Resumes & Cover Letters

Think of your resume as a highlights summary of the skills, experiences and knowledge that you will bring to a specific position or industry. Remember to include a cover letter when asked within an application or in employer correspondence.

Guidelines for ALL Documents

Error Free: An employer views your resume as an example of your best, careful work.

Clear Organization: Make your information easy to find!  Your reader may only take a few seconds per document, so make it easy to find information in your resume.

Honest: The truth should NOT be stretched. This includes your GPA; fabricating your cumulative or departmental GPA is an academic integrity violation that can also have long-term employment consequences. 

Consistent: Remember that consistency throughout your document matters more than style. Punctuation, use of white space, date formats, and role and education font effects should be consistent. 

Targeted / Customized: Use the job description as a road map! Consider and address the needs of the position and the organization you are targeting.

Business Guideline: Internship and entry-level resumes are one page. As you progress in your career, two or more pages can be strategic and expected.

Undergraduate and Graduate Resume Creation Resources

Resumes: Getting started, samples, checklist guides

Quick Overview

Just getting started on a new resume? Take a look at our quick overview and resume checklist to make sure you're on the right track. 

Resume Sample Templates: Early College Career Support

For students just getting started in their college career, or who haven't had a college level internship yet

Resume Sample Templates: Mid College Career Support

For students later in their college career, or who have had one or more college level internships

Graduate Student and Alumni Support

Resumes for graduate students and those who have been working for many years may contain sections not typically included in entry level resumes. Depending on your goals (are you looking to switch industries? Move up with your current employer?), your resume may look different for each position you apply for: strategic and intentional customization is key.

Need help with a certain section?

The following contains section-by-section guidelines and suggestions for resume creation and/or updating.

Resume Guide Quick Reference Diagrams
Resume Overview  
Header & Contact Information Header & Contact Information
Objective Objective
Education Education
Employment & Experience Employment & Experience
 Honors & Activities Applied Learning Experiences
 Skills Case Study Experiences
  Study Abroad Experiences
  Class Project Experiences
  Honors & Activities

Posting Your Updated Resume to Handshake

As students and alumni complete a Handshake profile, you will be asked to upload a resume. You may upload additional materials to your Handshake profile including cover letters, transcripts and work samples.

To upload a new document, select the “documents” tab from your profile homepage. Review video instructions. Pay close attention to whether or not you wish to make a document public. If your profile is public, employers will be able to view documents that you also label as public. Consider making your primary resume public and keeping materials uploaded for specific job applications private.

Resume Review

If you would like Business Career Center staff to review your resume, please schedule an in-person or virtual (phone, Microsoft Teams) appointment through Handshake. You are also welcome to e-mail your resume as a MS Word document to For e-mailed resumes, we will do our best to provide feedback within three business days. 

Additional Document Support

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Cover Letters

A cover letter is another marketing tool that allows candidates and potential talent to market themselves and their skill sets to a particular employer and position. A cover letter is NOT a regurgitation of your resume; in your cover letter, you want to focus on specific experiences that relate back to the position you are applying for, and how you'll apply the skills you have developed in previous roles to the new role.  Your letter and resume should work together in presenting you in an effective and concise manner. While not all employers request a cover letter at the point of application, knowing how and when to craft one is important.

Through your cover letter, the reader will learn about you through your:

E-mailing your letter? You will typically attach your cover letter to your email, and not send it in the body of your message. The e-mail text can be very brief:

Dear Ms. Smith:

It was nice to meet you at the Marquette University career fair on Wednesday. As we discussed at the fair, I am very excited about the Procurement Intern position and have attached my cover letter and resume to this email. Please let me know if you have any questions or need anything else from me at this time.

Thank you for your time and consideration.


Mary Marquette

Reference Pages

References are listed on a separate page, not as the second page of a resume

Thank You Letters

"Thank you" letters are very common when applying for a position and often expected within 24 hours of an interview or experience. Traditionally, these letters were sent in the mail; however, emailing a thank you note to all interviewers is now the preferred method.

Follow Up: Should I? If So, When? How?

You've updated your resume, crafted a stellar cover letter, and clicked the apply button...and haven't heard anything in two weeks. Now what?

It is great to follow up - really! Checking in on the organization's hiring timeline demonstrates your continued interest in the role, and also allows you to have more information for your own decision making process and priorities/timelines. We recommend waiting at least two weeks between the point of application and the point of follow up.

  • Look for a contact
    • Did you address your cover letter to the recruiter you met with at Marketing Networking Night? Do you have their direct contact information? Start with them! Typically Handshake positions include the name and email of the employee responsible for the role; this may be a recruiter or the hiring manager directly. LinkedIn is a great place to confirm/check on their job titles.
    • Don't know the recruiting contact or it isn't public on Handshake? Ask the BCC - we can help! Remember that "Dear Hiring Manager" is not as personal or as well researched as "Dear Jane Smith/Dear Ms. Smith." Do your research and rely on your network to ensure you have the correct contact at the organization.
  • Send an email
    • Sending an email over calling or visiting both allows the recruiter/contact to keep a paper trail of your interest and outreach (many applicant tracking systems log how many touch points potential talent has had with an organization) and allows for a faster response, especially during "busy season," recruiters are on the road at career fairs and other campus events more than they may be in their office. Emails can be read and responded to more efficiently than a voice mail.
  • Use a clear and direct subject line
    • This allows the reader to know the purpose of the inquiry. 
    • Include a posting number if applicable, eg "Mary Marquette Follow Up: Procurement Intern Application (position #556932)"
  • Include any relevant updates or additions, but keep it brief
    • Did you win a case competition since you applied? Let your contact know, but don't turn your email into an essay of accomplishments. Remember, you're looking to check in on next steps and to ensure your application has made it to the right team.
  • Reiterate your contact information and thank the reader!