Follow US:

Practice English Speaking&Listening with: Find a NEW JOB in North America: Cover Letter & Resume Advice

Difficulty: 0


My name is Emma, and in today's video I am going to talk to you about cover letters and resumes.

So, if you are going to be looking for a job soon...

Maybe you're new to Canada, or England, or the USA, or new to an English-speaking country

and you're looking for a job or you will be looking for a job soon, this video can really

help you with that.

Cover letters and resumes really are different in different parts of the world.


So there's a lot of different cultural parts that you need to know when you're writing

a cover letter or resume, and in this video I'm going to talk about the cultural aspects of both.

So, this video you're going to learn more of an overview about cover letters and resumes,

what their purpose is, and the type of information we include on them.

Okay, so let's get started.

Okay, so a cover letter and a resume are two different documents that have very different formats.

They look very differently from one another.

A cover letter is a letter format, whereas a resume has its own special format, but there

are certain things that are common or the same for both.

One of the things that's common for both a cover letter and a resume is their purpose.

The purpose of a cover letter and resume is to help you get an interview for a job, or

help you get the job.


So, when you think about a cover letter or a resume, imagine a company is asking you:

"Why should we hire you?

What makes you special?

What makes you right for this job?"

Your cover letter and your resume are the answer to this.

They tell employers about your amazing skills.


Maybe you know CPR, maybe you're great when it comes to computers, maybe you speak four



So they tell your employer...

Your future employers this.

They talk about your abilities, they talk about your experience, your education experience,

your work experience, you know, maybe some other organizations you're a part of and the

experiences you had there, and they also talk about your accomplishments, your successes.


Maybe at this company you increased sales, maybe you won a customer service award because

you're so great when it comes to talking to customers.


So your resume and cover letter show all these great things about you, and they answer the

question: Why should we hire you?


So, a lot of people want to know: "Do I need both a cover letter and a resume?

Can I just give my resume or just my cover letter?"

For most jobs you will need at the very least a resume.


This is one of the most important things you give when you're applying for a job, and then

for a lot of jobs they also will want a cover letter.

So, how do you know if you need both?

Well, when you apply to the job, look at the job advertisement.

Usually in the advertisement they say if they want just a resume, or if they want a cover

letter and a resume.

If you don't know and you can't find the information, it's a good idea to send both.

A lot of people want to know: "Can I reuse my resume and cover letter for each job I apply for?

Writing cover letters and resumes are a lot of work, so can I just give the same cover

letter and resume to everybody, and every job I apply for?"

In general, that's not a good idea, and the reason is usually companies can tell that

they're getting the same resume and cover letter as other companies, because you're

not saying specific things about how your skills match this company's skills or this company's...

What this company wants.

So as a result, it's always the best idea to write a different cover letter for each

job you apply for.


I know that's a lot of work, but you will be more likely...

You're more likely to get the job if you do a good job on your cover letter instead of

just sending everyone the same ones, and it's the same with resumes.

You know, different jobs you might want to highlight or talk about different things on

your resume.

If you're applying to this company, maybe you'll talk about a certain work experience,

whereas this company maybe you'll talk about a different work experience.


So very important to write your cover letter and your resume for each job.

So now what we're going to do is we're going to talk more about the information that you

will include in cover letters and resumes.

Okay, so what kind of things should we include in our cover letters and resumes?

I'm going to ask you some questions, because cover letters and resumes are very cultural.


So maybe you would include certain things in your country, but maybe if you come to

Canada, or the USA, or England, cover letters and resumes might be very different.


So let's look at some ideas, and we're going to talk about whether or not we would include


Okay, so some years ago I was in a pie-eating contest and I won.

That's actually not true, but imagine if I was in a pie-eating contest and I won the

pie-eating contest.

This is an accomplishment.


This is something I'm very proud of.

Should I include this in my resume or cover letter?




Unless the job is for, you know, a pie-eating contest profession, which does not exist,

you would not include this in your cover letter or resume.

Your accomplishments should have to do with the job you're applying for, or they should,

you know, have to do with work, not so much something like a pie-eating contest.

So this is no, we would not include that.

Marriage, you know, you're single or you're married, would you include this in your cover

letter or resume?

In Canada, the US, Australia, England, in a lot of these English-speaking countries

you do not include whether you're married or single in your resume or cover letter,

so this is also a no.

