Resumes and Cover Letters Law and Legal Definition

A resume is a key job-hunting tool used to get an interview. A resume summarizes accomplishments, education, work experience, and will usually reflect a job seeker's special skills and strengths. Common formats for resumes are:

  • Chronological (reverse chronological, listing all your experience from most to least recent).
  • Functional, which lists experience in skills clusters.
  • A combination or hybrid of those two types, sometimes known as a chrono-functional format.

There are no laws governing truthfulness of statements included on resumes. However, it is important not to lie or stretch the truth on a resume, as a false resume may be grounds for dismissal.

A cover letter in the employment context is a letter that should accompany your resume when you contact a potential employer. A good cover letter gives a glimpse ofyour personality and describes specific strengths and skills you offer the employer. It should entice the employer to read your resume.

Cover letters can fall under the following categories :

  • uninvited (cold contact) cover letter -- The most common type of cover letter, since such a large percentage of the job market openings are not advertised. Usually part of a direct mail campaign in which the job-seeker is trying to uncover hidden jobs.
  • invited cover letter -- Written in response to an advertised opening, whether in a newspaper, trade publication, on the Internet, or even on the company's bulletin board.
  • referral cover letter -- An extremely effective type of cover letter that springs from networking efforts. The referral letter uses a name-dropping tactic as early as possible in the letter to attract the reader's attention and prompt an interview.