Resume & Letter Writing Guide

Resumes and job search letters are important marketing tools utilized to present your education, experience, skills, and accomplishments to potential employers.  Generally, the main purpose of a resume is get an interview.  Resumes may also be requested with applications for graduate school, professional programs, and scholarships.

Begin with a list of your successes, accomplishments and contributions from past and current experiences. Identify the skills you used in all of your experiences (education, jobs, internships, clubs, volunteer...). 




Start with your formal name on the top line. List your mailing address (If you are near graduation, list current college address and permanent address.) List your telephone numbers and e-mail address. You might want to include your professional website, LinkedIn account address, and/or your QR code.


Objectives focus on what you can offer an employer, not on what you hope to gain.  The objective is used to state the job title or type of position you are seeking now and may include your key skills.  Keep objectives short, just one or two lines.  Objectives are optional, although recommended for most college students.  Examples:   

Objective: Seeking museum internship requiring curation, installation and acquisition skills.

Objective: Seeking a staff accountant position with a public accounting firm to utilize quantitative, analytical and communication skills.

Back To Top


Degrees and Courses: List colleges where you have received or will receive a degree, along with the degrees by formal name, majors, minors, and graduation month and year.  You may list a few selected courses related to your career field if you have limited career experience and want to focus on your academic preparation and skills.  When you have obtained significant career experience, you might not list college courses.

The University of Arizona, Tucson, Arizona
B. S. in Family Studies and Human Development, December 2013

Selected Courses: Human Relations, Family Dynamics, Child Development, Statistics and Research Methods, Counseling Theories, Family and Public Policy

 Projects: You may include team class projects, individual class projects, academic research, thesis topics and any academic experience that demonstrates your skills and knowledge.

Engineering Design Project: Team leader for design team of five students.  Applied chemical engineering principles to research and design membrane separation system for optimum recovery of carbon dioxide from coal burning flue gas.

 GPA: List GPA as: 3.6, 3.67, or 3.6/4.0.  Providing your GPA is optional, although GPAs of 3.0 and higher are generally included.  Never round up a GPA (3.499 does not equal 3.5). You may be asked to verify GPAs by providing official copies of your college transcripts. 

 University of Arizona, Tucson, Arizona
Bachelor of Science in Physics with Biology Minor, May 2013
GPA: Physics 3.59, Biology 3.26, Cumulative 3.48; Dean’s List five semesters

 High School: Information from high school may be listed for college freshmen or sophomores who excelled academically (GPA, class ranking, academic honors) and to indicate leadership positions and active involvement in school or community organizations related to your career field.  By the junior year of college, high school information is usually omitted from a student’s resume.

 University of Arizona, Tucson, Arizona
Bachelor of Fine Arts in Media Arts, Film and Television Studies, May 2016
Wildcat Excellence Scholarship awarded based on academic merit

Graduated top 5% of high school class, 3.9 GPA; Senior Class President


Back To Top



Focus primarily on your career related experiences including jobs, internships, co-ops and unpaid experience where you gained job skills (e.g., club leader, volunteer and community service).  If your experience is not directly related to your career field, focus on transferable skills that would be useful to any career field.  For example, if you worked as a restaurant server, the transferable skills include customer service, communication, team work, sales and training employees.

List your experience in reverse chronological order, starting with the most recent position first.  Include your position title, name of employer, city, state, and dates by month and year, and a description of what you did (focus on tasks, skills and results).  Use short phrases, key word nouns and action verbs to describe duties and to highlight your skills and knowledge.

Back To Top

Experience Examples :

Tucson Water, Technical Intern, Tucson, Arizona, July 2013-current

  • Perform monitoring of groundwater conditions in the Tucson Basin.
  • Collect water levels and groundwater samples and observations of well and basin conditions.
  • Maintain a network of remote data loggers and pressure transducers.
  • Analyze data from artificial recharge basins to help optimize basin management.

Pima County Attorney’s Office, Violent Crimes Division, Intern, Tucson, AZ, January-May 2013

  • Prepared case summaries for attorneys by compiling witness, defendant, and victim statements to police and police reports for pending court cases.


Preceptor for Physiology 202 Course, University of Arizona, January to May 2013

  • Utilized knowledge of physiology with teaching and communication skills to provide clinical presentations and assist students with laboratory and class assignments.

