Get a new job: Vocabulary & grammar for your RESUME & COVER LETTER

Get a new job: Vocabulary & grammar for your RESUME & COVER LETTER


Hello. My name is Emma, and in today’s video I am
going to talk about resumes and cover letters, and the vocabulary and
grammar you can use on both. Okay? So in this video I am going to talk to you
about some things that you should do for your cover letter and resume-some verbs you should
use, some grammar that’s really good to use, and, you know, some vocabulary-and I’m also
going to talk about things you shouldn’t do on your cover letter or resume. Okay? So this video is mainly about
grammar and vocabulary. So let’s get started. So, first of all, when you’re writing a cover
letter and/or a resume, you want to be very professional. So this means that you want to make sure that,
you know, you’re presenting yourself in a very professional way. Your writing should be
formal, instead of informal. So, what do I mean by that? Well, for example, in your cover letter or
resume, you should not use contractions. Contractions are words, like:
“I’m”, “I’ll”, “can’t”, “don’t”. Okay? These are all examples of contractions, and
they should not be used in a cover letter or resume. You should also not use slang in a cover letter
or resume; words, like: “cool”, “screw up”, “killed”. There’s a whole bunch of different slang words
that you should avoid when you’re writing a cover letter or resume. Another thing you should try to avoid –
words, like: “really”, “very”, “totally”. Okay? So if you want to say that you’re really
hardworking or you’re, you know… You’re totally right for this position – these
words will make you sound unprofessional. Okay? So you do not want to use words, like:
“very”, “really”, or “totally”. They’re great in conversation, but when you’re
writing something like a resume or cover letter, they’re not good words to use. Okay. You should not use idioms. Okay? So, idioms are expressions that
we use a lot in conversation. So, for example, you might say: “Oh, I passed
my test with flying colours”, which means you did really well, or, you know: “My old job
was a piece of cake”, meaning it was very easy. Idioms are great in conversation, but they
are not good in cover letters or resumes. Okay? They’re not professional, so do not use
idioms in your resume or cover letter. You also want to be very polite
in your resume or cover letter. So, expressions like… Or, you know, saying: “I want”, “I want
this job because” is not really polite. “I want” is a very strong… It’s very strong, so it’s better to use a
more polite form of that, such as: “I would appreciate” or “I would like”. These have pretty much the same meanings,
but this is very strong, so we don’t use it on a resume or a cover letter; whereas these
are more polite so they’re better to use in a cover letter. So this was a little bit about how to make
your resume or the language in your resume and cover letter more professional; now we’re
going to learn more about great vocabulary to use and great grammar to use. Okay, so let’s talk about vocabulary
on your resume and cover letter. Vocabulary is very important. It can make you look very smart, very
professional, and also very confident. Okay? So the words you choose can
really help you in this way. So it’s important to really think
about what words you want to use. So, one thing to think about is if you’ve
found a job advertisement and you’ve seen the job description, and it’s a job you want
to apply for, they often will have keywords in the advertisement. They might say that they are looking for somebody
who is hardworking, or maybe somebody who knows Microsoft Office, or
is a strong communicator. Whatever they say in the job description,
it’s a good idea to take that same vocabulary and use it in your resume and cover letter,
because you really want to show you’re a good match and that your skills match the skills
required for this job, or your experiences match the experience
required for the job. So try to find keywords from
job advertisements if you can. Sometimes there is no job advertisement, and
that’s okay because there’s a lot of other things you can do. When you’re applying for a job and you’re
writing your resume or cover letter, a really good idea is to use power verbs. Okay? So, what’s a power verb? A power verb is a verb that has
a very strong-sounding meaning. So they’re often used in cover letters and
resumes, and I’ll give you an example of one. Look at these two sentences: “I made my
company better.”, “I improved my company.” Both of these sentences have the same meaning,
but one of them is better than the other for a resume or a cover letter. Which one do you think
is the better sentence? This is the better sentence, because “improved”
is a power verb; it’s a stronger verb and it makes you sound like
a better candidate. So, if you’re interested in learning more
