Resume and Cover Letter Guide
Before applying to any jobs or internships we encourage you to make an appointment with your Career Advisor to have your resume reviewed.
A resume is your opportunity to capture your experience, education, and skills and to promote those areas to an employer.
While there can be a lot of variety from one resume to another, there are a handful of absolutes you want to make sure you are doing when creating your resume:
When it comes to general formatting of any resume, consistency is key. The resume should be clean and easy to read and follow, helping employers get the most important information they need in a matter of seconds.
We recommend that you:
- Bold all employer names
- Italicize all job or internship titles
- Remember your city and state for each job
- Stick to one page, if possible
- Change your margins to .5 inch if you are having trouble keweping it to a page
- No less that 11pt font
- Single spaced
Name: Should stand out (bold/capitals) does not go over 20pt font
Location: Your current address, or the address where you will be living when you begin work.
Phone number: Make sure to clean out your voicemail box so employers can leave a voicemail.
Email: Use the email you check most often.
Other: You may include a website, blog, portfolio, LinkedIn url or anything else that showcases your professional work.
- Listing education as the first section on your resume
- Bold Emmanuel College
- Italicize your degree title and spell out complete (avoid BA or BS)
- Include a minor if you have one
- Include expected graduation year
- Do not list high school or any other place where you did not earn a degree. If you transferred from a different school, you do not list that institution.
All Majors at Emmanuel College are Bachelor of Arts (BA) degree programs, except the following:
Biology, Biostatistics, Chemistry, Neuroscience, and Nursing are Bachelor of Science (BS) degree programs.
Graphic Design is a Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA) degree program.
Work Experience should include any paid or relevant experience such as part time work, internships, and on or off campus jobs. You can split this section into multiple sections if needed (Relevant Experience and Additional Experience, for example).
Your resume is determined by your own experience so these are ideas for additional sections you may add:
- RELEVANT COURSEWORK – List 4-6 courses relevant or unique to the work you want to do
- VOLUNTEER SERVICE – Unpaid service to a community organization
- ATHLETICS – College level athletic involvement
- CAMPUS LEADERSHIP – Positions of leadership including being an RA, officer position in a club, etc.
- CLUBS & ORGANIZATIONS – General membership in clubs and organizations
- HONORS & AWARDS – Highlight academic honors or awards including scholarships, Dean’s List and Honors Societies
- CONFERENCES – Professional conferences you’ve attended. Make sure to highlight if you were a presenter.
- RESEARCH – List your Research Assistant positions, either on-campus or off
- PUBLICATIONS – List any publications
- SKILLS – Skills are hard, technical computer and language skills. List any foreign languages you speak & specify your level (i.e. Conversations, Fluent, etc.) Include skills such as Laboratory Skills, Graphic Design Skills, Social Media Skills, any software you use
- PROJECTS – List personal or academic projects
An action word is used to start off your accomplishment statement or job duty bullet. Job duty bullets should use a strong action word to start and reach the middle of the page at the minimum.
Below you will find some examples of action words you may use to assist you in crafting your resume.
Let’s say you want to show your customer service skills from your experience working at a restaurant.
Instead of: “Waited on tables, took orders.”
Use: “Developed positive customer service skills greeting and seating guests in a fast-paced 50 table restaurant.”
The skill: customer service, time management
How you have it: greeting and seating guests, working in a fast-paced restaurant
The proof: greeting and seating customers at a 50 table restaurant
You are a Resident Assistant and run programs for your floor.
“Independently presented topics on Emmanuel policies and procedures to groups of 15+”
The skill: Working independently
How you have it: creating presentations
The proof: presenting to groups of 15+
These are examples of some of the most common jobs college students have had, feel free to use these as inspiration as you create your own.
- Ensure customers are enjoying their meals and take action to correct any problems.
- Write patrons’ food orders on order slips, memorize orders, or enter orders into computers for transmittal to kitchen staff.
- Prepare checks that itemize and total meal costs and sales taxes.
- Take orders from patrons for food or beverages.
- Check patrons’ identification to ensure that they meet minimum age requirements for consumption of alcoholic beverages.
- Serve food or beverages to patrons, and prepare or serve specialty dishes at tables as required.
