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Resumes & Cover Letters

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The goal of your resume is to capture the attention and interest of the employer within 20 seconds. Unfortunately, it will take more than 20 seconds for you to create a resume that can accomplish this goal. Developing a resume of high quality takes time, effort, and a little know-how. This packet contains the general guidelines and basic information about resume writing to get you started. You will need to provide the time and effort.

Get Help with Writing

  • See a Career Coach for individual help, make an appointment with a career coach in our office using CSU Pueblo Handshake.
  • Post your resume on CSU Pueblo Handshake for a critique from a career coach.
  • Review the samples below.

Resumes and Cover Letters

How To Write A Resume


    Purposes of a Resume

    Your resume is a personal marketing tool. It is an essential part of the job-search campaign because it is an important tool used in securing an interview, whether you are searching for a part-time job, internship or co-op, or professional employment. As such, your resume must attract attention, create interest, and provoke action: an interview.

    A resume is a written summary of your education, work experience, professional skills, and interests. Your résumé documents your value as a potential employee.

    A resume is a sample of your ability to organize and express yourself in writing, clearly, concisely, and neatly.

    Your resume can be an important step in interview preparation because it focuses your attention on your strengths and accomplishments.

    During an interview, your resume can serve as a point of reference. Many interviewers will base their questions on the content of your resume, so in a sense, you can help guide the course of your interviews by preparing a resume of high quality.


    Before you Begin...Prepare!

    Know Yourself: Resume preparation begins with self-analysis. As with all phases of the job search, you need to understand your career goals, strengths, skills, and abilities, and be able to communicate their value to potential employers.

    Evaluate your professional interests and likes and dislikes of past work environments.

    Inventory your past experience, paid or voluntary. Which experiences are relevant to your current job search and what competencies did you develop or strengthen as a result of those experiences?

    Know Your Audience: You should target your resume to your audience.

    What level or types of positions are you seeking?

    What skills and experiences are necessary for these positions?

    Does your experience match the requirements? If so, you will be able to organize your resume to "fit" each job you seek.


    Choosing a Resume Format

    Choosing the best resume format depends on your background and the requirements of the jobs for which you want to interview. Choose the format that emphasizes your strengths, skills, and accomplishments. The three most common resume formats are:

    Chronological: The chronological resume focuses on time and continuity. It is easy to organize, write, and read, and it is the most commonly used type of resume. In a chronological resume:

    Present your most recent job and educational experience first, then trace backward in time.

    Describe the duties you performed under each listed experience.

    Emphasize your career growth and progression.

    Gaps in employment are readily noticeable. It is not advantageous for people with limited or unrelated employment experience.

    Functional: The functional resume focuses on professional skills, responsibilities, and accomplishments while it de-emphasizes dates and specific work experiences you have had. The functional resume is:

    Organized by functional skills that explain general areas of expertise. Under each functional skill is a brief explanation of your accomplishments in that area.

    Tailored to highlight your specific skills that the job requires.

    Good for recent graduates, liberal arts majors, career changers, and people with limited work experience or interrupted careers.

    Combination: The combination resume incorporates both the chronological and functional formats. The combination resume: 

    Tailors the explanation of your job history to fit the types of jobs for which you are applying.

    Can also show continuity in your job record or history.

    Allows you to organize your background by skills and functions rather than by job title. Most of the combination resume is functional.

    Lists your job titles and employers in reverse chronological order at the end of the resume.


    Ingredients of an Effective Resume


    Identifying Information

    Include your name, address, city, state, ZIP code, and telephone number with area code. If you will be graduating, you should include both a permanent and a current address on your résumé.


    List, in reverse chronological order, all college, university, and professional school information where you earned a degree or certificate. You do not need to list your high school. Be certain to include the following information for each institution you attended:

    Degree awarded

    Name of institution, city, and state

    Major, minor, area of concentration/specialization

    Graduation date (month and year)


    Include information about part-time, full-time, volunteer, summer, co-op, internship, community, and organization experiences as they relate to the job you are seeking. Be certain to include the following information for each experience:

    Title of position

    Name of employer (company or organization)

    City and state of employer

    Beginning and ending dates of employment (month and year)

    Job-description statements beginning with action verbs (power words)

    Describe your experiences using power words (see list of action verbs) and sentence fragments. Write concise explanations of the duties you performed, emphasizing major responsibilities, accomplishments, and results.

    Quantify your experiences with facts and figures wherever possible. Quantifying helps an employer determine your level of authority, responsibility, and impact on an organization. Remember that this is your opportunity to persuade the employer to interview you!


    Depending upon your background, you may include the following information in your resume:

    Career Objective

    The career objective should be a brief, clearly worded statement indicating the level or type of position you are seeking, the type of organization you want to work for, and the skill you want to use in the position.

    If you are looking at a variety of jobs, you may choose to omit the objective and discuss your interests in the cover letter or prepare a separate resume for each career objective.


    Include your cumulative or major G.P.A. only if it is 3.0 or higher. Always indicate the grading scale: for example, "3.9/4.0" means 3.9 on a 4.0 scale.

    College Courses

    Include course work only if it is relevant to the position you are seeking or related to your major.


    Include title and years awarded.


    List any you currently hold that are required for the position.


    Include title, date, and bibliographical information.


    Include community, campus, volunteer, and professional groups. Indicate leadership roles where applicable. Include dates for each position held.


    Include such skill areas as computer proficiency, foreign languages, coaching, and others appropriate for the position.


    You may include a statement at the end of your résumé indicating that references are available upon request; however, most employers will make this assumption.

    • If an employer requests a list of references, enclose a separate page entitled "References." Do not include the reference list in the body of your résumé. Include the following information for each reference:
      • Name
      • Position title
      • Employer/organization
      • Business address
      • Telephone number with area code
      • Relationship (if not clear from resume)
    • Use only professional references from such people as faculty members and past and present supervisors.
    • Get permission in advance from all references, notify them when you use their names, keep them informed of your progress, send them thank you notes, and tell them when you get a job.
    • Send a reference list only when an employer requests one

    Resumes DO'S/DONT'S


    • Make certain your resume is well spaced and visually attractive.
    • Make your resume concise. Use only as much space as you need to tell the employer what he or she will need to know in order to make the decision to interview you. If you decide that a second page is necessary, it should be identified with your name.
    • Use action words and sentence fragments to describe your experiences. Quantify your experiences wherever possible.
    • Be consistent in your use of dates, numbers, abbreviations, etc.
    • Check and recheck your resume for errors; look closely for mistakes in grammar, punctuation, and spelling.
    • Have someone else critique and proofread your resume.
    • Select quality bond paper for your final copies. Use white, ivory, cream, beige, buff, or light gray paper.
    • Use a letter-quality or laser printer and black type.
    • Fold and mail your resume in a matching envelope or mail it flat in a 9" x 12" white or manila envelope.


    • Type "Resume" above your name.
    • State your reasons for leaving a job.
    • Use abbreviations or contractions.
    • Write lengthy prose.
    • Use multiple fonts, typographic symbols, or other visual elements.
    • Use personal pronouns (I, we, my).
    • Include a photograph.
    • Mention personal data (e.g., height, weight, health, age or date of birth, marital status, race, religion, sex, etc.).


    Begin each phrase with one of these power words to describe your experiences. Use short sentence fragments to explain the duties you performed, your major responsibilities, and any accomplishments.

    View Action Verbs

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