Wilkes University

Help with Résumés, Cover Letters, and Thank You Letters

How to Write RésuméCover Letters & Thank-You Letters


Résumés

There are various styles and layouts for résumés. This document and template is useful when getting started in creating a résumé to apply for an internship. The headings can be changed as indicated according to your experience. Engineering résumés get even more involved! You can also view the Career Services Résumé Guide for some additional completed samples.

Sections of the résumé:

1. Your Name

Your name should appear at the top of the page. While the substance of your résumé should be between 10 to 12 pt. font, you may make your name slightly larger and BOLDER. I like using all CAPS, but it is irrelevant for the content of the Résumé. While you should not use a nickname on your résumé ex: Dom, if you go by a name that is very different from your full name, (Eric Charles Smith) and you go by Charles you can use that on your résumé. (Putting Name and Info as the “header” may not always be viewable if sent electronically). May want to save it as a .PDF because not all Word documents will be viewed the same when opened.

2. Your Address (Campus address or home address)

Your local address (closest to place you are applying) should be beneath your name. Decide if it is best to include both a school address as well as a permanent address, or decide on just one. Be sure to include your telephone number with area code and PROFESSIONAL email address. Avoid the personal nicknames on your gmail account. (cutefieldhockeygurl@gmail.com). Companies will not accept résumés if they cannot call you, be sure your phone number (only the primary) is shown. Add your Social media link @cmsmith12 to your address line; show your employer you have nothing to hide.

3. Objective

Flush left or centered. Be consistent with the rest of the headings. What are you applying for – a summer internship, then say—internship. If you include this section it should be a sentence or two about your internship goals. A SHORT objective that describes why you are the perfect candidate for the job can help your résumé stand out from the competition. A general objective is fine when mailing a large number of résumés. A specific however one gets you HIRED!

4. Education

The heading for this section, "Education", can be centered or flush with the left margin and the schools should be in BOLD, followed by the city and state. In this section, begin with the most current or recent school you have attended and work backwards chronologically from there. List your graduate and undergraduate schools, city and state, expected or actual month and year of graduation, degree(s), honors and activities, and grade point average if you think it is a selling point. If you do include your GPA, it should be at least a 3.0 or higher (e.g., 3.0). You may also include fellowships, research projects, and study abroad programs here. If relevant, you may briefly describe your thesis or research projects. If your GPA in major is over a 3.0 you can list that instead, while this option is fine, you will need to indicate GPA IN MAJOR very clearly. List this when this is higher than your overall GPA.

What about your pre-college achievements? While this is not usually included, you should mention this only under a few of the following sample scenarios:

  • You were class valedictorian (make sure you also mention this fact on the résumé);
  • Eagle Scout is usually mentioned in Honors and Awards
  • The high school achievement applies in some way to the job (or company) you are applying for
5. Honors and Awards

"Honors and Awards" should be listed under the respective academic institutions at which you received them. No matter how you arrange them, be certain to include any honors that indicate a high level of academic performance, and explain their significance if necessary. Dean’s List, list the semesters (ex: 5 semesters). Be sure to include any nationally recognized honors. Merit scholarships should be included if you received a scholarship to pursue your degree.

6. Related Experience/Coursework (listed earlier) vs. Work Experience (non- related list last on résumé )

The next category is "Experience." If everything included in this section is a paid job, you can call the section "Work Experience," but if you have included internships and volunteer positions, you should simply call it "Experience.

Begin with the most current or recent position you have held and work backwards chronologically from there. The name of the company and location should be on the first line, with the positions held and the relevant dates (M/YYYY) on the second.

You should also include a brief job description. When writing a job description, be succinct and begin the sentence with an action word, “supervised 4 cashiers”. Complete sentences are not necessary, though phrases or bulleted points that function as a sentence, rather than as a listing of items, should always end with a period.

The text should not include unnecessary articles such as: "the," "a," or "an." This will make your description read more clearly. You should also avoid the use of personal pronouns, like "my" or "I." Avoid using phrases such as, "My responsibilities included writing...reading... researching..." Instead, try to use "drafted ... read ... researched..." and other action words. Use the present tense only if you are currently doing the job. Otherwise, all verbs should be in the past tense. Specific descriptions, like projects you completed or some other accomplishment, will demonstrate the value that you added.

