Resumes and Cover Letters

Website Picture 2Resumes

A resume gives information about your education, experience, skills, and leadership.

It should be written to motivate an employer to interview you; it needs to be brief, visually attractive and organized; it should contain concise accomplishment phrases rather than complete sentences.

The resume layout and content are both important and it should not contain personal pronouns. Sections or categories should be ordered from most to least important.

State your strongest points first with less important facts last. The resume should reflect your background in the most positive way.

The resume is a screening device, not a selection device. Each year, organizations pass over thousands of qualified applicants who failed to impress with their resume. Avoid this by organizing a thorough, meaningful resume. You can find resumes in the Career Guide (PDF) or you can pick up a Resume Guide in the career center.

What to Include Basics

  • Identification: List your full name, address, telephone number, email address, LinkedIn ID
  • Objective: This is optional, but if you use an objective, make sure that it clearly defines the kind of position you are seeking.
  • Educational Background: List degrees earned, beginning with most advanced. You will want to list your major subject and can include relevant courses taken.
  • Work Experience: Emphasize the contributions you made and promotions earned. Think about what skills you used, but more important, what were your accomplishments – the results that came from you work. Include internships, summer research, or part-time jobs.
  • Professional Development: List memberships in professional organizations, published books and articles, presentations of papers and inventions or patents.
  • Extracurricular Activities: List organizations, club memberships, awards and honors and leadership roles you’ve held.
  • Special Skills: List the languages you speak well, as well as the computer hardware/software, laboratory equipment and techniques with which you are familiar.
  • Interests: Optional. Listed hobbies and interests can add character and may show signs of leadership and community service in some cases.
  • References: These should be included on a separate piece of paper with your contact information. List three to four professionals, but be sure to request permission before using their names. It is a courtesy to provide them with a copy of your resume.

Types of Resumes

  • Chronological: Most widely used by job applicants and employers. The arrangement of information is the easiest to follow. Your experience is outlined in reverse chronological order beginning with the most recent or current position, followed by earlier positions.
  • Functional: Focuses on performance and activities, minimizing job titles and employers. The intention is to highlight your most important job functions, regardless of actual employment chronology. This is particularly effective for describing positions in which you performed several functions or had frequent changes of assignment in each job.
  • Analytical: Combines features of both the chronological and the functional resumes. You outline the major fields of ability and list your specific experience with each.