Find a NEW JOB in North America: Cover Letter & Resume Advice

Hello. My name is Emma, and in today’s video I am going
to talk to you about cover letters and resumes. So, if you are going to be
looking for a job soon… Maybe you’re new to Canada, or England, or the
USA, or new to an English-speaking country and you’re looking for a job or you will be
looking for a job soon, this video can really help you with that. Cover letters and resumes really are
different in different parts of the world. Okay? So there’s a lot of different cultural parts
that you need to know when you’re writing a cover letter or resume, and in this video I’m
going to talk about the cultural aspects of both. So, this video you’re going to learn more of
an overview about cover letters and resumes, what their purpose is, and the type
of information we include on them. Okay, so let’s get started. Okay, so a cover letter and a resume are two different
documents that have very different formats. They look very differently
from one another. A cover letter is a letter format, whereas a
resume has its own special format, but there are certain things that are
common or the same for both. One of the things that’s common for both a
cover letter and a resume is their purpose. The purpose of a cover letter and resume is
to help you get an interview for a job, or help you get the job. Okay? So, when you think about a cover letter or
a resume, imagine a company is asking you: “Why should we hire you? What makes you special? What makes you right
for this job?” Your cover letter and your
resume are the answer to this. They tell employers about
your amazing skills. Okay? Maybe you know CPR, maybe you’re great when
it comes to computers, maybe you speak four languages. Okay? So they tell your employer… Your future employers this. They talk about your abilities, they talk about
your experience, your education experience, your work experience, you know, maybe some
other organizations you’re a part of and the experiences you had there, and they also talk
about your accomplishments, your successes. Okay? Maybe at this company you increased sales,
maybe you won a customer service award because you’re so great when it comes
to talking to customers. Okay? So your resume and cover letter show all these
great things about you, and they answer the question: Why
should we hire you? Okay? So, a lot of people want to know: “Do I
need both a cover letter and a resume? Can I just give my resume
or just my cover letter?” For most jobs you will need
at the very least a resume. Okay? This is one of the most important things you
give when you’re applying for a job, and then for a lot of jobs they also
will want a cover letter. So, how do you know
if you need both? Well, when you apply to the job,
look at the job advertisement. Usually in the advertisement they say if they
want just a resume, or if they want a cover letter and a resume. If you don’t know and you can’t find the
information, it’s a good idea to send both. A lot of people want to know: “Can I reuse my
resume and cover letter for each job I apply for? Writing cover letters and resumes are a lot
of work, so can I just give the same cover letter and resume to everybody,
and every job I apply for?” In general, that’s not a good idea, and the
reason is usually companies can tell that they’re getting the same resume and cover
letter as other companies, because you’re not saying specific things about how your skills
match this company’s skills or this company’s… What this company wants. So as a result, it’s always the best idea
to write a different cover letter for each job you apply for. Okay? I know that’s a lot of work,
but you will be more likely… You’re more likely to get the job if you do
a good job on your cover letter instead of just sending everyone the same ones,
and it’s the same with resumes. You know, different jobs you might want to
highlight or talk about different things on your resume. If you’re applying to this company, maybe
you’ll talk about a certain work experience, whereas this company maybe you’ll talk
about a different work experience. Okay? So very important to write your cover
letter and your resume for each job. So now what we’re going to do is we’re going
to talk more about the information that you will include in cover
letters and resumes. Okay, so what kind of things should we
include in our cover letters and resumes? I’m going to ask you some questions, because
cover letters and resumes are very cultural. Okay? So maybe you would include certain things
in your country, but maybe if you come to Canada, or the USA, or England, cover letters
and resumes might be very different. Okay? So let’s look at some ideas, and we’re going
to talk about whether or not we would include them. Okay, so some years ago I was in
a pie-eating contest and I won. That’s actually not true, but imagine if I
was in a pie-eating contest and I won the pie-eating contest. This is an accomplishment. Okay? This is something
I’m very proud of. Should I include this in
my resume or cover letter? No. This… Okay? Unless the job is for, you know, a pie-eating
contest profession, which does not exist, you would not include this in
your cover letter or resume. Your accomplishments should have to do with
the job you’re applying for, or they should, you know, have to do with work, not so
much something like a pie-eating contest. So this is no, we would
not include that. Marriage, you know, you’re single or you’re
married, would you include this in your cover letter or resume? In Canada, the US, Australia, England, in
a lot of these English-speaking countries you do not include whether you’re married
or single in your resume or cover letter, so this is also a no. I know in many countries you do, but in a lot
of English-speaking countries you do not include this. Your skills, would you include skills
