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Resumes and Cover Letters

Your resume/curriculum vitae (CV) and cover letter are key components of the application materials needed when applying for jobs, internships and even graduate school. It is important to make sure these are polished and make you stand out from all the other applicants. They should showcase your unique strengths and experiences and be tailored to the position you are applying for. Read through the below tips to make sure your documents are ready.

Resumes and CVs

Resumes and CVs are very individualized documents that reflect your variety of academic, work, and extracurricular experience.

Your resume serves as a (usually) one page snapshot of who you are and what you’ve done to be marketable for positions. Regardless of style and experience, your resume should follow a few rules:

  • If you’re submitting a resume for a job/internship it should only be one page.
  • Always send your resume in PDF format.
  • The more something is relevant to a position, the more descriptions and bullet points it should have.
  • Experience is broad, think about making different section headings.
  • Stay away from using personal pronouns (I, me, my) on your resume.
  • Make your resume outcomes based by highlighting a variety of power words on your resume.

If you are needing a curriculum vitae, the format looks different than a resume. A CV is traditionally used within the academic community (educational institutions, institutes, and research associations). It is submitted in applications to graduate programs, teaching, or administrative positions at academic institutions for grants or fellowships, or to apply for research or sabbatical assignments.

Cover letters

A cover letter is an opportunity to introduce yourself, showcase your writing abilities, and create a compelling application package to show how you’re the right candidate for the role. It is a chance to show your personality, strengths, goals, and values.

Important things to remember about a cover letter:

  • This serves as a writing sample — make sure you are putting your best foot forward. If you’re unsure about your grammatical abilities or writing quality, we encourage you to visit the writing center.
  • Your cover letter should be about attitude and your resume should be about aptitude. Your cover provides an opportunity to compliment your resume, not reiterate.
  • Focus on the WHY — Why you? Why this job? Why this company?
  • Be sure your cover letter is no more than a page. A properly crafted cover letter should be exactly one full page.
  • Your resume and cover letter should look like a part of the same application package — use similar formatting, font, and creative design.
  • Double check – when you are sending out multiple cover letters it is easy to get your documents confused. Double check you’re sending the right cover letter to the right person and company.
  • Save as PDF Always.
  • Do not address your letter “To Whom It May Concern”, if you are unsure of who to submit your materials to, simply greet with “Dear Hiring Manager:”


    A portfolio is a visual representation of your work. It includes a series of work examples as evidence of your capabilities and stated qualities and skills. It is also a demonstration of self-awareness and reflection as well as your commitment to your own professional development.

    A portfolio will vary based on industry and can include the following:

    • Introduction/Home
    • Work Samples 
    • Resume
    • Bio/Statement
    • About Me vs. Personal Statement
    • Awards, Certifications, Licensures
    • Contact Info
    • References and/or endorsements

    Just like with a resume, all information should be easy to find, see, and read. Use professional and industry-appropriate fonts and themes, and centralize your information for easy navigation. Be sure to proofread and TEST!

    Portfolio options

    Choose a format that makes sense for your desired professional direction. Multimedia options include:

    Get a resume or cover letter review

    Do you need help preparing your resume or cover letter? Make an appointment with your career coach to get individualized assistance. Don’t have a lot of time? Stop by our Career Studio where our career guides can answer your questions and provide feedback on your application materials.

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