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RÉSUMÉS AND COVER LETTERSThe most important tool you have on a résumé is language.—Jay Samit, digital media innovatorLEARNING OBJECTIVESBy the end of this section, you will be able to:Define the purpose and contents of a résuméIdentify characteristics of an effective résuméIdentify characteristics of an effective cover letter
Purpose of Résumés and Cover LettersA résumé is a “selfie” for business purposes. It is a written picture of who you are—it’s a marketing tool, a sellingtool, and a promotion of you as an ideal candidate for any job you may be interested in.The wordrésumécomes from the French wordrésumé, which means “a summary.” Leonardo da Vinci is creditedwith writing one of the first known résumés, although it was more of a letter that outlined his credentials for apotential employer, Ludovico Sforza. The résumé got da Vinci the job, though, and Sforza became a longtimepatron of da Vinci and later commissioned him to paintThe Last Supper. You can see the letter and read thetranslation atLadders Career Advice.Résumés and cover letters work together to represent you in the brightest light to prospective employers. With awell-composed résumé and cover letter, you stand out—which may get you an interview and then a good shot atlanding a job.In this section we discuss résumés and cover letters as key components of your career development tool kit. Weexplore some of the many ways you can design and develop them for the greatest impact in your job search.Your Résumé: Purpose and ContentsYour résumé is an inventory of your education, work experience, job-related skills, accomplishments, volunteerhistory, internships, residencies, and/or more. It’s a professional autobiography in outline form to give the personwho reads it a quick, general idea of who you are. With a better idea of who your are, prospective employers cansee how well you might contribute to their workplace.As a college student or recent graduate, though, you may be unsure about what to put in your résumé, especiallyif you don’t have much employment history. Still, employers don’t expect recent grads to have significant workexperience. And even with little work experience, you may still have a host of worthy accomplishments to include.It’s all in how you present yourself.The following video is an animated look at why résumés are so important. You can read atranscript of the videohere.Watch this video online:Elements of Your Successful RésuméPerhaps the hardest part of writing a résumé is figuring out what format to use to organize and present yourinformation in the most effective way. There is no correct format, per se, but most résumés follow one of the fourformats below. Which format appeals to you the most?

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Term
Fall
Professor
Mrs. Smith-Scott
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