in your resume or cover letter? Yeah, that’s a good idea, especially if they’re
skills that are suitable or that match the job you’re applying for. Your religion, again, in English-speaking
countries, like the USA and Canada, you do not talk about your religion in
your resume or cover letter. Okay? So, you don’t include this. You’re a strong communicator,
would you say that? Yeah, this is actually something
that is good for a lot of jobs. If you’re a good communicator, you know, this
is a good skill to have, so yeah, this might be something you might include. Your age. In a lot of countries you include your
age on a resume or in your cover letter. Again, in English-speaking countries, like
Canada and the US, you do not include your age. Okay? So this one, it’s not relevant,
it’s not important to include. A photo. Would you put a photo of yourself
in your cover letter or resume? Unless you’re an actor… For most jobs you would not
include a picture of yourself. So I know I’ve applied for jobs in other countries and
sometimes they require a photo; in English-speaking countries we do not ask for
most jobs for a photo. So, in general no. Volunteer experience, yeah, volunteer
experience is something you can mention. You know, it’s a great
thing to mention. Especially if you don’t have a lot of work
experience, volunteer experience can be the next best thing. Your current job, yeah, you can talk about your
current job in your resume or cover letter. What about the babysitter job? So maybe you were a babysitter and you took
care of kids when you were 12 years old. Now you’re 40 years old. Is this something you would include
in your cover letter or your resume? If it was a very long time ago,
you don’t need to include it. You do not need to include
every job you’ve ever had. It’s important to include, you know, jobs
that relate to the job you’re applying for or, you know, maybe
more recent jobs. You don’t have a lot of space. Your cover letter is going to be one page,
your resume might be one to two pages, so there’s not a lot of space, so it’s important
to decide which jobs show your skills the best and which ones
are the most recent. So, the babysitter job when you were 12
years old probably not a good job to write. Work experience, yes, this is something that
would be very good to include in a cover letter or… And also on a resume. Okay, so now we’re going to talk a little bit
more about other information that’s important to include. Okay, so what information should you include
on your resume and your cover letter? Well, it’s very important to think about
what’s relevant to the job you’re applying… To the job you’re applying to. So you want what you include
to be job-specific. Okay? So, for example, if you’re applying to work
in customer service at XYZ Company, you need to match your skills and, you know,
your experience with that job. You want it to be job-specific. So, how do we do this? How do we make sure our information is relevant
to the job we’re looking for and specific? Well, first, if you can, if there’s a job
advertisement you see, read the job advertisement carefully. Okay? A lot of the times there are clues in the
job advertisement that can tell you what a company is looking for in the
person they’re going to hire. So look for the key skills,
qualities, experience they ask for. Some companies might be looking for somebody with
customer service experience, other companies might want somebody who can work well under
pressure, someone who can multitask, who has experience writing reports. Okay? Maybe the company is looking for
somebody who can speak three languages. So, look at the job description and try to
find key words in that job description, and think about: “Do you
have those qualities? Or do you have those
skills or experience?” So match your skills, qualities,
experience to the description. So sometimes there is
no job description. Sometimes you might be thinking about applying,
you know, for a restaurant job and you haven’t… You’ve just seen a “Help
Wanted” sign in the window. Or maybe you don’t know if the company is
hiring, but you want to send in your resume anyway, so if there’s no job description what
you can do is you can think carefully about the job, and you can think about: What kind
of skills, what kinds of experience, and what kind of qualities are
they looking for? So, for example, if I was going to apply for
a customer service position, I would think about it… If it was a customer service representative
or something like that, I think they probably want somebody who’s a strong communicator,
somebody who’s able to deal with people in stressful situations, they probably want me to
talk about experience I’ve had with customers, so maybe I can think about other jobs
where I’ve worked with customers. So just really thinking about the job and
what kind of skills they probably are looking for can really help you with your resume and
cover letter, because again, you want your resume and cover letter to be
relevant and job-specific. So, you know, if you’re applying for every
job you see, if you’re applying for a server job, a store clerk job, and you know, a bus
driver job, each of these jobs is going to have different wants
in their employee. Each of these jobs is going to require different
skills and different experience, so make sure for each job you apply for you think about
the skills and experience, and you match it to those jobs. Another thing that you can do is you
can also research different companies. Check out their website. You know, a lot of the times there’s a lot
of information on the website that can help you decide what to include in
your resume or cover letter. If, for example, a company talks about how
they’re really involved in technology and they have a lot of cutting-edge projects happening,
