Resume & Cover Letters

There are several professional documents used during a job search process:

  • resume
  • cover letter
  • reference page
  • thank you letter
  • declining job offer letter
  • accepting job offer letter

It is important to store additional copies of these documents in a safe online space (i.e. Handshake, LinkedIn, Dropbox, etc.), in addition to your laptop or tablet. 

A resume is an outline of transferable skills (PDF), qualifications, experiences, and educational background that an individual possesses.

Action verbs (PDF) should begin each bullet point describing your skills and experiences and should be in the accurate verb tense (past/present).

Some people think of a resume as a thirty second commercial that will help you distinguish yourself from the rest of the candidate pool.

The purpose of a resume is to give a brief overview of who you are as a candidate. A resume communicates to an employer what you can offer to them as a potential employee.

A good resume combined with a dynamic cover letter will motivate someone to meet you.

Make an appointment with a career advisor to have your resume critiqued.


When applying by mail or email, a cover letter is always sent with a resume. It is used to introduce yourself and your qualifications to an employer.

A cover letter answers two important questions:

  1. Why do I want this particular position with this particular organization?
    Do your research. Learn about the organization so you can say something positive about them and explain why you want to work for them as opposed to their competitors. When researching an organization, you might focus on their mission statement, introduction of new products or technologies, expansion into new markets, gross revenue or environmental policies.
  2. Why should they hire me?
    Focus on two or three of the highlights from your educational, work, volunteer or personal experiences and how they will benefit the employer.

Rules to Consider

  • Never exceed one page
  • Minimize "I" statements as much as possible
  • Single-spaced sentences, double-spaced between paragraphs
  • Type the word "Enclosure" two spaces below your printed name


Along with resumes and cover letters, other professional documents will be a part of the job application process. This can be a great way to display your professional manners and etiquette.

Reference Page

A reference page generally goes along with a cover letter and resume. This document is a compilation of individuals who you believe can speak highly of your skills and qualifications.

Reference Page Example (PDF)

Thank You Letter

A thank you letter is designed as a sign of appreciation that the employer took the time to meet and interview you.

Thank You Letter Example (PDF)
Video- Following Up
Video- Thank You Goes a Long Way
Video- Reference Something Meaningful

Declining a Job Offer Letter

A declining a job offer letter is designed to be respectful and appreciative for the opportunity to interview and for the job offer.

Declining Letter Example (PDF)

Accepting a Job Offer Letter

An accepting job offer letter is intended to be an official and professional way of accepting the job that has been offered to you.

Acceptance Letter Example (PDF)

Business Cards

Business cards can be very helpful for the new professional for networking and job seeking. Here is a list of several vendors that will print business cards for individuals.