Résumés & Cover Letters

Make your résumé, cover letter and LinkedIn profile stand out by targeting them to a specific industry, functional area or employer.

Résumés

Your résumé is the employer’s first impression of you to land a job interview so it must look professional without any grammatical or spelling mistakes.  Each résumé is highly personal, but it should clearly and concisely highlight your:

  • Relevant skills
  • Academic projects
  • Work experience –both paid and unpaid
  • Leadership and campus activities

Typically a résumé is organized by categories or headings.  Here are a few headings that are typically found in early career résumés:

  • Heading:  Include your formal name, mailing address, telephone number and professional email address.
  • Summary: Use to highlight relevant skills or experiences and identify the name or type of positions for which you are applying to or seeking.
  • Education: List formal name of your degree and academic major with graduation date.  List name of granting institution including city and state. Include GPA if 3.0 or higher.  List projects and study abroad experiences. Do not include high school.
  • Work experience and internships (list in reverse chronological order): List job title, organization name, city and state for each employer with dates.  Use bullet points to describe key responsibilities and accomplishments.
    • Teaching experience (if education major): Include field experiences and student teaching.
    • Research experience (if science major): List research projects conducted and results.
  • Leadership experience: Discuss activities where you developed skills and led your peers.
  • Volunteer experience: Discuss activities where you have given back to the community.
  • Professional memberships: List names of professional associations where you hold a membership. These are groups of people who work in the same career field such as Society for Human Resource Management.

Cover Letters

Along with your résumé, include a cover letter. Many job applications or internship applications may only request a résumé, however, a tailored cover letter directs the reader’s attention to your specific areas of background so you can differentiate yourself. A cover letter is brief – no more than three paragraphs – and is written in an active voice. See our guide on how to write both.