Admissions Student Recruiter, August 2011 - May 2013
Office of Admissions, University of Arizona, Tucson, Arizona

  • Assisted high school seniors with university application and admission process.
  • Conducted assembly presentations for high school students about importance of college.
  • Efficiently accomplished tasks to manage data utilizing multiple University of Arizona operating systems including SIS, COSMOS, Matrix, and UAccess.

Back To Top


Identifying the skills you have demonstrated through your education and experience is important when writing resumes, in addition to preparing for interviews.  Emphasize the skills you have which employers seek from all college student candidates: academic knowledge, written and verbal communication, interpersonal relationship skills, leadership, working on teams, critical thinking, problem solving, computer skills, initiative, flexibility… 

To create your resume, begin with a list of your successes, accomplishments and contributions from past and current experiences.  Use various situations to describe your experiences from college and identify the skills you used in your experiences, including education, classes, team projects, jobs, internships, campus involvement, student organizations, research, committees, leadership roles, and volunteer or community service. 

Determine the skills, strengths, competencies, knowledge and personal characteristics you demonstrated during your various experiences.  Focus on measurable skills using the STAR approach to demonstrate how you were effective by describing the situation, tasks, actions and results of your experiences.

   Situation:  challenges, concerns, issues, problems, conflicts
   Tasks:   your role and responsibilities
   Actions:   your behaviors, focusing on skills you used and your competencies
   Results:   outcomes, accomplishments, what you contributed, how you were effective


SKILLS examples:

Speech-Language Pathology: Proficient skills in administering and scoring standardized tests including Kaufman Assessment Battery for Children, Peabody Picture Vocabulary Test, Goldman Fristoe Test of Articulation, Clinical Evaluation of Language Fundamentals, SALT transcription.

Languages: Fluent Spanish, Intermediate Japanese ability at JPLT N2 Level.

Scientific and Laboratory Skills: laboratory safety, aseptic techniques, bioinformatics, thin layer and column chromatography, atomic absorption spectrophotometers, oscilloscopes, thermal stability assays, NMR X-ray Crystallography, PCR, gel electrophoresis.

Hydrology: Subsurface Hydrology and Fluid Dynamics, Hydrologic Transport Processes, MATLAB, MT3D, MODPATH, AQTESOLV, LoggerNet, Linux, ArcGIS.

Marketing: marketing research, statistical analysis, brand development, copywriting, writing marketing proposals and press releases, use of social media for promotions, print design, logos.

Certifications: First Aid, CPR, Collaborative Institutional Training Initiative (CITI), Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), Arizona Fingerprint Clearance.

Technical Skills: Cadence and Allegro Design Tools, Pro/E, Visual Basic, Unix, LINDO API, AIX, Perl, GAMS, C++, Java Object Databases, Computer Architecture, Digital Logic Design.


Back To Top


We recommend starting with a blank Microsoft Word document to create your resume.

Be careful using resume templates as you have little control over the format. 

We offer the UA Resume Builder within Wildcat JobLink to help you create your first resume.    

RESUME CHECKS - Want a Second Opinion?

Students and alumni may have Career Services professional staff members review their resumes and cover letters during Walk-In Hours.  The hours vary and the daily schedule is posted online.  

Students and alumni may also schedule individual appointments with career counselors to have resumes, curriculum vitae and job search letters reviewed.  Please stop by Career Services in the Student Union Suite 411 or call 520.621.2588 to arrange appointments. 

Resume checks and counseling services are available for all current University of Arizona students and alumni for up to one year after graduation.

  Back To Top


1. Send resumes with original cover letters tailored to each job description and employer.

2. For the Career Services Wildcat JobLink and Campus Interviewing Program, please review the easy resume downloading instructions online:

3. To post a resume and cover letter on an employer’s web site, carefully follow their specific instructions as the online resume/letter submission process varies by employer.

4. To email a resume and cover letter, provide the letter as the message of your email and then also attach your resume and cover letter as Microsoft Word or PDF documents.  Label your attachments with your name like:  MorganJonesresumeandletter.docx

5. To apply by mail, use a 9” x 12” envelope.  Don’t fold or staple resumes or letters.  Use white, cream or beige laser print 24-30 pound weight paper.  
Back To Top