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Resumes and Other Documents

Resumes | Cover Letters | Curriculum Vitae | References | Follow-Up Letters


How to Begin Your Resume

You must first begin by understanding the employer's perspective. When an employer is seeking a new employee, they create a job description to advertise the job opening. The job description is the employer's way of describing the skill set and qualifications they are seeking in a potential new employee. When an employer is evaluating resumes sent in by candidates, they evaluate a candidate's skills and qualifications to see which candidates match the skills and qualifications described in the job description most closely. Those candidates who have marketed their skills and experiences in their resume to best match the job description will likely be the candidates who are offered an interview for the job opening. Lesson: As a job-seeker, you should market your skill set differently to match every job you apply for, as no two job descriptions are alike.

How to Market Your Skills and Experience to Show the Employer You Are the Right Fit

  • Begin by reviewing the job description
  • Take note of all skills and qualifications you have that match what the employer is seeking
  • Notice what type of language is used in the job description and within the industry you are applying for - use this language in your resume
  • Consider within the layout of your resume how you can market the skills and qualifications you have that the employer is seeking
  • List the most related experiences toward the top of your resume
  • Choose categories for your experiences that use the industries language
  • List the most relevant experiences toward the top of your resume
  • Beware, you should never lie on your resume - if you do not possess the skill set desired by an employer, you should not market something you do not have

What Information to Include on Your Resume

  • Your contact information
  • Objective (optional) - most commonly used for Career Fairs or other networking events
  • Education
  • Related Experiences - create subject headings for your experiences that match the job description
  • Related Skills - share only those related to the job description

For each of your experiences, the employer will need the following information: job Title, organization, city, state, dates.

  • Use bullets with action verbs, describe the skills you gained
  • There is no magic number for the amount of bullets needed to describe your experience

Sample Resumes/Documents

College of Agricultural Sciences

College of Health and Human Sciences

College of Business

College of Engineering

College of Liberal Arts

College of Natural Sciences

College of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences

Warner College of Natural Resources


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Cover Letters

Writing a Cover Letter

  • Use to accompany your resume when replying to a direct job/internship announcement
  • Show how you would fit in with an organization
  • Be sure you write a new cover letter for each job you apply for

Lesson: Employers may read your resume before your cover letter; therefore, you should ensure that your cover letter describes how your past experiences are related to the position you are applying for.

View a sample cover letter here.

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Curriculum Vitae

What is a curriculum vitae?

A curriculum vitae (CV) is a more comprehensive and detailed version of a resume traditionally used when applying for faculty/administration positions in academia. However, there are other uses for a CV such as: tenure reviews, grant applications, public speaking engagements, fellowship opportunities, publishing, etc.

CV/Resume Comparison
Curriculum Vitae Resume
  • Average length ranges between 2 and 10 pages.
  • Length is usually 1 to 2 pages.
  • In general, there is more of an emphasis on your academic and research background.
  • In general, there is more of an emphasis on relevent skills, experience, and projects.
  • There is not a standard format for a CV. The format is usually determined by the amount of information and the choice of items to be emphasized.
  • There are standard formats for resumes, which include chronological, functional, or combination.
  • Usually does not include an objective statement.
  • Objective statements are used more frequently on resumes to state specific position applying for.
  • Typically used by job seekers with extensive academic and professional credentials applying for positions in education or research.
  • Typically used by job seekers applying for non-academia and non-research-oriented positions.

CV Design Tips


  • Length is one of the biggest differences between a resume and CV. Conventional wisdom states a resume should be managed into a one page document, while most CVs can range anywhere from two to ten pages in length. The length depends largely on the person's experience level and area of study.


  • Create a vitae that is visually attractive which will grab the reader's attention. Be sure that the vitae is well organized and easy to read.
  • Balance information on the pages so that the total effect is pleasing to the eye. If possible, focus your strongest assets around the optical center of the page, about 1/3 of the way from the top.
  • Organize the first page so it highlights your greatest strengths when matched with the specified requirements for the position.
  • Information placed at the top-half of the page will stand out more than at the bottom-half.
  • Allow sufficient margins, at least one inch on all four sides.
  • Use a traditional font style (Arial, Times New Roman, etc.). Font size should range from size 10 to 12. Smaller than 10-point will appear small and is difficult to read.
  • Your vitae should be laser printed on quality paper. Use white, off-white, or ivory paper.
  • Your data in black print gains impact from contrast with white-colored paper.
  • Do not staple pages together, but make sure your name and a page number appear on each page.
  • Omit personal information such as age, marital status, number of children, ethnicity, etc.


  • The language of a CV has a distinctive brief and upbeat quality. Know the language of the field in which you are applying. Speak their language, but do not use slang or jargon.
  • Do not use articles (a, an) or pronouns, especially the pronoun "I".
  • Be brief, concise, and to the point.
  • Limit the use of abbreviations to degrees, street names, states, and commonly understood descriptors.
  • Use present tense when describing your current functions (i.e. Analyze scientific research data for investigative findings. Perform statistical analysis.).
  • Use past tense when describing previous functions (i.e. Analyzed scientific research data for investigative findings. Performed statistical analysis.).

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  • Your references should be able to speak highly of your ability to perform well.
  • Ensure you contact your references ahead of time to let them know the position you have applied for and that they might be getting a phone call. Verify that it's okay to use them as a reference.
  • Unless otherwise specified, list 3-5 references.
  • Include the following information on a separate page from your resume for references: full name, title or position held, name and address of business, telephone number and email.


(Same Heading as Your Resume)
Jimmy P. Applicant
123 Fake St
Anytown, USA 12345


Reference 1 Name, Job Title
Mailing Address
Phone Number
Email Address

Reference 2 Name, Job Title
Mailing Address
Phone Number
Email Address

Reference 3 Name, Job Title
Mailing Address
Phone Number
Email Address

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Follow-Up Letters

Thank You Letter

The purpose of this letter is to sincerely thank everyone who has helped you in your job search, including but not limited to those you've interviewed with. Use this letter as a follow-up to job interviews, as well as a way to show your appreciation to individuals who have conducted informational interviews and served as references for you.

View a sample thank you letter here.

Acceptance Letter

The purpose of this letter is to formally accept a job offer, to confirm the terms of your employment (salary, benefits, starting dates, etc.), and to positively reinforce the employer's decision to hire you. These letters typically follow a phone conversation, email correspondence, or written offer.

View a sample acceptance letter here.

Rejection Letter

The purpose of this letter is to formally inform the employer of your intention not to accept the position offered to you. This formal letter should be sent even if you have discussed your rejection via phone or email. The tone should be professional and appreciative of the employer's interest and offer.

View a sample rejection letter here.

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