- Present menus to patrons and answer questions, making recommendations upon request.
- Clean tables or counters after patrons have finished dining.
- Prepare hot, cold, and mixed drinks for patrons, and chill bottles of wine.
- Roll silverware, set up food stations or set up dining areas to prepare for the next shift or for large parties and inform customers of daily specials.
- Explain how various menu items are prepared, describing ingredients and cooking methods.
- Prepare tables for meals, including setting up items such as linens, silverware, and glassware.
- Stock service areas with supplies such as coffee, food, tableware, and linens.
- Remove dishes and glasses from tables or counters, take them to kitchen for cleaning.
- Assist host or hostess by answering phones to take reservations or to-go orders, and by greeting, seating, and thanking guests.
- Perform cleaning duties, such as sweeping and mopping floors, vacuuming carpet, tidying up server station, taking out trash, or checking and cleaning bathroom.
- Bring wine selections to tables with appropriate glasses, and pour the wines for customers.
- Perform food preparation duties such as preparing salads, appetizers, and cold dishes, portioning desserts, and brewing coffee.
- Fill salt, pepper, sugar, cream, condiment, and napkin containers.
- Garnish and decorate dishes in preparation for serving.
- Describe and recommend wines to customers.
- Provide guests with information about local areas, including giving directions.
- Answer customers’ questions, and provide information on procedures or policies.
- Assist customers by providing information and resolving their complaints.
- Assist with duties in other areas of the store, such as monitoring fitting rooms or bagging and carrying out customers’ items.
- Bag, box, wrap, or gift-wrap merchandise, and prepare packages for shipment.
- Calculate total payments received during a time period, and reconcile this with total sales.
- Cash checks for customers, compute and record totals of transactions.
- Compile and maintain non-monetary reports and records.
- Count money in cash drawers at the beginning of shifts to ensure that amounts are correct and that there is adequate change.
- Establish or identify prices of goods, services or admission, and tabulate bills using calculators, cash registers, or optical price scanners.
- Greet customers entering establishments.
- Issue receipts, refunds, credits or change due to customers.
- Maintain clean and orderly checkout areas and complete other general cleaning duties, such as mopping floors and emptying trash cans.
- Monitor checkout stations to ensure that they have adequate cash available and that they are staffed appropriately.
- Offer customers carry-out service at the completion of transactions.
- Process merchandise returns and exchanges.
- Receive payment by cash, check, credit cards, vouchers, or automatic debits.
- Stock shelves, and mark prices on shelves and items.
- Greet customers and ascertain what each customer wants or needs.
- Maintain knowledge of current sales and promotions, policies regarding payment and exchanges, and security practices.
- Recommend, select, and help locate merchandise based on customer needs and desires.
- Maintain records related to sales.
- Open and close cash registers, performing tasks such as counting money, separating charge slips, coupons, and vouchers, balancing cash drawers, and making deposits.
- Place special orders or call other stores to find desired items.
- Help customers try on or fit merchandise.
- Bag or package purchases, and wrap gifts and clean shelves, counters, and tables.
- Compute sales prices, total purchases and receive and process cash or credit payment.
- Demonstrate use or operation of merchandise.
- Describe merchandise and explain use, operation, and care of merchandise to customers.
- Exchange merchandise for customers and accept returns.
- Inventory stock and requisition new stock.
- Ticket, arrange and display merchandise to promote sales.
- Watch for and recognize security risks and thefts, and know how to prevent or handle these.
- Organize and participate in recreational activities and outings, such as games and field trips.
- Organize and store toys and materials to ensure order in activity areas.
- Communicate with children’s parents/guardians about activities, behaviors & related issues.
- Recommend or initiate other measures to control behavior, such as caring for own clothing and picking up toys and books.
- Instruct children in health and personal habits, such as eating, resting, and toilet habits.
- Keep records on individual children, including daily observations and information about activities, meals served, and medications administered.
- Observe and monitor children’s play activities.
- Operate in-house-day-care centers within businesses.
- Perform general administrative tasks, such as taking attendance, editing internal paperwork, and making phone calls.
- Perform general personnel functions, such as supervision, training, and scheduling.
- Read to children and teach them simple painting, drawing, handicrafts, and songs.
