Resume & Cover Letter

Write a Resume or Cover Letter

Resumes, cover letters, curriculum vitae (CV’s), LinkedIn profiles, personal statements, and employer correspondence play an integral role in your internship or job hunt. In almost every situation, these documents are the employer’s first impression of your skills and professionalism. As you craft each of these documents you are creating a personal brand for yourself that will precede your face-to-face interaction with an employer. Therefore, each of your documents should be flawless in spelling and grammar, consistent in content and message, and tailored specifically to the employer, company, and position.

As you draft these documents, keep the job description at the forefront of your mind. Make sure you emphasize experiences in your resume and examples in your cover letter that are consistent with the skills the company is looking for in their next hire.

 

Resumes

Impress employers before you ever shake their hand by creating a flawless resume. Market your skills and experience so your potential employer can quickly see what you could bring to their organization. Use our Skill-Building Directory to make connections between your on-campus involvement and the skills that employers are seeking. Although your resume should be tailored to your specific opportunities, here a few helpful hints you should always incorporate regardless of the internship or job.

  • Keep your resume to one page.
  • Use 10 to 12 size font in a professional style (no colors or fancy fonts).
  • Include job title, organization, location, date, and a description of the skills you gained from each of your experiences in reverse chronological order.
  • Make sure you’re positive and honest about your experience, skills, and capabilities.
  • Proofread – your punctuation, grammar and syntax must be flawless.
  • Start each bullet point with an action verb. Check out our list of resume action verbs to make sure you use meaningful and descriptive verbs.

 

Here are a few resumes to help you get started. If you’ve never made a resume before or aren’t sure what to include, check out our resume writing worksheet.

 

Cover Letters

Cover Letters are another important part of impressing an employer and creating your personal brand. The best way to entice an employer to read your resume is to write a cover letter that highlights specific reasons why you would be a good fit for the position. Here are a few helpful hints to write a great cover letter:

  • Address the letter to a specific person by name and title.
  • Match the font style and size to your resume.
  • Tailor your cover letter to the specific position and company.
  • Highlight your specific experiences or skills that match what the employer is seeking.
  • Focus on how you can benefit the company, not how they can benefit you.

 

Here are a few examples of cover letters for jobs and internships and a template to help you with formatting and content:

 

Curriculum Vitae (CV)

A curriculum vitae or CV is very similar to a resume but more comprehensive and often multiple pages. It is often used in academia and science fields. In addition to tailoring your CV to the specific opportunities for which you are applying, here a few general tips:

  • Use 10 to 12 size font in a professional font style (except name, which may be a larger font size).
  • Include your name and page number on each page starting with page 2.
  • Include job title, organization, location, date, and a description of the activities you performed and skills you developed in each of your experiences.
  • Be positive and honest about your experience, skills, and capabilities.
  • Proofread – your punctuation, grammar, and syntax must be flawless.
  • Start each bullet point with an action verb. Check out our list of resume action verbs to make sure you use meaningful and descriptive verbs.

 

Sections of a CV:

Contact Information

  • Name, address, phone, email
  • May also include website and LinkedIn profile, if applicable

Education

  • List your most recent education first
  • Institution, location, degree, graduation month and year, GPA
  • Thesis/dissertation title and advisor

Experience

  • Can be divided into several categories: Relevant Experience, Professional Experience, Teaching Experience, Volunteer Experience, Other Experience, etc.
  • Include job title, organization, location, dates, description
  • Description should be bulleted sentence fragments starting with a strong action verb
  • Elaborate and be specific

 

Additional Possible Sections:

  • Research Interests
  • Publications/Abstracts
  • Presentations
  • Professional Associations/Affiliations
  • Awards, Fellowships, Honors, Grants
  • Languages (Include level or proficiency)
  • Courses Taken
  • Laboratory Skills
  • Technical/Computer Skills
  • Certifications
  • Community/University Service
  • Additional Information
  • References
  • Name, title, address, email address, phone number

 

CV Examples:

  • CV One : this CV is targeted to teaching positions
  • CV Two : this CV is targeted to research positions

 

Employer Correspondence

As you research career fields, network with companies, and apply for positions, you will certainly contact employers to ask questions, inquire about interviews, or thank them for their time. While the most frequently used documents are your resume and cover letter, here are a few additional documents you might find useful.

Reference List

Throughout the application process you might be asked to submit a list of references. Your references should be persons in positions of authority who have direct knowledge of your work or study habits. Potential references include former supervisors from internships, summer jobs, or volunteer work, and professors, advisors, or mentors you have here at Wake Forest. Before submitting your reference list, contact your references and ask if they’re willing to serve as your reference. When a person agrees to be a reference, send them an updated copy of your resume so they will be aware of your accomplishments and have something to refresh their memory while talking to a future employer about your skills and qualifications. After you’ve determined who will serve as your references, format your list like this example.

Job Inquiry/Direct Contact Letter

As you search for open positions for an internship or full-time job, you might need to reach out to an employer with a job inquiry or direct contact letter. These letters are frequently used when there are no open positions listed on the company’s website or if you can’t find the company’s employment page. In this letter you inquire about employment opportunities and explain why you’re interested in working for that company or in that industry. A job inquiry letter is less direct that a cover letter, but you should still highlight at least one of your relevant experiences. Before you write your job inquiry letter, review this example.

Thank You Letter

Always follow up a meeting or conversation with a potential employer with a thank you letter no more than 48 hours after you meet. As you draft your thank you letter, think back to the conversation you had or look back at the notes you took and include specific examples from your discussion. Reminding the employer of specific details from the conversation shows your interest in the position and your eagerness to learn. Here’s an example of a thank you letter written after an information interview.

Networking Email

Networking is crucial as you research industries and companies and search for opportunities for an internship or full-time job. To learn more about how to best correspond with contacts in your professional network visit our Networking section.

Letter to Accept or Decline a Job Offer

Even if you have accepted a job or internship offer over the phone, it is a good idea to write a letter to the employer to formally accept the offer. Address the letter to the person who offered you the position and confirm the details of the job or internship offer such as location, salary, benefits, and start date. Here is an example of a letter to accept a job offer. If you decide to reject a job or internship offer, write a letter to the employer to thank them for their consideration and decline the offer. Keep the letter brief and polite. It is not necessary to include details about why you are declining the offer. Here is an example of a letter to decline a job offer.