Skip to Main Content

Tools for Academic Writing: Resumes/CVs & Cover Letters

This guide contains resources to improve academic writing including: Literature Reviews, Annotated Bibliographies, Writing in Various Disciplines, and Giving Peer Feedback.
  • URL:

Write an Incredible Resume: 5 Golden Rules

Write an Amazing Cover Letter

  Tips for Resume Writing

There are two main styles of resumes: chronological and functional

Chronological: this type of resume highlights your employment history. You should use this type of resume if you have a lot of career experience in one field and are planning to apply for a job in that field.

Functional: this type of resume highlights your skills. You should use this type of resume if you do not have a lot of work experience, or if your work experience is in a different field from the job to which you are applying. This type of resume is ideal for first-year students or people who want to switch career paths.

  • A Word document is a better choice for creating a resume than templates. Making changes to a resume created with a template can mess up the formatting of the entire document, and some online resume-builder sites will charge you money to save the resume you created with their template.
  • The length of the resume should be one or two pages.
  • Do not use the word "I" on the resume (so your resume will not have full sentences).
  • The Experience section should be in reverse-chronological order: most recent job first. It should cover roughly the last 10 or 12 years.
  • Education section should also be in reverse-chronological order (newest first). If you are working on a degree or certificate or diploma but do not yet have it, write "degree expected [month, year]"
  • Use keywords in your resume that the reader or applicant-tracking software are likely to be looking/scanning for.
  • Bullet points of duties usually start with a verb, and verbs should be in the past tense unless you are writing about a job where you currently work.
  • Make sure the formatting is consistent, font size no smaller than 11 or 12 pt., and margins that are about an inch all around. Do not use multiple fonts and keep bold, italics and underlining to a minimum (they make the resume difficult to read).
  • Instead of an objective, have a Summary (also known as a "Profile") right after contact info, customized each time to the specific job you're applying for. The summary should be about 5 - 6 lines and include the skills, experience and strengths you have that are related to the job description.
  • Check and double- and triple-check spelling, grammar, punctuation and capitalization. 

 Tips for Cover Letter Writing

You will need to revise your cover letter (also known as the job application letter) for each job to which you apply. Other helpful cover letter tips include:

  • Unlike the resume, the cover letter is a business letter with full sentences, and you can and should use the word "I" (but don't start every sentence with "I"!)
  • Avoid typos: Most employers stop reading a resume as soon as they find a typo. Have someone else read your cover letter to make sure you have caught all spelling and grammatical errors.
  • Include your contact information: Although your contact information is included on your resume, do not forget to place it in your cover letter, too.
  • Do not reiterate the resume; give additional information about your qualifications, experience, and skills related to that job.
  • The cover letter should be no more than one page. Use the same font and font size you used for your resume. 
  • Give examples of qualities and skills you have, rather than just stating them (ex. tell a brief one or two sentence story of when you used creativity to solve a problem at work, rather than just saying, "I am a creative thinker".)
  • If you don't have a name to address the letter to, you can write, "Dear Hiring Manager"
  • In the middle paragraphs (two or three), tell the reader why you are interested in this specific job and why you feel you are a strong candidate.
  • At the beginning of the cover letter, make it clear what position you are applying for and where you saw the job posting.
  • End the cover letter by respectfully requesting an interview to discuss the position further, and thank the reader for their consideration.

A cover letter has three basic parts...

  • The opening: who you're writing to, what job you are applying to, how you found out about it, and why they should consider you.

Dear {Full Name} or {Hiring Manager}, I am writing to apply to the front desk assistant position I found through With my strong customer service skills, engaging phone manner, and ability to speak both English and Spanish, I believe I would be a solid fit for this position.

  • The guts: tasks and accomplishments from your current and prior jobs that match what they're asking for, more detail than the resume.

In my current position as a receptionist at the Marriott Hotel DUMBO, I answer a high volume of calls from hotel guests and from the public. I help guests address any needs or issues that come up, from extra blankets to questions about charges. Most things can be resolved quickly and satisfactorily for guests, but when a complex question requires an advanced solution, I know when and how to escalate to the appropriate team member or manager.

  • The call-to-action: restating what makes you the right person for the job and how that matches their mission/goals, thanks.

With my service orientation, problem-solving skills, and commitment to doing the job right every time, I look forward to speaking with you about how I can help Relax-O-Rama Spa meet its goals of stress-free service and sending each customer out the door with a smile. Thank you for your time and consideration. Sincerely, Jobseeker Jones 917-555-5555

 Tips for Writing Your CV

While the structure of a CV is flexible, bending to your unique skill set and experiences, there are particular sections that employers expect to see on your CV regardless. Here are the sections you must include in your CV:

  • Name, Professional Title and Contact Details

The first part of your CV, positioned at the top of the page, should contain your name, professional title and contact details. Under no circumstances should you title your CV with ‘curriculum vitae’ or ‘CV’ as it’s a waste of valuable space. Treat your name as the title instead.

When it comes to your contact details, your email address and phone number(s) are essential. Once upon a time, it was customary to include your full address on your CV. Today, you simply need to list your town and county.

  • Personal Profile

A personal profile, also known as a personal statement, career objective and professional profile, is one of the most important aspects of your CV. It’s a short paragraph that sits just underneath your name and contact details giving prospective employers an overview of who you are and what you’re all about.

You should tailor your profile to every job you apply for, highlighting specific qualities that match you to the role. Aim to keep your personal statement short and sweet, and no longer than a few sentences. To make the most of this section, you should try to address the following:

  1. Who are you?
  2. What can you offer the company?
  3. What are your career goals?
  • Experience and Employment History

Your employment history section gives you a chance to outline your previous jobs, internships and work experience. List your experience in reverse chronological order as your recent role is the most relevant to the employer.

When listing each position of employment, state your job title, the employer, the dates you worked and a line that summarises the role. Then bullet point your key responsibilities, skills and achievements, and bolster each point with powerful verbs and figures to support each claim and showcase your impact.

  • Education and Qualifications 

Like your experience section, your education should be listed in reverse chronological order. Include the name of the institutions and the dates you were there, followed by the qualifications and grades you achieved.

Additional Resume Help

Resources from Park University's Career Development Office

Park University Library
8700 NW River Park Drive, Box 61 - Parkville, MO - 64152
Phone: (816) 584-6285
Toll-free: (800) 270-4347