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Create a Resume and Cover Letter

Download the Career Success Guide’s section on Resume, Letters, and Emails.

Resumes, Cover Letters, and Thank You Letters

A well-crafted resume can set you apart from other candidates. Strong resumes do more than summarize your educational background and work history; they emphasize the results of your efforts and draw clear parallels between your skills and experience and an employer’s needs.

Resumes are:

  • Commonly required for industry positions
  • Focused on your strongest, most relevant qualifications and experiences
  • Tailored to a specific position, field or industry
  • 1 page (2 pages if you have extensive relevant experience)
  • Explore a resume worksheet, a Power Verbs List, and various resume samples here!
  • Don’t forget to list related courses, labs, fieldwork, and projects!
    • Use the Fresno State catalog to get course descriptions and review your courses and labs syllabi for Knowledge, Skills, and Abilities gained and applied throughout your educational experiences!

Use this bullet point formula to describe your experiences:

  • Power Verb + How you completed the action = Results & Outcomes

Resume bullets should describe your skills and accomplishments, reflecting the order or priority that the employer has stated in their position description and requirements. Write bullet points for jobs, internships, volunteer experiences and activities where you’ve developed skills. Consider how these bullet points highlight skills and experiences that match the position requirements. Action-oriented statements highlighting your accomplishments should use concrete language and could include:

  • What: What task (transferable skill) did you perform? Use power verbs! Explore this List of Power Verbs.
  • Why: Why did you perform this task? e.g. to fulfill a goal, serve a need or make your  organization/company better?
  • How: Specifically how did you perform this task? What skill, ability, knowledge, equipment, tool, software program, or method did you use to accomplish this task?
  • Result: What was the positive result you achieved or impact you made by performing this task (quantitative or qualitative)?
  • Adjectives: Spice it up with descriptors; sell yourself… go for it!

Example 1:

  • What: Created a brochure.
  • What and How: Created a brochure using InDesign.
  • What and Why: Created a brochure to generate customer interest in the company’s new line of fall clothing.
  • What, Why, and Result: Created a brochure to generate customer interest in the company’s new line of fall clothing, resulting in high praise from Director of Marketing.
  • Adding Adjectives: Created a colorful and eye-catching marketing brochure using InDesign to generate customer interest in the company’s new line of fall clothing, resulting in high praise from Director of Marketing.

Example 2:

  • What: Tutored students.
  • What and How: Tutored students using a variety of methods to adjust to different learning styles.
  • What and Why: Tutored students to help them retain information and improve both grades and overall performance in Math and English.
  • What, Why, and Result: Tutored students to help them improve grades and overall performance; saw marked improvement over a three-month period in 100% of students.
  • Adding Adjectives:
    • Tutored at-risk youth in Math and English; assessed learning styles of each student and creatively adjusted tutoring
      style based on results.
    • Affected information retention and overall grade improvement in 100% of students tutored over a three month period.
    • Acknowledged by Director for strong commitment to student success.

Applying to federal employment and internship opportunities could feel scary and overwhelming (Navigating USA Jobs, finding and undestading the Job Announcement, completing Application Questionnaires and Essays, writing a federal resume, background and security clearances, interviewing, and finally negotiating your offer). However, don’t let that stop you from pursuing amazing opportunities!

Learn how to successfully apply for federal government opportunities with this fantastic GoGoverment resource!

Federal Resumes Videos and Webinars

Explore a Federal Resume Sample in the Career Resources section below!

  • Don’t forget to list related courses, labs, fieldwork, and projects!
    • Use the Fresno State catalog to get course descriptions and review your courses and labs syllabi for Knowledge, Skills, and Abilities gained and applied throughout your educational experiences!

Curriculum Vitae (CV) is Latin for “course of life.” A CV presents a full history of your academic and career path, including your achievements, publications and awards. A CV should be used when applying to graduate school and for positions in academia or science- or research-oriented industry jobs. In some European countries such as the UK, a CV is a standard for all types of job application.

A curriculum vitae (CV):

  • Is longer than a resume, as they have no page limit; as an early career professional your CV may be 2-4 pages in length.
  • Is a comprehensive biographical statement focusing on professional experiences to showcase qualifications, knowledge, skills, and abilities.
  • Includes more comprehensive information about a candidate’s research background, presentations, publications, committee memberships and other experience of an academic, clinical, or scientific nature.
  • Emphasizes academic accomplishments.

How to Write a Curriculum Vitae (CV)

Step 1: Choose a Format

Select a simple and appealing format for your CV. Avoid borders, colors, images or graphics, as these tend to be difficult for automated Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS) to read. Our basic formatting suggestions are below.

Header

  • Center name at top of page and make it two font sizes larger than the rest of the text
  • Use a professional-sounding e-mail address that you check often; remove the hyperlink
  • May include both current and permanent addresses, if desired
  • Optional: Include your LinkedIn profile URL

Body

  • Font: Arial, Calibri, Tahoma, Times New Roman (same font throughout)
  • Font size: 10-11 point
  • Margins:  .5 to 1 inch, all sides
  • Page Numbers: In general, CVs tend to be longer than resumes, ranging in length from two to ten pages. Be sure to include your name and page number on each page after the first page.
  • Use consistent formatting for dates throughout (e.g., 2/18, Feb. 2018, February 2018)
  • Consider aligning all dates on the right side of your document
  • Use bullet points to give relevant details and explanation of your experiences
  • Bullet point style and formatting should match throughout
  • Bullet points in a CV typically do not use a period because they are usually not complete sentences
  • Within each section, list information in reverse chronological order (most recent first)
  • Consider using bold and all caps for HEADINGS in the body of your CV
  • Consider using bold for Names of Degrees and Position Titles
  • Consider using italics for Name of Organization, City, and State

Looking for samples? Check out these samples and template for reference:


Step 2: Collect and Fill in Information

Make a list of all your teaching experience, research experience, work experience, awards and scholarships, study abroad and training programs, professional associations, publications, presentations, technical skills, languages, education, and certifications. Use exact names for degrees, programs, organizations and titles.

