Resume + Cover Letter

The Eller Professional Development Center (PDC) offers student walk-in hours with our Professional Development Associates, or appointments with the Eller Career Coaches to assist with your resume and cover letter development. The PDC is located in McClelland Hall 203.   

Appointments
Make an appointment with an Eller Career Coach through eSMS, select “Career Advising” under appointment type.

Student Walk-in Hours
The Professional Development Associates are Eller paraprofessional students who offer weekly walk-in hours for resume and cover letter development, interview skills, and other career related questions.  Click here to view our hours.


 

Resumes and Cover Letters

Good, error-free resumes and cover letters are essential for career and professional development.

Learn more below:

Resume Development

The resume is primarily a marketing tool designed to interest a potential employer in your qualifications and skills. The resume is your advertisement and "selling piece" to persuade an employer to interview you. It is a summary of your experiences, not your full-length biography.

Resume Checklist

Please click a section below to view full content:

Clean and Error Free

Your resume must be neat. An initial impression is made in the first five seconds. If your resume is difficult to read, it may be thrown aside and not considered. Furthermore, even one error will make an employer question the quality of all your work.

Formatted Consistently

You should ensure that your resume uses consistent verb tenses, font, and sizing. Avoid the use of templates since you want to make sure that your resume is distinct and not necessarily the same as the other candidates.

Concise and Easy to Read

Limit your resume to one 8 1/2" x 11" page printed with a laser printer. Use the following guidelines as a standard to follow:

  • Use 9-point font minimum, Times New Roman preferred
  • Use even margins, minimum of .5 inch on the left
  • Use a minimum number of words and use bullet points; important skills and information should be highlighted and easy to spot, not buried in lengthy paragraphs
  • Use at least 20-pound bond paper in a plain or off-white color – Keep in mind that many resumes are photocopied, and gray or dark colors do not reproduce well.

Positive, Action-Oriented Words

Maintain a positive word choice – Avoid saying “not” or “none.” The reader should feel that you are optimistic in your approach. Use "action" words and action-verb phrases in order to make your job responsibilities distinct and powerful. Highlight any leadership involvement and opportunities you took to initiate or lead.

Correct Grammar

  • Ensure consistent and correct use of punctuation and capitalization.
  • Use the language of your specific industry when you are sure it will be understood
  • Limit use of abbreviations/acronyms
  • Avoid the use of pronouns ("I" and "me") and unnecessary articles such as "a”&"the."
  • Use consistent verb tense (present tense for current positions; past tense for previous work)
  • Use conventional abbreviations and capitalization for resumes
  • Spell out months and street addresses (August not Aug; Street, Avenue not St., Ave.)
  • Abbreviate states using the U.S. Postal abbreviations. Be sure to capitalize both letters in the abbreviation (AZ not Az; CA not Ca)
  • Capitalize languages (i.e. Spanish not spanish)
  • Write out all years fully in consistent format (1993-1995 not 1993-95 or 1993-5)
  • Periods are not required when using bullets; periods may or may not be used, but you must be consistent throughout
  • Be extremely careful when spelling and capitalizing computer software and hardware. Check the correct spelling and capitalization with the manuals. (COBOL not Cobol; PowerPoint not Powerpoint)

Sample Resumes

Download and read sample resumes in PDF format:

Strengthen Your Resume

Please click a section below to view full content:

Action Verbs

Accelerated
Accomplished
Achieved
Acquired
Adapted
Addressed
Administered
Advised
Allocated
Analyzed
Applied
Appointed
Approved
Arranged
Assigned
Assisted
Budgeted
Built
Chaired
Communicated
Compiled
Completed
Conducted
Contacted
Coordinated
Counseled
Created
Dealt
Defined
Delegated
Delivered
Demonstrated
Designed
Developed
Devised
Directed
Discovered
Distributed
Earned
Edited
Eliminated
Encouraged
Established

Evaluated
Expanded
Facilitated
Filled
Financed
Formed
Founded
Generated
Guided
Handled
Headed
Hired
Identified
Implemented
Improved
Increased
Influenced
Initiated
Integrated
Interviewed
Introduced
Involved
Launched
Led
Maintained
Managed
Marketed
Modified
Monitored
Motivated
Negotiated
Obtained
Operated
Organized
Oversaw
Participated
Performed
Persuaded
Planned
Prepared
Presented
Produced
Promoted

Provided
Recommended
Recruited
Redesigned
Reduced
Referred
Reorganized
Reported
Represented
Researched
Resolved
Reviewed
Revised
Saved
Scheduled
Selected
Set up
Simplified Solved
Specialized
Sponsored
Staffed
Started
Streamlined
Strengthened
Structured
Studied
Suggested
Summarized
Supervised
Supported
Taught
Tracked
Trained
Transferred
Translated
Unified
Updated
Upgraded
Utilized
Verified
Won
Worked
Wrote

Action Phrases

Administered plan..
Assisted in the coordination of...
Assumed responsibility Carried out...
Chaired a task force .....
Compiled data for...
Completed a $XX.XX project 
Contributed to the development of...
Created new campaign/committee/ 
Interviewed, organized and trained XX staff members...
Developed new system to...
Hired and supervised a staff of XX 
Improved....resulting in....
Initiated and Implemented new ... 
Increased sales by...
Involved in the development... 
Managed the successful completion of...
Oversaw all aspects of ... 
Provided services which...
Received extensive training in.... 
Referred customers to.....
Responsible for marketing and…

Cover Letter Development

Cover letters can distinguish you from other potential candidates. The cover letter is an important component to give you an edge on other applicants that may have similar experience. We have developed sample letters that can give you a better idea of what key questions to answer in your cover letter.

