B Newkirk Elise, SUNY Office of Applied Learning
Andrew Olewnik, SUNY
Denise Lorenzetti, SUNY
Cheryl Monachino, SUNY
Lorrie Clemo, SUNY
Denise Dirienzo, SUNY
Sheila Cooley, SUNY
Kristen Flint, SUNY
Geoffrey Demarsh, SUNY
Dean C. Millar, University at Buffalo SUNY
Mark S. Savage, Cornell University
Marc Mercado, TeachTeam
Creative Commons: This work is licensed under a Attribution-NonCommercial 3.0 United States
A résumé is meant to market you to a potential employer by drawing attention to the skills and accomplishments that the employer values. It is a critical piece in your job search portfolio and deserves an investment of time. You must be willing to write and edit until you have a well-organized document that emphasizes your most relevant qualifications for the position you seek.
Studies show that employers initially spend less than thirty seconds reviewing your résumé. In this short time you need to convey the information most critical to the hiring organization. How do you do this? Where do you start? First of all, you need to know what a résumé is and what it is designed to do. Make those thirty seconds count!
• Be concise: Use phrases, not sentences, and carefully chosen words.
• Think in terms of the reader : Gear your résumé to the skills, experiences
and qualities employers seek in a candidate.
• Use a formal writing style: Use abbreviations only for states (NY), GPA, and
degrees (BA, BS, MA, PhD).
• Make your résumé easy to read: Use an appealing layout and font (10-12 pt);
make important information easy to find; set margins between 0.5 and 1.0
• Length: Begin with a “master résumé” that captures all experiences,
regardless of length. When applying for positions, pull relevant information
from your master résumé into a 1-2 page document.
• Final Draft: Proofread carefully and don’t rely on spell check alone! If you
are sending your résumé electronically, save it as a PDF to insure your
format is maintained when opened on a new computer and give your résumé
a name that will be recognizable to employers (i.e. Firstname.Lastname.doc)
• Chronological: Most common and generally what is recommended for
current students and recent graduates; Present information in reversechronological order (most recent first) within each category.
• Functional: Emphasizes skills, qualifications and accomplishments rather
than position titles, employers and dates. Can be effective for career
changers or those with limited or erratic work histories.
• Combination: Combines the functional and chronological styles. Experience
is organized chronologically with duties and responsibilities presented
through skill clusters.
• Curriculum Vitae (CV): Typically for academic or research positions. It is
usually longer than a résumé and includes comprehensive information
related to the field. More information can be obtained from the “Writing a
Curriculum Vitae” Quick Reference Guide on the CDC website.
Create a master list of all positions and activities in which you have been
involved. Review the list to identify those that relate most to the employer’s
needs, either through direct experience or through transferable skills. These
are the positions on which you will focus.
Next, choose appropriate categories. How you order and label the sections of
your résumé should be based on what aspects of your background are most
relevant to the position(s) you seek. Readers give the most attention to the top
and left-hand side of your résumé. Make sure information critical to them is
• Name, address, phone number, and professional email address.
• Include a local and permanent address if you are a current student.
Objective / Summary (Optional)
• Brief statement providing focus to your résumé indicating the kind of
position you want and what you offer. The rest of the résumé should provide
evidence of your qualifications for the position you seek.
• Should be specific to a position or field you want to enter.
• Include institution(s) attended, degree(s) obtained or expected, major(s),
graduation date, minors, and concentrations. Double majors receive only
one degree (BS trumps the BA); Double degree students (from two different
schools) receive two degrees.
• May include relevant courses, study abroad, honors, or scholarships (or put
these in separate sections).
• GPA is recommended, but optional.
• High school information is acceptable during freshman & sophomore year
and/or if you had a specialized high school experience relevant to your
• Binghamton’s official school name is “Binghamton University, State
University of New York” or “State University of New York at Binghamton.”
• Skills relevant to the position/employer should be highlighted toward the top
of your document.
• Those with many skills may want to consider grouping them by functional
• (i.e. languages, software, networks; laboratory, equipment, computer).
• Keep skills in this section limited to hard skills; be sure to include reference
to these skills later in your experience descriptions.
• Always keep the employer’s
needs in mind when deciding
what experiences you will
include and highlight!
