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Resume Writing and Cover Letters. Academic Advising and Career Center • (916) 278-6231 Purpose of a Resume. To secure an interview Focuses relevant skills and knowledge for audience Acknowledges accomplishments Tailored to the position for which you are applying

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resume writing and cover letters

Resume Writing and Cover Letters

Academic Advising and Career Center • (916) 278-6231

purpose of a resume
Purpose of a Resume
  • To secure an interview
  • Focuses relevant skills and knowledge for audience
  • Acknowledges accomplishments
  • Tailored to the position for which you are applying
  • Updated throughout college and professional career
styles of resumes
Styles of Resumes



resume categories
Resume Categories
  • Heading
  • Objective (optional)
  • Summary of Qualifications (optional)
  • Education
  • Certifications, licenses
  • Work Experience, Professional Experience
  • Related Experience
additional resume categories
Additional Resume Categories
  • Affiliations
  • Community Involvement
  • Professional Development Classes
  • Publications
  • Projects and Research
  • Workshops/Seminars Conducted
  • Interests (work-related)
  • International Experiences
  • Name
  • Street address
  • City, state, zip
  • Email address
  • Telephone number with area code
  • Centered or right justified
  • List the job title, position, or department to which you are applying; company name or industry.
  • Objective may be omitted for some purposes, such as a generalized resume for a career fair
  • Avoid wordy objective statements; simple is better
objective samples
Objective Samples


To obtain a position as a Human Resources Assistant with Allison Health, Inc.

Sample Objective #1:

Sample Objective #2:


To obtain a position as a Computer Programmer with proficiency in C/C++ and assembly language noted for producing clean, readable, and imaginative code

  • Degree(s)
  • Major(s)
  • Concentration(s); Minor(s)
  • School(s) where you received a degree
  • Graduation date
  • Overall and/or Major GPA (optional)
  • Expected: graduation date
education sample
Education Sample


Bachelor of Arts in Communication Studies

Minor: Spanish

California State University, Sacramento, May 2009


Bachelor of Science in Communication Studies

Concentration: Public Relations

Minor: Spanish

California State University, Sacramento, Expected: December 2009

Education Section Examples #1 and #2:

sub categories within education
Sub-categories within Education
  • These provide an excellent way to highlight information related to your school accomplishments
  • The information should relate to the requirements of the position in priority order
samples of sub categories within education
Samples of Sub-categories within Education
  • Achievements
  • Credentials
  • Language Skills
  • Honors
  • Awards
  • Related Coursework
  • Projects
  • Class Projects
  • Computer Skills
  • Certifications
  • Licensure
  • Scholarships
sample of sub categories within education
Sample of Sub-categories within Education


Bachelor of Arts in Communication Studies, Digital Media

Minor: Computer Science

California State University, Sacramento, May 2010

Honors: Golden Key National Honor Society

Certification: C++ Programming

Language Skills: Bilingual and biliterate in Spanish

Computer Skills: Microsoft Access, PowerPoint, Excel

showcasing your leadership experiences
Showcasing Your Leadership Experiences
  • Awards/Achievements
  • Campus Activities: Orientation leader, Peer mentor
  • University Service
  • Recognition: Senior Sales, Manager, Supervisor
  • Program or Project Leader
  • Publications
  • Organizations, Clubs
  • Volunteering
examples of showcasing your leadership skills
Examples of Showcasing Your Leadership Skills


• Three year membership in the Honor Society, including acting as Treasurer and President for one year

• Five years volunteer experience at Loaves and Fishes

• Three years experience as a recreation leader at the Boys and Girls Club of Sacramento


Recreation Leader, Boys and Girls Club, Sacramento, CA 2008-2009

Volunteer, Loaves and Fishes, Sacramento, CA 2005-2010

examples of showcasing your leadership skills1
Examples of Showcasing Your Leadership Skills


Treasurer, Queer-Straight Alliance, California State University, Sacramento, CA 2010

Member, Art History Club , California State University, Sacramento, CA 2009


Effective Marketing Tactics, Alpha Kappa Alpha, Sacramento State, CA 2008

Career Options, Philosophy Club, Sacramento State, CA 2007


Leadership Conference, California State University, Sacramento, CA, 2011

school experiences in resumes
School Experiences in Resumes
  • Technical skills and knowledge,
  • Internships and volunteer work
  • Projects, group work, assignments
  • Senior project and/or other research projects/assignments
  • Lab courses
  • Soft skills, such as communication, leadership, organization, and research skills
  • Student clubs and organizations
  • Course content skills and knowledge
  • Community engagement opportunities
chronological resumes
Chronological Resumes


  • Known, Conventional
  • Good for work history that relates to the position
  • Employer can see job duties for each position
  • Emphasis on job titles and dates


