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Resume/Cover Letter Critique

Bring a rough draft and have your resume and cover letter critiqued or receive personal assistance in creating a resume and cover letter from scratch. For assistance getting started, check out our Resume Guide.

Contact Loretta Patterson at lpatterson@butlercc.edu or call (316) 322-3294 or (316) 733-3294 from the Wichita/metro area to make an appointment.



Types of Resumes:

Chronological: A chronological resume highlights the experience and achievement in the applicant's field. It lists company names, job titles, periods of employment, responsibilities, achievements and promotions across the applicant's job history in reverse chronological order. It seems to be most preferred by employers and is generally considered the easiest to write.

Functional: A functional resume focuses on skills and accomplishments, highlighting those rather than your work experience. Headings are built around skills and achievements, with job details of past employment listed in a separate employment history section.

Combination: The combination resume incorporates elements of the above two. Experiences are grouped by functional areas, listed in reverse chronological order within each section along with those job details listed in a chronological resume.


Cover Letters

A cover letter is most effective when it is individually word-processed and tailored to the particular conditions of the organization. It is best (although not required) to have the same print type as your resume. Letters should be addressed to an individual, preferably an employment or personnel manager or a supervisor in a department of interest, rather than to "Dear Sir" or "Dear Madam. " For the most up-to-date and accurate information on contact names, it is beneficial to call the company directly. Ask for the appropriate person's name and title, and be sure to obtain the correct spelling. This is also a good time to ask for the phone number for that person so you can follow up later.

The cover letter has three main parts:

1. The Introduction: This first paragraph states why you are writing, names the type of position and, if you have heard about a vacancy, mentions how you heard about it. If you were referred by a person, mention that name. You should also explain briefly why your background makes you the best candidate for the position. Keep this paragraph short. It must attract enough attention to cause the reader to want to read the rest of your letter and your resume.

2. The Body: The main body of your letter, which may be one or two paragraphs long, should detail what you could contribute to the company and how your qualifications could benefit the firm. Keep in mind that your resume is general enough to use with many employers and that the cover letter links that resume (and you) to a specific employer. The body of your letter should reflect the research you have done on the employer and elaborate on your interests and experience. You should be careful not to reiterate everything that is on the resume; however, you might mention a few key aspects of your background and provide more detail about them than is contained in the resume. Support what you have mentioned on the resume to show why you should be considered for the position. Refer your reader to the resume and any other enclosures. The more you know about the employer through research, the more you can link your qualifications to the specific position.

3. The Closing Paragraph: The closing paragraph must make it clear what action you will take to follow up on your resume and cover letter. You should request an interview and tell the employer that you will call him or her within a specific period of time. You might also mention a name or two of a reference, if the employer will recognize the name. It is helpful to include your phone number here in case your resume and letter become separated once they reach the employer. Remember to sign the letter above the space where you typed your name. Ideally, the same paper that was used for the resume should be used for the cover letter.

Links to Sample Cover Letters: