Undergraduate Resume and 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.
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. View our hours.
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.
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.
You should ensure that your resume uses consistent verb tenses, font and sizing. Use the provided Eller template for consistent resume formatting.
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 10-point font minimum, Times New Roman or Ariel preferred
- Use even margins, minimum of .5 inch
- 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
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.
- 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” and "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 (2016 - 2017 not 2016-17)
- 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. (ex. PowerPoint not Powerpoint)
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
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
- One page maximum
- 10-point font minimum, Times New Roman preferred
- Even margins, minimum of one 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
- 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
- Explain why you are interested in the company/job/industry
- Final paragraph should express appreciation for consideration
- Ask for specific action if possible
- Indicate how you will follow-up about the position
- 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
Your city, state
Eller College Admissions Committee
McClelland Hall 204
1130 E. Helen St.
Tucson, Arizona 85721-0108
Dear Eller College Admissions Committee:
The OPENING PARAGRAPH should explain: What major you’re applying for, the reason why you selected this major, and how the selected major relates to your future career aspirations.
The MIDDLE PARAGRAPH(s) should: Highlight a specific instance from your co-curricular activities, work experience, and/or accomplishments. You should highlight transferrable skills from a specific experience and explain how those are
applicable to what you are applying for. Consider the following:
- What have you learned in through the experience you’ve highlighted?
- What transferrable skills have you gained from this experience?
- Summarize/relate how the experience and skills you outline above apply to your major or being admitted to Eller.
Paragraph 2 (Optional): Be sure to diversify this experience and set of skills from the one outlined above in Paragraph 1.
Choose a different experience and skill set. Consider the same type of content noted above.
The CLOSING PARAGRAPH should:
Give some compelling yet specific reasons why you should be part of the Eller College. Consider the following:
- What can you contribute to this community? What makes you who you are?
- Sum up how you will be an effective member of the Eller College.
- End with a sentence of thanks. Ex. “Thank you for taking the time to review my letter.”
Your Typewritten Name
Other considerations for your Cover Letter
Make reference to experiences on 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!
This section should be one-to two-inch margin from the top.
Your Present Address
City, State and Zip Code
City, State and Zip Code
Dear First-name Last-name: (Always include the individual's name with whom the letter is addressed)
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.
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 one page
The closing paragraph should include: What the next step of the process is:
- Reiterate you interest and briefly restate a summary of your qualifications
- Request an interview and state that you will follow up in 10 business days to see if an interview can be scheduled
- Thank the reader for their time and consideration
Your Typewritten Name