Resumes & cover letters
A resume is a marketing tool and an extension of your professional brand. An effective resume showcases your experience, achievements and strengths, relating them to a specific position by using key words and highlighting relevant experiences. Remember, there is not one “correct” resume for you to use - the best resume is the one that clearly and effectively communicates your skills, abilities, and future potential.
Students using Handshake to apply for any jobs, internships or other positions in the recruiting system must first have their resumes approved by Career Services Center staff. The approval process is in place to help ensure you are effectively presenting your skills and background to employers. Once your first resume is approved all future resumes and documents will be automatically approved for use in the system.
TO BEGIN THE RESUME APPROVAL PROCESS:
1) Use the resume advice, templates and samples on this page to build or update your resume following criteria recommended by the Career Services Center
2) Receive in-person feedback from Career Interns during daily walk-in hours or schedule a resume feedback session with a Career Counselor through Handshake
3) Upload your resume to Handshake by going to "View Your Profile" and then "Public Documents." Your resume will be reviewed for approval to use in the recruiting system if it meets the criteria outlined in the “Build Your Resume” section.
4) If your resume is rejected you will be provided with feedback on how to make it a more effective document for presenting your skills and background to employers.
We make every effort to be timely in the approval process, but it may take up to two business days to review and provide feedback on/approve your resume. Be aware of job and internship application deadlines, and begin the resume approval process well before an application is due.
CURRICULUM VITAE (CV)
A CV is a longer more detailed version of the résumé commonly used in academic, scientific or research environments. Commonly 2-10 pages in length, the CV details your academic and professional career. Before starting, always check with professors in your department for sample CV’s as different disciplines have different requirements.
Your LinkedIn profile can increase your visibility online and help you build your professional brand that showcases your background to prospective employers. Your profile should include much of the information included on a resume.
For "creative" positions (copywriter and graphic designer): A resume is truly secondary to the work that you present in your portfolio.
For writing-intensive positions: You will benefit from an online portfolio (created using a website like WordPress, Pressfolios, or clippings.me) that includes samples of your writing, such as blog posts, published articles, and/or press releases (depending on the nature of the positions you are targeting). You should provide a link to this website on your resume.
For videographer and production positions: Videographers and producers need to have a “reel” of work that they conceptualized, filmed and produced. The videos should be posted to a website for easy viewing. Resumes are more of a formality after evaluating the person's reel.
Cover letters show your interest in a position and showcase your writing abilities. They link your resume and background to the position, showcasing your knowledge of the employer and highlighting relevant skills. Cover letters should be personalized for each position. Hiring managers may read hundreds of cover letters in a year and can easily spot a generic or poorly prepared letter.
Why are you interested in this position and employer? What in the position description got your excited about the opportunity?
■ The main purpose of the first paragraph is to explain why you are interested in this position and employer, and to grab the reader’s attention.
■ If someone has referred you to the organization (a current employee, friend, family member), you should include his or her name in the first sentence.
What 2-3 experiences connect your skills to those listed in the position description? What makes you a good fit?
■ Tell your story: describe your qualifications for the position using specific examples from academic, work, volunteer, leadership, athletics, and student organization experiences.
■ Connect your accomplishments, skills and knowledge directly to the position and employer
■ Focus on key areas of your background and do not simply repeat statements from your resume
Can you summarize your interest/qualifications in one statement?
■ Give a final statement of your interest and qualifications
■ Thank the employer for their time and consideration.
■ Use LinkedIn, social media and the organization’s website to gather information for your cover letter.
■ Try to find the name of the person who will read the letter, which could be listed in the position description. If you can't find a name use a title (eg: Internship Coordinator, Human Resources Director, Hiring Manager)
■ Underline the verbs in the job posting to identify key skills needed for the position.
TYPOS, GRAMMAR, & STYLE
■ Cover letters also showcase your writing abilities, so make sure they are error-free and grammatically correct.
■ Avoid beginning every sentence with an “I” statement.
■ Use positive and confident language, but not too imposing.
■ Try to be concise with supporting detail
■ Write in the active verb voice.
FONT & LAYOUT
■ 10 to 12 point, in the same font as your resume.
■ One inch margins
■ Left justified, beginning no more than two inches from the top of the page
COVER LETTER AS AN E-MAIL
■ Use body of e-mail as cover letter starting with salutation. Do not include addresses and dates.