Résumés and Cover Letters
An Effective Résumé
A résumé is a brief but informative summary of three main areas: your education, experience and skills.
- Chronological Format: describes education and experience—with the most recent items first. We recommend this format.
- Functional Format: organizes experience into skill areas—and employers are listed below with very little detail. We do not recommend this format, since employers regard functional résumés as hard to decipher, and they may suspect the writer of hiding or exaggerating things. (Functional résumés may occasionally be helpful for candidates with extensive experience who are changing careers or re-entering the job market.)
The Center for Career and Professional Development holds résumé development workshops for student groups or classes upon request. Adelphi University clubs, departments, societies and organizations may contact us to arrange for personalized presentations during scheduled meeting times.
An Effective Cover Letter
A cover letter accompanies your résumé when applying for a job. It is simply a business letter which briefly describes how your background meets the employer’s needs, as well as why you are interested in that particular organization. A letter of inquiry is a business letter in which you ask about potential vacancies (if you submit your résumé to an organization with no posted vacancies.) Your cover letter or letter of interest should:
- Ensure that the résumé gets to the right person
- Clearly state the position for which you are applying
- State how you found out about the organization — or the vacancy (If appropriate, name the person who suggested you send the résumé.)
- Emphasize specific skills you have that are required for this particular job
- State why you are interested in this job and/or want to work for this organization
- Give a sample of your writing abilities and attention to detail
- Include relevant motivation, attitudes or personal traits that are not appropriate on a résumé
- Control the flow of future communication (state that you look forward to hearing from them and share your contact information).
The best cover letter is one that results from thorough research and is tailored specifically to that organization. If you can send the same letter to two employers, it is probably not a great letter. Your letter should show that what you know about the organization makes you interested in working there. Target your inquiries to a select group of employers that you have identified as those who might need your skills and background.