This is the "Writing Cover Letters & Resumes" page of the "The Writing Studio at Watkins Library" guide.
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Last Updated: Aug 31, 2017 URL: Print Guide RSS Updates

Writing Cover Letters & Resumes Print Page

Resume Basics: What Info Do You Need?

Writing a professional resume is a crucial skill that everyone must learn; often resumes and cover letters are how you'll be introducing yourself to potential employers. Follow the process below to begin developing your resume.

Before you start typing and formatting your resume, you'll need to gather the following information:
-list of previous employers (usually within the past five years) and their contact information (phone number, address, etc.)
-list of the dates you worked for the employers
-brief descriptions of the tasks you performed at your current and previous jobs
-list of schools you have attended and their addresses (consider including your GPA)
-list of personal, academic, and/or professional achievements/awards 
-list of professional development and/or extracurricular activities (e.g, participating in conferences, being a member of an organization, contributing to fundraisers, supporting the community via volunteering, etc.)

To further personalize your resume, ask youself the following questions:

  • What skills can I contribute to employers? (think in terms of both communication and technology)
  • Do I share any of the skills and/or qualification listed on the job description and/or mission statement?
  • What additional information do I want the employer to know about me?

Resume Basics: How Should I Format My Resume?

When initially formatting your resume, consider a basic design that you type yourself. Microsoft Word provides templates for resumes, but beware: often these templates waste necessary space and may require you to use unprofessional fonts and colors. 

To save time, consider simply typing out your information on MS Word.  After your information is typed, you'll be able to better assess how much space you'll need, determine if you need to reword your descriptions, and decide if you need to omit or add information for clarity. 

Remember the following when typing and formatting your resume:
-Know your fonts! Use practical and professional fonts like Times New Roman, Arial, Book Antiqua, etc. Refrain from using distracting fonts like Comic Sans and Impact

-Don't place too much emphasis on your name. Your name and contact info shouldn't take up more space than necessary; let your experience and skills dominate the resume. Doing so will make your accomplishments and potential stand out--not just your name.


Brief Guide to Writing Successful Cover Letters

Use this PowerPoint as guide to writing cover letters. A cover letter example is included.


Brief Guide to Writing Resumes

Coming Soon!


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