Resumes and Cover Letters

Need help with your resume?

Whether you are creating your first resume or updating an existing one, we can help you out.

Let us look over your resume and cover letters. You can email your documents to, or schedule a virtual appointment to meet with a peer advisor. 

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Your resume is a marketing tool; it promotes you as an ideal candidate to potential employers. The goal in writing a resume is to make yourself attractive to potential employers, securing you the opportunity to interview with the organization.

There is no one “right” way to write a resume – the most effective format depends on what you have done and what you are trying to accomplish.

While it is tempting to develop a "basic resume" once then simply update it as time passes, this approach is not as effective as tailoring each resume to the specific employer and position. Select a resume style based on your experience and qualifications as well as the type of position for which you are applying.

Your resume must be visually pleasing and easy to read quickly.
  • Avoid "wizards" or templates that reduce your control
  • Use margins of at least 3/4 inches all around
  • Use bulleted statements beginning with power verbs in consistent verb tense rather than paragraphs
  • Use bold, underline, and italics sparingly to highlight and separate sections
  • Obtain input about both content and style from Career Services, faculty, former employers, and professionals in your field
  • Develop an unformatted version of your resume for on-line applications
  • Proofread several times and have at least 2 other people do the same

Resume Format

  • Chronological

    Experience is listed from most recent to least. Job titles and employers are emphasized in order to show a progressive job history. Your responsibilities, skills and accomplishments are described in detail. This type of resume very clearly displays your work history and is the most commonly used resume type.

  • Functional

    Identifies and highlights skills and accomplishments you have learned from previous employment and experiences (i.e., classroom and/or volunteer) and divides them into three or more categories according to a common, skill-based theme. This format allows the writer to focus on relevant skills rather than recent positions.

Resume Samples

Cover Letters

If you think of a cover letter as just one more formality of the job search, you’re missing a great opportunity to make an even more powerful impression on prospective employers. Cover letters aren’t just an address label for your resume—they’re a way to highlight your qualifications and emphasize your interest in an organization and a position.

Elements of a Successful Cover Letter

  1. Personalize your cover letter to the hiring manager
    If the name of the hiring manager has been provided to you, use that name to personalize the letter/email accompanying your resume.
  2. Introduction – one paragraph
    What job are you interested in and where did you hear about it?
    Introduce who you are, i.e. your major, current job, etc.
    Why are you qualified for this position?
  3. Body - one to three paragraphs
    Why are you interested in the position?
    Explain how your academic background and experience make you a qualified candidate for the position
    Point out specific, relevant achievements/ qualifications in your work experience
    Try not to repeat the same information the reader will find in the resume
    Refer the reader to the enclosed or attached resume or application, which summarizes your qualifications, training, and experience
  4. Conclusion - one paragraph
    Indicate your desire for a personal interview
    Repeat your phone number in the letter and offer any assistance to help in a speedy response
    Close your letter with a statement or question that will encourage a response
    Ex. Say that you will be in the city where the organization is located on a certain date and would like to set up an interview

Cover Letter Samples

Thank You and Follow-Up Letters

After your interview, it’s always a good idea to follow up with a thank you note. Doing so reiterates both your professionalism and your interest in the position. In most cases a professionally written thank you email is appropriate, and is especially important if the employer is expected to make a quick hiring decision. You may also follow up with a hand-written, mailed card.

Follow-up Letter Samples


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