- Regulate children’s rest periods.
- Sanitize toys and play equipment.
- Support children’s emotional and social development, encouraging understanding of others and positive self-concepts.
- Conduct demonstrations to teach such skills as sports, dancing and handicrafts.
- Discuss assigned duties with classroom teachers to coordinate instructional efforts.
- Enforce administration policies and rules governing students.
- Grade homework and tests, and compute and record results, using answer sheets or electronic marking devices.
- Instruct and monitor students in the use and care of equipment and materials to prevent injuries and damage.
- Maintain computers in classrooms and laboratories and assist students with hardware and software use.
- Observe students’ performance, and record relevant data to assess progress.
- Organize and label materials and display students’ work in a manner appropriate for their eye levels and perceptual skills.
- Organize and supervise games and other recreational activities to promote physical, mental, and social development.
- Plan, prepare, and develop various teaching aids such as bibliographies, charts and graphs.
- Prepare lesson materials, bulletin board displays, exhibits, equipment, and demonstrations.
- Prepare lesson outlines/plans in assigned subject areas, submit outlines to teachers for review.
- Present subject matter to students under the direction and guidance of teachers, using lectures, discussions, or supervised role-playing methods.
- Provide disabled students with assistive devices, supportive technology, and assistance accessing facilities such as restrooms.
- Supervise students in classrooms, halls, cafeterias, school yards/gymnasiums and on field trips.
- Take class attendance and maintain attendance records.
- Tutor and assist children individually or in small groups to help them master assignments and to reinforce learning concepts presented by teachers.
- Greet new arrivals to activities, introducing them to other participants, explaining facility rules, and encouraging participation.
- Manage the daily operation of recreational facilities.
- Meet and collaborate with agency personnel, community organizations, and other professional personnel to plan balances recreational programs for participants.
- Meet with staff to discuss rules, regulations, and work-related problems.
- Organize, lead, and promote interest in recreational activities such as arts, crafts, sports, games, camping, and hobbies.
- Administer first aid according to prescribed procedures, and notify emergency medical personnel when necessary.
- Ascertain and interpret group interests, evaluate equipment and facilities, and adapt activities to meet participant needs.
- Complete and maintain time and attendance forms and inventory lists.
- Confer with management to discuss and resolve participant complaints.
- Direct special activities or events such as aquatics, gymnastics, or performing arts.
- Encourage participants to develop their own activities and leadership skills through group discussions.
- Enforce rules and regulations of recreational facilities to maintain discipline and ensure safety.
- Explain principles, techniques, and safety procedures to participants in recreational activities, and demonstrate use of materials and equipment.
- Provide for entertainment and set up related decorations and equipment.
Lifeguards, Ski Patrol, and Other Recreational Protective Service Workers
- Complete and maintain records of weather and beach conditions, emergency medical treatments performed, and other relevant incident information.
- Contact emergency medical personnel in case of serious injury.
- Examine injured persons and administer first aid or cardiopulmonary resuscitation, if necessary, using training and medical supplies and equipment.
- Inspect recreational equipment, such as rope tows, T-bars, J-bars, and chair lifts, for safety hazards and damage or wear.
- Inspect recreational facilities for cleanliness.
- Instruct participants in skiing, swimming or other recreational activities and provide safety precaution information.
- Maintain quality of pool water by testing chemical levels.
- Observe activities in assigned areas, using binoculars, to detect hazards, disturbances, or safety infractions.
- Operate underwater recovery units.
- Participate in recreational demonstrations to entertain resort guests.
- Patrol or monitor recreational areas such as trails, slopes, and swimming areas, on foot, in vehicles or from towers.
- Provide assistance in the safe use of equipment, such as ski lifts.
- Rescue distressed persons, using rescue techniques and equipment.
- Warn recreational participants of inclement weather, unsafe areas, or illegal conduct.
Employers are expecting your best work, if there are errors than that tells the employer there may be errors in your work or you lack attention to detail which is a skill many employers look for.
- Bullets are inconsistent sizes or not lined up
- Less/more than one page
- Extra space between sections or uneven spacing
- Dates drop to the next line
- Unnecessary identifiers (Like “Phone” before your phone number)
- Missing contact info
- Has an Objective Statement
- Experiences are no in chronological order
- Personal Information (age, gender, picture, SS# etc.)
