Career Resources

Articles on Career Growth

How I Ditched My Science Degree for a Marketing Career

How I Got Hired with No Interviews or Applications

On Reaching For Opportunities That Are Out of Your League

Why Don’t You Have Your Own Website Yet?

A Simple Tool to Effectively Organize Your Job Applications

16 Simple Ways to Conquer Your Online Presence

Resume and Cover Letter Templates

How should you format your resume? How do you write a cover letter?

Questions you can Google but won’t find much useful information. There are thousands of free resume templates, but they fail to explain how to communicate what you’ve done.

I’ve created the templates as both Google Docs and Microsoft Word files (just in case you aren’t that into Google).

You can download my templates here.

Google Docs Files Word Files
Resume Template
Cover Letter Template
Resume Template
Cover Letter Template

Here’s the spreadsheet I used to track all my job applications and positions I was interested in.

I’m not going to give you some BS about putting your education below work history. Or that your resume should be one page with one-inch margins. All of that is advice that doesn’t actually help you write a bulletproof resume.

Let’s dive in.

How do you make your resume stand out?

Don’t worry about pretty resume design, or where to put your education, or if you should write an objective statement. That’s all irrelevant if you can’t communicate your skills and the value you can provide.

Focus on making the content of your resume solid before thinking about the aesthetics.

The most important part of the resume is the first section where you sell yourself, otherwise known as your hook. That phrase might give you flashbacks of high school writing classes, but it’s still important. To make your resume stand out, you need to demonstrate your value immediately – and you have six seconds to do this. Otherwise, your resume goes into the trash. Whomp whomp.

Do this by stating what your background is and what value you can offer to the company in the position you’re applying for. This varies depending on where you are in your career. Someone with a lot of experience might have something like:

Healthcare executive with over 25 years of experience leading providers of superior patient care.

While someone earlier in their career might have:

Digital marketer with experience generating leads through social media and blogging for start-up SaaS company.

Writer with experience researching and writing for university and local newspapers, seeking to enter start-up company with less than 50 employees to improve lead generation efforts through blogging.

The key is to make sure every word is valuable. No fluff words. Only say what you can (and will) do for them.

How do you communicate your skills in a resume?

When explaining previous employment, communicate results, not responsibilities. For example:

Bad: Responsible for writing blog posts
Good: Wrote 2 blog posts a week which contributed to a 37% increase in blog traffic in 2 months

The first example just states what you were supposed to do – it doesn’t even state that you did it. The second example demonstrates what you did and the results of its impact on the company.

Keep in mind the role you’re applying for. If you have a background in marketing, but you’re applying for a sales position, don’t talk about how you increased traffic. Angle it toward sales instead.

Marketing Angle: Wrote 2 blog posts a week which contributed to a 37% increase in blog traffic in 2 months
Sales Angle: Wrote 2 blog posts a week which generated an average of 12 qualified leads per week

This will require actually knowing the valuable of your work and analyzing your results. Some people will go about their day-to-day responsibilities at work without considering the results that they’re creating. If you haven’t stopped to think about the value you’re providing to your company, take a moment to reflect on it. Look at the projects you’ve worked on and talk to your manager about your impact.

Get the resume template.

(Also don’t put down skills like “Proficient at Microsoft Word.” Literally, no one cares.)

What makes a great cover letter?

If a stranger went up to you and, without you asking, started telling you his life story and what he’s passionate about, would you listen? I doubt it. Nobody got time for that. You have more important things to do (like getting your dream job).

But if a stranger went up to you and complimented your shoes, then asked where you bought them, you’d probably respond.

Start you cover letter by addressing the hiring manager or recruiter by name (never use “to whom it may concern”). You’ll have to do your research to find out their name. Take a moment to develop familiarity and explain why you’re getting in touch with them. How did you find the job listing? Are you in touch with anyone else at the company? Did someone at the company recommend that you email this person?

The challenge with cover letters is that it’s easy for us to go on and on about what we like, what we want in our career, our involvements in college, and what we like about the company. But none of that matters to the hiring manager. At least not in the beginning.

Instead, focus on explaining what you can do for their company and their team. What issues do you know that the company has that you can help with? What skills in the job listing do you fulfill? Play to your strengths and highlight how your previous experiences will help you excel at their company.

Get the cover letter template.

Three common mistakes:

  1. Don’t over explain those things. Be concise and make sure every word and every sentence counts. Again, no fluff. If you go over a page, you need to cut out more. You don’t need to include everything on the cover letter, just your highlights.
  2. Don’t just reiterate your resume. It’s a chance to demonstrate how (genuinely) enthusiastic you are about the company and the opportunity.
  3. Don’t be overly formal. You’ll be boring and no one will read your cover letter.

How to write a cold email that won’t get ignored.

Don’t write a boring, formal email that’s focused on you, you, you. Make it about the other person and show how you’re excited to speak and work with them.

Find them on Twitter and tweet at them. Then find their email and shoot over a message.

Here’s the tweet I use to get in touch with Anum Hussain at HubSpot:

And here’s the email template I used to contact her:

Hi [First Name],

My name is [Your Name], I reached out to you earlier today on Twitter. I found the [job listing] for [Company Name] and had to get in touch with you.

I also went through [Piece of Company’s Content] and recently read [Hiring Manager’s Content] about [topic]. It’s great. I believe I would be a great addition to your team for the following reasons:

1. I’m always learning, whether it be through books or articles (currently reading [Book Title] by [Author]).
2. I focus on [Your Unique Value].
3. The thought of helping [Company] accomplish its goals gets me excited.

Attached is my resume and cover letter explaining why I would be a great addition to your team. I’ve also included [Example Work Samples Related To Your Field] in case you wanted to review my work.

Looking forward to hearing from you, [First Name]!

Best,

[Your Name]

There are many methods for the initial outreach, but the real key to success here is to follow up.

If you’ve done a good job communicating your skills and your value consistently among the resume, cover letter, and introductory email, you more likely to get a response back.

Here are the downloads again.

Google Docs Files Word Files
Resume Template
Cover Letter Template
Resume Template
Cover Letter Template

Here’s the spreadsheet I used to track all my job applications and positions I was interested in.

A good exercise is to talk to a good friend who knows what work you’ve done so you can discuss whether or not you’re a good fit fo the job in the first place.

Still not sure how to write your resume and cover letter? Here are the resume and the cover letter I sent.

Good luck!

Got questions? Interested in working at HubSpot? Feel free to .