Writing Résumés and Cover Letters


What is a Résumé?

A résumé is a brief document that summarizes your education, employment history, and experiences that are relevant to your qualifications for a particular job for which you are applying.

Résumé Goals and Format

  • The main goal of a résumé is to…obtain an interview! Present the applicant’s experience and qualifications, including educational achievements and work history. List the candidate’s objective, i.e. “To obtain a tutoring position at KSU.”
  • A résumé can take multiple forms, though not all forms are suited for all positions. To view sample templates for a number of positions, visit www.resumetemplates.org/templates/
  • At a minimum, a résumé should have contact information at the top with concise headings and information in each section. A résumé should be no longer than two pages. Often, one page is preferable.

What Should a Résumé Include?

Objective

The objective should be tailored to the specific organization and position. State the organization’s name, a specific job title, and an outline of how the applicant will help the organization.

Example: “Objective: Help ABC Aerospace achieve its mission of designing tomorrow's technology today by joining the Navigation Software Development Team as a programmer.”

Education

State the highest degree you have earned. Provide the following details, level of degree (B.A., M.A., etc.), field (Electrical Engineering), any minors (English), and your GPA.

Work Experience

Break your experience down by company or position. For each entry, include the name and address of the organization, dates of employment, position title, and responsibilities.

Contact Information

Include all information needed to get in contact with you. Make sure you at least have your current address and telephone number. Including a professional e-mail address is recommended.

Cover Letter Tips

The cover letter is the first thing your potential employer sees, so make it professional, memorable, and practical. State why you are writing, why you will be a good match, and when you will contact your prospective employers.
  • Explain why you are sending a résumé. Be specific: Do you want a summer internship opportunity or a permanent position at graduation? Are you inquiring about future employment possibilities?
  • Tell specifically how you learned about the position or the organization.
  • Convince the reader to look at your résumé. The cover letter will be seen first; therefore, it must be well written and targeted to that employer.
  • Call attention to elements of your background. Reflect your attitude, personality, motivation, enthusiasm, and communication skills.
  • Provide or refer to any information specifically requested in a job advertisement that might not be covered in your resume, such as availability date or reference to an attached writing sample.
  • Indicate what you will do to follow-up.

To print a copy of this handout, please click here.