Resume and Cover Letter
Whether you are writing a Resume, Federal Resume, Cover Letter, or CV start by reading
the job description. If you are writing a generic resume, have a direction in mind
look up job descriptions that match your interest. Highlight key words and phrases,
Brainstorm your experience based on the requirements of the job description: What job, volunteer, and educational experience have you had?
Look up your previous work experience on ONET or search job descriptions for your old/current position. This can help you remember and articulate your skills and experiences.
Only include information on your resume and cover letter that is relevant to the job description!
If you do not have direct related experience to the job you are applying for think about your transferable skills. Here is survey of skills employers want: Look through these skills have you learned any of these during your job/volunteer experiences? ONET lists of skills for general occupations may be helpful as you look for transferable skills.
Below is an example of how to tailor your materials to a job description.
This is your first impression! Introduce yourself.
- Who are you?
- What is your passion?
Catch the reader's attention with a quote from a boss, client, etc. about your abilities, a statistic that shows your abilities... etc.
The employer gave you a job description that outlines their needs in that position. Write your experiences, in relation to their needs.
- How do you meet their needs?
- Why should they hire you?
- What do you offer that they would benefit from?
- How do your experiences meet the job requirements?
Your cover letter in general should be 1 page or less. Remember this is your introduction, you want to provide enough information to convey your interest and qualifications but not overwhelm a hiring manager with pages and pages of information. A good general rule is to write no less than 1/2 a page and no more than 1 page.
There are some exceptions to this like Federal cover letters which tend to be longer due to other requirements, always read the job description.
This is a business letter hence, the language that you use is important.
Stay away from slang and always spell out acronyms at least once before using it in a sentence.
- Check your grammar!
- Read your documents.
You can always go to the UAF Writing Center for a grammar and language check
- Resume Template (be sure to make a copy)
- Font should not be smaller than 10pt.
- Make sure to choose a professional looking font like Garamond, Arial, Times New Roman, Calibri, etc.
- Use no more than 2 types of font
- No photos
- If you use color, use it minimally. Limit yourself to 1-2 colors
- Use bold and italics to differentiate jobs, workplaces, or sections of your resume
- Use bullet points to highlight job accomplishments
- Make sure your contact information is professional
- Prioritize content
- Resume Writing Guide
- Resume Checklist
- Resume Trends to Ignore
- Best Resume Writing Tips
- How to Write a Resume for Veterans
- An objective tells the employer want you want, while a summary or profile summarizes
your relevant skills and shows how you can help the employer. There may be times when
either is appropriate but, it is always good to show how you specifically meet the
Objective: Looking for an exciting and challenging job that will allow me to showcase my communication skills.
Summary/Profile: Enthusiastic and proactive communication student with 3 years of marketing, design, and communication skills. Expert problem solver, detail oriented, and goal driven.
- How to Write a Powerful Resume Summary
- Generally, an undergraduate or recent graduate student’s resume should be 1 page
- When an individual has 5-10 years of experience then their resume can be 2 pages.
HOWEVER, length can also be determined by relevancy. If you can fill 2 pages with relevant information (connecting to the job description) 2 pages may be appropriate.
- Keep High School Education on your resume until you have gained another degree: i.e.. an associates, bachelors etc.
- Include your current degree on your resume with your start date and expected graduation date listed. *You can write the date alone or add “Expected Graduation Date: (Date).”
- Underneath each job list relevant (to the job description) experiences that you have had in other positions.
- Use action verbs to start each statement. Be consistent in your tenses. Another option is to place words like Successfully in front of the action verbs.
- Instead of posting duties, post accomplishments which show what you did and the result.
Accomplishments are quantifiable.
Duty: Planned Events as needed.
Accomplishment: Planned and presented 3 events for Senator Dan Sullivan which included writing speeches and coordinating with various businesses and organizations.
- Quantify when possible: Designed and Implemented a business plan that increased productivity by 35%
- Resume Action Verb List
- Top Skills to Place on Your Resume
- Military Crosswalk Search
- Identify your Audience: it's all about the employer, not you
- Focus on the Job Posting: pick key words and phrases from posting to include in resume/cover letter
- List your Education near the Top: include GPA if above a 3.0
- Demonstrate your Experience: list your work, volunteer, school experiences, internships, activities
- List your Accomplishments & Write Bullet statements Starting with Action Verbs: emphasize accomplishments related to employer's values, mission, goals
- Highlight your Transferable Skills: Like communication, leadership, initiative, problem solving, team, etc. Check out the transferable skills handout below
- Be Consistent Format: Use the same verb tense, the same format for titles and paragraphs, and the same font for your cover letter and resume
- List References on a Separate Page