Resumes and Cover Letters

Prep your full suite of job search materials, including resumes, cover letters, CVs, reference lists and thank you notes. A career counselor can help by appointment or during walk-in hours.

A prospective employer will form their first impression of you based upon your resume. The ultimate goal of your resume is to get you an interview.

  • Find and use the keywords associated with your field and listed in the position announcement to help your resume get noticed by the recruiter’s software.
  • Determine whether to use a functional or chronological style. See samples.
  • Format your resume so that it is scannable for recruiters and online applications. Use fonts without serifs. Don’t use a resume template.
  • Triple-check your resume for errors or inaccuracies. Ask someone else to proofread it, too.
  • Have a career professional review your resume.
  • Use caution if uploading a resume to a website search site (like and consider listing only an email address (LinkedIn or St. Kate's) and not a phone or home address. Your resume may become public in internet searches

Each time you send out a resume, you will need to include a focused, well-written cover letter specific to that position. Research the company and position ahead of time to understand their needs and culture, then clarify precisely how your skills and background will contribute to the specific position and the organization.

  • Write concisely, using no more than one page.
  • Use the font and paper that you used for your resume.
  • Use a professional tone, but don't be afraid to show enthusiasm for the position.
  • Copyedit to check for varied sentence structure (e.g. do not start each sentence with "I"), typos, and errors. Ask another person to proofread too.

Elements of a Cover Letter

  • Your contact information at the top of the page
  • Date
  • Employer's contact information
  • Greeting: Address your letter to a specific individual, if at all possible. Use “Dear Employer” if name is unknown.
  • Attention-grabbing introduction paragraph: who are you, what position are you applying for. Convey your excitement.
  • Paragraph(s) making the case for why you're the best person for the position, referencing specific qualities listed in the job posting. Elaborate on the most relevant points in your resume. Tie it to the organization’s mission.
  • Closing paragraph reiterating your interest and thanking the reader for considering your application.
  • Signature: Typically conclude with "Sincerely," leave three or four blank lines, then type your name. Sign above your typed name if you are submitting a paper copy. If submitting electronically, type your name beneath "Sincerely."

Cover Letter Guide

If asked to submit references, add them on a separate sheet devoted solely to listing reference information. Your references should be primarily supervisors from jobs or volunteer positions. Use only one character reference if possible. Before listing anyone as a reference, be sure you talk to the person first, and ensure that he or she is willing to provide you with a positive reference!

Your reference page should clearly indicate your name and contact information, just as it is listed on your resume. Follow with the name, title, address, phone number, and email address of each reference you list. You’ll generally want to list 3–5 references, unless the job posting specifies something different.

Print your reference page on the same paper you use for your resume and cover letter, and send it with these documents when you apply for a position. Take an extra copy along with you when you meet with the employer for an interview.

After an interview, always send a thank you email right away followed up with a thank you letter or handwritten note. Each letter should reiterate:

  • your interest in the specific position
  • how you can contribute to the organization
  • your appreciation for the interview

If you met with several people, mention them by name and send individual emails.

Thank You Letter Sample

A curriculum vitae, also known as a CV, includes a summary of your educational and academic backgrounds as well as teaching and research experience, publications, presentations, awards, honors, affiliations and other details.

In the United States, a curriculum vitae is used primarily when applying for academic, education, scientific or research positions. It is also applicable when applying for fellowships or grants.

In Europe, the Middle East, Africa, or Asia, employers expect to receive a curriculum vitae.

Guide to Creating a CV

A portfolio or work sample is typically required in several professions including teaching, marketing, fashion design and others. Portfolios are used to illustrate your skills, your growth and to show the quality of your work. Be sure to save digital and hardcopies of your student work that may be useful later.

Portfolios may include: fashion drawings, websites you’ve created, writing samples, other creative work, news articles about you, testimonials, evaluations, conferences you have attended or presented at. Creative fields may prefer to see a series of works-in-progress to illustrate how your work evolves through a project.

Contact Career Development to get access to ePortfolio software you can use to organize and share your work samples electronically with employers.
Education portfolios have specific requirements.