Components of a Cover Letter & Resume

by Marilyn Lindblad

Human resources recruiters see more cover letters and resumes in a week than most job seekers will send in a lifetime. An engaging cover letter and a resume that makes you shine can help set you apart from other applicants. Recruiters expect you to include certain components in your cover letter and resume. Following simple guidelines helps you include everything you need to get called in for an interview.

The Basics

Your cover letter and resume are representing you, so make them look as professional as you are. Print them on heavy bond paper with margins of one-half inch to an inch. Use one page for your cover letter and a second page for your resume. Any errors in the resume or cover letter will convey carelessness, so your spelling and punctuation should be impeccable.

Cover Letter

An effective cover letter catches the reader's attention and creates the impression that you are the right person for the job. It includes an introduction, a body and an ending. The introduction explains what position you're applying for and how you heard about the opening. In the body of the letter, you describe why you're the perfect match for this position by explaining a skill you have or an idea you would implement if you were hired. The ending of the letter requests an interview and thanks the reader for his time.


The essential components of a resume are your contact information, including name, telephone number and email address; your education and your work experience. If you wish, you may also include a career objective, skills and interests. If you include optional information, it should serve a purpose, such as illustrating how you fit the corporate culture. Recent graduates often arrange their information in chronological order, with the most recent information listed first. Job-seekers with experience in their field may use a functional resume format, listing bullet-pointed competencies and achievements.

Applying Online

Submitting an online resume presents opportunities to use components that can't be put on paper. You'll want to include your skills near the top of the resume, so the reader can see them without scrolling. If you want to show off your technical expertise, your resume may feature components such as hyperlinks to articles you've written, presentations you've given and videos you've made. Some versions of resume-screening software recognize keywords in file names, so save your resume with a name that matches the title of the job you want.

About the Author

Marilyn Lindblad practices law on the west coast of the United States. She has been a freelance writer since 2007. Her work has appeared on various websites. Lindblad received her Juris Doctor from Lewis and Clark Law School.

Photo Credits

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