A resume is a concise document that summarizes your career objectives, education, work experience, and accomplishments. It's like a personal advertisement to show prospective employers.

You should create your resume on a computer. Many word processing programs provide sample resumes with different layouts, typefaces, and designs. Find a sample that fits your needs and customize it with your own information.

The first section of the resume- the objective - is made up of one or two sentences that state the type of position you are seeking. It should convey a sense of purpose and direction. It's a good idea to customize the objective for each potential employer or job listing.

In the section education, list the schools you attend starting with the most recent, along with any degrees, honors, or awards you have received. If you have received several honors or awards, you could list them separately under "Honors"

For the remaining sections of your resume, consider carefully what you want to include and emphasize. If you don't have much work experience, focus on your skills. If you have done volunteer work, be sure to include that. After all , volunteering shows that you are responsible, caring, and an active community member. You might also include information about any committees or projects you have worked on.

Here are some additional tips for preparing an effective resume:

* Be concise, keeping the resume to one page if possible. Two pages is the maximum length.

* Be truthful. Don't misrepresent your work history, accomplishments, or education.

* Use action verbs to describe accomplishments. Consider these possibilities: achieved, developed, coordinated, produced, led, and conducted.

* Proofread the document carefully. Have someone else proofread it, too. Poor grammar or misspelled words could cause employers to eliminate you from consideration.

* Keep it simple. Don't clutter your resume with pictures, extra graphics, or a fancy format.

* Ask any references for permission before including their names and contact information. References may be listed on your resume or on a separate page.

* If an employer requests that your resume be sent by e-mail, ask for formatting guidelines.

Writing a Cover Letter

An employer may receive dozens, or even hundreds, of resumes in response to an ad placed in a newspaper or on the internet. An interesting cover letter, or introduction letter sent with a resume, could set yours apart from the rest and result in a request for an interview.

A cover provides an opportunity for you to make a good impression. Your cover letter should highlight your relevant talent and skills, prompt the employer to read the resume, and ultimately result in an interview.

Here are some key points to keep in mind when writing a cover letter:

* Highlight your skills and background but don't repeat everything in the resume.

* Limit the letter to one page

* Tailor the letter to fit the particular situation. If you are answering an ad, for example, be sure to address the requirements cited in the ad.

* As with the resume, make sure your spelling and grammar are flawless.

* Try to address the letter to an individual rather than "To Whom It May Concern". It's often possible to call the employer to obtain the name of the contact person or the person's title. This information may also be on an employer's website.

* Use high quality white or cream paper and sign your name legibly in black ink.

Include a cover letter when sending a resume by mail.