Cover Letter & Resume Guide

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How to Compose Your Cover Letter and Resume

Section 1: Cover Letter Tips Your cover letter should show: -

The specific skills and background you have that is relevant to the job Your enthusiasm for the job/company Your knowledge about the company/industry Friendliness and warmth (use words such as passionate, hardworking, eager) Highlight the skills, traits, and successes that relate to your desired position

TIPS!! 1. Tailor your cover letter to the company and position. Show them you have done your homework and researched the company! 2. Underline key qualifications and responsibilities listed in the job description and incorporate them when listing your skills and qualifications. 3. Make your language strong by using the PRESENT tense. Avoid the passive voice and never choose a long word when a short one will do. Keep the language simple. 4. Keep it to one page. 5. Avoid beginning every sentence with “I” . 6. Present a strong opening sentence to grab the employer’s attention. Be creative - tell the employer why you want to work for them! 7. Use clear examples that are applicable to the job to demonstrate your knowledge and skills (highlight school achievements or examples where you went beyond expectations and received recognition). 8. Think of ways to set yourself apart from the competition – what makes you different? 9. List volunteer experience to show your extracurricular activities and your involvement in the community. 10. PROOFREAD – have someone else edit for spelling, grammar and punctuation errors. Spellcheck does not track all errors.

Section 2: Sample Co-op Cover Letter **Use this as a sample: DO NOT COPY – your cover letter needs to be unique** 12 ABC Street (Your name is listed only at the bottom) Toronto, Ontario N2L 3C5 (Avoid abbreviations on formal documents) January 27, 2012 (Today’s date) Ms. Jennifer Brown (Use Company Name when you do not know the recruiter’s name) Generic Brands Ltd. Suite 720, 152 Bay Street Toronto, Ontario M3C 2C6 Availability: Summer 2013 (May-August) (State your availability for this work term) Dear Hiring Manager: (When there is no name, use "Dear Hiring Manager" or “Dear Recruiter”) Please accept my application for the position of Position Title with Company Name listed through the Co-op Office at Ryerson University. (Mention something you know about the company from speaking with an employee, reading an article or visiting the company’s web site.) I am confident my education and experience are well-suited to this position. Enclosed is my résumé for your consideration. My studies in the (name your program) at Ryerson University have exposed me to many concepts related to the field of Chemical Engineering. (Indicate your academic program and refer to knowledge or skills you have gained through courses, assignments and activities.) Through a team-based project in (list course name) I was involved in all aspects (list details). This and other team-based projects have developed my interpersonal and communication skills, as well as improved my organizational and time management skills. In addition to my academic experience, my work experience at Company Name has given me the skills to work in a fast paced environment where customer service, and timeliness, are necessary to succeed. (Explain how, and in which paid or volunteer jobs, you have demonstrated some of the skills required for this position.) I am enthusiastic about the possibility of joining (company name/department) and am confident that my abilities and background make me an asset. I welcome the opportunity for an interview at your convenience. I can be reached through the Ryerson Co-op Office at (416) 979-5068.

Sincerely,

John Smith

Section 3: Resume Templates Free Resume Templates The following links are a great starting point to see different resume templates. Word has free excellent downloaded templates. http://office.microsoft.com/en-us/templates/CT010104337.aspx (over 100 free downloads) http://jobsearch.about.com/cs/resumesamples/a/resumetemplate.htm (more sample templates) You can also type “co-op resume or resume templates” in Google Images for many examples!

Section 4: Resume Tips TIPS!! 1. Your resume should “sell” you to potential employers. Correct spelling, grammar, and word use are important. Make sure your resume does not have any errors in those areas. 2. Your resume should be no longer than 2 pages. Your name/header must appear on every page. 3. When listing your academic, work, or other achievements, they are to be listed in reverse chronological order (from most recent to the past). 4. Where possible, try to quantify your accomplishments. For example: - Designed new web site which increased online sales at the company by 15% - Tutored 5 students in Math and Science whose grades increased from a C to an A5. Use action verbs – preferably in the present tense - to describe your skills, duties, and achievements. See this web site for examples of great action verbs. http://www.quintcareers.com/action_skills.html 6. Do not use the present participle of verbs (the – “ing” ending such as: submitting proposals; developing web site; creating reports; maintaining databases etc.) in your descriptions. 7. Although word choice is important, don’t use so many big or fancy words that your descriptions become vague. 8. If you wish to use acronyms please use the complete term/name and then list the acronym in parentheses beside it before using the acronym in other parts of your resume. Example: Ryerson Student Union (RSU).

