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Resume and Cover Letter Advice

Your resume and cover letter are not the place to be humble. Celebrate your accomplishments! But how do you do so effectively? Just follow our tips listed below!


  • Proofread, proofread, proofread! Make sure to double- and triple-check your materials for spelling and grammatical errors.
  • Tailor your resume and cover letter to the job description. This is not about just being a good candidate. It’s about being the right candidate for this specific role.
  • Focus on results and accomplishments, not just responsibilities. For example, it may be your responsibility to manage the budget. An accomplishment would be to decrease overhead by 10% and reinvest the money in youth programming.
  • Numbers make a big impact, so quantify your experience. “Tutored students in math” vs. “Led a study group of 10 students; 100% of participants improved grades over the course of the school year.”
  • Use action verbs. Each bullet point on your resume should start with an action verb—oversee, lead, coordinate, delegate, inspire, mentor, etc. Your current job should be in present tense (e.g., spearhead, cultivate) and previous positions should be in past tense (e.g., facilitated, revamped).
  • Don’t use personal pronouns. Instead of saying “I managed” just say “managed.”

Cover Letter

  • Greeting. If an individual is connected to the job posting, address it to that person. Otherwise, “Dear Hiring Manager” is appropriate. Do not use “Dear Sir/Madam” or “To Whom it May Concern.”
  • First paragraph—Introduction. Introduce yourself, specify the job you’re applying for, and indicate that you saw the job posting on Afterschool Pathfinder.
  • Second (and optional third) paragraph—Body. Highlight relevant experience and accomplishments. Make sure the examples are relevant to the roles and responsibilities of the vacant position.
  • Final paragraph—Closing. Thank them for their time and consideration. Provide contact information.
  • Signature. Appropriate ways to close your message include “Best,” “Sincerely,” “Kind regards,” etc.

Need more guidance? Check out CareerOneStop

CareerOneStop is the job search website for the U.S. Department of Labor. Head to CareerOneStop’s job search page to find everything you need to apply for and land your dream job.

  • Resume guides
  • Cover letter samples
  • Interview tips
  • Common interview questions
  • Negotiation strategies
  • So much more!