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Resume and Cover Letter Guide

WRITING YOUR RESUME

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. 


 Resume & Cover Letter Examples and Guides

 


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

Gather information for the following sections on your resume:

Summary

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.  

Example:  

University Junior majoring in English possessing relevant editing skills in both an academic and business setting. Candidate for Media and Marketing Intern at ABC Company with experience writing press releases, interviewing and reporting, and blogging.

Education

This section should include degree, major, date of graduation, GPA, and 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. 

Example: 

University of Dallas,  Irving, TX 

Bachelor of Arts, History with a concentration in Spanish

GPA: 3.6, Recipient of Provost's and Rotary Scholarships

Study Abroad:  Rome, Italy with educational travel through Eastern Europe

President:  Student Foundation

Relevant Coursework: Reporting, Introduction to Marketing

Skills

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
  • Microsoft Excel / PowerPoint / Word, Presentation
  • Negotiation
  • Leadership
  • Problem solving
  • Bilingual (list of languages)

The list is determined by your experience!

Experience

This section includes employer, city/state, job title, and dates of employment (month/year to month/year or season like - "Fall 2015").  Beneath each experience, the job seeker should bullet the primary contributions he/she made, starting each bullet with a strong action verb.  This section should not be a list of job duties. Instead, the job seeker should detail process-thinking and problem solving.  

Example: 

ABC Company, Dallas, TX              05/2020 to Present

Research Intern 

  • Research topics assigned by organizational leadership using resources from the ABC archives and from external resources such as xxx, xxx, xxx
  • Identified a topic with approval from ABC mentor, engaged in a 12 week research cycle, and presented findings to organizational leadership. 
  • Proposed a modification to the record keeping process  which would increase ease of information retrieval.  Proposal was accepted and changes were adopted by the ABC archivist. 

Volunteer Experience

In this section record volunteer work and community services you have done

Example: 

Habitat for Humanity, Volunteer, 2019 to Present

Additional Tips

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.

Consider the impact you receive from the second statement versus the first:

Example 1:

Helped the company consolidate debt from customers

Example 2 (Improved):

Customized an online system identifying customer debt and consolidating multiple records

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

 

Finally...

  • 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. 
  • Write with consistency and clarity 
  • Tailor your resume to each position to which you apply
  • Emphasize your unique skills
  • Include results and accomplishments
  • Save the resume as a PDF before emailing to preserve formatting
  • 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

Make an appointment with your career advisor today to review your resume!

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, Length, Spacing

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. 

Spacing:

  • 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

Heading

  • Your contact information
  • Date you are writing the letter
  • Address of the company

Introduction

  • 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)

Argument/Body

  • 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.

Closing Paragraph

  • 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. 

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The Crowley Chamber Trio is composed of University of Dallas faculty members Kristin Van Cleve, violin; Marie-Thaïs Oliver, cello; and Andrey Ponochevny, piano.

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