4 Tips for Editing Your Resume and Cover Letter

by Amanda May, Head Editor, INALJ North Dakota

4 Tips for Editing Your Resume and Cover Letter

1da1d70This past spring, I participated in my first library search committee.  After being the “job searcher” for so long, it was really interesting to be on the other side of the process.  I’ve read so many articles on the importance of creating good cover letters and resumes, but I really didn’t fully understand it until I was on the committee.  So many of the candidates had excellent experience, but I was really surprised to see how grammar and spelling mistakes on the cover letters and resumes really made the difference between me saying “yes” and saying “no.”

I’m definitely not an editing expert, but I find that these tips really help me when I was editing my own cover letters and resumes.  I found that taking extra time to edit cover letters and resumes really improves the quality the final product, thus improving your chances of an interview.  Here are the tips:

  • 1.       Take a break!
    I don’t know how many times that I breathed a sigh of relief when I added the last word to my cover letter.  I’ve been so tempted just to send it off and be done with it, but I found that walking away and taking a break before editing it really helps.  It could be just a few hours or a day.  This gives me a chance to clear my head, so I can take a fresh look at it.
    2.       Print out your cover letter or resume.
    While many cover letters and resumes are submitted electronically, I find it helpful to print out my cover letter or resume.  It allows me to see the document from a new perspective, and that helps me catch any errors.
    3.       Read it out loud.
    When I read my cover letter or resume out loud, I have a tendency to find mistakes or sentences that just sound weird.
    4.       Read it backwards.
    I like to start at the last sentence in the cover letter or resume and read it backwards and eventually work my way to the beginning of the document.  When I start from the beginning, I have a tendency to skip over words that I think are in the document.  Reading it backwards helps me catch any missed words or other grammatical errors.

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