Resume, Cover Letters, & CVs

Resume, Cover Letters, & CVs



The reverse-chronological format resume allows employers to evaluate the candidate from the most recent experience backward to past experience.  When seeking positions, the job seeker should tailor unique resumes that reflect the individual job posting.  When drafting a general resume, the job seeker should focus on descriptive language and strong action verbs to enable potential employers to understand the capabilities of the candidate. General resumes are great for job fairs and forwarding to your contacts, but to increase your chances of success, we recommend tailoring your resume to each position or industry you apply for.


A brief overview of resume writing: THE SECTIONS OF A RESUME

Gather information for the following sections on your resume:

  • Always at the top of your document
  • Name - slightly larger than the rest of the document. 
  • City and state without your full address
  • UD email address and cell phone number 
  • LinkedIn URL (optional)
  • The summary links the job seeker directly to the position and the company/organization by specifically referencing desirable skills, interests, and behaviors (as outlined in the job description and as evidenced in the details of the resume).
  • A summary is not required, and the job seeker should be able to write with specificity and relevance if a summary is included.  
  • This section should include
    • degree,
    • major,
    • date of graduation,
    • City, ST
    • study abroad programs if applicable.  
  • Job seekers may also list merit-based scholarships and honors earned during college.
  • Other bullet points might include leadership titles and/or membership status with the associated student organizations and a short list of coursework that is directly related to the position sought. 
  • A note about GPA: Do not include a GPA if under 3.0.  Include a major-specific GPA if it is stronger than the overall GPA.  Always include a GPA if it is a requirement of the employer. 
  • This section typically includes:
    • computer, language, and science/laboratory skills when applicable.
  • If a professional summary is used (see above), the job seeker's skills can be listed in columns at the end of the summary.  
  • The candidate should be able to clearly discuss how they have used and developed their skills.  

Examples of skills and aptitudes: 

  • Research and analysis
  • Writing and editing
  • Social media analytics (reporting and evaluating)
  • Technical writing
  • Negotiation
  • Leadership
  • Problem solving
  • Bilingual (list of languages)

The list is determined by your experience!

  • Always include the name of the organization, location (city, state), job title, and dates worked
  • Use a variety of strong action verbs. Let the job description guide you. 
  • Describe the scope and context of the situation. Explain the actions you took and the impact these had on both the organization and yourself. Quantify results when possible. 
  • Talk about what was learned, the skills developed and what your results were, not just the tasks that were performed. 
  • Do not limit “experience” to jobs or employment; clubs or project work can also be included.
  • It is important to list quality over quantity in this section
  • Name the organization, role/position title, date, and one bullet describing skills and/or accomplishments.

Use Phrases: The resume should not include full sentences of first-person pronouns.  

Use Action Verbs: When creating statements for your resume it is recommended that you use action-packed verbs to begin each description. The link below will give you a wide variety of verbs to consider. One way to help you create these statements is to review what you did, then put it into a strong statement to sell your skills and abilities.

Sample List of Action Verbs to begin statements regarding your experiences.


  • Always save as PDF when applying for opportunities. 
  • One page
  • Font should not be smaller than 10. Margins should be 0.5 - 1 inch. 
  • Keep design simple but personalize it
  • Keep resume updated
  • References should not be on a resume.


Final Tips

  • Keep it to one page by including brief but sufficient information. Can be longer if an academic setting, if job experience exceeds 10 years, or in other instances. 
  • Tailor your resume to each position to which you apply by pulling out keywords from job descriptions
  • Include results and accomplishments
  • Save each copy of your resume with an easily identifiable title.  Example:  Lastname_Firstname_Company
  • Print your resume on high-quality paper 
  • Keep your resume up-to-date

Curriculum Vitae (CV)

A curriculum vitae is a detailed, ongoing list of experiences and accomplishments; as an undergraduate it will look a lot like a resume, but more focused on academics. Although it is usually accompanied by corresponding dates for each accomplishment there is no standard format. They can be several pages and bullet points are not necessarily on a CV. 


When should I use a CV instead of a resume?

When applying for graduate school or for positions in academia or teaching. 

What should be covered? 

Education, teaching experience, research experience, grants awarded, grants pending, publications, conferences attended, presentations, professional affiliations, committees and advisory boards, languages spoken honors and awards, research interests, work experience, and community involvement. 


All publications should be formatted according to the formal publication style of the corresponding field.

Writing Your Cover Letter 


Job search letters, including letters of inquiry, thank you notes, academic cover letters, and cover letters are essential to a successful employment search. The Purdue Owl Job Search Letters site addresses each in detail and provides step-by-step guidance in crafting persuasive correspondence.  An overview of the cover letter and its parts is as follows:  

Cover Letter Formatting and Parts


FORMATTING: The basic format of a cover letter is that of a business letter.  Standard margins, aligned to the left.  Indent first line of each paragraph. 

Length: Keep to one page. 


  • Single space your letter
  • Leave a space between addresses and dates in the heading
  • Leave a space between your heading (contact info) and greeting (Dear ...)
  • Leave a space between each paragraph
  • Leave at least three spaces between  your complimentary close (Sincerely...) and typed name
  • Sign your name in ink between the complimentary close and your typed name
  • Your contact information
  • Date you are writing the letter
  • Address of the company
  • Greet the specific person with whom you are corresponding
  • State the position for which you are applying and where you heard about it
  • Name drop if you have a good connection
  • State why you believe you are a good match, including 2-3 key qualifications you will address in the rest of your letter (that will also match your resume)
  • Tailor cover letter for each job application.
  • Focus each paragraph on one qualification that shows you are a good match for the job and organization.
  • Give specific examples to prove where you got these skills and how you have used them before.
  • Tell a story; do not just list your skills.
  • Refer to your resume; do not repeat it.
  • Do not use contractions.
  • Close with a strong reminder of why you are a good match for the job and the organization.
  • Request an interview in some way.
  • Provide contact information.
  • Thank the person for reading your material.
  • Sign your name and print it underneath.