Writing a resume that will get you hired: the essentials | Hitmarker | Skillshare
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Writing a resume that will get you hired: the essentials

teacher avatar Hitmarker, Multi-award-winning job platform

Watch this class and thousands more

Get unlimited access to every class
Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Watch this class and thousands more

Get unlimited access to every class
Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Lessons in This Class

    • 1.

      Introduction

      1:35

    • 2.

      What does a resume need?

      1:55

    • 3.

      Creating a resume header

      3:28

    • 4.

      Contact information

      3:31

    • 5.

      Writing a professional summary

      3:03

    • 6.

      Talking about your experience

      5:18

    • 7.

      Discussing education and training

      3:07

    • 8.

      Showcasing skills

      1:57

    • 9.

      What else should you include on a resume?

      2:38

    • 10.

      Laying out your resume

      2:48

    • 11.

      What now?

      0:57

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About This Class

In this course, multi-award-winning job platform Hitmarker takes you through how to build a winning resume one step at a time. Starting at the top and working down the document, you’ll learn what each section should achieve, what should be included, and how you can really impress a hiring manager.

Perfect for new job seekers or anyone looking to freshen up their resume with modern, up-to-date practises, there are plenty of examples throughout the course to help you take the advice given and apply it to your own profile.

Some of the key areas covered are:

  • What a resume must have (and what can be nice to include)
  • How to write a strong professional summary
  • How to effectively present past experience
  • How you can get more out of your education section

...all with examples and pointers along the way. At the end of this course, you’ll have everything you need to produce the best professional representation of yourself possible.

Meet Your Teacher

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Hitmarker

Multi-award-winning job platform

Teacher

Hitmarker is the leading video game job platform and has helped countless people find careers they love. Over the past four years the Hitmarker staff team has conducted hundreds of application reviews for its users, and is now bringing that knowledge to Skillshare. Expect courses on job applications, hiring practises, and plenty of other insights around modern ways of work from this multi-award-winning company.

