Resumes & Cover Letters

Creating Your Resume

Gather Information

First brainstorm and identify what you have accomplished in terms of education, training, and experience. Start with what you are currently involved in, and then work backwards. This should be a comprehensive list which you will then edit to include only the most relevant information. Include any field work (internships), paid employment, volunteer work, activities, memberships, etc. The categories listed below may be helpful.

  • Education
  • Honors / Awards
  • Field / Internship / Clinical / Student Teaching Experience
  • Related Experience
  • Research Experience
  • Leadership Experience
  • Professional Experience
  • Management Experience
  • Athletic Experience
  • Military Experience
  • Customer Service Experience
  • Freelance Experience
  • Performance Experience
  • Training / Development Experience
  • University Employment
  • Community Service
  • University Activities
  • Memberships
  • Study Abroad / Travel Experience
  • Computer Skills 
  • Language Skills / Certifications / Licensure  
  • Continuing Education
  • Publications
  • Presentations
Create Experience Categories

Categories should be specific. Categories may include RELATED experience, ADDITIONAL experience, TUTORING experience, RESEARCH experience, LEADERSHIP experience, etc.

Describing Your Experience

Descriptions should demonstrate the "value" and relevance of your experience to the reader. Here are some things to consider when creating this section of your resume.

Edit & Pull it all Together

This is a critical point in resume development. You want your resume to be strong, not long.

  • Survey your list and highlight the information that you clearly want your reader to know. Make sure to include information that most closely resembles the type of work you seek.
  • Descriptions should use sentence fragments, not complete sentences. This helps keep your document concise. Do not use pronouns such as "I" or "we". Typically, use 3-4 sentence fragments for each key description, or use a bulleted format for your most important experiences. See sample resumes.
  • Begin your sentence fragments with action verbs, e.g., "Developed and implemented creative unit on the environment." Avoid starting sentence fragments with "Responsible for ..."  For help with writing your sentence fragments, you can click here for a list of action verbs.

See the full list of sample resumes categorized by major/degree.

Creating Your Cover Letter

General Guidelines
  • Always include a cover letter with any resume you send.
  • Always address it to a specific person. If you do not have a name, call the organization and ask for the name and title of the person in charge of the department in which you want to work.
  • Use an accepted professional format for your letter (see samples below). Make sure there are no spelling, grammatical, or typographical errors.
  • Have someone proofread the letter for you.
  • Limit your letter to one page.
  • Make sure you follow through. If you indicate you will call within one week, make sure you do, or you will look disinterested and unreliable.
Opening Paragraph
  • Clearly state what it is you are seeking, e.g., "I am interested in applying for the position of __________, advertised in the __________, on (date)".
  • If you are applying to an organization that has not advertised, or has not been specific in its job posting, clearly state your objective, e.g., "I am interested in obtaining an entry-level position in sales."
  • If an acquaintance of yours has given you a suggestion of someone you might contact, state this up front, e.g. "Bob Jones suggested I contact you regarding employment opportunities in your firm."
  • After researching the organization, learning all you can about their services, and what their needs might be, clearly target your objective to match their needs/services.
  • If the degree you hold is critical to the position, mention it in this section, e.g., "I hold a B.S. in Accounting from Nazareth University."
  • Let them know you have done your homework; say something flattering about the organization (be specific if you can), e.g., "(Name of organization) has an excellent reputation (locally, nationally, globally) for __________ and I would like to become part of your team."
Body of Letter
  • Write one or two paragraphs describing your education, special skills, talents, and accomplishments that will make you an asset to the organization.
  • Focus on how you can be of value to the organization, rather than on how they can be of value to you.
  • Become knowledgeable about the language (buzz words) typically used in the area you are pursuing; use this language in your letter.
  • Highlight in detail particular aspects of your resume specifically related to your job target, e.g., "As indicated on the attached resume, I have experience in __________. Of particular importance to you might be my (accomplishments/skills/experience) in the area of ___________."
  • Make the most direct possible connection between the job you are after and your experience/education.
  • If you claim expertise in an area, be sure to substantiate your comments through examples of performance.
Closing Paragraph
  • Be specific regarding your plan or action, e.g., "I will call you within (one week/two weeks) to arrange a meeting."
  • Alternatively, you can indicate that you look forward to hearing from the employer (include your current phone number). It is, however, advisable for you to follow-up with the employer to check on the status of your resume/application.
  • If you are looking for more information, clearly state this, e.g., "I am interested in more information regarding this position, and would appreciate an opportunity to meet with you."
  • Thank them e.g., "Thank you for your consideration."
  • Note enclosures at the bottom of the letter; indicate attachments or enclosures if appropriate. If you want, you can include what the enclosure is, e.g., "Enclosure: Resume."