Resumes, CVs and Cover Letters
Resumes, cover letters, and curriculum vita (CVs) are your job search documents. They introduce employers to who you are and what you can do. Depending on the type of position you are seeking and the industry you are applying to, potential employers will require a combination of these job search documents. Each has value in demonstrating your unique skills and capabilities. It’s never too early to create a draft of your documents so that you have a template you can easily tailor when you find a position you want to apply for.
Before focusing specifically on your resume, CV, or cover letter, however, you’ll want to start out by viewing the SJSU Career Center’s and the archived but still very valuable video “Update Your Resume Now,” since both of these activities are central to thinking about your job-hunting materials.
In addition, iSchool students and alumni can reach out to the program’s Career Center Liaison, Carrie McKnight, who is an expert in resumes, CVs and cover letters, whether you’re just getting started or want Carrie to check your draft materials. Email Carrie at Carrie.McKnight@sjsu.edu to set up your individual online appointment.
It is never too early to put together a resume. Whether you are an active job seeker or not, it’s smart to plan ahead and be prepared by having an up-to-date resume that you can quickly customize when you find a job opening.
Whether you are putting together your resume for the first time to fulfill a class assignment, have many years of resume writing experience, or are somewhere in between, there are a few basics that every resume writer should keep in mind when creating a professional looking document.
Your resume should:
If you plan to apply for positions in academia, higher education, science, research, government, or even for certain business or consulting firms, you may be required to submit a curriculum vitae, also referred to as the vitae or CV. This is quite different from a resume. A CV is lengthier and requires much more detail. Plan early in your studies to present at professional conferences, to publish, to participate and lead committees, etc., and keep excellent records of all these professional experiences for your CV.
When you send out a resume, you should include a cover letter. A cover letter is either a formal letter or a formal e-mail that is sent to an employer in order to introduce and highlight your resume. Cover letters provide an introduction to you and your resume and create a first impression for employers. They identify the position you are seeking, connect your skills and talents to the position, and can be a place where you demonstrate why you are the ideal candidate or why you are uniquely qualified for the job.