Resume & Application Letters

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Resume or Curriculum Vitae (CV)?

In the U.S., a resume is most often used, is 1 page in length (1.5–2 pages if you have years of experience in your field) and highlights your relevant qualifications for a specific position. A CV, however, is longer than 2 pages and is a detailed overview of your academic background and accomplishments. CVs are used only when pursuing academic or research positions.

Three Easy Steps to Draft a U.S. Resume

  1. Look at the job description of the position for which you are applying. Highlight areas in the job description for which you have experience, skills, knowledge and abilities
  2. Use the highlighted language to craft your resume using this template, gathering information from the job description section to help you complete the profile section.
  3. Schedule an appointment to have your resume critiqued by Career Development Center staff.

Helpful Hint 1: It’s okay to repeat key words if they have been used multiple times in the job description, but don’t overdo it!

Helpful Hint 2: If you are changing careers, use a Relevant Work Experience section and Other Work Experience section. In the Other Work Experience section, focus only on transferable skills as they relate to the position for which you are applying. If necessary, you can also fill space by including course names of relevant coursework.

Helpful Hint 3: If you have very little or no work experience, you may use volunteer experience if it’s consistent. You can also use your experience from classroom research or projects. Any extracurricular activities such as leadership, sports or student club positions can be included. You can also provide a summary of summer jobs, such as mowing lawns or babysitting, at the end of the experience section. If you still can't fill in the blanks and you don't have a full page, you now know the skills, abilities, knowledge and experience you need to develop to reach your goal.

A US resume includesA US resume DOES NOT include

Full name, cell phone and email
LinkedIn Profile or links to personal website/blog (optional)
Title of Position Seeking

Power statement
Skills section
Education (highest degree first)
Relevant coursework (optional)
Research experiences
Course/independent projects
Certifications (as applicable)

Relevant experiences including:
Student leadership
Volunteer/Community Service

The following personal information:
Marital status
Home country
International permanent address
Immigration status
English as a language skill
TOEFL or SAT scores

Grammatical or spelling errors

Overseas Experience/Education

To document overseas experience or education, provide a brief description of the employers. Here are some examples:

  • World’s largest resume writing company
  • #1 ranked Engineering College in China

Writing Support

Every resume should be free of spelling or grammatical errors before submitting. Have several native English speakers review your resume in addition to a career counselor. View additional writing resources

When you are ready to have your resume critiqued by a career counselor, make an appointment by calling the Career Deveopment Center at 559-453-2073 or stopping by the Steinert Campus Center, Room 126 on the main campus. Keep in mind that a resume appointment can take up to 1-1/2 hours so please set aside the appropriate time needed for your appointment.

The U.S. Application Letter

The application letter, also known as a cover letter in the U.S., is typed and brief. It should be no longer than one page. Here is a summary of how to do this. The heading should be the same letterhead as your resume unless you are emailing it. You should address the letter to a person’s name (requires research). If you cannot find the person’s name, use “Dear Hiring Manager” or “Dear Selection Committee.” Avoid “To whom it may concern” and “Dear Sir or Madam.”

Opening (first paragraph)

  • Indicate why you are writing
  • State the position title and the name of the company
  • List where you heard about the job
  • Provide a compelling reason for them to continue reading (what you’re passionate about, etc.)

Body (second-third paragraph)

  • Introduce education and employment experience related to job
  • State your qualifications most needed for that employer
  • Why you are interested in the company (requires research), how you match what they seek and how you could add value to that employer if hired

Closing (third-fourth paragraph)

  • Introduce enclosed resume
  • Provide contact information (phone number and email)
  • Thank them!

More Resources

Visit our Career Development Center's Resume & Cover Letters page for more information.