Résumés and cover letters provide a critical first impression to potential employers and often are the only information an employer has to assess how qualified you are for a position and why you are interested in the position and company. Employers commonly spend 30 to 60 seconds reviewing each résumé/cover letter before making a decision, so having flawless and well-written materials can increase your chances of being invited to an interview.
Review our sample documents and tips below for résumés, cover letters, references, and CV’s and make a career advising appointment to get feedback.
10 Résumé Tips + Samples
- Don’t use a premade, fill-in-the blank template. Review our sample résumés for undergraduate and Master’s students to get an idea of how to format the résumé yourself.
- Review our Résumé Checklist to ensure you are following standard résumé writing practices.
- Do not include any false or misleading information on your résumé.
- Check for typos! Many employers will immediately disqualify a candidate who does not proofread. Have a trusted person review for errors.
- Tailor your résumé to the job. Include information about your skills, experiences and education that is relevant to the position.
- Use action verbs to begin your experience descriptions (bullet points). Do not use the phrases, “responsible for” or “duties include.” Learn more about How to Write an Effective Bullet Point.
- Demonstrate your accomplishments and use numbers when applicable. For example, explain how you improved a process, how much money you saved, or how many students you tutored.
- Avoid using acronyms, unless they are specifically defined. Do not use highly technical jargon. If possible, have an industry professional critique your résumé.
- Do not include personal information (such as age, gender, marital status), photographs, or references on the résumé. References are provided to employers on a separate document if they are requested.
- Do not include information about high school unless you are a college freshman, if your experiences or accomplishments are highly relevant to the role or if your high school has a strong alumni network.
6 Cover Letter Tips
Your cover letter is an opportunity to show the employer HOW your skills, experiences, and education make you the perfect candidate for the position, WHY you are interested in that role and organization and is a SAMPLE of your written communication abilities
- Review our short online training on Writing Effective Cover Letters and our Cover Letter Basics handout to learn structure and content basics.
- A cover letter should always be included with a résumé and should not exceed 1 page (typically 3-4 paragraphs).
- Use the same font and style as your résumé for consistency.
- Do not send the same cover letter for every position. Tailor the content of your letter to the position, otherwise the employer will be able to tell it’s a generic letter.
- Do not simply repeat the information on your résumé in the cover letter. The cover letter should connect your experiences and skills to the needs of the position or organization.
- Get your cover letter reviewed by an Economics Career Advisor to make sure you are marketing your skills and experiences in a compelling way!
2 Reference Tips
- Review The Right (and Wrong) Way to Ask Someone to be a Reference to learn basic resume etiquette.
- Create your references list, which typically includes 3 individuals who can positively speak about your professional or academic accomplishments – supervisors, colleagues, and professors who know you well are a good starting point.
2 Curriculum Vitae (CV) Tips
Curriculum Vitae’s (CV’s) are typically only used in academia or when applying to Master’s or PhD-level graduate programs. Some companies utilize the term CV interchangeably with a résumé, but they usually are looking for more of a standard résumé format.
Now that you have a flawless résumé and cover letter, time to start finding and applying for opportunities!