Resumes and cover letters
For sample resumes, cover letters, and companion job descriptions, please see our online guide in the Handouts section of our website.
For arts, acting, and academic resumes (C.V.s), please see our handout
Specialized Resumes: The Arts and Academia.
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A Resume and Cover Letter—Your Marketing Team
Effective resumes and cover letters are essential partners in your job or internship search. The cover letter introduces you and your resume to the reader, and the resume gives a more complete overview of your experience and qualifications. Together, these important marketing tools show where the match is between you and the position description, and determine if you’ll be interviewed.
Your resume and cover letter must be geared to your audience. In order to do this, you’ll need to do some preparation before you start writing:
√ Assess yourself. Know what skills and experience you bring to the table. Come talk!
√ Research the field so you can use its keywords in your resume and cover letters. This is important whether your docs are being scanned by computer or read by a person. Details on this research process are in our guide Your Job Search.
√ Analyze the description of position for which you’re applying. Notice the key skills and competencies the employer seeks. Identify specific examples in your resume that match these qualifications and stress these in your letter. Guidelines on cover letter writing begin on page 6.
Getting Started on Your Resume
Sample resumes, cover letters, and job descriptions are online in the handouts section of our website.
Whether writing your first resume or updating a previous one, it may help to begin with a master list of all your jobs, internships, campus and community activities, special courses and projects, schools attended, interests, travel, and skills. All this information will not end up in your final resume, but you want to be sure you don’t leave out anything important. If you wrote a resume for your college applications, your professional resume for jobs or internships will likely be quite different.
One page is standard for most fields and for most students and recent graduates. This is especially important for business, technology, or communications firms (advertising or publishing, for example). Employers in many other fields appreciate a concise and attractive one-page resume.
A longer resume is appropriate for certain applicants and fields. For teaching, a two-page resume is acceptable if you have significant related experience. For fellowships, grants, or research jobs, you may need a Curriculum Vitae, or C.V. A resume for federal jobs is often longer than one page. Speak with a career advisor if you have any questions about what format is appropriate for your needs.
Avoid templates or resume wizards. Your goal is to have your resume stand out in a positive way, and template resumes often appear identical to those of many other applicants.
Arrange your education and experience in reverse chronological order, present to past. This lets your reader easily see your current and recent background. You may also use categories relevant to your audience, for example, Public Relations Experience, Laboratory Experience, and so forth.
Some fields require specialized resume formats. If you’re seeking a research, scientific, acting, or performance opportunity, or if you’re a studio art major promoting your work, consult our guide
Specialized Resumes: The Arts and Academia. This includes guidelines on writing a C.V. Note:
Some employers and networking contacts may ask you to send a C.V. when they want a resume.
Writing a Resume Employers Will…