Resumes and Cover Letters
Resumes and Cover Letters are the initial points of contact you have with an employer: make your first impression count!
Resume Writing 101
Your resume has one goal: to win you a seat in the interview chair. Resumes need to be concise, to the point, and provide the employer with an overview of your skills and experience as they relate to the specific position you are applying for. The first step in writing a resume is always knowing the job posting inside and out, and using all of your sources of insight to understand what the employer is looking for in an ideal candidate. Then, you can move on to writing a resume that intentionally outlines your strongest qualifications in a way that catches the eye of the hiring manager.
Follow some of the simple guidelines listed below and be sure to look at the additional PDF resources and samples provided by Career Services:
Simple Resume Guidelines
- Your resume should be brief, attractive, and easy to read.
- Use an 11 – 12 pt font.
- Use bold to emphasize your headings as well as company and university names.
- One-page resumes are best for students and entry-level candidates.
- There are some exceptions, including teaching resumes, curriculum vitaes, and students with a great amount of relevant experience. *Rule of thumb: if your resume is over 1 page, make sure you have made it WORTH the employer's while to turn the page. The 2nd page should fill up at least 3/4 of the page*
- For entry level positions, place your Education before Experience.
- When listing work experience, list most recent jobs first.
- Emphasize experience related to the job for which you are applying.
- Provide a local and permanent address and phone so employer can contact you at all times.
- Use an email address that sounds professional.
- Spell out the name of your degree, i.e. Bachelor of Science and include the proper name of your major.
- List all majors and minors together.
- High school diploma information is not included.
- Study Abroad can be listed as a sub-heading under education.
- Be truthful, never lie or say you have experience that you do not.
- You can include projects from class that relate to the desired position.
- Think about how you can match your skills and experiences to the desired position before you write the resume.
- Past experiences such as classess and part-time jobs helped us develop communication, problem solving, customer service, leadership, and financial skills. These are known as Transferable skills.
- All information on your resume should relate to the desired position.
- Use action phrases in order to provide a clear picture of your transferable skills.
Printer-Friendly Resume Writing Resources
An example of a basic, professional resume
A checklist of what you want to make sure you include on your professional resume
A list of action verbs to help you start brain storming bullet point descriptors for the "Experience" section(s) of your resume
List of skills you may have attained through work, school, volunteer experience, etc that you may use to describe your skills on your resume
*To access approved resume templates and sample resumes, login to REDConnect*
Part-Time Job Resume Writing for New Freshmen
Cover Letter Writing 101
A cover letter will accompany your resume when you are applying for a job or internship ONLY when it is asked for in the job posting. Your cover letter should describe to the employer why you are interested in the job or internship and how you are qualified in more detail than your resume. A cover letter should be brief, but detailed enough to support the information found on your resume. You can use your cover letter to demonstrate your communication skills, to convey information not found on your resume and to describe what you believe sets you apart from every other candidate who is applying. Guidelines for cover letters are listed below, as well as a sample cover letter format.
Simple Cover Letter Guidelines
- A cover letter is an opportunity to introduce yourself to an employer.
- Tell the employer why they are receiving your resume and for which job you are applying. Often, they have posted more than one position, so specify which position and where you saw the posting.
- You can communicate what you are applying for and expand upon your resume's skills and experience to show how you match the position.
- A cover letter is also your opportunity to demonstrate the communication skills you have developed.
Printer-Friendly Cover Letter Writing Resources
A checklist covering all the areas you want to make sure to include in your cover letter
An example of a basic, professional cover letter
General Job Application Guidelines
- Pay attention to the job posting to which you are applying. Make sure to respond to the employer with only the required documents. (ie: If the job posting does not ask for references, you do NOT need to supply them.)
- In many cases, the application process will require both a resume and a cover letter. Other documents may include professional references, letters of recommendation, transcripts (official or unofficial), specific test scores, and proof of certification(s).
- Online application processes will likely only ask you to upload a resume.