Module 12: Communicating for Employment
Objectives: By the end of this module, you should be able to:
draft a targeted résumé that is persuasive and concise,
draft a persuasive cover letter, and
identify and apply transferable skills.
Readings and Resources
Textbook: Ch. 9
eRésumés (see below)
Résumé Quiz (see below for web link)
Your Career Goals and Qualifications
Assess your skills and values.
What are your values, interests, and marketable skills?
What are you good at?
Do you have any new skills?
What are your short-term and long-term goals?
What’s important to you?
Assess your work preferences and personality.
Are you an introvert or extrovert?
Would you prefer to work for a larger or small organization?
Do you like a fast pace or a slow pace?
Do you thrive on challenges and risks, or would you work better in a stable environment?
What job rewards motivate you?
What sort of colleagues and working conditions would provide you with enough job
Assess your work history.
What are your previous accomplishments?
What are some of your most satisfying/dissatisfying experiences?
Do you have good communication skills?
What are your hard and soft skills?
Get to know the job market, sources of employment, and organizations where you would
like to work.
Read the career pages, classified ads, and financial sections.
Master electronic job-search techniques.
Learn to network.
Tap into the hidden job market.
Visit employment agencies.
Polish your interpersonal and communication skills. Resumes
A résumé is a summary of your qualifications and past work experience.
It should be professional, accurate, and formatted for easy reading.
Prospective employers must be able to read your résumé quickly (usually in less than a
minute), or scan it electronically to be searched by key words.
Resume Format - Your résumé should:
Be tight, action-oriented, and in point form.
Use capitals and boldface for headings.
Use consistent indenting.
Use space between sections and have wide margins.
Be specific to each job rather than general.
Name and contact information
o Format your name in bold, and list your telephone number and appropriate e-mail
Career objective (optional)
Your main qualifications and career path.
o The position you desire or your professional goal.
Summary of qualifications/profile (optional)
o Use one or two sentences (or a short list)
Your skills and qualifications as they relate to the job.
o Undergraduate and graduate degrees, diplomas, and certificates in reverse
o The diploma name, academic honours (if applicable), name of institution,
location, field of study or specialization, and years of attendance.
o Relevant courses taken and your GPA (optional)
Strong action verbs and specifics.
Your activities and accomplishments.
Full-time, part-time, co-op, and volunteer work.
Job title, company and location, and years of employment.
Skills and capabilities.
Any technical training, special skills, and languages.
Awards/honours and activities.
Academic awards, volunteer experiences, professional memberships, and school or
“References supplied on request.”
References can be provided on the résumé or on a separate sheet.
Include your reference’s full name and job title, company name and address, telephone
number, and e-mail address. Resume Format
Human Rights Act
The Canadian Human Rights Act forbids employers from asking about age, race,
religion, marital status, sexual orientation, or health.
Résumé Length and Style
o Check the industry or company requirements.
o Use a well balanced design with plenty of white space.
o Keep it to one or two pages.
o Don’t embellish, exaggerate, or alter the truth.
Include recent accomplishments, responsibilities,
Have both a scannable and a traditional version.
Customize each résumé.
Revise and clarify the focus for each job.
Keep it professional.
Use good paper, a muted colour, traditional fonts, and a good printer.
A keywords section with relevant words (current and previous job titles, professional
jargon, synonyms, marketable skills and traits) is essential on a scannable résumé.
Use whitespace and blank lines in your formatting.
Avoid fancy fonts or graphics.
Résumés by E-mail
Read the job advertisement carefully for instructions.
Put the job title or reference number in the subject line.
o Be sure to consider the readability of the file and potential SPAM filters. Use
computer friendly formatting (.pdf, .doc).
Attach your cover letter and include a covering e-mail message.
Cover Letter Opening:
o Get attention and define the position for which you are applying.
o Build interest with a summary of your qualifications.
o Match your strengths to the job requirements.
o Request an interview and provide contact information.
Cover Letter Tips
Avoid using “I,” “me,” and “mine.”
Get the names correct.
Use keywords from the job posting.
Use a consistent font for the cover letter and résumé.
Write short paragraphs.
Don’t plead, apologize, or exaggerate.
Don’t use generic letters.
Be strong and clear.
Keep the letter to one page in length.
Keep a copy for yourself.
o Gain attention by using a summary + request opening style.
o Demonstrate shared values and an interest in the company.
o Solicited Application
o Relate your skills to the job posting/ requirements.
o Summarize your skills and emphasize those related to the job.
o Use bullet points.
o Refer to your résumé.
o Solicited Application
o Include contact information (telephone or e-mail).
o Ask for an interview.
Tips for an Unsolicited Application
Use an indirect approach.
Demonstrate your interest and knowledge.
Articulate what you can do, your qualifications, and the benefits you bring to the
This approach demonstrates initiative and creates opportunities.
Tips for Interviews At the Interview
o Be on time (or a little early).
o Go alone.
o Bring copies of your résumé, references, work samples, or your portfolio.
o At the interview:
o Be courteous.
o Make a good first impression (handshake, eye contact, and smile).
o Listen carefully to questions and instructions.
o Use correct English.
o Show interest with body language.
o Be positive.
o Demonstrate a knowledge of the company.
o Don’t make salary and benefits a priority.
o Don’t expect a decision before you leave.
After the interview
o Use one of the following types of letters:
Thank you letter (sent within 24 hours)
Thank the interviewer for his or her time.
Restate your interest in the job.
Personalize the letter with information about skills, qualifications,
or topics covered during interview.
Follow up letter (if you haven’t received a response)
o Let the employer know you are still interested.
o Ask if they need any additional information.
o Provide any new or updated contact inform