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How do I craft my career documents? (Resume, Curricula Vitae, Cover Letters, Thank-You Notes and Reference Page)

Marketing yourself with strong career documents is crucial to remain competitive in the hiring process.

Career Guidebook (Containing Resume, Curricula Vitae, Cover Letter, Thank You Notes & Reference Page Samples)

Review our Resume Quick Reference Guide:

Resume Templates

Use our resume templates: Google Docs or Microsoft Word

Resume Checklist

Please review your resume and check for the following:

  • As a traditional undergraduate student, your resume must be a one-page document. This is crucial. If you are planning on entering the Education field, a 2-page resume may be appropriate (discuss with a Career Coach). Also, if you have 10 – 20 years of post-graduation work experience, it may be appropriate to have a two-page resume.  
  • Margins: .5” top and bottom’ .7” left and right (there is flexibility with this such as .5” all around, or larger than .5”). 
  • Calibri or Arial is the font of choice. Other recommended fonts are Trebuchet MS, Verdana, and Century Gothic. Please note that some fonts are larger than others, and the font size you use will need to be adjusted accordingly, to make your résumé fit onto one page. We DO NOT suggest using Times New Roman. 
  • Header – Need name and contact information, including your customized LinkedIn public profile URL.  Remove your street address; retain your city, state and zip code and include email address and cell phone number.   
  • Do not “label” your phone number or email address; everyone knows what they are. 
  • Your name should be the largest thing on the page: 14 to 16, bold, can be in all capital letters (or not).  
  • Text recommended to be either 10.5 or 11, depending upon which font you’re using and how much text you have to fit on one page. Remember: your text needs to be legible, which means large enough to read without a magnifying glass. 
  • “Objective” headings are OUT as they are considered dated. You may consider a 5 or 6- line SUMMARY heading.  This is not mandatory!  (see our resume guidebook page 8 https://tinyurl.com/magnerresumeguidebook for further information).  
  • If you want to save space on the resume, the “Education” heading can be written on one line, with GPA, honors, dean’s list and scholarships on lines below it, as needed: 
    BA, Psychology (minor: Sociology), Brooklyn College/CUNY Expected: June 2015 
    Major GPA: 3.85; Overall GPA: 3.6  /  Dean’s List: Fall 2012, Spring 2013 
  • If you have limited experience and want to fill up the resume as much as possible, consider writing the above information on separate lines (i.e., your degree, your major and minor, GPA, etc.) 
  • The “Education” heading is written directly under the “Summary” heading, if you have decided to include a “Summary.” If you do not have a Summary, the Education heading can be written directly below your contact information. As a traditional undergraduate student or graduate student with very little experience, this is recommended. If you are a postgraduate and have experience that is more important to highlight, the Education heading can be written towards the bottom of the resume.  
  • Job title typically is written directly under company name;  however if you want to highlight your job titles more than the company names, you can do the opposite. You can also potentially have employer and job title on the same line 
  • Remove unnecessary articles (e.g. a/an, the) 
  • No personal pronouns (I, you, he, she, we, they; me, you, him, her, us, them) and no possessives (my, mine, your, yours, our, ours, his, her, hers, its, their, theirs) 
  • Quantify results whenever possible (refer to page 10 of the resume guidebook) 
  • An “Interests” heading can be included if there is room. Sometimes interests pique the interest of a hiring manager, especially if it gives them a sense of a personality characteristic they are interested in seeing in a candidate. 
  • Remove “References available upon request.” It is assumed that you will provide references, if asked.  
  • In you skills section, ensure all of your listed skills are “hard skills” instead of “soft skills”. For example, remove skills like “Teamwork”, “Public Speaking”, “Detail-oriented” and replace it with the software you know how to use: “Microsoft Office”, “Google Workspace”.

PDF version of the checklist:

Resume Rubric

Consider downloading the resume rubric and bringing it in during your appointment or Walk-In Wednesday for a Career Coach to complete: Download 

Resume Videos

Watch our videos with industry professionals, including recruiters, and what they look for in students.

YouTube player

Cover Letter Templates

Need a cover letter template?

Check out this Google Doc or Microsoft Word

Cover Letter Checklist

Review your cover letter and check for the following

  • Does your cover letter follow the format of a professional business letter (see guidebook for samples)?   
  • Is your cover letter visually appealing and easy to read? (Recruiters look at cover letters for maybe 5-10 seconds at first, they will not read it if it looks sloppy and inconsistent) 
  • Did you make sure there are NO typos, grammar or spelling mistakes? 
  • Is the formatting you used (font type & font size) consistent? 
  • Is the text lined up consistently? 
  • Is it legible? Is the font large enough that you are able to read it?  This means that the font is typically at least 11 point 
  • Is there a space between each paragraph? 
  • Is your cover letter 1 page? 
  • Did you address the letter to someone specific (if possible) instead of “Dear Sir” or “To Whom it May Concern?”  
  • If you are unable, write “Dear Hiring Manager” or “Dear Recruiter” 
  • Is it clear what position you are applying for?  This should be included within the first paragraph 
  • Is the cover letter customized to the position you are applying for and the company. Do not create generic cover letters – this is a red flag to recruiters and HR professionals   
  • Did you explain why you are interested in the position/organization?  Did you do research about the company and then incorporate some of your knowledge within the letter?   
  • Did you review the job description so you can highlight the skills the employer is specifically seeking and that you possess? Remember to give examples of how you developed those particular skills.  
  • When you made statements such as “I am the ideal candidate” or “I am very interested”, did you give some examples as to why you are the ideal candidate or explain why you are interested? 
  • Does your letter project energy, enthusiasm and confidence? 
  • Would you feel confident and comfortable speaking about your experiences and skills that you highlighted on the cover letter during an interview? 
  • Did you thank the individual for their time and consideration (typically included within the last paragraph)? 
  • Did you sign the letter (if you are printing/faxing it)? 
  • Did you have at least one trusted professional or career coach review your cover letter and give you feedback? 

PDF version of the checklist:

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