See full profile

Level: Beginner

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Transcripts

1. Introduction: Over my time at Hitmarker, I've seen and reviewed hundreds of resumes and cover letters from candidates at every skill level. We've seen what works well and what doesn't, and we'll be sharing all of that information with you. I'll be taking you through every aspect of creating a resume, from what the point of a resume actually is, to how to best describe your work experience to really stand out to a hiring manager, to what layout and design decisions you should make. Whether you're newly graduated and starting your resume from scratch, or a veteran in the professional world looking to add those finishing touches, this course will have something for you. This course is designed to be a step-by-step guide to resume writing, taking you from a blank document right on through to something that can be sent off as part of a strong application. Each lesson will focus on one specific area of the document, with the final couple of classes helping you put all of the individual sections together into something you can be proud of submitting to companies or recruiters. At the end of each class, we'll be giving you a project task that will help you turn the advice we covered into something practical that you can do with your resume. We've tailored this course to be accessible and easy to follow, because at the end of the day, our goal is to see you all land your dream job off the back of an exceptional application. Each class will have an attached notes document, with some useful tips and examples to look at. Make sure to have a look over these after each class to help you with your project tasks. With all that housekeeping out of the way, let's jump into our first lesson where we'll be discussing what a resume actually is and what yours should do for you. 2. What does a resume need?: The obvious question to ask going into a course like this is, 'What actually is a resume?' For those of you who've been around the career world before you should know what a resume should do, but it's always worth a refresher. And for those of you making this document for the first time, we're going to tell you what it should achieve. Simply put, a resume is a written overview of your professional and academic life so far, designed to be an entry point into who you are as a candidate for a specific role. What that means is that a resume is somewhere you document all of your work and important education and training, as well as highlighting your greatest achievements and skills. This basically allows the hiring manager to get the measure of you in a quick, easy, and standardized way. With this in mind, what are the objectives of your resume? What do you need to focus on and ensure your resume does before using it in an application? Your resume needs to achieve a few simple tasks. One, it needs to be easy to read and follow, since we want the hiring manager to easily be able to navigate and pull out the most interesting and relevant information about you. Two, it needs to display who you are as a professional, both through a well-written professional summary and valuably-laid out experience and education sections. And three, it needs to be honest and flattering, only showcasing things that are true, while also demonstrating how skilled and experienced you are as a candidate. That might sound like a lot, but we've created this course with these objectives in mind, so if you follow the advice laid out in the next few lessons you'll have created something that achieves all of these things. At the end of the process, we'd recommend you come back to these three key points and measure your completed resume against them to ensure all the goals have been met. But, let's not get ahead of ourselves here. Your task before you go any further is simple: grab your current resume if you have one, or a blank document if you want to start fresh, and then we can move on to discussing the first part of your resume: the header. 3. Creating a resume header: It's a common lesson in writing and marketing that you need to grip your audience from the first sentence or interaction, and this is true whether you're working on your resume or the next great American novel. In resume writing, this means that the first thing a hiring manager sees— so whatever is at the top of the page—needs to instantly make a positive impression. This could start with your headshot, but we want to emphasize that this is not something that you need to include on your resume. If you do not feel comfortable having a picture on your application then do not include one as the vast majority of companies shouldn't be hiring based on your appearance. We've spoken to several people who do not wish to include a head shot for multiple different reasons, and our advice is always: do what you're comfortable with. If you are happy to include one, make sure that it's a professional quality picture of you. Too many times have we seen bathroom selfies at the top of a resume, and that's really not the first impression you want to give to your potential future employer. As a general rule, you want the photo to be taken by someone else, for you to be in a natural setting, the picture to just be of you in smart attire, and for you to be looking happy. This will put your best foot forward in the application, and giving the hiring manager the instant ability to put a face to a name is always a good thing to do. Again, this is not the be-all and end-all of your resume, but something to get right if you do plan to include it. Something that you do need to include and get right is your name, and you'd be surprised how often people get this wrong. You want your name to be the first word someone reads on your resume, so having them larger than your standard section headings and easily readable— no funky fonts, please—is an absolute must. Your name should be prominent and clear at the top of your resume. Since we're a gaming job platform at our core, it's worth mentioning if and how you should include your username in your name if you're also coming from the industry. The general rule is that if you're applying for a job where your personal brand could be on display: think, on-screen roles, broadcasting, or social media marketing, for example, then you can either embed it into your name as First name 'Username' Last name, or include it in brackets at the end of your name. This is assuming your username is still relatively professional and something the brand would want to be associated with. If you're applying for a more general role in gaming like accounting or project management, it's not necessary to include your personal brand unless you are particularly well-known. The final thing to include in your header, excluding contact information and social media which will be discussed at length in our next class, is your