Resumes, cover letters and references
Resumes, cover letters and references are designed to demonstrate how you, your experiences, strengths, and skills fit the needs of a particular opportunity. Explore the information below to learn the best practices when tackling these documents.
This online tool will help with developing a resume and practicing interviewing skills. Includes how-to videos and a resume creator tool. Just log on with your WSU Access ID.
Resume template 1 - Print version for emails and in-person networking events
Resume template 2 - Print version for emails and in-person networking events
General resume information
Many times, your resume is the first impression an employer has of you. For this reason, it is important that you write this document in a clear, concise, and informative manner that accurately portrays your education, work history, and involvement.
5 tips and additional info as you begin working on your resume
- Find a job posting BEFORE you try and write your resume. The posting tells you what to talk about.
- One page is typically appropriate for undergraduates, two pages are acceptable for graduate students.
- Use font size 10-12 for text. Margins can be from .5 - 1" as long as they are all the same (top, bottom, left, right).
- Be sure your format is conservative, consistent, and easy to read – avoid using too many elements (bold, underline, italics, capitalization). Your resume should be formatted for an applicant tracking system.
- Use bullet points for descriptions and utilize action verbs to begin each bullet point. Be sure to incorporate skills, keywords, and competency phrases from the job posting, if you have those skills/competencies.
With the exception of career fairs, every time you submit a resume you should include a tailored cover letter. This document allows you to explain your qualifications for the position and demonstrate how you have unique abilities that will add value to the organization. The cover letter will also provide the employer with a sample of your writing.
Most employers and job applications will ask for 3-5 references.
Three reference guidelines:
- Always ask your references if it is ok to list them on your documents before giving their information to an employer.
- Inquire about which addresses, email addresses, and phone numbers your references want you to list.
- Send your resume, cover letter, and job description to your references so that when a potential employer contacts them, it will be easier for the references to speak about you.