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Cover Letters & Résumés

Cover letters and résumés are two of the most important documents you need to successfully complete your job search.

These materials introduce you to potential employers and demonstrate your professional and educational experiences. 

Pima Resources

Big Interview Résumé Builder Tool

Use Big Interview's résumé builder tool to help you create a stand-out résumé that features your professional experiences in a visually appealing format. 

Access the Résumé Builder Tool

Go to MyPima > Student Tab > Student Resources > Big Interview.

Career Guide

Explore our Career Guide to find information and advice on résumés and cover letters and tips for creating a new or stronger LinkedIn profile. You will also find examples and resources to help you get started on your résumé or cover letter. 

Cover Letter and Résumé Tips

Use the following tips to help you get started on your résumé or cover letter. 

Cover letters introduce your experience, skills and qualifications to the hiring manager. While it takes more time and effort, each cover letter you send should be customized for the job you are applying to. 

The following tips can help you draft a strong cover letter for each job you apply to:

Include your contact information.

Put your contact information at the top, including your name, email address and phone number.

Use a general address if you don't know the name of the hiring manager.

If you don't have a specific contact to address your letter, it is okay to use a general address. Some good ones to use are: "Dear Hiring Manager", "Dear Human Resources" or "Dear Hiring Committee".

Write each paragraph with a specific purpose.

The first paragraph introduces you and your interest in the position. It engages the employer to read further. 

The next paragraph details what you can offer the employer based on the job description. It highlights your experience, knowledge and skills. 

The final paragraph closes your letter by briefly restating your interest in the position or company and thanks them for their consideration. 

Always be sure to proofread and spell check.

A cover letter highlights your writing skills, so make sure to proofread and spell check before sending your letter.  

A résumé shows your work, education and volunteer experience. Employers review résumés to evaluate whether you are a good fit for their organization and the role you are applying to. 

On average, employers spend 30 seconds looking at a résumé before deciding whether to invite you to an interview. It's important to organize your experience in a way that will catch their eye and make you stand out as an excellent candidate.

These tips can help you get started on your résumé:

Start your résumé by brainstorming your work experiences.

Use the following process to brainstorm content for your résumé:

Step 1: Write down your experiences

Start by writing down all your work experiences. Begin with your most recent experience and work backwards.

If you don't have a lot of work experience, consider including unpaid experiences like volunteer work, projects or student organizations you've been apart of.

Step 2: Add details

Next, include the details for each experience by answering these questions:

  • What role did you have?
  • What were your most important tasks?
  • How did you know if you were successful in your role?
  • How did your work make a difference?
  • What skills did you apply in your role that you developed in school? 

Step 3: Show your impact

Then, go through your experiences and answer these questions to show the impact you made:

  • What was a task you were given?
  • How did you complete the task?
  • What was the result?

Step 4: Create succinct bullet points

Finally, combine all the information you brainstormed into succint bullet points to include on your résumé. Check out this example to see how you can put all your information together:  

Your experience:

  • Role: Marketing Coordinator, Tucson Medical Center
  • Task: Helped the team raise money for the hospital
  • How the task was completed: Used marketing skills to create a campaign across social media channels
  • Result: Raised $1,500 to fund the hospital

A succinct bullet point for your résumé:

  • Executed a social media campaign that raised $1,500 to fund the hospital

Step 5: Put together all the information

Résumés can take many shapes and forms. In general, your résumé should include:

  • Your first and last name
  • Your phone number and professional email address
  • Your city, state and zip code
  • A URL to your LinkedIn profile and/or professional portfolio
  • Your education
  • Your employment and volunteer experiences
  • An optional summary that describes who you are as a candidate and your professional goals

Tailor each résumé to a specific job description. 

Just like your cover letter, tailor each résumé to a specific job by showing the skills and experiences you have that are most similar to the job description.

Incorporate key words from the job description into your résumé to demonstate how your past experiences have prepared you for this position. 

Don't forget about formatting. 

Make sure your résume has clear, consistent formatting that shows your experience in an easy-to-read way.

Use the same font throughout, and keep the text size between 10 and 12 point font. 

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