profession. These are just a few words that quickly show the hiring manager what you currently do or aspire to do as a job. If you're currently in a role and want to continue your career in a similar position, then include your current job title under your name. If you're not in work currently, choosing the job title you're looking to do, or most recently held, is a good tactic — especially if you're matching this up to the job you're applying for. Again, adding a profession isn't mandatory, but it's a great way of instantly showing the hiring manager that you're a relevant candidate for the role. Now, for your lesson project: does your current header follow these tips? Don't worry too much about laying it out perfectly; we'll have a whole class on that towards the end of the course, but you want to get the information and a headshot, if you choose to include one, on the page now before moving on. All sorted? Amazing! Let's move on to our next class on what contact information you should be including and how to go about doing it. 4. Contact information: The most positive outcome you can get from a job application is the hiring manager or company getting in touch to set up an interview with you. And even if they get in touch with feedback on why they won't be taking your application forward, that's still an excellent learning experience. In both of these cases, the company has made contact with you, and this class is going to be all about how to make this as effortless for them as possible. The first piece of advice we have here is such a simple tip that will instantly earn you points with the hiring manager, and that's to make every avenue for contact a clickable link on your resume. If whoever is reading your resume needs to copy your email, open their email client, and then paste it into the recipient bar, then they are slightly less likely to do so if they have a small query or are considering sending you feedback. However, if you just need to click the mail icon or address in your resume, and it automatically takes them to the email client with your email address already there, it's a little easier for them to do so. Yes, it's a small difference between one click and four, but when the decisions in hiring are often so marginal you always want the tiebreaker to go your way. This is especially true for any social media accounts you want them to view, as a hiring manager is much more likely to check them out if you've made it super easy to do so. Speaking of social media, what accounts should be on your resume, if any? This question really comes down to what accounts you keep updated regularly, and what accounts you would want your future employers to see. In an ideal world, and this will be a project task for this lesson as well, you'd be happy for your employer to see anything you've ever posted online. But realistically, if you have a Facebook page you haven't posted in since you were 15, or a Twitter account with four followers and one picture of your cat on it, then it's probably not worth including these on your resume. Choose any social media that you professionally update, so this should include your LinkedIn profile at a bare minimum, and add them to your contact information alongside your email. And again, make sure you've linked everything that you're including. You want to do this to allow the hiring manager an easy insight into who you are on a slightly more personal level, and most companies will do some kind of background check anyway, so you may as well make it as simple for them to do as you possibly can. The final tip we have here is on the same lines. But again, you'd be shocked how often people hurt their application chances by having a childish email linked in their resume. You generally want to either use firstname.lastname@ or a.lastname@ for your professional email. This will never be faulted for being unprofessional. You can set up a free Gmail or other email account with a professional address if you've been using the same account since you were much younger, or even if you just want all of your hiring and job news to be separate from your personal email. Something as small as leaving a bad impression based on your email address could be the tiebreaker that loses you the job, so never give the hiring manager an excuse to feel negatively about this in the first place. Now for your project, and this is the first reasonably big one so take your time on it. Have a search for yourself online and open up any social media accounts that you figure a company could be interested in. Have a scroll through these and see if there's anything that you wouldn't want the hiring manager to see, and either delete or private it. Once you're happy that your social media accounts represent you well, you can add them if they're valuable to the resume you are building. What social media accounts do you think are most valuable to include in your resume for the kinds of jobs you're looking for? Let us know in the discussion section below this lesson. Next up, we'll be diving into how to write your professional summary. 5. Writing a professional summary: The professional summary, that paragraph that sits just under your header and above all the other information on your resume, is the only long-form section of your resume. This means that it has to be written a little differently to other sections we'll be covering in this course. But fortunately, there is a simple three sentence structure that you can follow to make it both easy to write, and valuable to include. The first sentence should answer the questions of who you are and what you specialize in, as well as showcasing how much experience you have if it's going to be several years or more. This simply means that you want to mention your key skills, what experience you have, and if there is an area that you are especially proficient in. You want to use the job description you're applying for as a guide here: what kind of skills and expertise are needed most in that position? These are what you should be focusing on the most in your professional summary. For example, if you're applying for a role in social media, then your expertise in social media marketing is absolutely worth showcasing, whereas your skills in programming are much less valuable. We'll have some examples in the handout from this class of some strong professional summaries, so check those out to get an idea of what a good opening looks like when it's written down. Once you've let the hiring manager know what you specialize in, sentence two is all about directly saying why you would be a good candidate for the role. This is also somewhere you could include your experience level if you couldn't easily fit it into the first sentence, and should also be where you link the job description to your resume in an obvious way. Any good job description will include the requirements they need a candidate to meet, and you want