Cover Letter Checklist

Please click a section below to view full content:

Format

  • One page maximum
  • 10 point font minimum, Times New Roman preferred
  • Even margins, minimum of 1 inch around
  • Well balanced use of white space
  • Block formal letter format
  • Clean grammar and spelling
  • Avoid the use of acronyms that may seem vague
  • Avoid the use of informal contractions
  • Use paragraph breaks to make it easier to read
  • Include return address, date and recipient address

Content

  • Letter is addressed to someone specific if possible
  • Introductory paragraph introduces candidate and purpose
  • Do not start with “My name is…”
  • Avoid starting each sentence with “I”
  • Body of document should include reference to specific examples
  • Final paragraph should express appreciation for consideration
  • Ask for specific action if possible
  • Indicate how you will follow-up about the position

Distinctive Expression

  • Catch the readers interest by detailing your qualifications
  • Avoid listing or regurgitating what is already on your resume
  • Provide evidence that you surpass the other candidates
  • Emphasize that you are a good fit with the organization’s objectives
  • Focus on what you can do for the company, not what the company can do for you
  • Compliment the company’s successes
  • Make it clear that you understand the mission and company culture

Cover Letter Guidelines

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Professional Admissions

The Professional Admission cover letter is more of a personal statement rather than a true job search cover letter. Although we ask you to use the traditional cover letter format we want you to write about YOU. The best letters are ones that have an individual feel and reflect involvement, accomplishments, and clear goals. Try to avoid generic statements and letters with a lack of focus. Instead talk about yourself and what you as an individual have done thus far and what you plan to do in the future. Show the interviewers that you are unique and give them insight into who you really are.

Your Name*
(*not usually a part of a cover letter but needed for application purposes)

Your Present Address
City, State and Zip Code

Date 

Eller College Admissions Committee
McClelland Hall 204
1130 E. Helen St.
Tucson, Arizona 85721-0108 

Dear Eller College Admissions Committee:

The OPENING PARAGRAPH should include:

  • What major are you applying for?
  • Why this major?
  • Reasons for selecting desired major
  • Why does this major relate to your desired career choice? Be as specific as possible.

The MIDDLE PARAGRAPH(s) should include:

  • Illustrate your co-curricular activities, work experience and/or accomplishments
    • What have you learned in both academic and nonacademic settings?
    • Make reference to your resume, but do not simply repeat information; fill in between the lines of the resume in order to help the reader assess your skills and abilities related to their individual needs. This is the perfect time to make the interviewer want to read your resume!
    • Be specific, but concise; the cover letter should never be longer than 1 page.
  • Give some compelling yet specific reasons why you should be part of the Eller College
  • What can you contribute to this community? What makes you who you are?

The CLOSING PARAGRAPH should include:

  • Sum up how you will be an effective member of the Eller College

Sincerely,

Your Signature

Your Typewritten Name

  • You should leave 4 spaces between your closing and your typewritten name.

Full-Time Job

This section should be 1-to 2-inch margin from the top.

Your Present Address
City, State and Zip Code
Telephone Number
E-mail Address
Date 

Person's Name
Title
Organization Name
Street Address
City, State and Zip Code (Use the same address that will be on the envelope.) 

Dear Ms. or Mr. (last name): (Always include the individual's name with whom the letter is addressed)

Opening Paragraph: 
The opening paragraph should include:

  • Why you are writing
  • The name of the position, field or type of work you are interested in
  • Where you received notification of the organization’s need for the position you are applying for
  • The opening paragraph is an ideal place to catch the reader's attention! Mention why you are so interested in the organization, how you found out about the organization and that you believe you are an ideal candidate. 

Middle Paragraph(s):
The middle paragraph(s) should include:

  • Why you are interested in your desired career
  • Qualifications related to the position, field or type of work you are applying for
  • Why you want to pursue employment with the particular employer
  • Make reference to your resume, but do not simply repeat information; fill in between the lines of the resume in order to help the reader assess your skills and abilities related to their individual needs. This is the perfect time to make the employer want to read your resume!
  • Be specific, but concise; the cover letter should never be longer than 1 page 

Closing Paragraph:
The closing paragraph should include: What the next step of the process is:

  • References have been provided if requested in the initial advertisement
  • Request an interview and state that you will follow up in 10 business days to see if an interview can be scheduled
  • Request any further application materials in a clear and understandable manner
  • Thank the reader for their time and consideration 

Sincerely,

Your Signature

Your Typewritten Name

Enclosure

  • You should leave 4 spaces between your closing and your typewritten name.
  • Enclosures include those materials referenced in the body of the letter.


 

For additional information, please contact us.