Resume and Cover Letter Tips

Your path to success begins with the right words on paper.

Crafting an impressive resume and cover letter can significantly impact your career journey. These documents serve as your first introduction to potential employers, making it essential to master the art of presenting your skills and experiences effectively. Explore our expert tips and guidance to elevate your resume and cover letter, ensuring they stand out in the competitive job market. 

Tips and Resources

A resumé is a brief, detailed summary of your accomplishments in particular experiences.

  • Keep it to one page unless you have significant experience to warrant two pages
  • Use bullets when possible – they are easier and faster to read

Every item on the resumé should be self-explanatory in how it relates to the position you are seeking.

  • The reader should see the connections clearly.
  • If an item needs further explanation you should remove or revise the item to make it clear to the reader.

Quantify your experiences! This allows the reader to understand your abilities to be successful in other areas.

  • Outline your successes, not simply stating job duties.
  • Showcase how you used what you learned more than what you learned.
  • See the measurement of your actual ability relevant to the task
  • Stand out from other candidates who have done the same task with different results.

Language and style showcase a professional image right from the start.

  • Industry expressions show an understanding of the field.
  • Use appropriate jargon for your audience.
  • Begin your bullets with action verbs to emphasize strengths and qualifications.

Use academic research and projects to exhibit further application in the field

  • Research assistantships
  • Senior seminar papers
  • Capstone and group projects

Writing an Effective Cover Letter: A Step-by-Step Guide

A well-crafted cover letter is your opportunity to make a compelling case for why you're the ideal candidate for a job. Follow these steps to create a standout cover letter:

  1. Research: Learn about the company, its culture, and the job role. Tailor your cover letter to align with their values and requirements.
  2. Header: Include your contact information at the top, followed by the employer's details (if available).
  3. Salutation: Address the hiring manager by name whenever possible. If you don't have a name, use a generic greeting like "Dear Hiring Manager."
  4. Opening Paragraph: Begin with a strong introduction that states the specific job you're applying for and how you learned about it. Express enthusiasm for the role and briefly highlight your qualifications.
  5. Body Paragraph(s): Provide evidence of your qualifications and relevant experiences. Connect your skills to the job requirements and showcase your achievements. Use specific examples to demonstrate your abilities.
  6. Customization: Tailor each cover letter to the specific job and company. Avoid generic templates; instead, personalize your letter for every application.
  7. Show Passion: Demonstrate your passion for the company and role. Explain why you're genuinely interested and how you align with their mission.
  8. Address Potential Concerns: If you have employment gaps or other potential red flags, address them briefly and positively.
  9. Closing Paragraph: Summarize your enthusiasm for the role and your desire to move forward in the hiring process. Express gratitude for the opportunity to apply.
  10. Signature: End with a professional closing (e.g., "Sincerely") and your typed name. Leave space for your physical signature if submitting a hard copy.
  11. Proofread: Carefully review your cover letter for spelling, grammar, and formatting errors. Consider asking a friend or career advisor for feedback.
  12. Formatting: Keep your cover letter clean and professional. Use a consistent font, size, and formatting style.
  13. Length: Aim for a one-page cover letter, keeping it concise and focused on your most relevant qualifications.
  14. Follow Instructions: If the job posting provides specific instructions for the cover letter, ensure you follow them precisely.
  15. Attachment: If submitting electronically, save your cover letter as a PDF to maintain formatting.
  16. Final Review: Before sending, double-check that your cover letter complements your resume and provides additional context for your qualifications.

Remember, a well-crafted cover letter can set you apart from other applicants and demonstrate your genuine interest in the position. Customize each letter, showcase your qualifications, and showcase your passion for the role and company.

Here's a visual guide to the information above. 


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