If you earned Employee of the Month, that should be noted. On the contrary, if you say “outstanding employee” well that’s your opinion. How do we know you were?

7. Additional Categories

Skills/ Technical skills such as “proficient in MS Excel, PowerPoint” is very helpful to sell yourself.

  • Psychology majors may want to show Basic or proficient SPSS skills. Are your clearances current? From what state?
  • Accounting- Quickbooks
  • CS majors, list your programming courses C++,
  • IM majors, list your InDesign CS6 or Dreamweaver skills
  • Engineers - MATlab or Pspice, CADD
  • All majors MS Excel, Word etc. Note: Windows is NOT a software program, and if you are a proficient MAC user, say it!

Campus Activities-Don't forget to include any significant college or professional activities, such as sports teams or the arts, in which you participated, as employers view this as an indication of your ability to work on a team, communicate and achieve a common goal. Show that you are active members of clubs, not officers, (that gets listed under leadership). IF you didn’t participate in any of the club activities, don’t list yourself as a member.

Leadership Activities: If you held any positions of leadership at the University or community organizations, these should also be listed. Resident Assistant, Ementor, President of Psych Club, President of Programming Board. You are a multi-tasker!

Other categories to include are Professional Organizations, Licenses and Certifications, as well. Include dates with professional organizations starting with the most recent membership and working backwards. Also state whether you were a member or if you held an office in that particular organization. Examples of licenses and certifications include CPR and First Aid training as well as registration as a pharmacy intern. It is important to include who issued the certification. For example CPR and First Aid training certification is typically by either AHA or the Red Cross. Pharmacy students: You should include your pharmacy intern permit number as well as the expiration date.

Use an "Interests" or "Personal" category in the event your résumé shows little activities. Interests can provide a good starting point for an interview. Use this category if you have a hobby that is out of the ordinary or demonstrates dedication, such as BMX Racing, carpentry, or participating in marathons.

Here are some helpful links:

  1. http://www.quintcareers.com/resume_samples.html
  2. http://www.résumétemplates.com/writearésumé.aspx
  3. http://owl.english.purdue.edu/owl/resource/719/01/
Helpful Advice:

Don’t lie EVER; if you don’t speak fluent Spanish then don’t list it.

Frequently asked question: “I was paid in cash for doing a job, do I list it on my résumé?” Yard work Labor, Yes. Nanny/Babysitting, Yes. Painters Union Local #877 … keep the specificity out and just list ‘labor’.

Résumé paper is nice for the Fortune 500’s of the world; it’s pricey but makes a great impression!

The résumé gets you the interview, and then it’s up to you. So, yes, wear a suit. No one ever said, “You are not hired because you dressed too professionally in the interview.”

Do a mock interview and prepare about 2-3 questions for the employer that are not based on compensation or number of days off. RESEARCH THE COMPANY BEFORE YOU GO!

“What do you think the culture is here at ABC Company?” “What do you like about your job?”

Printing Your Résumé

You should produce a professional résumé; always take a few copies with you! Keep one on your lap along with your questions to the employer. You can refer to it -dates etc.

The variable font sizes and styles can be used to help you include more information (ideally, your font should be at 11 or 12 pt. for ease of reading), and the use of bold & italicized fonts will help you emphasize certain items. Don’tbe CRAZY

Résumés may be printed on regular paper. Undergraduate résumés should be ONE page. Exceptions are CVs.

Edit: Finally, your résumé must be error-free. Read and re-read it. Have someone else read it for you. One misspelled word, incorrect company name! or digit on cell numbers can spoil your chances of securing an interview.

Page 2- REFERENCE SHEET or CV

For a reference list, use the SAME format for name and contact information you used on your résumé. Then list three names, titles, and their best number to call. You may want to indicate how you know this person, Ex: faculty advisor. Notify this person that you are doing this. If it was an employer while you were in high school; they may need to brush up on your skills & how they remember you.


 

Cover Letters

Writing Cover Letters
In today's job market, internships are almost as competitive as full-time openings. The increasing demand for solid internships has afforded employers the opportunity to pick and choose. What does this mean for you? Well, it means that you need to start approaching your internship search as if you were looking for a full-time job. That means doing company research and writing cover letters and resumés that relate specifically to your organizations of interest.

