Writing Your Resume

What is a Resume?

A resume is a simple, well organized summary of your personal, educational and occupational experiences, accomplishments, and skills. It is essential to your job search.


What is the Purpose of a Resume?

The major purpose is to organize your goals, skills, experience, knowledge and background in a manner that will interest the reader and help you secure an interview.

  • It serves as a written introduction to accompany your letter and/or application.
  • When your assets are organized on paper, they are easier to discuss and you will be more confident in your skills and background.
  • It will serve as a visual reminder to the employer of what was covered verbally during the interview or conversation.
  • Your resume is a tool to secure a job interview. Resumes may be screened for 5 to10 seconds in order for an employer to identify the people they wish to interview.

Make sure the reader knows what you have to offer!

Getting Started with a Resume

Before you write your first draft, make a list of all your significant experiences, paid work, volunteer positions, activities, and internships. Think back to senior year in high school if you are currently a first year student. Sophomores and upper-class students should focus on college experiences.A student working alone on his resume.

Write an outline using descriptive phrases to illustrate each significant experience. Start each phrase with action verbs. Include duties and accomplishments for each experience. If you have supervised others and handled decisions about resources and programs. Give specific quantitative information where possible if you think it will strengthen your resume. (e.g. monitored budget, number of individuals you supervised.)

Identify skills you have used (communication, leadership, analytical, problem solving, organizational skills.) Once you have a draft, it's a good idea to make an appointment with a career counselor to review it.


Sample Resumes

There is no single proper format for a resume. Choose or create a format that will allow you to emphasize your strengths. Click below to review sample resumes - we suggest starting with the overall resume handout.

Resumes for Experienced Professionals and Graduate Students

Writing Cover Letters

A cover letter is a letter that you send to accompany your resume when you apply for job, whether advertised or when you are sending an unsolicited application. It is created separately and individually for each position for which you express an interest. It is an extension of your resume and reflects your knowledge of the employer's needs.

What is the purpose of the cover letter?

To customize your background... It guides the reader by summarizing the skills and experiences relevant to a particular opportunity.

To demonstrating research and writing... It allows you to communicate your knowledge of the employer, industry, and career field.

To convey your motivation... It reflects your personality, enthusiasm and interest in the position.

The intent is to gain the attention of the person reading the letter. Your cover letter and resume usually provide all the information which a prospective employer will use to decide whether or not you will reach the next phase in the application process - the interview

What should be in the letter?

  • Name the position for which you are applying and if possible, make reference to someone who may have a relationship with the organization and referred you.
  • Make specific references to the company.
  • Indicate your knowledge of and interest in the work the company is currently doing

This is an opportunity to highlight your qualifications skills and experience that are relevant to the position. Obtaining job descriptions and the company mission statements can help relate your background to the employer needs.

Tell them why you want to work at that specific company. Is it the industry, culture, new products? You need to do research on the organization to justify you sincere interest. You do not want to come across that you stumbled upon them and thought you'd just apply.

Illustrate how you fit with that company. Again, through your research and getting information about competitors can help you transition your background to meet employer needs.

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