Resume and Cover Letter


General Tips

Here are a few tips to get you started on writing a Resume, Cover Letter, or CV. 

1. Identify your Audience: it's all about the employer, not you

2. Focus on the Job Posting: pick key words and phrases from posting to include in resume/cover letter

3. List your Education near the Top: include GPA if above a 3.0

4. Demonstrate your Experience: list your work, volunteer, school experiences, internships, activities

5. List your Accomplishments: emphasize accomplishments related to employer's values, mission, goals

6. List Leadership and Communication Experience: demonstrate how you were a leader and communicator

7. Write Bullet Statements starting with Action Verbs: check out task section of O*Net

8. Make Zero Mistakes: proof-read for any typo, spelling and grammatical mistakes

9. Build Consistent Format: refrain from using templates and make your resume easy to read/follow

10. List References on a Separate Page


Whether you are writing a Resume, Federal Resume, or CV start by reading the job description that you are applying for. If you are writing a generic resume and have a direction in mind look up job descriptions that match your interest. Highlight key words and phrases, and requirements. 

Below is an example of how to tailor your materials to a job description. 

  • Pink Highlights: Engineering skills
  • Blue Highlights: Communication/Teambuilding skills
  • Yellow Highlights: Travel and Overtime

Example Job Description

Example Job DescriptionExample Cover Letter
Cover LetterExample Resume
Resume example


What job, volunteer, and educational experience have you had?

Does anything you have done connect back to the needs discussed in the job description?

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 are 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.

What are employers looking for



  • Make sure you read and follow the instructions in the job description!
  • Look at transferable skills like communication, leadership, attention to detail etc. to help you relate your previous positions to the job description.
  • Use professional font like Arial, Times New Roman etc. 
  • Your email should be professional something like 
  • Proof read your materials before submitting. You can also go to the Writing Center or Career Services to get your resume reviewed
  • Do not lie on your resume.

Objective Vs. Summary/Profile (Make the top of your resume work for you!)

  • 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 employers needs! 
    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%

    Tailor your resume to be relevant to each specific job description you apply to.

Helpful Links

Cover Letter 


1. Focus on the Employer's Needs: it's all about the employer, not you

2. Keep it Short: no more than 3-4 paragraphs and less than one page

3. Translate how your Experience Applies: reference how you meet job requirements

4. Convey your Passion: state what interests you about the position and how you fit

5. Be Authentic: use your own words


Helpful Links