Resumes and Cover Letters
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The Resume is...
- an advertisement
- a highlight of your background
- an individually designed document
- used by employers as a screening device
- just ONE piece of the job search process
Is There Such a Thing As a Correct Resume?
No. There is no right and wrong when it comes to résumé content and format. Each résumé is as unique as the individual it represents. It is up to you to select the appropriate content that best highlights your skills for the employment you hope to acquire, and then effectively communicate your qualifications in a format that is clear and easy to read.
Choose a format which allows the most impressive presentation of your experience history. Whatever the case, be sure to emphasize your key skills and accomplishments with the use of action verbs.
- Most frequently used is the reverse chronological format. It lists the most recent experiences first and preceding experiences in reverse chronological order. This format has the advantages of being easier to read and more familiar to employers.
- The second most widely used is the functional format which emphasizes skills and capabilities instead of the timeline of a person’s experience. Very often students with significant experience will used this format to categorize the breadth of skills and involvement.
- The scannable format are typically retrieved using keyword searches. Scannable resumes are somewhat plain in appearance with no underlines, bolding, italicized wording or bullets.
What goes on Your Resume?
- Identification Information: Include your name, address, telephone and email. If you have a professional personal web page include this as well. Tip - Be sure you make your name stand out.
- Objective: Keep it short and specific that includes position, industry and relevant skills.
- Education: In reverse-chronological order include the schools you have attended, degrees completed, the major, minor, dates of graduation. Other information might include: scholarships, honors, related coursework, percentage of college expenses earned by you and special projects (e.g. research projects, thesis, and dissertations). Tip – List GPA if over 3.0. Otherwise, optional unless required by employer.
- Experience: This section includes not only paid positions, but also related volunteer, field experiences, internships. Include the name and location of employers, years of employment, work related title and a detail of the level of responsibility. This is also listed in reverse-chronological order. Stress any accomplishment or unique contribution you made. Tip – Quantifiable information supports the scope of your accomplishments and give range to your duties. Consider categorizing in two sections: Relevant Experience and Additional Experience.
- Additional Information: Include activities, sports, organization affiliations that may generate interest from the employer. Include level of proficiencies for any languages and software applications that you have significant strength. Tip – Include references on a separate page that includes the name, phone number, email address and type of source (intern supervisor, work supervisor, professor).
- Keep it short and provide facts
- Individualize your resume, not everyone will have the same categories or format
- Maintain professionalism and keep information updated
- Refrain from listing personal information such as: age, height, social security number etc.
- Don’t add, “References available upon request”
- Edit and proofread several times
- Set margins 1/2 to 1 inch
- Present your strongest qualifications first
- Make it an appropriate length: one page for every 5-7 years of work experience
- Omit references to high school after your sophomore year of college
- Chronological resumes lists information in reverse date order
- Use action words to describe experiences
- Consider separating relevant and other work experience
- Quantify information to indicate results
- Always include your name and contact information at the top of the resume
- Customize your resume to a specific opportunity
- Develop several resume versions depending on type of job or purpose of resume, i.e. graduate school application
- Keep resume to one page unless you have extensive related experience
- Organize headings so the most important points are listed first
- Use similar paper and headings when writing your cover letter
- Drop in to the Career Center Monday - Friday from 2:00 - 4:00 p.m. or Wednesday/Thursday from 9:00-11:00 a.m.
- Make an appointment with a Career Counselor at 910-962-3174
- Email your resume to
- Please allow 48 hours for a reply
Freshmen / Rising Sophomore Resumes
These focus on a chronological format and include high school information. This format is good for Freshmen and Sophomores.
The most common type of resume used by college students and recent college grads. Focuses on a chronological format.
Resumes focused towards a specific job or industry.
Skill-based resumes that de-emphasize lapses in employment. Employers are often not as familiar with this format.
Resumes for student leaders.
A curriculum vitae is used primarily when applying for academic, education, scientific or research positions. It is also applicable when applying for fellowships or grants.