Resumes, Cover Letters & CVs
The Career Center offers assistance in every aspect of writing, formatting and proofreading resumes, cover letters and curriculum vitae including.
Email us or visit the Idaho Commons Room 334 to meet with a Career Advisor.
- Overall design should be neat, balanced, consistent, easy to read and logically organized.
- Typically, resumes are one page, but can be as long as two.
- Information categories should be listed in order of importance according based on the position.
- Specific experience under each category should be listed in reverse chronological order.
- Details under each specific experience should be listed starting with the most significant or relevant first.
- Focus on describing accomplishments or skills developed, rather than listing duties. Almost anyone can perform a duty, but not everyone accomplishes something or learns from an experience.
- Use active verbs to begin details under each specific experience. Use key words from the job description. Download a list of action verbs ».
- Employers tend to prefer bulleted, concise, relevant and accurate details under experience. Short lines of text make it easier to pick out details.
- Avoid the use of personal pronouns.
- Margins should be consistent all the way around. One inch to approximately .5 inch margins are recommended.
- Use size 10-12 font with larger headings. Be conservative in font style. We suggest Arial, Times New Roman or Tahoma.
- Use graphics, bold, italics and underlined text judiciously. Don't let styling distract from content.
- Proofread multiple times.The Career Center can help. Email us »
- Use resume paper when printing. If sending electronically, save as a PDF to retain formatting.
- Name, mailing address, phone number, email address, links to portfolios and/or Linkedin
- Education and training
- Work, internship, volunteerism and other significant experiences
- Skills such as technology, equipment and foreign languages
- Licenses, accreditations and/or certifications
- Honors, awards and achievements
- Service activities, leadership, clubs and organizations
- Personal data such as height, weight, age, marital status, race, ethnicity, religion, date of birth or a photograph
- Social Security number
- Reasons for leaving a job
- Early childhood experiences
- Weaknesses, demands or exaggerations
- Long paragraphs — use short statements or bulleted lists
- Hobbies unless pertinent to position
- References are typically listed on a separate document and given only when requested
- Cover letters are typically one page and briefly elaborate qualifications for the job. It's an opportunity to add context and detail to resume information.
- A letter of qualification is similar to a cover letter, but addresses each item of qualification in the job description. It is often longer than one page. Download example »
- Target concisely to the desired position.
- Connect skills to the company's needs and wants. Show, don't just tell, how what you offer matches what they seek.
- Support each skill or qualification with specific examples of education or experience.
- Use the language of your field and key words from the job description. However, make sure the letter is understandable to any reader and not just those from your field.
- Avoid informal language, such as slang, contractions and acronyms.
- Be confident, but do not exaggerate.
- Proofread multiple times. The Career Center can help. Email us »
- Use standard business letter format.
- Use the same font and paper as your resume.
- If printed, sign it in ink. If sending electronically, type your name and save as a PDF.
- CVs are similar to a resume, but more detailed and not limited in length.
- CVs are commonly used in higher education and focus on academic pursuits. They are also used in applying for research positions in industry and as documentation in grant proposals.
- Internationally, the terms “resume” and “curriculum vitae” may be used interchangeably. Check with the organization to determine what is needed.
- Resumes/CVs for positions with organizations outside the U.S often have different requirements. Email Career Services for more information.
- Like a resume, order categories of information from most to least important, and list items chronologically.
- Be accurate and concise. Edit for grammar and spelling. Career Advisors can help review your CV.
- Use conservative fonts and approximately 0.7-1 inch margins all around. Format neatly and organize logically.
- Focus on accomplishments rather than simple duties. Numbers and percentages add a sense of tangible proof — use whenever appropriate.
- Use the language of the field, but avoid overuse of jargon, acronyms and abbreviations.
- Cite publications accurately and in the style of your field. Humanities tend to call for MLA or Chicago style. Use APA style for business, psychology and most sciences.
Like a resume, order CV categories by importance to the field. Categories listed first tend to get noticed more.
- Name, email, phone number, mailing address, links to portfolio and/or LinkedIn
- Education and training
- Work experiences, internships, assistantships
- Research experiences
- Teaching experiences
- Administrative experience
- Areas of knowledge or interest
- Projects, works and performances
- Certificates, licenses and credentials
- Publications (authored or contributed to) including: articles, books, dissertation, thesis, other scholarly works
- Conferences, workshops, and programs attended and/or presented
- Skills such as: languages, technical, computer
- Fellowships, grants, or other funding
- Service activities (community, college, profession)
- Academic awards and accomplishments
- Affiliations or memberships
- International experiences
- Other awards and honors (outside of academia)