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Résumés, applications, and cover letters

With this update of a popular article, you’ll find out the best ways to present your credentials to prospective employers.

You have skills that employers want. But those skills won’t get you a job if no one knows you have them.

Good résumés, applications, and cover letters broadcast your abilities. They tell employers how your qualifications match a job’s responsibilities. If these critical preliminaries are constructed well, you have a better chance of landing interviews—and, eventually, a job.

This article provides some guidelines for creating résumés and cover letters that will help you pass the 30-second test and win interviews. The first section, on résumés, describes what information your résumé should contain, how to highlight your skills for the job you want, and types of résumés. The next section discusses the four parts of a cover letter—salutation, opening, body, and closing. A final section offers suggestions for learning more about résumés and cover letters. The box on page 21 provides advice on completing application forms.

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U.S. Department of Labor
Bureau of Labor Statistics

Last Updated: September 09, 2009