to mention the most important ones that apply to you in this sentence. We know it can be very awkward for some people to brag about themselves, but you'll have to do a little bit of flexing in this sentence to make sure that a hiring manager is on board with reading further. And, when it comes to reading further, you want to round out your professional summary by answering one of the first questions a hiring manager has: why are you currently looking for work and why this job? You don't need to go into specifics about why you're leaving your existing job if you're currently employed, but focus it more on why you want to get this job specifically. If you'll still in education, you can mention whether you're searching for work immediately or after you graduate. These three sentences should give the hiring manager a lot of information to work with in a relatively short section, which makes getting this right a huge win for you and your resume. Taking some time to make sure you hit each point we've suggested, as well as choosing what you present carefully, will pay off in the long run, which is why your project task for this lesson is to write a couple of professional summary drafts to see how they look and read. Don't worry about getting your wording perfect on the first couple of attempts; instead, focus on writing something that hits every point we've mentioned in this lesson. And then once you've done that, you can work on getting the wording perfect. Once you've created a strong professional summary, we can move on to the largest section of your resume— your work experience—and talk about how best to present your career so far. 6. Talking about your experience: Experience is a topic that we talk about all the time here at Hitmarker, from how many years in the industry you need to apply for certain jobs, to how to turn seemingly irrelevant experience into something that employers are looking for. All of this past experience— look, we even mentioned it again— has set us up perfectly to discuss what is worth mentioning on your resume, how deep you need to go into describing it, and what you should be saying about each past position that you've held. The first thing you need to decide is which opportunities to mention on your resume. If you're newer to the professional scene, then this will be easy as you'll have room to mention everything you've done professionally. But if you've been around a little longer, you might not have room on a one-page document for everything you've ever done. In these cases, you always want to include your current or most recent position, and then work backwards from there. The more recent something is, the more likely it's going to be relevant to the role you're applying for as it's further along in your career journey. However, if something recent, but not your most recent role, is much less relevant than something older that wouldn't fit on the one page without removing something, then include the [older], more relevant experience. You can include a short mention on any gaps [of employment] in your cover letter, so don't worry about covering absolutely everything in your resume, but make sure you highlight your three or four best roles, or all of the roles that you've ever had if you've done less than four positions in your career. Now that you've decided what you're going to include, and have ordered it as newest at the top and then working backwards down the list, you can start to decide how you want to describe the roles you've chosen. This is where the most common piece of resume feedback we give comes in. And if you only take away one piece of advice from this entire course, let it be this. When you describe your experience, focus on what you achieved and learned in your past roles, not what you did day-to-day in said role. This might seem like a daunting prospect initially, and it might feel like you're missing a lot of information if you don't mention day-to-day duties, but we'll take you through our reasoning and how to best ensure that your experience impresses the hiring manager reading your resume. When you're writing a resume, it's useful at times to consider what in the document will set you apart from other, similar candidates, as that is one of the main reasons you send in a resume in the first place. If you're applying for a position in the same field that you've already worked or studied in, then your day-to-day responsibilities are likely to look fairly similar to someone else in the field. And that isn't very likely to make a hiring manager stand up and take immediate notice of you. However, if you discuss your achievements in a position: what you were able to do and some of the highlights when working in that job, not only is that going to be unique to you, but it's also going to show your value. Any hiring manager can go and read off what you were supposed to be doing in your previous role, as it's as easy as checking out the job description. But they really want to know that you would be capable of getting results in their company, and showing that you have a track record of doing so shows this in the best possible way. Showcasing achievements also subtly describes the responsibilities of your previous job. For example, if one of your old tasks was to ensure all customer queries are resolved or forwarded to the correct department, then you could add to this, edit it a little, and come up with something like: 'Dealt with 20+ customer queries a day, making sure they were tracked and resolved within 24 hours of receipt, or passed on to the correct department.' This still gives the hiring manager an idea of one of your responsibilities, but it also shows how successful you were in the role. If the role that you're applying for has a similar responsibility, then the hiring person can not only see you've done something in the past in the same area, but that you were good at it and succeeded in your goals. This is especially good if you're looking for roles where metrics are important, so think sales, marketing, social media, but the concept can be spread over pretty much any sector or craft. A quick note here if you're applying for a job outside of your current field: so if you want to move from the finance sector to working in video games, for example. Don't think that all of your experience outside of your target industry is useless or not worth going into, as this simply isn't true. If it's a like-for-like job, then you should be talking about it as usual since the new company will want someone who is capable in the profession. If you're looking for a complete job change it can be trickier, but use the job description you're applying to as a guideline and focus on what they want from their candidate. If you have experience as a leader in your past industry and they want a leader, make sure to mention it. Your project for this lesson is going to help you get into the right head space to talk about your past experience in the best way possible. Make a list of your previous jobs and pick out a couple of your biggest achievements in each of them. This will give you a great base line to work from. And while it can be tough to look back and pick out the highlights in some roles it'll be worth it in making your resume easier to write, and to show off just how successful you can be in that new job. If you find anything you're particularly proud of, make sure to let us know in the lesson discussion so we can celebrate with you. Once you've done this and maybe even had a go at writing out your experience section as shown in the lesson notes, we can move on to our next lesson, which is all about how to talk about your education and training. 