What is a cover letter?
A cover letter is a brief introduction of you that should accompany your resumé when you apply for an internship position. Its purpose is to give the reader a taste of what's to follow in your resumé. Think of it as an advertisement of yourself. You are trying to pique an employer's interest so he or she will want to read your resumé.

Not all cover letters should be the same. Your letter should be tailored to meet the specifics of the particular opportunity for which you are applying. Since this will be the first introduction the employer will have to you, it is important that it is well written. No matter what your major, an employer does not want an intern who will not be able to effectively communicate with employees.

Cover letters should be brief. Employers will typically receive an abundance of resumés for both internships and full-time openings. They do not have the time nor interest to read a two page letter. Typically, a cover letter will have three to four paragraphs.

Try to personalize the letter whenever possible. Ideally you want to address the letter to an influential person in the department that interests you. If you send your cover letter and resumé to the Human Resources Department it will probably be passed around to several hands and you may never know where it ends up. This information will be important when it comes time for a follow-up call. If you are simply unable to find a contact name, Dear Sir/Madam is acceptable.

Writing the Cover Letter
Always type your cover letter and use a spell-checking program. If you do not have access to a personal computer or typewriter, use the computer labs on the Wilkes University Campus or visit the Co-op office for assistance. Paper for cover letters should be plain and refined, and should match your resumé paper. Plain white paper is acceptable.

An effective cover letter should contain...

  • your return address.
  • the date.
  • the name and title of your contact, the company name and address.
  • a greeting/salutation.
  • a body of 3-4 paragraphs (see below).
  • a closing.

1st Paragraph
Your opening paragraph should inform the reader why you are writing and the type of position which interests you. Inform the reader that you are interested in an internship and what semester you are available. Keep this section short and to the point.

2nd Paragraph
Your second paragraph should briefly discuss some of your skills that will benefit the employer in the internship and outline how you can contribute to the company.

3rd Paragraph
The final paragraph should express your interest in meeting the individual for an interview, at his or her earliest convenience.
 

Example 1


Mr. Bob Jones
Engineering Supervisor
ABC Company
1110 Success Lane
Wilkes-Barre, PA

Dear Mr. Jones:

Recently while researching your company on the Internet, I discovered that you are taking on a large-scale project in your Engineering Department this summer. I feel that I have the skills that would be beneficial to helping your company achieve your project goals and would like to submit my resumé as an expression of my interest in a summer internship with your organization.

As a junior Mechanical Engineering major at Wilkes University, I am proficient in CADD, AutoCAD, and Eagle Point and also have been introduced to systems analysis and simulation. Throughout the Spring Semester I have worked as an assistant in the Department of Mechanical Engineering. I worked with Professors and assisted students with a wide variety of computer questions. I believe that I am a self-motivated and goal oriented individual and have acquired the skills that will allow me to be a strong asset to your company.

The enclosed resumé outlines my background in further detail. I would welcome the opportunity to meet with you in a personal interview to further discuss my background and abilities. Thank you for your consideration. I look forward to meeting you.

Sincerely,

Joe Intern
 

Example 2


January 12, 2000

Ms. Joanne Super
Business Manager
XYZ Company
0101 Diamond Avenue
Wilkes-Barre, PA 18766

Dear Ms. Super:

I am very interested in pursuing an internship within your marketing department this fall and would like to submit my qualifications for your review and consideration.

Currently, I am a junior Business Administration major at Wilkes University with a concentration in Marketing. My coursework has provided me with a solid base of knowledge that I am eager to apply to the business environment. Most recently I have completed classes in Advertisement and Consumer Behavior. I completed several projects within the areas of market segmentation and market strategy formulation that I feel has provided me with an in-depth view of the issues facing marketing managers.

I am confident that if given the opportunity to showcase my skills and enthusiasm, that I will be a worthwhile addition to your staff. I would appreciate an opportunity to discuss my skills and how I can contribute to your organization in a personal interview.

Sincerely,

Joe Intern
 

Example 3



Oct 15, 2000

Mr. Joe Abba
MIS Manager
High Tech Inc.
New York, New York 10111

Dear Mr. Abba:

I am writing to express my interest in internships opportunities within your MIS Department for the Spring Semester. Dr. Joe Smith who is my Computer Information Systems professor gave me your name and informed me that you were in need of additional staffing. Please accept my resumé as an expression of my interest.

