Resumes & Cover Letters
PURPOSE OF A RESUME:
A resume that is well crafted:
- Gets the employers attention.
- Emphasizes your relevant skills and qualifications.
- Prepares you to supply evidence of your fit within the job and type of organization.
- Provided interviewers with discussion points and question topics.
- Persuades employers to interview you.
Elements of a Resume
The following should serve as a checklist of categories that ought to be on your resume. While most elements are required, some are optional. For more details and information on completing each portion of the resume, refer to the Office of Career Services' Resume Guide.
- Contact Information
- Name, phone number, email address, mailing address, LinkedIn contact
- Objective or Summary (optional choice between two)
- An objective should be tailored to the type of position to which you are applying and should focus on what you will contribute.
- If you have an extensive amount of work experience in the field to which you are applying, you may choose to include a summary of your credentials.
- Institution name, institution location, expected month of graduation, title of degree, major, minor
- Optional additions:
- GPA--3.0 or higher
- Related coursework
- Related Connected Learning project
- Honors (optional)
- List any awards, scholarships, etc.
- Experience (If you can, organize and categorize your experience based on relevant skill sets or fields of expertise, for example: Sport Management Experience, Customer Service Experience, etc.)
- Name of organization/company, location, job title, dates of employment
- Focus on activities, work, and internship experience that is most relevant to the future employer first
- Indicate not only what you did, but also how you did the work, the results of your actions, and accomplishments made while working
- Porvide details that support actions and described your duties and responsibilities using dynamic verbs
- Special Skills (optional)
- Highlight items such as: knowledge of computer programs, foreign languages with level of proficiency, and technical expertise in your field
- Activities/Interests (optional)
- Memberships to clubs, organizations, associations, sports teams, leadership positions
- Hobbies, travel, and volunteer activities, including work with the Center for Community Based Learning (focus on those that will stand out or seem unique)
Essential Guidelines of a Resume:
Some of the basic tips include:
- one page is standard, but two may be acceptable
- use bold, italics, and underline sparingly
- margins can be .5-1 inch, font can be 10-12 point
- save as .pdf if sending to an employer as an attachement to an email
- focus on the skills and experiences most relevant to the employers
- qualify and quantify descriptions of experience with details unique to your skills
- stay away from using a template
- do not use first person pronouns (my, me, I)
- avoid phrases like: "duties/responsibilities include," "assisted/helped/ aided with," -- focus on active language
- omit the phrase "References available upon request"
PURPOSE OF A COVER LETTER:
The purpose of a cover letter is to:
- Express your interest in a specific job/internship opening.
- Make the connection for employers on how your skills match their needs.
- Explain why you want the job, why you are qualified for the job, and why they should hire you.
- Show you are knowledgeable about their organization and the field for which you are applying.
- Show the unique personal qualities that you would bring to the position.
How is a cover letter different than a resume?
A cover letter is different from your resume because it allows you to explain to the employer why you are writing. You are able to show who you are and why you are a good fit for the company by giving specific examples that match the job description. It is your opportunity to sell yourself on paper.
When do I use a cover letter?
A cover letter should always accompany your resume when it is being mailed, faxed or emailed. If emailing, and only a resume is requested, then the content of the email becomes the cover letter.
Can I use the same letter for everyone?
No. Each letter should be individualized and addressed to a specific person in charge of the hiring for each position to which you apply. The most successful approach is a targeted letter. One way to determine what areas you want to emphasize to a specific company is to carfully read the job description. Taking the extra time to tailor your examples to what the company wants will make a difference.
For more information and a detailed outline with writing tips, refer to the Office of Career Services' Cover Letter Guide.