about power verbs, I actually have a whole video about power verbs and a
resource for you to look at. So, these are something that can really help
improve your writing in resumes and cover letters. Another thing a lot of people do in their
resume or cover letter is they write things like: “I feel” or “I believe”. “I believe I’m the best
person for this job. I feel my skills are a good
match for this company.” These words are not
confident or strong words. Okay? When you use the word: “I feel” or “I believe”,
you don’t really sound so confident in what you’re saying, so these words are not
good to use on your cover letter. Okay, so I’m going
to cross these off. Better things to say is:
“I am confident that”… So, for example: “I am confident that I
am the best person for this position. I am certain that I can help your company
prosper”, or whatever you want to say. “I am confident” and “I am certain” make you
sound like a stronger, confident person who’s applying for this job. Another key point when we’re talking about
vocabulary is: Don’t use the same verbs or the same words again,
and again, and again. Okay? So, for example, if you used the word “improved”,
you shouldn’t use that ten times on your resume and cover letter. They want to see
different words. Okay? So this is where a thesaurus can really help
you to find other words to talk about your experiences. So, don’t be repetitive, but also
know the words you use well. A lot of students will… Or a lot of people will
think: “Oh, you know what? I want to sound really
smart on my resume. And here’s this big, long word – oh, it looks
like a very smart word; I’m going to use it.” But the problem is they might not know all
the meanings of the word or how to use the word, so then it doesn’t look good
on your resume or cover letter. So it’s better to use words you know or to
find out the full meanings of words before you use them on your
cover letter or resume. Okay? So that’s just a little bit about the vocabulary
of resumes and cover letters; next, we’re going to talk about the grammar
of cover letters and resumes. Okay, so now let’s talk a little bit about
grammar you will find on resumes and cover letters. One good tip for both of these is you should
use the active voice, and not the passive voice. So, what do I mean by this? Well, I have an example of two sentences that
have the same meaning, but one of them is in the active voice and the
other is in the passive voice. So the first sentence is: “I increased sales”, and
the second sentence is: “Sales were increased by me”. Okay? So which one is better for a
cover letter or a resume? This one would be the better one,
because it’s using the active voice. You want to start with a subject, like
“I”, and then a verb: “increased”. So this is very different from here
where we don’t have a subject. “Sales”… Well, we don’t use
“I” as the subject. “Sales were increased by me”, so
do not use the passive voice. In cover letters, we like
to use full sentences. This is very different from in resumes where
we like to use bullet points, and we don’t use full sentences. So let’s look at an example
of these differences. “In 2013, I won the
Gold Service Award.” Okay? So this might be something you
might see on a cover letter. You might talk about a job you’ve had or an
award you’ve won, but notice how my sentence has the subject, which is “I”, and the
verb: “won”, so it’s a full sentence. Now, this is very different from
what we would see on a resume. On a resume we use bullet points, so we use
something like this little circle, and then we’d say something like: “answered
inquiries from customers”, as an example. We’re not using a
full sentence here. Okay? On a resume you wouldn’t say: “I
answered inquiries from customers. I maintained records. You know, I served a lot of
different customers’ food.” You wouldn’t say things like that;
you wouldn’t use the word “I”. Okay? So on a resume we don’t use “I”; we just take
the verb and start from the verb, and then say what we did. Okay? So this is very different in terms of cover
letter, grammar, and resume grammar. Another key point when we’re talking about
resumes and cover letters is I told you before that it’s not good to be repetitive with vocabulary
and to reuse the same words; it’s the same with grammar. In your cover letter you
don’t want to say… To use the same sentence
structure for each sentence. So, for example, it would be very boring to
read a cover letter that said, you know: “I was a customer service
representative. I maintained records. I did this. I did that. I answered calls. I, you know, helped clients.” You need to change the grammar. Okay? So it’s good to have some past tense, some
simple past tense, some present perfect tenses if you can. You know, you can change the
ordering of the sentence. You know, you can use gerunds at
the beginning of the sentence. There’s a whole bunch of different types of