• Category headings may change
based on personal experience,
ex: Relevant Experience,
• List in reverse chronological
order (most recent first based on
end date) within categories.
• Group experiences in sections
based on relatedness rather
than by paid/unpaid.
• The experience itself is more
important than compensation.
• For each experience include
position title, organization name,
city and state, dates of activity
• Use the list of action verbs
on the next page to identify
words that showcase your skills
(both hard and transferable)
and experiences. Begin each
descriptive statement with an
action verb—it draws attention
to your skills and achievements.
• Every experience has the potential to be valuable. Identify the skills
you used/ developed and compare them to the position description to
determine which to
• include on your final document. Worry about length after you have
• Avoid “Responsible for” and “Duties include” and do not use personal
• (i.e. I, my, our, we) anywhere in your document.
• Use your descriptions to answer questions such as Who? What? When?
• How? How many? How often? Results?
• Include numbers (ex: quantities, dollar amounts, percentages) when
appropriate to provide concrete proof of skills and results.
• Be sure all descriptions focus on YOU and YOUR skills and contributions
to the organization, project, etc.
• Always think like an employer, who will be asking the question, “How is
this relevant to me and my needs?”
1. Know the purpose of your résumé
2. Demonstrate your qualities and
3. Use the right keywords
4. Use effective position titles
5. Proofread twice
6. Use bullet points
7. Put the most important information
8. Avoid negativity
9. Highlight achievements instead of
10. No pictures
11. Use numbers
12. One résumé for each employer
13. Address the needs of the
14. Go with what you’ve got
15. Include only relevant information
16. No lies. Not even little ones
17. Analyze job ads
18. Get someone else to review your
19. One or two pages
20. Use action verbs
21. Use a good printer
22. Update your résumé regularly
23. member that some white space
24. No fancy design details
25. No personal pronouns
Cover letters are marketing tools used to create interest in you as a
candidate for jobs and/or internships and are an important part of the
application process. Your cover letters must be unique to each organization
and will accompany every resume and/or application you submit. The goal
is to motivate the recipient to review your resume and ultimately invite you
for an interview. A good letter will clearly demonstrate how you fit with the
particular organization and position to which you are applying. While it may seem like a lot of work, it is imperative that each letter is tailored
to the individual position to which you are applying.
Letter of Application: Used when submitting your resume for a specific
Letter of Inquiry: Used to ask about vacancies, get your resume read, and
network. It is similar to an application letter, but begins with a statement such
as “I am writing to inquire about employment” rather than “I am applying for a
position . . .”
• Address the letter to an individual, not “to whom it may concern.” Make a
phone call if necessary to get the appropriate person’s name and title.
• Write in a professional, confident, and polite tone, but let your personality
and enthusiasm for the employer and position come through. Avoid
negative phrases such as, “Although I have never . . .” and “While I have
not yet . . .”
• Proofread carefully and check for grammar, spelling and typos. Do not
rely on spell check alone!
• Use the same paper you used for your resume. If you are emailing your
application, you may attach the cover letter as a Word document, or (very
carefully!) type it directly into the body of your email.
• Confine to one page, single space.
• If mailing, remember to sign the original.
• Use 11-12 point simple font – the same style you chose for your resume.
1. Learn about the organization. What are its goals and mission? Pay
attention to the language they use to describe themselves and use similar
language when talking about yourself.
2. Review the position listing and highlight important words and phrases.
Employers will tell you exactly what they are looking for. These are your
clues – use them wisely!
3. Consider skills you have relevant to the employers needs. These may
be from a variety of experiences; it is up to you to “connect the dots” so the
employer sees how and why you meet their needs.
4. Write a draft that clearly spells out how and why you should be considered
for the position. Describe two or three experiences, accomplishments or
skills that demonstrate your fit with the position. Be specific and provide
examples to support claims. Avoid the temptation to copy wording from
sample cover letters and don’t repeat what is on your resume! Be sure to
highlight what you have to offer, rather than what you have to gain! Also
avoid beginning each sentence with “I” – it’s a sign of weak writing skills!
Your Local Street Address City, State and Zip Code Date
Mr./Ms. First and Last Name Title Name of Firm or Organization Street Address City, State and Zip Code
Dear Mr./Ms. Last Name:
First Paragraph: Indicate the reason for your letter and the position or field of work in which you are interested. If you are applying for a specific opening, state how you learned of the position (i.e. website, CDC’s e Recruiting, referral).