7. Discussing education and training: Education is one of the core components of a resume. It details the kind of training you've had to date, and it's something that hiring managers will expect to see mentioned — even if you're a senior professional. The value your education section holds will vary based on what stage of your career you're in. If you're a high school student or recent college graduate, then you'll probably be leaning heavily on your education when applying for jobs. If you've been working for many years, however, then it's likely to form a much smaller part of your resume. We'll be talking about how to present your educational background in both of these cases, starting with how to write it if you're still studying or if you're a fresh graduate. Like with your experience, your education section should lead with your most recent qualification, even if it's something you're still studying for. Place this at the top of the section along with the date you started studying, as well as either the date you graduated, or an indication that you're still enrolled there — you can do that by simply writing 'Present'. If you don't have much professional experience, your education section is going to be doing a lot of the heavy lifting in your resume, so make it impactful. Are there any grades you can list here, even if they're forecasted? Have you received any awards you can include? Has there been anything covered in your schooling that's relevant to the job you're applying for? If you're a college student, the answer to this is likely to be 'yes'. If your course is directly related to the sort of jobs you're looking for, then you can draw on certain specialisms or techniques that you've been taught that you'd use in the workplace. But even if it's not directly related, then don't panic. Have you completed any long-form projects or work within a team towards a shared goal? These are still worth highlighting in your resume. Essentially, you want to examine your education and see what skills, techniques, or programs you can highlight that would be used in the job you're applying for. Doing this effectively will turn a generic education section into something that really showcases your abilities. How about if you're already an experienced professional? Well, there should still be some mention of your most recent qualification so the hiring manager has that information available to them, but it doesn't need to be expanded on too heavily. If your most recent piece of education was a college degree then list this, the school you attended and the dates you studied, your field of study, and the grades you achieved. The same goes if your most recent qualification was a high school diploma; list the essential details, but let your past experience do most of the talking for you. Here's something to mention too: your education section doesn't just have to be your formal qualifications. Are there any online certificates you've completed in your sector? These are a great thing to include that will show you to be diligent and ready to learn. It's also not necessary to include every bit of education you ever had. If you are a new graduate, then aim to speak about two different educational experiences at the most. And as we mentioned for you experienced professionals out there, keep this section to only the most recent qualification you have. Now, for your class project: we want you to create your education section following the steps we've covered in this lesson. Once you've done that, join us in our next lesson where we'll be talking about how you can effectively showcase your skills. 8. Showcasing skills: Which skills should you showcase on your resume and which are the most important? Listing your top skills in a dedicated section of your resume is a great way for a hiring manager to instantly see that you're a fit for the role. If some of the main components of the job they're hiring for are outlined in your skill sections, then you'll instantly win their attention. In terms of where you can put this section, some of the common choices that we see are in the sidebar if your resume design has one, near the top of the page by your profile section, or near the bottom as a nice way to close out your resume. When adding skills to your resume, we advise keeping them as simple and easy to read as possible. Avoid using a scoring system; if you've listed something as a skill but then only marked yourself as being 2/5 in it, you're not going to fill the hiring manager with faith. Instead, order your skills with the ones you're most confident with at the top of the list and work downwards from there. In this section it's best to highlight hard skills, which are tangible skills or techniques related to your profession, over soft skills, which are personality traits, in most cases. That said, there are some career positions where things like empathy and teamwork are more important than others. So in these cases, feel free to include some of your softer skills. Remember, a skill section is something you can adjust with ease before applying for each individual job. If you're looking to take another step to making your resume land with the most impact, take a look at the job description you're applying to, pick out some of the required skills that you're most confident in, and make sure they're listed and highlighted at the top of the list on your resume. As your task for this lesson, we'd like you to look through a few jobs in your sector. Read the job descriptions thoroughly, and see if there's any skills that are regularly asked for — these are what will be most in-demand for your profession, so be sure to list them in your resume if they fit your profile. Next up, we'll be thinking about anything else that you could look to include in your resume. 