Résumés & Cover Letters
A résumé is a summary of your qualifications and a display of your skill sets relevant to the job description. The goal is to present a clear, concise, easy-to-read document that makes the reviewer want to interview you.
You must set yourself apart from your peers. When writing your résumé, what makes you unique or more qualified than those you are applying against?
- Strong action verbs that align your skill set to the company's needs. Be diverse and use a thesaurus.
- Proofread! Avoid "résumé killers" such as spelling, capitalization, grammar, and punctuation errors.
- Be truthful. The last thing you want is to oversell your ability to perform and lose the job in the interview. Avoid words like expert, specialist, guru, etc.
- Avoid personal/discriminatory information such as SSN, picture, or references to age, religion, ethnicity.
- Put references on a completely different page. Do not include them on your résumé.
- Avoid listing responsibilities or duties and focus instead on accomplishments. Your résumé shouldn't read like a job description.
- The résumé's only job is to get you the interview.
- Write your own résumé — copying a friend or a pre-formatted résumé comes across as lazy.
- You have approximately six seconds to make a first impression with your résumé.
- A single error might disqualify you. Proofread!
- One page for undergraduate students and recent graduates with less than five years of experience.
- Use bullet points instead of paragraphs.
- Do not use less than .5" margins or 11 point font. This is easiest on the reader's eyes.
- Be consistent with your formatting: bolds, italics, spacing alignment, capitalization, dashes, dates, etc.
- Make it look the same top to bottom.
- Use reverse chronological order, meaning your most recent experiences are listed first.
Customize your résumé by using keywords from the job posting as often as possible in your résumé. Most corporations use a computerized ATS system that scans submitted résumés for keywords that indicate that an applicant fits a particular job.
Download sample résumés.
Download the Résumé Guide.
- One page letter should be a brief introduction that will make the employer read your résumé.
- Pull keywords from the job description for a rich opening that demonstrates your fit for the position.
- Keep the employer reading by meeting their needs.
Sample Cover Letters
Download the Cover Letter Guide.
The Rawls CMC hosts multiple résumé workshops each semester. These workshops will get you started on building your résumé to the standards that employers have come to expect. Attendance at a résumé workshop is also a prerequisite for utilizing résumé walk-in hours. Visit the Rawls events website for a list of upcoming workshops and other career-related events.
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