Second Paragraph: Sell your qualifications for this position and this position only. Don’t repeat verbatim from your resume. Explain how your academic background, skills and interests, work experience, and/or activities will contribute to their success. Refer to prior achievements in these areas. Communicate your enthusiasm for this type of work and that employer; show why you are interested in this particular employer by illustrating more than superficial knowledge of the particular firm or organization.
Third Paragraph: Occasionally it will be necessary to include another paragraph to explain unique situations not easily dealt with on your resume or to expand on your qualifications.
Final Paragraph: Refer the reader to the enclosed resume. Courteously indicate your interest in an interview. State if you will be in the area on a certain date and would like to schedule an interview if convenient. Offer to provide any other needed information to support your candidacy. Express appreciation for the employer’s consideration.
*This letter is clearly not written specifically for this position, is not formatted properly, and is generally BORING!
Manager of Human Resources
Citadel Broadcasting Company
PO Box 414
Binghamton, NY 13902
To Whom it May Concern:
My name is Lisa Watson and I am interested in the Sales/Marketing Consultant position. I have a BA in cinema and I have been very involved in my campus’s Relay for Life. I feel your position is a perfect fit to help me meet my career goals.
As you can see on my resume, I have the skills necessary for this position, including science coursework and interpersonal skills. I also am a quick learner and am willing to go the extra mile to get things done. I believe I am a good fit for your company. If you wish to schedule an interview, please call me at (607) 777-5555.
*This targeted letter lists examples that are relevant to the position and demonstrates interest in this specific position/organization.
Ms. Trisha Smith, Human Resources
Citadel Broadcasting Company
PO Box 414
Binghamton, NY 13902
Dear Ms. Smith:
Please consider this my application for the Sales/Marketing Consultant opportunity posted on Binghamton University’s eRecruiting system. I am very interested in helping Citadel Broadcasting meet its clients’ advertising needs through use of audio ads, podcasting, online contests and mobile marketing. Citadel Broadcasting’s rank as third largest radio group in the United States is very impressive, and am confident I have the skills to contribute to Citadel’s continued success and growth.
For the past two years I have been deeply involved in our campus Relay for Life event as part of the sponsorship committee. In this role, I solicited local business to educate them about the event and our cause, successfully raising over $2,000 in donation. In addition, the targeted marketing I employed for promoting the many programs I coordinated as a resident assistant led to an average student attendance 26% higher than any other resident assistant’s average program attendance. These proven abilities in sales and marketing would be a great asset to Citadel Broadcasting in working with customers to achieve their marketing and advertising goals.
I would appreciate the opportunity to discuss my qualification with you. Thank you for your time and consideration. I look forward to speaking with you.
The thank-you letter is an important part of the job search process that is frequently skipped. Omitting this step can be detrimental to your job search. Employers have on more than one occasion, eliminated candidates who neglected to thank the interviewer(s) for their time with a written thank-you. With that in mind, it is imperative that you send a thank-you within 48 hours of each of your interviews! Opinions on whether your letter should typed, hand-written, sent via snail-mail or email vary greatly, but all recruiters and career professionals agree on one thing: THE THANK-YOU MUST BE SENT
Your brief letter should thank the interviewer for his or her time, briefly recap part of your conversation, and restate interest in the position for which you were interviewed.
1256 Murray Avenue
Johnson City, NY 13790
November 2, 2020
Dr. Julia Edmonds, Director
Technical Design Group Atlantic Engineering Systems, Inc.
1220 Warwick Avenue Newport News, VA 23607
Dear Dr. Edmonds:
Thank you for taking the time to interview me for the Associate Engineer position on November 1st. I enjoyed meeting you and learning more about your research and design work.
My enthusiasm for the position and my interest in working for Atlantic Engineering Systems were strengthened as a result of our conversation. I was pleased to learn how well my senior design project relates to current initiatives of AES. I am confident that I would make meaningful contributions to the position and the company.
I would like to reiterate my strong interest in the position and in working with you and your staff. Please contact me at 804-685-5555 if I can provide any additional information.
Again, thank you for the interview and continued consideration.