9. What else should you include on a resume?: When writing a resume, it is important not to overwhelm the reader with information. Keeping it to one page, especially in the early stages of your career, is the best way to do this. Your profile, contact information, experience, and education sections should all absolutely be included in this layout, but what else can you add if you've got a little bit of additional space to work with? In this lesson, we will be discussing some extra sections you can add to your resume if you have the room to do so. References are something you can include on a resume if you have them. A past boss or college lecturer are both options you can use depending on what's most applicable to you. Remember, every word on your resume should be packed with value. Therefore, it's important to avoid taking up too much room on your page with various references. And instead, you can summarize them by placing, 'References available upon request' at the bottom of your resume, leaving the option there for the employer to explore further. If it applies to you, showcasing a bilingual ability can be a great way to surprise the hiring manager with a useful skill. Knowing that you have the ability to work across multiple different markets and communicate with partners they might not have been able to work with before, is going to add a nice big plus next to your name. If you're able to speak additional languages, make sure to include them on your resume. Something else that can help, especially nowadays, is stating whether or not you can relocate for work. Listing whether you're willing to relocate domestically, internationally, or not at all can help the hiring manager know if a role is right for you. Just make sure you're legally able to relocate to wherever you list. If you're only able to relocate to a certain company if the company helps you with a visa, for example, you should specify this early on to avoid wasting yours—and their—time. One of the last things to know is the best way to save your resume. We still need to format your document, but it's worth saving a copy of your resume as a PDF now, as you want to have a copy saved if something goes horribly wrong when you're formatting. A PDF is the optimal formatting for a resume, as it can be viewed across multiple devices without messing up the formatting, so you'll want to make sure you know how to change your document into a PDF file. Don't worry, we've got a guide on how to do just that in the lesson notes, so check that out if you need a refresher. The only exception here, of course, is if a company has specified that sending them a resume in a different file type is preferred. Finally, it's time for the class project. Take a critical look at your resume. Are there any sections that are fluff and maybe don't need to be in there at all? If so, consider removing them and swapping them out for something we've covered in this lesson. Now that all the information is completed, we'll be moving on to how to lay out your resume in our next lesson. 10. Laying out your resume: By this point, you should have each section of your resume in a position that you're relatively happy with, which is great news. However, having a few well-written sections won't be enough for your application, so in this lesson we're going to give some examples of layout ideas and go over what you should be considering when creating the final form of your resume. First things first, it's more important for this lesson than most to check out the lesson notes, as we'll be attaching the two example styles we'll be talking about in this lesson. Spend some time looking over them and deciding which of the two you prefer aesthetically before we go into the strengths of both styles. Speaking of strengths, let's take a look at the first style, which is a well laid out and on-brand two column resume. You'll note this style deviates a little from what we've discussed previously, with the header being a little smaller and to one side along with the summary and contact details, but the prominence is the key feature that is achieved here. As you can see from the design, a lot of information can be fit here in a clearly presented way, and not just having it laid out top-to-bottom makes it a little more visually interesting. If you're set on a very simplistic style with things being more traditionally laid out from top-to-bottom, section-to-section, then this second option could be better for you. It's minimalist and concentrates on showing clearly the most important information, and not too much else. If you're aiming to add a little less information to your resume, or you simply have a shorter career to mention, then this can be a great layout to go for. However, you want to ensure that your cover letter and portfolio, if you have one, are doing a lot of work and fleshing out what you've written here if you don't do it in the resume itself. This is, of course, not an exhaustive list of every decision you can make while deciding on a layout for your resume, but these two styles act as a great starting point. Punch in the information you've put together over the course of this class into your preferred layout and see how it looks. Each resume will be slightly different, so your initial design or layout may not fit your information perfectly. Remember that what you include, as opposed to how it looks, will always be the most important thing. However, again, it all comes back to every aspect of your resume being worth spending time on to get just right. With that, your resume should now be done! There will still be a few changes and edits to look at, and the dreaded out-loud proofread to ensure everything is grammatically correct, but if you've followed our class to this point we're confident that your application should be in a good spot. Remember that you want to be reading every job description you apply to thoroughly and making adjustments to your resume accordingly, but what you should have now is a fantastic base line ready for your first application after this course. Next up, we'll be closing out our class with actionable steps for you to go forward and what additional career-related resources exist out there. 11. What now?: And that is our course! We hope you found the advice useful and have been able to action it into real changes on your resume. It's impossible to go into every specific detail and situation when it comes to an application, but we hope that what we have shared and provided here can be a useful set of tools that can help you develop your applications into something that hiring companies will be really impressed with. But the resume is not the only part of the application process — it isn't even the only part of the initial application in most cases. Visit our Skillshare profile for additional courses that we have in the works focusing on the cover letter, interview process, and more. There's lots to come from us in terms of career advice on Skillshare, so follow our page and check back in with us regularly to see what else we've covered. Thanks again for watching, and if you've enjoyed our class and found it useful please don't forget to leave a review below. We're really excited to see you all land that perfect job. Good luck out there!