I know in many countries you do, but in a lot of English-speaking countries you do not

include this.

Your skills, would you include skills in your resume or cover letter?

Yeah, that's a good idea, especially if they're skills that are suitable or that match the

job you're applying for.

Your religion, again, in English-speaking countries, like the USA and Canada, you do

not talk about your religion in your resume or cover letter.


So, you don't include this.

You're a strong communicator, would you say that?

Yeah, this is actually something that is good for a lot of jobs.

If you're a good communicator, you know, this is a good skill to have, so yeah, this might

be something you might include.

Your age.

In a lot of countries you include your age on a resume or in your cover letter.

Again, in English-speaking countries, like Canada and the US, you do not include your age.


So this one, it's not relevant, it's not important to include.

A photo.

Would you put a photo of yourself in your cover letter or resume?

Unless you're an actor...

For most jobs you would not include a picture of yourself.

So I know I've applied for jobs in other countries and sometimes they require a photo; in English-speaking

countries we do not ask for most jobs for a photo.

So, in general no.

Volunteer experience, yeah, volunteer experience is something you can mention.

You know, it's a great thing to mention.

Especially if you don't have a lot of work experience, volunteer experience can be the

next best thing.

Your current job, yeah, you can talk about your current job in your resume or cover letter.

What about the babysitter job?

So maybe you were a babysitter and you took care of kids when you were 12 years old.

Now you're 40 years old.

Is this something you would include in your cover letter or your resume?

If it was a very long time ago, you don't need to include it.

You do not need to include every job you've ever had.

It's important to include, you know, jobs that relate to the job you're applying for

or, you know, maybe more recent jobs.

You don't have a lot of space.

Your cover letter is going to be one page, your resume might be one to two pages, so

there's not a lot of space, so it's important to decide which jobs show your skills the

best and which ones are the most recent.

So, the babysitter job when you were 12 years old probably not a good job to write.

Work experience, yes, this is something that would be very good to include in a cover letter


And also on a resume.

Okay, so now we're going to talk a little bit more about other information that's important

to include.

Okay, so what information should you include on your resume and your cover letter?

Well, it's very important to think about what's relevant to the job you're applying...

To the job you're applying to.

So you want what you include to be job-specific.


So, for example, if you're applying to work in customer service at XYZ Company, you need

to match your skills and, you know, your experience with that job.

You want it to be job-specific.

So, how do we do this?

How do we make sure our information is relevant to the job we're looking for and specific?

Well, first, if you can, if there's a job advertisement you see, read the job advertisement



A lot of the times there are clues in the job advertisement that can tell you what a

company is looking for in the person they're going to hire.

So look for the key skills, qualities, experience they ask for.

Some companies might be looking for somebody with customer service experience, other companies

might want somebody who can work well under pressure, someone who can multitask, who has

experience writing reports.


Maybe the company is looking for somebody who can speak three languages.

So, look at the job description and try to find key words in that job description, and

think about: "Do you have those qualities?

Or do you have those skills or experience?"

So match your skills, qualities, experience to the description.

So sometimes there is no job description.

Sometimes you might be thinking about applying, you know, for a restaurant job and you haven't...

You've just seen a "Help Wanted" sign in the window.

Or maybe you don't know if the company is hiring, but you want to send in your resume

anyway, so if there's no job description what you can do is you can think carefully about

the job, and you can think about: What kind of skills, what kinds of experience, and what

kind of qualities are they looking for?

So, for example, if I was going to apply for a customer service position, I would think

about it...

If it was a customer service representative or something like that, I think they probably

want somebody who's a strong communicator, somebody who's able to deal with people in

stressful situations, they probably want me to talk about experience I've had with customers,

so maybe I can think about other jobs where I've worked with customers.

So just really thinking about the job and what kind of skills they probably are looking

for can really help you with your resume and cover letter, because again, you want your

resume and cover letter to be relevant and job-specific.

So, you know, if you're applying for every job you see, if you're applying for a server

job, a store clerk job, and you know, a bus driver job, each of these jobs is going to

have different wants in their employee.

Each of these jobs is going to require different skills and different experience, so make sure

for each job you apply for you think about the skills and experience, and you match it

to those jobs.

Another thing that you can do is you can also research different companies.

Check out their website.

You know, a lot of the times there's a lot of information on the website that can help

you decide what to include in your resume or cover letter.

