Resume and Cover Letter Help

Female Business student sitting with a panel to review resume

Build Your Resume

How do you create a resume that differentiates you from others? What makes you unique? Why do you do something better than anyone else?
Below are some guidelines and best practices to follow when creating or updating your resume.

Content

Organize your resume into three clear sections: header, education and experience. Additional sections may be added if they contain information relevant to the position.

Header and Contact Information
  • Name
  • Professional e-mail address
  • Cell phone number
  • Website (if applicable to position applying for) and/or LinkedIn URL (customize your LinkedIn URL for a cleaner look)
Education
  • Degree(s) completed
  • Degree(s) in progress and expected graduation date
  • GPA (optional, include if above 3.5)
Experience (jobs, internships, academic and/or volunteer work)
  • What did you accomplish in these positions that are relevant to the job you are applying for?
  • Highlight achievements that showcase what you will be able to contribute to the organization.
  • When describing your accomplishments, use action verbs such as:

Format

  • One-page limit
    • When you are early in your career development (less than 10 years of work experience) keep you resume to one page.
  • Grammar
    • Always proofread for spelling and grammatical errors, and, if possible, have someone else proofread it for errors, also.
    • Remember the "One-and-Done" rule! If there is one mistake on your resume, you may be seen as unprofessional and it may cost you even an initial interview with that company.
  • Avoid redundancy, exaggerations and overstating qualifications.
  • Be consistent in formatting.
    • Puctuate full sentences, and do not puncutate sentence fragments. 
    • Bold or slightly increase size of your section headers. 
    • Do not overformat your resume. Italics, bold, font size, underlines... There are a lot of options. Pick one or two formatting tools to help create clearly defined sections, then let your content speak for itself.
  • Font should be professional and legible (10-12 point font size)
  • Use 1" margins
  • Examples of Resumes

Download our Full Resume Guide for additional examples and material to help you build your best resume. 

Cover Letter

Cover letters provide an engaging personal introduction, connect your unique abilities to the specific qualifications for the position, and to pique the employer's curiosity enough that they want to look at your resume. 

General tips

  • Research the company - Doing research may uncover facts and values about a company that you can include in your cover letter that will help you stand out. Don't just address why you qualify for the position, convey why and how you would add value!
  • Addressing the letter - Research to whom you should address and send your resume and cover letter. If a hiring manager or contact liaison is not explicitly stated, use the internet or call the company directly to get the contact person's name and title.
  • Write to the qualifications within the job posting - Pull out specific qualifications within the job positing and write about experiences in past positions that now make you qualified. If they used any specific key words or phrases, be sure to incorporate them within your letter.

Format/Content

Header
  • Your Name
  • Your Address
  • Your Phone Number
  • Your Email
  • Website or LinkedIn URL 
Salutation/Greeting
  • Date
  • Hiring Manager or job posting contact's name
  • Contact's Title
  • Organization Name
  • Address
Section 1: Introduction
  • Dear Mr./Ms.
  • Identify the job for which you are applying.
  • Identify where you found the job posting (i.e. Career Navigator, company website, or other job boards).
  • Explain why you are interested in the job.
Section 2: Skills and experiences related to the position
  • Identify and explain two or three of your relevant qualifications.
  • Address main key words and phrases used in the job posting.
  • This section should be one or two paragraphs.
Section 3: Closing
  • Direct them to look at your resume and/or other enclosed documents
  • Thank the contact for taking the time to read your cover letter
  • Explain how and when you will follow up with your application.
  • Give them your contact information (phone and email).

Examples of Cover Letters