  • May not highlight most relevant skills
  • Reflects gaps in employment history
  • May not highlight skills and knowledge from school and volunteer work
combination resumes
Combination Resumes


  • Includes skills acquired from school and other experiences
  • Emphasizes skills most relevant to the position
  • Underplays chronology, limited experience, “job hopping”
  • Helpful to those who have limited job related experience, are transitioning from the military, or who are changing careers


  • Employers may be unfamiliar with style or wary that you are trying to “fix” something
  • Employer cannot see job duties from each position
work experience in a chronological resume
Work Experience in a Chronological Resume
  • In reverse chronological order by date
  • Job title
  • Company/Organization
  • Department/Division
  • City, State
  • Dates of Employment
  • Action-verb sentences in priority order and written to reflect skills/knowledge relating to the job
sample of work experience in a chronological resume
Sample of Work Experience in a Chronological Resume


Instructor and Networking Assistant January 2008 - Present

Technology Resource Center, Hansen University, Happy Valley, CA

• Instructed 120 college students in web-designing and multimedia

video production during the summer.

MIS Intern Sept 2006 - Dec 2008

Globe Central, Inc., San Francisco, CA

• Installed, configured, enhanced, and maintained computer systems

for the Human Resources Department with 50 employees and workstations.

skills section in a combination resume
Skills Section in a Combination Resume
  • Three skill categories that relate to the position or purpose of the resume
  • Always include a Work History section after the Relevant Skills and Knowledge section
    • The Work History section only includes the Job Title, company or organization name, City, State, and date range.
  • The date range can be express by year only or month and year.
sample of skills section in a combination resume
Sample of Skills Section in a Combination Resume


Program Development

• Prepared and taught health education programs to students in

stress management, relaxation and exercise.

• Implemented a smoking education and cessation program in the

residence halls for freshman and sophomore students; 85% of

students attended.

Management and Supervision

• Supervised a staff of up to 15 personal trainers in a center that

specialized in professional and college athletes.

Project Management

• Directed a 15-person team that conducted a nutrition health survey of 1,000 school age children, ages 9 – 17.

action verb statements
Action-verb Statements
  • Describe skills, knowledge and/or accomplishments that relate to the position, industry, department, or company
  • Begin with past-tense action verbs
  • Are quantifiable, if possible
  • Are usually no more than two lines
  • Are written in priority order in relation to the skill set required for the position
action verb statements1
Action-verb Statements
  • Taught a technical workshop. (First Draft)
  • Designed and taught a workshop on web-based video.
  • Designed and taught a 10-week training session for 20 Consulting Department employees on Web-based Video Production.

The following is an example of an action-verb sentence demonstrating the progression of creating a sentence from a first draft through a more developed and comprehensive sentence.

Sample Action-verb sentence #1:

  • If you were a group of employers, what would you look for in a resume?
  • References are listed on a separate page with the same heading as your resume and include your reference name, business title, business address, telephone number, and email address
  • Printed on the same paper as your resume
  • Same heading as your resume with a title, for example, REFERENCES or Professional References
  • Personal references are not acceptable.
cover letters
Cover Letters
  • Are an essential part of your application packet
  • Must be written for each job for which you are applying; avoid generic cover letters
  • Avoid “essays”; keep your letter simple and pertinent to the job and/or purpose of the letter
  • Personalize the letter by including information about the position/company/organization.
  • There are many types of business correspondence, including cover letters
  • One page. Keep to a minimum sentences that start with “I”
  • Sign your letters in black ink. Use 100% cotton paper or the same resume paper as your resume
  • Letters should have plenty of “open space”

This handout is provided by the Academic Advising and Career Center at California State University, Sacramento and is intended for personal non-commercial use. 2013

cover letters1
Cover Letters


  • Your name and contact information
  • Inside Address: Employer’s name and company address
  • Salutation
  • Body
  • Closing
  • Enclosure (Resume)
first paragraph
First Paragraph
  • Briefly introduce yourself and your interest in the organization/position
  • Mention how you heard about the position, if someone referred you, or you met the recipient at a previous event or meeting
middle paragraph s
Middle Paragraph(s)
  • Highlight your background, with examples, as it relates to the position or purpose
  • Focus on skills and accomplishments
  • What attracts you to the company or organization
  • What makes you unique?
closing paragraph
Closing Paragraph
  • Appreciation for considering your application
  • How to contact applicant
  • Thank them for their time and consideration
thank you

Thank you

The Career Center offers drop-in services where you can obtain assistance with questions about resumes, cover letters, interviewing techniques, and other aspects of your job search. If you need help beginning to write a resume or if you have a draft that you would like critiqued, visit the Career Center in Lassen Hall.

Thank you, The Career Center Staff