Section 5: Resume Format **Use this as a sample: DO NOT COPY ** 1. Name, Address and Contact Information (required) Your name should appear on your resume exactly as the name under which you have registered at Ryerson. It should be presented as first name, last name. Your name should be bolded and in a font size larger than the type used elsewhere on your resume. You may include your preferred name in brackets. For example: Yon Ching (Amanda) Wong. 2. Summary of Qualifications/Skills (optional) This section of your resume provides a brief statement of what you can offer an employer in terms of skills knowledge or background (summary of qualifications). Interpersonal Skills • Excellent ability to work in teams and individually • Excellent written communication skills as demonstrated in writing school assignments Computer Skills • Applications: Word, Excel, PowerPoint, MathCAD, Matlab, Pro-Engineer, Lotus Notes • Languages: C++, JavaScript, HTML Communication Skills • Extensive experience in presentation preparation and organizing training workshops • Fluent in English, Spanish, Hindi, Mandarin Technical/ Laboratory Skills: • Thin Layer Chromatography, Distillation, Chemical Engineering Processes, Chemical & Reagent Handling

3. Education (required) This will probably be the trickiest part of the resume for most of you. The reason we list three different possibilities here is that you may choose to list one of the three options ahead of the other(s) depending on whether you have any relevant work experience which you may wish to highlight before your education. If you have little or no experience, your Education section should appear at this stage. You will have to offer greater detail about your studies, and the relevant skills developed to show an employer that you have the potential – if not direct experience – to do the job. Insightful descriptions of your school projects are very important for this section.

EDUCATION B.Eng, Chemical Engineering Co-op Ryerson University, Toronto, ON • Currently completing second year studies • Current grade point average: 3.20/4.33 • Expected graduation date: June 2015

2010 – Present

ACADEMIC PROJECT Unit Operations Laboratory Worked as a team to design objectives subject to the limitations of time, safety and equipment capability. Our project consisted of accurately visualizing process flow diagrams of equipment, and validating engineering principles. We also evaluated safety and environmental issues for similar industrial equipment, and communicated our findings as a written report. 4. Work Experience OR Relevant Experience (required) WORK EXPERIENCE Job Title, Company Name, Location Month Yr – Month Yr Example: QA Assistant, ABC Laboratories, Toronto Sept 2009 – Aug 2010 • Have 3-5 bullet points listing the skills you obtained and what you learned • Try to make this information as quantifiable as possible - #s show achievements • List your duties as bullet points demonstrating your accomplishments and the skills you obtained • Google your job title (ex: “resume duties + receptionist”) if you have difficulty wording your bullet points. Google has many examples you can reference and reword. • Verbs/action words should be listed in past tense if you are not presently in the position

5. Volunteer Experience (optional but recommended) VOLUNTEER EXPERIENCE Title, Company Name, Location Month Yr – Month Yr • Volunteer activities are highly regarded – shows your commitment to the community • List like a regular job - include the name of the organization, location, dates, and duties. • Example: Tutored 5 students in Math and Science whose grades increased from a C to an A-

6. Awards & Achievements (include if applicable) Include any significant academic, athletic, community service, or work awards/recognition. You may use awards received in university or high school. When listing awards, please make sure you use the actual full title of the award and the full name of the organization that offered the award and include dates. 7. Activities & Interests (optional, but recommended if you have space) Outline any clubs you belong to, sports you participate in, hobbies you pursue, or other activities you enjoy. Be specific when including items here. The activities do not need to be related to your program of study. If you plan to have this section, use it to show that you are a well-rounded person who has interests outside of school and work.

______________________________________________________________________________ 350 Victoria Street, Toronto, Ontario M5B 2K3 Tel: 416-979-5068 Fax: 416-979-5069 E-mail: [email protected] www.ryerson.ca/co-op