Resumes and Cover Letters

Girl Submitting Resume

Resumes

Your resume and cover letter are your marketing materials. By focusing on transferable skills, you can market yourself to any employer.

The resume is a brief document highlighting and promoting a job seeker's skills and abilities, and it is used to present a prospective employee in the best possible light for the purpose of getting to the interview. Most employers require a resume and a cover letter as part of an employment application. 

Make a strong first impression by learning how to create a resume that presents your skills and experience in the most positive light. The TMCC Career Hub can help you create a professional resume no matter where you are in your job search. 

For help getting started, schedule an appointment, review resume samples and formats in the Career Hub and attend a workshop to get started developing your own resume. 

Common Resume Formats

  • Functional or Skills-Based: The functional resume focuses on your skills and experiences. It is a great option if you have gaps in your employment history or you are changing career fields.
  • Chronological: The chronological resume lists your employment history in reverse chronological order beginning with your current or most recent position.
  • Combination: The combination resume begins with your skills and experiences and is followed by a chronological history of your employment. 

Common Mistakes

Typos: Proofread your resume for typos. Spell and grammar check may miss a typo; your potential employer won't. Read and reread your resume. Ask a friend to proofread for you, too. You cannot be too careful where typos are concerned. 

Font and size: Always be sure to use a standard, easy to read font. Fonts like Times New Roman or Arial are easy to read and look professional. Yes, you want your resume to standout, but not for the wrong reasons. Additionally, be sure that your font size is neither too small nor too large. 

Personal website: If you have a personal website and choose to list it on your resume, be sure that all of the content is appropriate. 

Templates: While templates are a great starting point, they will not help you stand out.  Make sure to create a resume that’s personalized and unique to you.  If you need formatting assistance, the Career Hub also has a Certified Professional Resume Writer who can help.  

Common Sections

Heading/Contact Info: This should include your first and last name, address, phone number and e-mail address. One important thing to remember in this section is to double check your e-mail and phone number.  Some people choose to include their full address while others only have the city and state. 

Profile/Summary: Avoid an “Objective” section as many employers are much more interested in what you offer them than what your objective is.  Use this space to highlight your value to a company making sure to include transferable skills.

Education: Include all relevant certifications, trainings, licenses and degrees. Make sure to list most recent dates first and include the institution, date you completed or will complete, the specific degree, license, etc., and the city and state.

Experience: Depending on whether you decided to write a functional or a chronological resume, this will look different. Keep in mind that you can include volunteer experience, job shadows, clinical hours and internships under experience. Focus on transferable skills and make sure the description of duties should be specific. List most recent experience first and include position, company name, dates employed and city and state.

References

Your list of references needs to be on a separate page. Avoid adding “References available upon request” on your resume as it is assumed that they will be available. Instead, include all of your references on a separate page and make sure to include their name, current title, position, phone number, e-mail and their relationship to you. Have at least three professional references available. Finally, avoid using relatives or family members as references. If you do not have three professional references consider instructors or volunteer coordinators that you have worked with.

Cover Letters

While your resume should be succinct and to-the-point, a cover letter allows you to describe your accomplishments and skills in a much more coherent way. Use your cover letter to explain how your values and goals align with the prospective organizations’ values and goals and to discuss how your experience will fulfill the job requirements. This may mean writing a different cover letter for each of the positions for which you are applying. Additionally, an effective cover letter can help you set yourself apart from other applicants by highlighting your background in a personal way, allowing an employer the opportunity to get to know you, rather than just your skills and experiences.

Cover letter sections

Heading/Contact Info: This should look the exact same as your resume heading. 

Company Info: Make sure to include the person you are writing to, their title, the company name, and address. 

Intro: Tell the employer where or how you found the position and why you are interested in the position and company. 

Skills/Accomplishments: Write 2-3 paragraphs highlighting what skills or accomplishments you have that will bring value to their company.  Focus on transferrable skills and spend each paragraph on one specific skill; do not try to cram four skills into one paragraph.  

Close: Thank the employer for their time, let them know that you will call to follow up if you don’t hear from them, and to contact you if they need anything else.