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Job Hunting in Liverpool NY

Resumes and Cover Letters

1. LinkedIn Learning - Here you will find exceptionally well-produced videos that give you comprehensive breakdowns of the process for crafting resumes and cover letters. There are many other topic-specific videos available as well. LinkedIn Learning typically costs subscribers a monthly fee, but you get access to it free without your library card number.

2. CGF LearnFree - A simple clean website with no ads that explains every element of the cover letter, step by step. Excellent for seniors and anyone who has trouble with tech.

3. Career One Stop - Another fantastic set of guides from the federal Department of Labor. Set this one aside for when you have plenty of time to read. There is a lot of content here.

4. NY Dept of Labor - Our state Department of Labor has put together a fantastic all-in-one guide for both cover letters and resumes. It includes sample templates, action verbs that you can use to spice up those bullet points, advice for how to adjust your resume depending on your age and demographic, and sample templates. The real meat of the guide is contained in the downloadable PDF.

5. Harvard Business Review - These articles won't give you the basic step-by-step process for creating your resumes and cover letters, but they do contain some of the best advice and best practices for how to make them stand out. Full of expert advice that you may not find elsewhere.

6. The Balance Careers - This web blog features basic best practices as well as extra gritty deep dives into niche topics surrounding all aspects of the job search, including the cover and resume. It's a little heavy on the ads, but worth bookmarking if you want to stay current with trends in the job market.

How to Write a Resume

A resume is a document that tells prospective employers exactly what you want them to know about you and why you would be a good fit for their open position. It should advertise your skills in an easy-to-read, logical, and concise format.

Every Resume Contains

  • Your name and contact information the Header.
  • A summary or profile, that gives prospective employers a quick overview of what you can bring to their organization.
  • A list of the places you have worked, when you worked there, where the job was located, and what duties you performed there. Also any major accomplishments from those jobs.
  • A list of the education you’ve completed and degrees earned.

Some Resumes Contain

  • A list of unique skills you want to highlight
  • Articles or projects that you have published
  • Coursework you have taught
  • Certifications you have earned
  • Hobbies or extracurriculars
  • Internships and volunteer work

 Writing Style

  • Make every word count. Save narratives and details for the cover letter.
  • List your jobs starting with the most recent one first.
  • Remove the first person (The word "I"), and use past tense for your duties, and start with a verb. Examples:
    • "Delivered courteous customer service in fast-paced retail storefront"
    • “Maintained product inventory database”
    • "Optimized logistical workflows to increase delivery speeds by 15%"

Keywords and Action Verbs
Focusing on the skills and personal attributes featured in the job description helps recruiters notice you. They may only scan your resume for a few seconds before moving on. Automated Tracking Systems are even more strict about prioritizing resumes based on the keywords included.

  • Keywords include: Marketing, Sales, Customer Service, Consulting, Inventory, Construction, Safety, Communication,
  • Common Software: MS Word, Excel, Powerpoint, Google Drive, Photoshop, Databases
  • Action Verbs: Coordinated, Designed, Consolidated, Enhanced, Maximized, Restructured, Directed, Negotiated, Coached,     Analyzed, Documented, Showcased

How to Write a Cover Letter

A cover letter serves as your first introduction to your employer. While your resume contains the essential information about your work history and experiences, the cover letter is the first time your employer "hears" your voice. Employers care about cover letters because it gives them reassurance that you know how to use a computer, that you can communicate effectively using the written word, and that you have a basic understanding of the expectations of professional culture. For you, it's a chance to demonstrate real excitement about the organization and the position, and a good chance to brag about accomplishments that are too wordy for a resume. Rather than restating your resume bullet points, your mission when writing the cover letter is to put all those skills and experiences into context as a "total package".

Header with name and contact information

  • Includes your Name, Email, Phone Number, and mailing address.
  • Double-click the top of your word document to enter the “Header” section.


  • Address the hiring manager by name, or use something simple like “Dear Hiring Team”.
  • Avoid “To Whom it May Concern” or Dear Sir or Madam”.

Opening Paragraph

  • Address the specific organization and position you are applying to and why it caught your attention.
  • Summarize yourself in 1-2 sentences, and explain why you are excited about the job.
  • Keep this part broad. You’ll get specific in the next section. Focus on getting their attention and letting them know why they should keep reading.


  • Demonstrate that you understand what the company needs.
  • Explain how your experiences and accomplishments in previous positions have prepared you to meet the requirements of the job description.
  • Use specific examples of times when you overcame a tough challenge, or accomplished a major measurable milestone.
  • Avoid jargon and technical terms. They might make you sound smart, but the hiring manager may not understand them.

Closing Paragraph

  • State that you would like the opportunity to interview.
  • Specify how you plan to follow up.
  • Address logistical questions like relocation needs or availability.


  • Close with a phrase like Best Regards, Sincerely, With gratitude, or Thank you.

Writing Tips

  • Keep your tone direct and serious. Avoid relying on humor, especially self-deprecating. Humor is subjective and tone doesn’t carry well over text.
  • Do not talk negatively about a past employer. If you need to explain why you left an organization, keep it positive, aspirational, and future-facing.
  • Keep the letter positive and reasonably excited. Avoid expressing emotions like anger, desperation, sadness, or false enthusiasm.
  • If you can afford to wait, review your cover letter a day after you write it. You can better catch typos, grammar errors, and sloppy writing after a night of sleep.
  • Read your cover letter aloud, word by word. Have someone review your cover letter.