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RESUMES & COVER LETTERS. Julie F. Johnson, Ph.D. Assistant Director Experiential Education and Career Services James W. Stuckert Career Center University of Kentucky January 20 th , 2009. A successful resume . . . Focuses on skills Uses action words to describe experience

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Resumes cover letters


Julie F. Johnson, Ph.D.

Assistant Director

Experiential Education and Career Services

James W. Stuckert Career Center

University of Kentucky

January 20th , 2009

A successful resume
A successful resume . . .

  • Focuses on skills

  • Uses action words to describe experience

  • Is easy to read and understand

  • Is free of gimmicks

  • Is no more than two pages(one, if possible)

A successful resume1
A successful resume . . .

  • Is grammatically correct and free of errors

  • Does not use “I,” contractions or abbreviations

  • Is printed on high-quality paper (white/ivory color, 8-1/2x11)

  • Presents information in reverse chronological order (most recent first)

Resume formats
Resume Formats

  • Chronological Format

    • Emphasizes employment history in a progressive sequence

  • Functional Format

    • Emphasized skills, abilities, credentials, qualifications

  • Combination (best of both worlds)

    • Brief synopsis of market value, followed by chronological employment history

Content of your resume
Content of your Resume

  • Identification/Contact Information

  • Objective

  • Education

  • Professional Experience

  • Skills

  • Awards

  • Memberships/Professional Affiliations

  • Related Activities/Accomplishments

Contact information
Contact Information

Name, Address, Telephone, E-mail

  • Avoid nicknames

  • Use a permanent address(may choose to show two addresses)

  • Use a permanent telephone number (check greeting, alert family/roommates)

  • Use an appropriate email address

  • No personal information or pictures


An objective tells potential employers the type of work you would like to do.

  • Clear and concise

  • No summaries; no long term goals

  • Tailor your objective to each employer/job you seek

  • Be specific about the job you want


  • Degree, major, date received

  • University, City, State

  • GPA if 3.0 or higher

  • May also mention additional education-related items such as academic honors, certificates or licenses, relevant courses, etc., briefly here

Sample entry
Sample Entry


  • Bachelor of Arts, Integrated Strategic Communication, May 2006

  • University of Kentucky, Lexington, Kentucky

  • GPA 3.6

  • Dean’s List four semesters

  • National Design Award Winner

  • Who’s Who Among Students in American

  • Universities and Colleges


  • Languages

    • both fluent and conversational

  • Computer programs and systems

    • especially industry specific software or systems (Quark, Photoshop, etc.)

  • Special skills

    • photography, advertising, web, etc.


  • Title of position

  • Name of organization

  • Location of work (city, state)

  • Dates of employment

  • Description of responsibilities using action words, with emphasis on specific skills (bulleted items are best if space allows; not recommended for electronic submission)

  • Who, What, Where, When?

Sample entry1
Sample Entry


  • Publicity Intern, Spring Semester 2006

  • Department of Theatre

  • University of Kentucky, Lexington, Kentucky

  • Managed publicity for three main stage productions

  • Created marketing plan for on-campus promotions

  • Designed posters and other promotional materials using Quark desktop publishing software

  • Wrote press releases

  • Coordinated print and radio advertising

Volunteer experience
Volunteer Experience

  • Include volunteer experiences where they fit best

    • Related volunteer work may be included under the “Experience” heading and described in the same format

    • Other volunteer work might fit better under “Activities”

  • Make sure headings agree with subjects under them

Activities and or affiliations
Activities and/or Affiliations

  • List relevant activities and affiliations

  • List positions and participation

  • May include skills acquired and used

  • May include accomplishments


  • Create a separate page for references

  • Make sure your name is on it(may use same heading as resume)

  • Include name, title, organization, address, phone, and email for each contact (at least 3)

  • Send references only when requested

  • Take copies to the interview


  • Do not need to say “available upon request”

  • Have references available on separate page

  • Most employers check at least three

  • They should be individuals who can attest to your work habits and qualifications for a particular position

  • Professor, Supervisor, Co-worker, Advisor, Coach, avoid personal references unless specified by employer


  • ASK before you use anyone as a reference—confirm that they are willing and that they will give a good reference

  • Send them a resume

  • Let them know where you are in the application/interview process

Resume mishaps
Resume Mishaps

  • “Instrumental in ruining entire operation for a Midwest chain store.”

  • “I am a rabid typist.”

  • “Supervised and mentored sex employees.”

  • “It is best for employers that I not work with people.”

  • “Responsibilities included checking people out.”

Video with helpful hints
Video with Helpful Hints

Cover letter
Cover Letter

  • Also called Application Letter

  • Provides a context in which to read your resume

  • Shows your writing style and personality

  • Personal, warm tone—but still professional

Cover letters
Cover Letters

  • Full block format (flush left), one page

  • Addressed to a specific individual with his/her correct title and business address

  • Tailored for each situation(know your audience and their needs)

  • Should be work-centered and employer-centered; not self-centered

  • Most important facts first, supported by facts

Cover letter 3 or 4 paragraphs
Cover Letter—3 or 4 Paragraphs

  • Introduction, who you are, what you are applying for

  • Summarizes education, background, experience, and strengths in a way that shows how you fit the position

  • Thanks, express enthusiasm, will follow-up, end with a strength