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Career & Employment Information: Resumes / Cover Letters

Cover letters and Resumes

When applying for a job you may be asked for one or more of the following:

  • Resume or Curriculum Vitea (CV)
  • Cover Letter
  • Personal Statement
  • At least 3 Professional References

Before writing any of these be sure to have completed the research described in the box The Job Search. You will have your best shot if you customize each document to fit the job you are applying for. For help with these documents you can try the websites below or use the catalog search box and find materials in the library.

All Cover Letters should:

  • Explain why you are sending a resume.  Don't send a resume without a cover letter.  Don't make the reader guess what you are asking for; 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. --a flyer posted in your department, a web site, a family friend who works at the organization. It is appropriate to mention the name of someone who suggested that you write.
  • Convince the reader to look at your resume. The cover letter will be seen first. Therefore, it must be very well written and targeted to that employer.
  • Call attention to elements of your background. --education, leadership, experience — that are relevant to a position you are seeking. Be as specific as possible, using examples.
  • 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.

The resume is a selling tool outlining your skills and experience so an employer can see, at a glance, how you can contribute to the employer's workplace. The resume is a starting point to knowing and selling your product (you), and yes, it is required. But no, it's not magic and no, it won't get you the job. Yet without a good one, it could keep you from getting the job (or from getting the interview).