Alumni Career Services: Resumes and Cover Letters
Resumes and Cover Letters
Whether you’re getting ready to embark on a job search, or are steadily adding to your professional experience and accomplishments, we recommend keeping your resume updated. As your career evolves and progresses, your resume will evolve and progress as well. Alumni Career Services can help you to market your skills and experience via your resume and cover letters to position you for the next step in your career.
Use the link below to explore downloadable versions of fully-articulated examples showcasing different levels of experience.
Steps to Cover Letter Success
A cover letter is a great way to show how your experiences, characteristics, and skills align with a job or internship opportunity. Find below the foundational elements for a successful cover letter, as well as a link to downloadable cover letter and reference examples.
Foundational Elements for a Successful Cover Letter
- This is your contact information.
- Format exactly like the heading on your resume.
- This should be the date that you are applying/ submitting the cover letter.
- Always include the person’s title (e.g., Director of Human Resources).
- Address the recipient by their full name.
- If you don’t have the address, look it up on the organization’s website.
- Refer to the reader by their full name if possible, but if not, use "Dear Hiring Manager:"
- Use a colon after the greeting, not a comma.
Opening: Why am I Writing?
- Identify the position and the organization.
- Indicate how you learned about the position.
- Introduce basic information about yourself that explains why you would be the best candidate for the position.
- Connect yourself to the organization/position in a unique way, for example, your shared values and how they fit with the organization/position.
Middle: Why Should You Hire Me?
- Relate your skills, experiences, and qualities that would benefit you in the position.
- Synthesize your experiences and skills; do not simply restate your resume.
- Highlight one or two of your strongest qualifications and explain how they relate to the needs of the employer.
- Explain why you are interested in the employer and position.
- Demonstrate that you are a good candidate for the position based upon the job description and make another unique connection.
Conclusion: What is My Next Step?
- Refer the reader to your enclosed resume (and other documents).
- Reiterate your strong interest in the position/ organization with another personal connection.
- Specify how you intend to follow up, then be sure to do so.
- Close with the word “Sincerely.”
- Add your virtual signature followed by your full name typed.
You can find a cover letter and reference sheet example here.
Use the examples below as you craft your resume. Consider how you can showcase your education, skills, accomplishments, and experiences for your major or industry in a clean and concise format.
Cover Letter & References Examples
Get started on your cover letter and reference page materials using these examples to apply tips on formatting, structure, and content.
Who could you ask to be a reference? Professional references include people who can attest to your skills and qualifications. Consider using a current supervisor, past employer, colleague, instructor, coach, or advisor.