When job hunting, your cover letter and resume are oftentimes the first impression an employer will have of you. Even if you have a personal referral, using these pro-tips can help you present yourself positively and professionally. After all, you're not only representing yourself, but also the person who recommended you.


Research and Customize

If you see a job you’re interested in, research the employer to get a feel for the business and culture. Then be sure to read the job description and ask yourself why you want to work there. Consider adding choice phrases from your answer to your cover letter. (If you can’t answer this question, then perhaps spend your time elsewhere.)

Highlight Your Skills

Emphasize your skills in your resume and cover letter. Provide examples demonstrating the impact that you’ve had in previous roles to validate your skills. Include both hard skills (i.e., technical skills specific to the job) and soft skills (e.g., communication, teamwork, leadership, etc.), weaving in examples of these skills in context under each experience in your resume. Where appropriate, indicate the level (e.g., intermediate, advanced, expert) of a particular skill, especially if you feel that your years of experience may suggest otherwise; be prepared to demonstrate that level of expertise on a trail if called upon.

Incorporate Keywords and Answer All Questions

More and more hiring managers are using technology to assist with screening resumes. By including relevant keywords from the job description (hone in on skill requirements) to increase your chances of passing through filters. Also be sure to answer all questions and requested information in your application; following instructions is the first indicator to a hiring manager that you possess attention to detail and are eager to be considered.

Use a Modern Format for Your Resume

Digital resumes make it easy for you to apply to jobs and for hiring managers to discover you. If you need assistance, use our free talent concierge service to digitize your resume. If applying with an attached file, convert your document to a PDF file to prevent formatting issues, which can sometimes arise when other file types are opened (e.g., Word Doc is opened in Google Docs).Also, aim for a clean and visually appealing one page layout that is easy to read. Consider using bullet points, subheadings, and white space to organize information effectively. Even if you've applied online initially, plan to print and bring copies of your resume to in-person interviews or trails in case someone asks to see it (having a few copies is always a good idea, just in case!).

Include a Professional Summary

TLDR. Start your resume with a brief summary highlighting your key skills, experiences, and career objectives. Be succinct to get the recruiter's attention, even at a quick glance. Give some thought to your personal brand and have that shine through your words.

Check Your Online Presence

Many hiring managers and recruiters will do a basic web search for applicants they are considering to see what comes up and how they present themselves online. Consider making certain social media accounts private if you like to share things with your friends and family that you wouldn’t like potential employers to see. Update your public digital resumes (e.g., Culinary Agents and LinkedIn) to make sure the information is consistent with that which you are sending as part of your application.

Proofread, Edit, Proofread (Again)

Before submitting your resume and cover letter, carefully proofread it for any errors in grammar, punctuation and spelling. Ask a friend or mentor to review it as well for feedback and suggestions. Then proofread it again, reading it out loud.