If, for example, a company talks about how they're really involved in technology and

they have a lot of cutting-edge projects happening, you might think about: "Okay, technology.

What computer skills do I have?

You know, what...?

What experience do I have with technology?"

Okay, so checking out the website and doing research into a company can also be a good

way to think about skills, abilities, qualities, and experience for applying for a job.

Okay, so a lot of people talk about this.

Some people are just recently out of high school or university and they have no work

experience, or maybe they're applying for a new job in a different country or a different

field, so they have no experience.

You know, what do they do?

What do they write about in their resume or cover letter?

Experience is not only job experience.


Experience can be volunteer experience, it can be education experience.

Maybe, you know, when you were in university, or college, or high school, you worked on

a project and you developed good team skills.

You worked in a group and you were very good working in that group.

So think outside the box.

You don't always have to write about work experience.

If you have work experience, that's great, but you can also look to other areas of your


Maybe you're in a club, maybe you're on a baseball team, and you know, you're the coach,

you can talk about that.

So the important thing is to first off write something, you know, and to really think about

your life and think about your skills, your abilities, and your own experience and how

these match the job you're applying for.

All right, so now we're going to talk a little bit about the format of cover letters and resumes.

Okay, so I'm going to give you a couple of tips on the format of resumes and cover letters.


So, resumes and cover letters should always be typed on a computer.

They should not be written in marker, in pen, or in pencil.

It's very important that they're typed because that makes them look professional.

Usually we recommend a 12-point font when you're using a computer, so you don't want

to have this enormous font and you don't want something too small because you want something

that's easy for somebody to read.

We also recommend a standard font, so for example, Times New Roman is good, Arial is


I didn't realize this in the past, but people have very strong opinions on font.

So, before, my favourite font was Comic Sans, it turns out that's a very...

It's a very unprofessional font and, you know, you shouldn't use it, so it's the same with


Be careful of the font you use because you're presenting yourself and you want to look professional,

so Times New Roman and Arial are very professional-looking fonts; they're good ones to use.

Your resume and your cover letter should be short.

For your resume, it should be between one to two pages, and for your cover letter it

should ideally be one page.


One mistake a lot of people make is they write too much.

They write their whole life story and they have a resume that's four pages and a cover

letter that's three pages.

That's not a good idea because the employer is not going to spend a lot of time looking

at your resume.

On average, they spend about 30 seconds looking at your resume, so as a result they just want

to quickly see it and get an idea of who you are.

And it's the same with a cover letter, they don't spend much time reading your cover letter

so it's best to just do one page for the cover letter and one to two pages for the resume.

There are a lot of different types of cover letters and resumes, and a lot of different



Some jobs prefer certain types or certain styles, so it's important to know what's good

for your industry.

You can often get a lot of help when you write your resume or your cover letter by using

a template.

So, a template is...

It's pretty much where the format has already been done for you, and you just fill in the

blanks with your information.

Templates can be very helpful, especially for formatting your resume and cover letter.

It's also a good idea to look at examples of people's resumes and cover letters.

We have a lot of examples on our website at, and you can find links to

these resources in our description, so I highly recommend doing that because the more examples

you see, the easier it will be for you to write a resume and cover letter.

It's also important not to copy and paste other people's resumes and cover letters.

I know when you're applying to a job, you know, it's a lot of work and you might not

know what to say, so you might want to...

You might see somebody else's resume and think: "Oh, that sounds really good.

I'm just going to take that and put it in my resume or in my cover letter."

It's good that your resume and cover letter is personalized and it's really about you,

because a lot of the times when you copy and paste from somebody else's cover letter, the

employer might notice that.

It might...

You know, a lot of the times they realize that you're not writing this yourself, and

the problem with that is it makes it look like you don't really want to work hard.

So it's good if you write your own cover letter and resume, and not just copy and paste from

things you find on the internet.

So, I highly recommend that you subscribe to my channel where you can find out more

about cover letters and resumes, as well as about interviews, interview questions.

We have resources on vocabulary, grammar, pronunciation, all sorts of things that can

really help you in your job hunt.

I also would like to invite you to come check out our website at; there we

have a quiz where you can actually practice all of the information you learned in this

video, so you can see how much you remember and how well you know what we talked about.

So, I wish you the best of luck in your job hunt.

I know you're going to do really well.

And until next time, take care.

The Description of Find a NEW JOB in North America: Cover Letter & Resume Advice