you might think about: “Okay, technology. What computer skills do I have? You know, what…? What experience do I
have with technology?” Okay, so checking out the website and doing
research into a company can also be a good way to think about skills, abilities, qualities,
and experience for applying for a job. Okay, so a lot of
people talk about this. Some people are just recently out of high
school or university and they have no work experience, or maybe they’re applying for a
new job in a different country or a different field, so they have
no experience. You know, what do they do? What do they write about in
their resume or cover letter? Experience is not
only job experience. Okay? Experience can be volunteer experience,
it can be education experience. Maybe, you know, when you were in university,
or college, or high school, you worked on a project and you developed
good team skills. You worked in a group and you were
very good working in that group. So think outside the box. You don’t always have to
write about work experience. If you have work experience, that’s great,
but you can also look to other areas of your life. Maybe you’re in a club, maybe you’re on a
baseball team, and you know, you’re the coach, you can talk about that. So the important thing is to first off write
something, you know, and to really think about your life and think about your skills, your
abilities, and your own experience and how these match the job
you’re applying for. All right, so now we’re going to talk a little bit
about the format of cover letters and resumes. Okay, so I’m going to give you a couple of tips
on the format of resumes and cover letters. Okay? So, resumes and cover letters should
always be typed on a computer. They should not be written in
marker, in pen, or in pencil. It’s very important that they’re typed
because that makes them look professional. Usually we recommend a 12-point font when
you’re using a computer, so you don’t want to have this enormous font and you don’t want
something too small because you want something that’s easy for
somebody to read. We also recommend a standard font, so for
example, Times New Roman is good, Arial is good. I didn’t realize this in the past, but
people have very strong opinions on font. So, before, my favourite font was Comic
Sans, it turns out that’s a very… It’s a very unprofessional font and, you know,
you shouldn’t use it, so it’s the same with resumes. Be careful of the font you use because you’re
presenting yourself and you want to look professional, so Times New Roman and Arial are very
professional-looking fonts; they’re good ones to use. Your resume and your cover
letter should be short. For your resume, it should be between one
to two pages, and for your cover letter it should ideally be one page. Okay? One mistake a lot of people
make is they write too much. They write their whole life story and they
have a resume that’s four pages and a cover letter that’s three pages. That’s not a good idea because the employer
is not going to spend a lot of time looking at your resume. On average, they spend about 30 seconds looking
at your resume, so as a result they just want to quickly see it and get
an idea of who you are. And it’s the same with a cover letter, they
don’t spend much time reading your cover letter so it’s best to just do one page for the cover
letter and one to two pages for the resume. There are a lot of different types of cover
letters and resumes, and a lot of different styles. Okay? Some jobs prefer certain types or certain
styles, so it’s important to know what’s good for your industry. You can often get a lot of help when you write
your resume or your cover letter by using a template. So, a template is… It’s pretty much where the format has already
been done for you, and you just fill in the blanks with your information. Templates can be very helpful, especially for
formatting your resume and cover letter. It’s also a good idea to look at examples
of people’s resumes and cover letters. We have a lot of examples on our website at, and you can find links to these resources in our description, so I highly
recommend doing that because the more examples you see, the easier it will be for you
to write a resume and cover letter. It’s also important not to copy and paste
other people’s resumes and cover letters. I know when you’re applying to a job, you
know, it’s a lot of work and you might not know what to say, so
you might want to… You might see somebody else’s resume and
think: “Oh, that sounds really good. I’m just going to take that and put it
in my resume or in my cover letter.” It’s good that your resume and cover letter
is personalized and it’s really about you, because a lot of the times when you copy and
paste from somebody else’s cover letter, the employer might notice that. It might… You know, a lot of the times they realize
that you’re not writing this yourself, and the problem with that is it makes it look
like you don’t really want to work hard. So it’s good if you write your own cover letter
and resume, and not just copy and paste from things you find on the internet. So, I highly recommend that you subscribe
to my channel where you can find out more about cover letters and resumes, as well
as about interviews, interview questions. We have resources on vocabulary, grammar,
pronunciation, all sorts of things that can really help you
in your job hunt. I also would like to invite you to come check
out our website at; there we have a quiz where you can actually practice
all of the information you learned in this video, so you can see how much you remember
and how well you know what we talked about. So, I wish you the best
of luck in your job hunt. I know you’re going
to do really well. And until next time, take care.

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