- “Interests” section
- “References Available upon Request” or References listed
- Pronouns in bullet points (‘I” “me” “my” “she” “him” “us”)
- Wrong tenses (i.e. the end date is in the past, but the bullets are in present)
- Unprofessional Email Address
- Typos, spelling/grammatical errors
- Repeated job duties or action verbs starting each bullet
The format you use is dependent on your experience. CVs are typically longer than resumes usually multiple pages and are used if you have a high level of research, publications, conferences, teaching, and more. For more details, review the CV Guide below.
Your cover letter should include your skills (that match the job description), passion for this industry, role or company, previous and current experiences including volunteer work, internships, part time work, leadership, campus involvement, coursework, projects, and why YOU are the perfect fit for this role.
Introduction Paragraph (One brief paragraph)
- Where did you find this specific position? (Job board/Company website)
- Can you mention anyone you know who works there or who recommended the job to you?
- Ask if you may include their name in your cover letter first
- Why does this job appeal to you?
- Write a sentence or two on how you fit the company and their mission (check website)
- Find something you like about the company/position that matches your values/passion
Body Paragraph (May be one to two paragraphs)
- Why should they hire you?
- How do you meet the position descriptions & requirements?
- Use your experience, courses & education or leadership/volunteer work
Closing Paragraph (One brief paragraph)
- Thank the employer for their consideration and taking the time to read your letter
- Provide your contact information (email and phone number)
- “Sincerely,” leave space to signature after you print the document and then put your name under that.
Sitting down to begin writing is usually the hardest part of any project. The following bullets were created as examples to help you begin each paragraph as you write your cover letter.
Examples to begin the introduction paragraph:
- After reviewing the description for POSITION TITLE at COMPANY NAME on Indeed.com…
- After speaking with NETWORKING CONNECTION NAME, I was interested in contacting you regarding the opening for…
- I am writing in response to your internship posting on Idealist.com…
- I am writing to inquire about the POSITION TITLE working for COMPANY NAME…
- In view of your ongoing need for POSITION TITLE…
- I am writing to enthusiastically state my interest in…
- I am excited to apply to…
- Your organization interests me because…
- Your company’s efforts to……have attracted me because…
Examples to begin the body paragraph(s):
- As a Junior at Emmanuel College studying…my coursework has included…
- As a rising Senior at Emmanuel College, I have taken classes in…
- The position of _______________will allow me to utilize…
- My qualifications and experience include…
- Your internship description mentions the need for ____, and I have experience with this through _____.
- This May I will graduate from INSTITUTION NAME with a Bachelor of _____ degree in…
- The experience I have gained in INDUSTRY…
- My experience highlights accomplishments such as…
- I have specialized in…
- I have also developed key skills in….
- As an honors student, I have taken additional courses in….
Examples to begin the closing paragraph:
- Thank you for your time and consideration
- Thank you for taking the time to review my application
- I am confident that my experience has provided me with the skills I need to be the POSITION TITLE for COMPANY NAME…
- Based on my experience and passion for X, I know I would be a great addition to your team
- Please feel free to reach me at EMAIL or PHONE NUMBER
Addressing the letter “To whom it may concern” instead find the name of the person you might report to (Use LinkedIn/Company Directory). If you absolutely can’t find a name say “Dear Hiring Manager(s),” or “Dear Hiring Committee,”
Using cliché phrases like “This would be a great experience for me to help further my career in X industry.” they already know this internship/job would help you instead what can YOU do to benefit them?
Do I need to write a different cover letter for every role?
While you may not have to write a totally different cover letter for every job, you should still do your research and tailor each cover letter just as you do with your resume for each role. So while your experiences and the coursework you have done may not change drastically between applications, you still want to make sure what skills you are including make sense. For example: If the role is seeking someone who has knowledge of Adobe Illustrator that you are mentioning that. If it is not a role seeking that then that is something you would not need to include but instead have on your resume.
What if the role I’m applying for does not require a cover letter?
Even if a job or internship does not require a cover letter you should include one. It will give you a better chance of landing an interview vs. a candidate who does not include one.