Review the position description and determine the skills and experience the employer is seeking. Order sections of your CV from highest to lowest priority based on position description.

Remember that sections are flexible and can be combined to tell your unique story. Information within each section should be listed in reverse chronological order, with the most recent listed first.

Education (required)

  • Generally at the top of your CV
  • Degree (Bachelor of Arts, Bachelor of Science, etc.) and month/year of graduation, University, and location
  • Major(s), minor(s), and any concentration(s) within your major(s) or minor(s) if applicable
  • Optional: if you’ve completed a thesis, list the title of the thesis and your advisor’s name or committee members’ names
  • Optional: list relevant awards and honors that you earned for academics

Licensure (if applicable)

  • Title of licensure
  • Granting organization
  • Expected date and/or expiration date
  • Optional: include license number

Certifications (if applicable)

  • Title of certificate
  • Granting organization
  • Expected date and/or expiration date
  • Honors, Awards, Fellowships (if applicable)
  • Name of Honor, Award, Fellowship, granting organization, and year
  • Include a brief overview of the honor/award/fellowship
  • Research or Teaching Interests (if applicable)
  • Share a few of your research or teaching interests, and be prepared to talk about them in future interviews

Experience (required)

  • If the position focuses on research, put your research experience first. If the position focuses on teaching, list your teaching experience first. In general, list the most related experience first depending on the position. 

Research Experience

  • Always include job title, dates, name of organization, and location
  • Helpful to give a very brief overview of the research project
  • Address what you learned and the skills you developed in addition to the tasks/jobs you performed
  • Helpful to give a brief overview of demonstration scientific techniques used and/or advanced technical skills

Teaching Experience

  • Always include job title (e.g. lecturer, teaching assistant, instructor, etc.), dates, name of organization, and location
  • Address what you learned and the skills you developed in addition to the tasks/jobs you performed
  • Do not list course numbers
  • Do include what population of students you taught (e.g. undergraduate, graduate), number of students, and the class format (e.g. online, hybrid, or in-person)

Clinical Experience

  • List specialization, number of hours, month and year, organization, and location of relevant clinical rotations in reverse chronological order
  • Bullet points should focus on advanced responsibilities and accomplishments you have achieved that are relevant to the position you’re applying for

Work Experience

  • Always include job title, dates, name of organization, and location
  • Demonstrate skills gained and accomplishments achieved that are relevant to the position you’re applying for

Publications and Presentations (optional)

  • Depending on the number you have of each, you might want to break this into two sections
  • Important to use consistent formatting (MLA, APA, or other)
  • Helpful to bold your name within the citation
  • List publications and presentations in reverse-chronological order
  • Optional: list articles or papers that are in progress and will likely be published

Institutional Service / Academic Service (optional)

  • Committee(s) service: role, dates, name of organization, name of committee, and location

Community Service (optional)

  • Choose quality over quantity in this section
  • Only include experiences where you developed skills relevant to the position
  • Always include role, dates, name of organization, and location

Professional Membership(s) (optional)

  • List name of organization, years of participation, and any leadership roles

Skills (optional)

  • List specialized and/or technical skills

References (recommended)

  • We recommend listing contact information for three to six individuals
  • Contact Information: Name, Title, Department, Organization, Mailing Address, Email, and Phone Number
  • Ask for each person’s permission prior to listing them as a reference

Step 3: Carefully Review Your CV

CVs contain a lot of details that can lead to overseeing mistakes throughout your document. Before submitting your CV, review the content and formatting and search meticulously for typographical errors “typos”, spelling, punctuation, abbreviations, and grammar. If possible, have your faculty, principal investigator, career center staff, advisors, mentor, or a person from industry conduct a final check. 

Your cover letter introduces you and your resume, explains your purpose for writing, highlights a few of your experiences and/or skills, and requests an interview. You should always include a cover letter when applying for a job unless you are specifically told not to by the employer. When applying online and limited to uploading one document, you can create a single PDF document that includes both your resume and cover letter. 

Not sure where to start?

  • Explore the Career Resources section below to access the Cover Letter Format and Cover Letter Worksheet to learn the basics and start writing here!

Need examples?

  • Explore 5 cover letter samples here!

Following an interview, it is highly recommended you send a thank you letter to restate your interest in the position and the organization. A thank you letter can help you stand out among your competition, it can be emailed or handwritten but consider which might be best for the type of position you are seeking. 

  • Explore Thank You Letter and Thank You Email Samples here!

Employers usually ask for your reference list (professors, supervisors, managers, advisors, etc. who can vouch for your skills and qualifications) before they make a hiring decision. Be prepared with a list of 3-5 individuals who are willing to provide a strong, supportive recommendation.

Always ask permission from your references before you use their names. Make sure you have their current contact information and help them prepare in advance by sharing your current resume or CV, cover letter, and the position description. 

  • Explore a Reference List Sample!

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