Resumes & Cover Letters

Resume Basics

Resumes highlight and capture your experience(s), education, and skill(s). Your resume acts as a first impression piece, allowing you to introduce your qualifications to the employer, and it is an important component in landing the interview.


  • Remember the following words when constructing your resume: concise, consistent and relevant. 
  • Recommended length of resumes is 1-2 pages. For most undergraduate students, we recommend one page of content. Two pages is acceptable in Education, Government, Healthcare, and Nonprofit industries, and for experienced individuals.
  • Avoid use of templates to optimize the space on your page. It is easier to start with a blank Word document, where you can add the content first, and then go back to adjust formatting and visual appeal. Reminder: Font can be as small as 10 point and margins as small as .5.
  • Use simple font styles, i.e., Cambria, Times New Roman, Garamond, Arial, and Calibri
  • Please do not use headshots or professional photos on your resume, as your resume acts as an objective document. Headshots and professional photos are more fitting on platforms such as LinkedIn and Handshake.

Cover Letter Basics

The purpose of a cover letter is to convey motivation and passion for a position of interest. It is an opportunity for you to elaborate on your experiences and skills, as mentioned in your resume. While your resume acts as the objective piece, your cover letter can be subjective, with use of personal pronouns. Be sure to update and personalize your cover letter for each role you are applying to and remember to utilize positive and confident language.


  • Use the same font style as your resume for means of consistency.
  • Include up to one page of content using block style (e.g., no paragraph indents, left aligned on page).
  • Address the letter to a specific person in the organization or utilize "Dear Hiring Manager.” Please avoid use of “To Whom It May Concern.”
  • Attach the cover letter and resume as separate documents when emailing your documents and write a brief message referencing your attached materials

Cover Letter Outline

Resume Feedback

Once you have created and/or updated your resume to align with best practices, as noted above, please feel free to send your resume in for feedback. There are a few ways to accomplish this. We want to support and ensure that your resume is professionally ready for the application process. First impressions matter, so it is important to put your best foot forward.

Handshake Process

Document Upload

Students and alumni can upload necessary documents to their Handshake account by selecting their profile in the upper right-hand corner and clicking ‘Documents’. Here you will be able to add Resumes, Cover Letters, Transcripts, or Other Documents that may be requested by an employer for an application. We encourage you to upload files in PDF format.

Resume Documents & Review Process

All documents uploaded under the ‘Resumes’ section will be reviewed by a Career Development Center staff member within 2 business days. Any feedback or revision suggestions will be sent via messaging in Handshake. The document will also be marked as ‘Changes Suggested’ or ‘Reviewed’.

Changes Suggested Status: This indicates there are changes we suggest making to the document before you attach it to an application. We encourage you to make updates per the suggestions provided and upload a new revised document. Documents that are marked as ‘Suggested Changes’ AND are attached to an application will put your application on hold. This will allow you time to make any updates and upload the new resume for review. Should you choose not to make updates, your application will automatically be submitted on the day of the deadline that is set by the employer. The system will never prohibit you from applying to an opportunity, it simply delays an application that is marked as ‘Changes Suggested’.

Reviewed Status: This indicates that your resume document was reviewed and is ready to be used. Often you will still receive revision suggestions that we highly encourage you to review and update the document accordingly.

You are welcome to reply to the message you received from the Career Development Center should you have follow-up questions about revision suggestions.

Cover Letters, Transcripts, or Other Documents

Any documents uploaded into these 3 categories in Handshake are exempt from the review process. Should you wish to have your cover letter reviewed by the Career Development Center, please schedule an appointment or email the document to

Any questions you have about the review process can be directed to the staff member who messaged you or you may contact the Career Development Center at