Resumes, Cover Letters, and References


Your resume may be the first impression an employer has of you. For this reason, it is important that you provide a clear, concise, and informative document which accurately portrays your involvement, educational, and work histories. Use the following tips as guidelines as you begin working on your resume:

  • Begin with a blank document
  • One page is typically appropriate for undergraduates, two pages are acceptable for graduate students
  • Use font size 10-12 for text
  • Be sure your format is consistent and easy to read – avoid using too many elements (bold, underline, italics, capitalization)
  • Use bullet points for descriptions and utilize action verbs to begin each bullet point

View the examples below for formatting ideas and as a reference when writing descriptions of your experiences:

Curriculum Vitae (CVs) are sometimes used to obtain positions in higher education and research.

Cover Letters

With the exception of career fairs, every time you submit a resume you should include a tailored cover letter to explain your qualifications for the position and demonstrate how you have unique abilities that will add value to the organization. The cover letter will also provide the employer with a sample of your writing.

  • Cover Letter Outline with Tips
  • Sample Cover Letters (with job description analyses):
  • Sample Prospecting Cover Letter – An option for communication if you find an employer of interest but are not aware of a specific job opening. You need to make a strong case for how your skills can contribute to the organization’s specific needs/priorities. Research the organization through sources such as their website, their press releases, and their employees’ LinkedIn profiles.


Most employers will ask for a list of 3-5 references. Be sure that you:

  • Always ask your references before giving their information to an employer. Also inquire what information they would like listed regarding addresses, email addresses, and phone numbers.
  • Send your resume, cover letter, and job description to your references. When potential employers call, this will make it easier for you references to speak about you.

Sample List of References