more than one page. The layout should be neat and the entire format should be consistent, with no spelling and significant grammatical errors.