Resumes and Cover Letters
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Tips and Tricks to putting your best foot forward the first time!

Creating a well crafted resume and cover letter are essential to getting the job or internship you are after.



An employer will spend on average 15 to 20 seconds reviewing a resume. This is why it is crucial that your resume is targeted, error free, and easy to skim.

The first step is to determine the type of resume you will right.


A chronological resume is the most commonly used type of resume. It organizes work and educational history in reverse chronological order. If you’re unsure of which type to use, a chronological format is the best option. This format is used when you are:

  • Applying for your first job or internship
  • Presenting little previous work experience
  • Applying for jobs in traditional fields such as engineering, education or government
  • Seeking a job in a field in which you have experience
  • Trying to highlight your last place of employment


A functional resume rearranges employment history into sections that highlight your qualifications, skills and related achievements. This format places little emphasis on employment dates.

This format is used if you:

  • Are changing careers
  • Have a variety of experiences that don’t point to a clear career path
  • Have gaps in employment and want to minimize the gaps
  • Want to highlight transferrable skills
  • Want to de-emphasize places of employment
Curriculum Vitae (CV)

A curriculum vitae (CV) includes comprehensive sections on teaching and/or research experience, publications, presentations, fellowship experience, on-campus involvement, languages, association membership and other relevant activities.

This format is used if you:

  • Are seeking employment within the academic or research communities
  • Are seeking employment abroad
  • Would like to highlight a specific focus, research or academic interest
  • Do not want to be tied to stricter resume guidelines regarding format and length of the document

Cover Letters

A cover letter is the primary way to provide an introduction to a potential contact or employer. Your cover letter should:

  • Communicate your accomplishments, skills and experience.
  • Convey your writing style and thought processes.
  • Capture the attention of your reader and compel them to continue reading.

Every time you write a cover letter you should:

  • Identify and customize the letter for a specific position or purpose.
  • Know your audience by thoroughly researching the organization and industry.
  • Express yourself with confidence.
  • Display enthusiasm for the employer, work and position.
  • Avoid opening the letter with “To Whom It May Concern.” Address the person who is hiring for the position if possible or use “Dear Sir or Madam” or “Dear Hiring Committee.”


Additional Resources on Resume Writing