Business Writing: Resumes & Cover Letters

Knowing how to write a good business letter, be it a cover letter for a resume or a letter to one of your creditors, is very important. The likelihood of persuading people will depend on your ability to communicate effectively. Possessing the ability to write in a clear and professional manner empowers the writer. Here is a review of resumes, cover letters, and job applications together with a number of examples.

Also visit:
Current Business Articles with English language Activities.
Additional articles on resume writing, job searches, and interviewing Dos and Don’ts.

ESL Voices Lesson Plan: What NOT to put  on a résumé.  Funny…and useful information.
Business Newspapers 

Site MapCurrent Lesson Plan (updated weekly) with new topics for integrated skills lessons.

Previous-Lesson PlansWriting, Speaking, Listening, Vocabulary, Grammar, Charts & OrganizersResources for Teachers.

How to Create A Business Folder

It is important to keep all of your essential information handy.  You do this by making a folder with several copies of the following information:

• An updated version of your Resume.

• Letters of Recommendation from professors, and employers.

• Official copies of your College Transcript (might be required).

• All Awards or Certificates of achievement you have attained over time.

• An updated list of References (include addresses, phone numbers and emails).

• Questions you would like to ask prospective interviewers (these might change depending on the job, so be sure to review them).

• A list of answers to questions that you think the interviewer might ask you.

A Resume or Curriculum Vitae?

At times there is a confusion between a resume and a curriculum vitae. The primary difference is in the language. In American English a Resume (from the French meaning “summary”) is short — usually no more then 2 pages (some may vary) —  and contains information about your job experience and education, usually as an introduction for a job interview.

On the other hand, a Curriculum Vitae (derivative from Latin meaning “course of life”), or CV, has a different meaning for Americans.  A Curriculum Vitae is much longer than a resume (sometimes 25-30 pages in length) and contains a comprehensive listing of professional history such as all employment, education, academic credentials, publications, contributions, and significant achievements in life. It is used when applying to graduate or professional academic programs, or for a major position in large well-established business corporations.

In British English, a Curriculum Vitae or CV means the same thing as a resume in American English.

Make certain that you know which version you should send to a particular potential employer.

Resume Formats

Your resume is an announcement to a potential employer about your qualifications for a position. It provides you with the opportunity to describe your educational background, job experience and overall, to make a good impression on the person reading this information. Therefore, a resume is a powerful tool when applying for a job.

There are various types of resumes you can create, depending on your circumstances.  But whichever type you use, the following tips apply to all resumes.

Resume Tips

• Always have the following essential  information clearly visible:

◦ Name

◦ Address

◦ Phone Number

◦ Email

◦ Cell phone number (if available)

• Optional Information:  There is some information that by U.S. law you are Not required to place on your resume.  Race, religion, and political beliefs  are considered to be personal information, and should not be requested by any employer, so you should not place it on your resume.

• Never include irrelevant information.
For example if you’re looking for a job with a computer company, it’s important to list everything related, such as knowing how to program in Java; but knowing how to bake cookies is not. Don’t insert useless information.

• Neatness Counts!

◦ Remember your resume represents you and has to make a positive impression. It should be easy to read, and capture the attention of the reader.

◦ Your resume should be neatly typed, double-spaced, and the information kept consistent.

◦ Highlight relevant skills and personal achievements via language and formatting.

The type of resume to use is mostly determined by the amount of your education and your experience. Several examples are presented in the following.

Student Resume

Students who are still in school (high school or  beginning college) and who are looking for part-time or summer employment, would most likely use this type of resume.  The Student resume should be simple and specific, especially if there isn’t much past work experience.

There should be sections that list:

• All previous part-time jobs that are relevant to this current position: List dates of employment and names of employers, with detailed description of the duties. There should be a brief explanation of how your service helped the business or organization.

• Technical and Computer Skills: If you’ve learned a useful computer program or how to program in a programming language, list it.

• Relevant courses to your desired profession: Be sure to list all courses you’ve taken that are related to the job position you are seeking.

• Educational Awards/Honors: Include awards that enhance your image, e.g., awards of recognition, honors, winning competitions, etc. Include your Grade Point Average (GPA) if it’s 3.0 or higher (out of 4.0).

• Languages: Always include any languages that you speak, whether a job requirement or not. Knowledge of other languages can be a plus!

• Hobbies and Interests: Examples would be playing a sport, painting, reading, sororities/fraternities, and especially, any volunteer work you’ve done.

Student Resume Sample


Example of College Graduate Resume

Example of An Experienced Worker Resume

Cover Letter: Example for Student

 Cover Letter: Example for College Graduate

Cover Letter: Example  Experienced  Worker

Example: 3-page Job Application