Resumes, cover letters and other professional correspondence are crucial aspects of your job or internship search. A well-written resume or cover letter introduces you to a potential employer and has the possibility to make a great first impression. Conversely, a poorly-written document may cause you to be summarily dismissed from consideration for a position.
Any form of correspondence also functions as a writing sample. Whether writing a cover letter or a thank you note, your communication abilities are on display. Especially for a position that requires any level of writing ability, your skills will be evaluated based on these notes. Therefore, you should treat each document you send to an employer, be it a resume, cover letter or other correspondence, as a professional piece of work. Each item should be tailored to a specific organization and proofread with great care.
The following guidelines are true for almost all professional written correspondence, however, you should navigate through the links at the left to learn more about writing and formatting resumes and cover letters. Samples of these documents, as well as acceptance and rejection letters, thank you notes, curriculum vitae and networking requests are available on the samples page.
Most students and young alumni should have one page resumes. Longer resumes and CV's may be appropriate for those with more work experience or who are planning to attend graduate school.
Use an easy-to-read font such as Arial (10pt-11pt) or Times New Roman (10pt-12pt).
For cover letters, use single spacing within paragraphs and double spacing between paragraphs.
Balance a page's white space with word space so a resume or cover letter doesn't look crowded in some places and empty in others.
Adding bold and italics to your resume sparingly can help highlight specific elements, but overuse of these functions can make the resume feel crowded and confusing.
Proofread, proofread, proofread.