Resumes and Cover Letters

Resumes and Cover Letters are often-times the most important marketing tool you have in the job search. If you were a product, what would your advertisement look like? What message do you want to send to your customers (ie: employers you want to work for)? It all starts with knowing what you have to offer!

Resume Writing 101

Your resume has one goal: to win you a seat in the interview chair. 

Step 1: Know thyself. What do you have to offer? Resumes need to be concise, to the point, and provide the employer with an overview of your skills and experiences as they relate to the position you're applying for.

Step 2: Read the job posting, top-to-bottom. Use all of your sources of insight to understand what the employer is looking for in an ideal candidate. 

Step 3: Combine Steps 1 and 2. You know what you have, and you know what they want...what makes YOU their ideal candidate?

Step 4: SELL, SELL, SELL! An employer will spend at MOST 20-30 seconds skimming your resume before you are thrown into the "Yes" or the "No" pile. Which will yours be in? Creating a resume that intentionally outlines your strongest qualifications in a way that catches the eye of the hiring manager is CRUCIAL.

Follow some of the simple guidelines listed below and be sure to look at  the additional PDF resources and samples provided by Career Services:

Simple Resume Guidelines


  • Your resume should be brief, attractive, and easy to read.
  • Use an 11 – 12 pt font.
  • Use bold to emphasize your headings as well as company and university names.


  • One-page resumes are best for students and entry-level candidates. 
  • There are some exceptions, including teaching resumes, curriculum vitaes, and students with a great amount of relevant experience. 
  • For entry level positions, place your Education before Experience.
  • When listing work experience, list most recent jobs first.
  • Emphasize experience related to the job for which you are applying.

Contact Information

  • Provide a local and permanent address and phone so employer can contact you at all times.
  • Use an email address that sounds professional.


  • Spell out the name of your degree, i.e. Bachelor of Science and include the proper name of your major.
  • List all majors and minors together.
  • High school diploma information is not included.
  • Study Abroad can be listed as a sub-heading under education.


  • Be truthful, never lie or say you have experience that you do not.
  • You can include projects from class that relate to the desired position.
  • Think about how you can match your skills and experiences to the desired position before you write the resume.
  • Past experiences such as classes and part-time jobs helped us develop communication, problem solving, customer service, leadership, and financial skills. These are known as Transferable skills.
  • All information on your resume should relate to the desired position.
  • Use action phrases in order to provide a clear picture of your transferable skills.

Printer-Friendly Resume Writing Resources

Sample Resume: Basic Resume Format

An example of a basic, professional resume

Resume Checklist

A checklist of what you want to make sure you include on your professional resume

Resume Action Verbs

A list of action verbs to help you start brain storming bullet point descriptors for the "Experience" section(s) of your resume

Transferrable Skills

List of skills you may have attained through work, school, volunteer experience, etc that you may use to describe your skills on your resume

*To access approved resume templates and sample resumes, login to REDConnect*

Part-Time Job Resume Writing for New Freshmen

Part-Time Job Resume Tips  

Sample Part-Time Job Resume: New Freshmen 

Cover Letter Writing 101

A cover letter will accompany your resume when you are applying for a job or internship ONLY when it is asked for in the job posting. Your cover letter should describe to the employer why you are interested in the job or internship and how you are qualified in more detail than your resume. A cover letter should be brief, but detailed enough to support the information found on your resume. You can use your cover letter to demonstrate your communication skills, to convey information not found on your resume and to describe what you believe sets you apart from every other candidate who is applying. Guidelines for cover letters are listed below, as well as a sample cover letter format.

Simple Cover Letter Guidelines

  • A cover letter is an opportunity to introduce yourself to an employer.
  • Tell the employer why they are receiving your resume and for which job you are applying. Often, they have posted more than one position, so specify which position and where you saw the posting.
  • You can communicate what you are applying for and expand upon your resume's skills and experience to show how you match the position.
  • A cover letter is also your opportunity to demonstrate the communication skills you have developed.

Printer-Friendly Cover Letter Writing Resources

Basic Cover Letter Checklist

A checklist covering all the areas you want to make sure to include in your cover letter

Basic Cover Letter Sample

An example of a basic, professional cover letter

General Job Application Guidelines

  • Pay attention to the job posting to which you are applying. Make sure to respond to the employer with only the required documents. (ie: If the job posting does not ask for references, you do NOT need to supply them.)
  • In many cases, the application process will require both a resume and a cover letter. Other documents may include professional references, letters of recommendation, transcripts (official or unofficial), specific test scores, and proof of certification(s).
  • Online application processes will likely only ask you to upload a resume.