Self-Reliance
Learn—Maximum Time: 45 Minutes
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“Learn—Maximum Time: 45 Minutes,” Find a Better Job for Self-Reliance (2016)

“Learn—Maximum Time: 45 Minutes,” Find a Better Job

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Learn—Maximum Time: 45 Minutes

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A successful job search follows this simple formula:

Act in Faith + Work Hard + Work Smart = Success

In this chapter you will learn an essential job search skill: how to create great résumés, cover letters, and applications. When you can produce great written materials, you are working smart.

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Josh’s Job Search

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Josh has done a good job contacting individuals and matching his skills to the employer’s needs. But now Julie at ABC Marketing has asked for a résumé. The same old résumé and cover letter Josh has always used probably won’t be good enough, since they didn’t produce many interviews before. Josh wants to have great written materials that help him stand out as the clear choice, but how? Can he use something like power statements? And how do you make résumés and cover letters that actually look good?

Discuss:

In what ways can you relate to Josh?

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Written materials—such as résumés, cover letters, and applications—are an essential part of any successful job search. You’ll want to make as good an impression in writing as you do in person. Each of your résumés, cover letters, and applications should be written to the specific job you are applying to. You’ll know you have good written materials when you get consistent interviews.

What is popular with written materials changes, and there are several right ways to create them. This chapter presents basic information and some examples. There are more information and examples on pages 203–13 of the appendix, which you should read on your own this week. In addition, seek out additional information and resources on your own.

Tip:

Helpful websites, articles, or résumé examples each count as resources.

1. Three Simple Principles

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Effective written materials follow three simple principles:

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Discuss:

Why would these three principles be important to résumés, cover letters, or applications?

2. Résumés

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A résumé is a written document that summarizes your skills, abilities, and accomplishments. It is like a quick advertisement of who you are.

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Most résumés include three types of information: summary, experience, and education and training.

Summary information is like an introduction and is typically at the top of the résumé. It includes your name, contact information, and a quick summary of your relevant skills and experience. An employer will often scan this part of your résumé in just three to five seconds and decide whether to read on or screen you out.

You can see that Josh used what is called a title or headline (Experienced Help Desk Technician) so the employer would immediately know who he was as a professional. He then followed it with key words and skills from the job description to catch the employer’s attention.

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Experience information includes things like work history and should include several accomplishments that relate to the employer’s needs. Accomplishments are similar to power statements, but in a résumé you move the outcome to the beginning of the statement to stand out. Take turns reading through the statements under “Professional Experience” in Josh’s résumé to see how he wrote about his accomplishments.

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Education and training information helps an employer understand your credentials. It can include degrees, certifications, specific classes, and more. Make sure what you include is relevant, beginning with the most impressive information.

Here is how Josh included his education and training information.

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3. Cover Letters

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A cover letter often accompanies your résumé. It functions as an introduction and should encourage the employer to then read your résumé. The cover letter can help the company understand why you are interested in the opportunity and why you think the company would be wise to hire you.

Good cover letters open with a power statement to capture the reader’s interest quickly.

4. Applications

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Applications are commonly used by businesses as part of their recruiting process. They typically ask for your basic contactinformation, education, and work history. Many applications are submitted online and can take time to complete. Just completing the application can be part of the employer’s screening process.

Good applications follow the principles of attractive, applicable, and accomplishments by being free of errors, relating to the job, and describing your experience using power statements.

Conclusion

Watch:

“Better Written Materials,” available at srs.lds.org/videos. (No video? Read page 92.)

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Discuss:

What were the most important things you learned from this chapter?

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Writing great résumés, cover letters, and applications is a job search skill that helps you work smart.

Act in Faith + Work Hard + Work Smart = Success

The better you get at writing them, the more success you will have. Pray for Heavenly Father’s help, and then put in the work. Follow up on every résumé and application you submit. This is showing your faith. As you do this, you will find that writing résumés becomes easier and you will get more interviews.