things you can do in order to have a more interesting cover letter
by changing the grammar. So don’t use the same grammar
structure for each sentence. Okay, great. So this is a little bit… A quick overview about grammar
about cover letters and resumes. There was one other thing I wanted to
say, and that’s in terms of tense. When we’re thinking about cover letters and
resumes, you’ll notice that a lot of things are going to be in the past tense, so a lot
of things are going to have “ed” on them, or you know, you might have an irregular verb
that’s in the past tense form, and that’s great when we’re talking
about past experience. But on resumes and cover letters, you
can also talk about present experience. So you might see a lot of your job experience
in the past tense, but you can also use the present tense, too. So, for example, if right now in my current
job I answer inquiries from customers on the telephone, I could change this to: “answer”
and get rid of the “ed” if it’s something I do now. Okay? So, be careful
with your grammar. Make sure that, you know, if you’re talking
about the present, you use the present tense; and if you’re talking about the past or
past experience, you use the past tense. All right. So now I’m going to tell you my final
tip for resumes and cover letters. Okay, so imagine you have finished writing
your resume and your cover letter, and you’re ready to go. I have a question for you: Did you
edit your resume and cover letter? Because this is also a
very important step. A lot of the times people don’t look over
their cover letters and resumes carefully, and they might have a spelling mistake or
grammar mistakes, maybe they’ve used the wrong word, and this looks really bad
when you’re applying for a job. A lot of employers, when they see a mistake
on a resume or cover letter, they won’t even read the rest of it; they’ll just throw it
immediately into the garbage and they’ll look at somebody else’s
resume or cover letter. So it’s very, very important that you do not
have any mistakes on your cover letter or resume, and that’s why
you should edit it. Okay? So, first of all, make sure
you check the spelling. Are there any mistakes here? You know, you can use spellcheck,
but also look at it yourself. How’s the grammar? Do you have any
grammar mistakes? You know, you can think about tense, you
know: Did I use the past tense correctly? You know, there… Did I use punctuation correctly? You know, did I put periods where
there’s supposed to be periods? Did I put a comma where there’s
supposed to be commas? So really think about grammar and punctuation,
and if you have any mistakes there. You can also think about format. You know, how does the
resume or cover letter look? Did you put the date
in the right place? Did you put your name
in the right place? Does everything line up okay? Or maybe you have some bullet points
here, and some bullet points there. Does it look messy? So it’s very important to ask yourself these
questions, and to look very carefully at your cover letter and resume once
you’ve finished writing them. Once you’ve done that, look
at it again; check again. A lot of the times you’ll find a spelling
mistake on the first time, and then you’ll find more spelling mistakes the
second time you look at it. Okay? So it’s important to look at your resume and
cover letter many times to make sure there’s no mistakes. Once you finish looking at it,
have someone else check it. If you have… You know, maybe you have a brother who can
help you or a friend, or your old English teacher. You know, if you know somebody who can
check over your resume, ask them to do it. And the more people who
look at it, the better. The more feedback you can get, and the
more mistakes can be caught this way. Okay? So very important step: Check your resume
carefully, and edit it for any mistakes. All right. So, I want to thank you
for watching this video. I hope you found it very helpful
for your search for a job. I’d like to first say that we have a lot of
great resources that can really help with these types of things. I mentioned earlier about a
resource to do with power verbs. Power verbs are great for your resume and
cover letter; and if you’re interested in learning more, you can look in our
description for the link about power verbs. I really recommend you do this. You can also subscribe
to my channel. There, I have a lot of other resources on
interviews, cover letters, resumes, vocabulary, grammar, and many other things. So, this can also help you while you’re
preparing to search and find a job. You can also practice what we’ve learned in this
video by visiting our website at www.engvid.com. There, you can actually take our quiz to see
how much you understood of this video and to practice some of the
concepts we discussed in it. All right? So, I want to thank you again for
watching; and until next time, take care.

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