A resume is a document (usually one-page) that presents your education, experience, and qualifications in a clear, concise, and compelling way, customized for the industry to which you apply. The goal of a resume is to demonstrate that you are qualified for the job, and to help you secure an interview. Keep in mind that employers often do a quick 10-second scan of resumes the first time they review it, so make sure your resume easily communicates your essential information within seconds!
Check out these Resume Resources:
- See Examples of Resumes for Different CNS Majors
- Write an Effective General Resume
- Using Science Action Verbs to start each bullet can highlight your skills and accomplishments.
- Differences Between a Resume and Curriculum Vitae (CV) (National Institutes of Health)
- Recorded Workshop on Preparing a Strong Resume
- Crash Course for Writing your Resume or CV (HigherEdJobs.com)
- Curriculum Vita (CV) Quick Guide (NDSU)
- Resume Builder | How to Write a Resume (Resumebuilder.com)
A cover letter is a document, usually sent with your resume, which provides additional information about your skills and experience to an employer. While your resume lists your past experiences, the cover letter connects the ways in which those experiences make you a qualified candidate for that position. Your cover letter should highlight the most important experiences or skills from your resume and make a clear connection between your skills and the specific position or workplace to which you are applying. See our “Customize your Cover Letter” handout for help.
A cover letter is not always required but can boost your chances of getting an interview when tailored to the position, to explain why your skills and experience are the best fit for that position. While you do need to fulfill the required minimum qualifications, keep in mind that you don’t always have to be the most qualified candidate. And you DO need to show your enthusiasm and motivation to do that job. Your cover letter should be personalized to the company and job itself, so that you demonstrate the mindset of: I want this job, not simply any job.
Your cover letter should:
- Be formal but reflect your personality, attitude, motivation, and enthusiasm.
- State the purpose of the letter.
- Be tailored to the specific position.
- Demonstrate your knowledge of the company or organization and your enthusiasm for the job.
- Using short narrative examples, show how your skills and experience are an excellent match for the position.
- Highlight and explain key points of your resume, without simply repeating your resume.
- Show your strong writing skills.
- Spark employers’ interest in you and encourage them to read your resume.
Remember: We can help! Make a 1:1 meeting with a career advisor in Handshake to talk about your resume or cover letter. You can also stop in during our Peer Career Advisor drop-in hours (specific to each semester. Check back on our website in late August for this semester’s hours.)