As my resumé outlines in more detail, I have gained a wide array of technical and interpersonal skills through my part time work and education. While pursuing a Computer Information Systems degree at Wilkes University I have become efficient in various programs and technologies including COBOL, C++, and UNIX. In addition to the above-mentioned skills, I also consider my self a quick study who is eager to learn. I believe my combination of academic coursework and enthusiasm can provide immediate benefits to your department.

I would welcome the opportunity to discuss my qualifications with you in more detail. I can be reached at (570) 555-0000. I look forward to meeting you.

Sincerely,

Joe Intern
 

Example 4



September 21, 2000

Mary Gadson Children's Daycare
1527 North Main Street
Wilkes-Barre, PA 18766

Dear Ms. Gadson:

My interest in a professional career working with children has prompted me to forward you a copy of my resumé in hopes of gaining experience in the field of child psychology. Currently, I am a junior psychology major at Wilkes University. While maintaining a G.P.A. of 3.4 within my major, I have also remained active in the local community by volunteering with several local non-profit organizations including Habitat for Humanity and The American Red Cross. I have always had a passion for working with children. If given the opportunity, feel I can be a positive role model for your students and help you with the coordination and organization of daily activities.

I believe my qualifications and enthusiasm will enable me to make significant contributions as an intern. I will call you next to discuss how I may benefit your organization.

Thank you for your time and consideration.

Sincerely,

Jessica Smith

Thank-You Letters


Writing Thank-You Letters
Finally, you have made it through the interview. But even if you think it went well, you should not just sit back and wait for the phone to ring. It is a good practice to write a short thank-you note to the individual(s) who interviewed you for the internship position. A thank- you note is a valuable tool that may separate you from the other candidates or serve as a quick reminder of your skills.

Why should you write a thank-you letter?
A thank-you letter demonstrates your professional courtesy. It demonstrates to the interviewer that you are serious about this position, and is a chance to show that you paid attention and understand the topics discussed in the interview. You can reiterate some of your skills that you feel will be beneficial to the interviewer and his or her company -- the squeaky wheel gets the oil!

Hints for Thank-You Letters
Send your letter within twenty four hours. Keep it short and to the point. Write it immediately after interview so the information is fresh in your mind. Address the letter directly to the interviewer(s). Write down names and position titles of people you met at the interview so you can address the letter to the right people. Complement the interviewer on his or her interviewing skills if you feel they conducted a fair interview.
 

Example 1



November 10, 2000

Ms. Joanne Super
Business Manager
XYZ Company
0101 Diamond Avenue
Wilkes-Barre, PA 18766

Dear Ms. Super:

I would like to thank you for giving me the opportunity to interview for the marketing internship within your department.

As I mentioned in my interview, I am very interested in this position and feel that I can make immediate contributions within your organization. I was particularly intrigued by your plans for launching a new marketing campaign next quarter. I have completed a significant amount of coursework that focused on conducting market research and analysis and feel that I can serve as a valuable asset to your company.

I was very impressed by the entire staff within the marketing department and feel that this type of environment would inspire my best work.

Thank you for your time and consideration.

Sincerely,

Joe Intern
 

Example 2



November 10, 2000

Mr. Joe Smith
Business Manager
XYZ Company
0101 Diamond Avenue
Wilkes-Barre, PA 18766

Dear Mr. Smith:

Thank you for allowing me to interview for the electrical engineering internship with your organization. I appreciated the opportunity to discuss this position and meet with you. I would like to reiterate my interest in this position. I was very impressed with the internal operations of your department and the expertise demonstrated by your staff. Please extend my thanks to Mr. Mike Jones, who gave me a very interesting and thorough tour of your facilities. After the tour, I came away even more enthusiastic about this position.

If you have any further questions, please do not hesitate to contact me. Thank you for your time and courtesy.

Sincerely,

Joe Intern
 

Example 3



November 10, 2000

Mr. Joe Smith
Business Manager
XYZ Radio
1400 Broadway
New York, NY 18717

Dear Mr. Smith:

It was a pleasure meeting you to interview for a summer internship within your public relations department at XYZ Radio. Thank you for taking time out of your hectic schedule to discuss possible opportunities with me.

I was very excited about the intern responsibilities that we discussed and feel that my involvement with the Wilkes University Radio Station has prepared me for the challenges that I would meet as an intern at your station.

I look forward to hearing from you in the near future. If you would like further information, please feel free to call me.

Sincerely,

Joe Intern


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