Writing a Resume

Creating Your Resume

A resume is a marketing tool that highlights the aspects of your background you wish to draw to an employer’s attention.  It is a connection between YOU & your intended AUDIENCE. 

See below for information regarding resume format and content, and for more information use our resume tip sheet and review examples by content area here.


*It is suggested that you do not use a resume temple, as they are very difficult to make changes to

  • Length: 1 page
  • Margins: .5in - 1.0in
  • Font: Times New Roman, Arial, and Courier New are good choices in 10-12 point font size
  • Paper Quality: Use a high quality paper stock or resume paper (8-1/2 x 11) in white or ivory
  • Consistency: Keep the formatting consistent throughout your resume
  • Accuracy: Your resume, and all other job search materials, must be 100% error free
  • Reverse chronological order: List all of your experiences under each section header most recent first

Headers to Include on a Resume:

  • Identification: Include your name, address, phone, and email address
  • Education: List your college degree(s) in reverse chronological order, including school name, major(s), minor(s), city, and date(s) of graduation

        Example: State University of New York at New Paltz | New Paltz, NY
                        Bachelor of Science in Adolescent Education, expected June 2016

Options for Representing Your Experience

  • Leadership Experience: Student leadership positions (RA, student ambassador, club president)
  • Campus Involvement: Student organizations or club involvement, athletic teams
  • Volunteer Experience: Brief one day events and/or extended opportunities
  • Work (Professional) Experience: Focus on skills that are transferable to the position you are apply for
  • Honors: Honor Roll, Honor Societies, and Scholarships
  • Special Skills: Highlight skills useful to the position you are applying for – (language, computer, certifications)
  • Coursework/Projects: Think about courses and/or projects that would make you stand out
  • Additional Experience: Other achievements, training, or skills you possess that may be impressive to employers

Bullet Points

  • Under each position, list approximately 1-5 bulleted accomplishment statements
  • Avoid the use of personal pronouns (I, my, we, etc.)
  • Start each bullet point with an action verb
  • Explain what you did in the position, how you did it, and the results of your actions
    • What: What did you do? Tasks? Duties?
    • How: How did you accomplish your tasks? Process? Organization? Skills demonstrated?
    • Results/Accomplishments: Quantitative and Qualitative


References or statements such as "References on request" are no longer included on the resume (it is presumed by employers that you have references). Instead, prepare a REFERENCE LIST, in a separate document, that includes the names, addresses, and phone numbers of your references. This list should have the same paper, font and header as your resume.


Writing a Cover Letter

Writing a Cover Letter Employers Will Want to Read

Cover letters are marketing tools used to create interest in you as a candidate for jobs and/or internships and are an important part of the application process. Each cover letter you write must be unique. The goal is to motivate the recipient to review your resume and ultimately invite you for an interview. A good letter will clearly demonstrate how you fit with the particular organization and position you are applying to.

Steps to Writing a Strong Cover Letter

  • Learn about the organization. What are its goals and mission? Pay attention to the language used to describe the organization and use similar language when talking about yourself. 
  • Review the position listing and highlight important words and phrases. Employers will tell you exactly what they are seeking. These are your clues – use them wisely!
  • Consider skills you have relevant to the employer’s needs. These may be from a variety of experiences; it is up to you to “connect the dots” so the employer sees how and why you meet their needs.
  • Write a draft that clearly spells out how and why you should be considered for the position.
    • Describe two or three experiences, accomplishments or skills that demonstrate your fit with the position
    • Be specific and provide examples to support claims
    • Avoid the temptation to copy wording from sample cover letters and don’t repeat verbatim what is on your resume! Be sure to highlight what you have to offer, rather than what you have to gain.
    • Also avoid beginning each sentence with “I” (sometimes is ok)– it’s a sign of weak writing

Cover Letter Format

  • Confine your letter to one page, single space
  • Use 11-12 point simple font – the same font style used on resume
  • Make sure to leave a space between each paragraph
  • Leave a space between heading and greeting
  • Align all paragraphs to the left of the page (no indentation needed)
  • 1’ margins around entire document
  • Leave 3 spaces between salutation and typed name
  • Sign your letter in black pen between your name and salutation (if submitting hard copy)
  • Address the letter to an individual, not “to whom it may concern”
    • Make a phone call if necessary to get the appropriate person’s name and title
    • If you are unable to find the name use Hiring Manager, Human Resources Department,
  • Write in a professional, confident, and polite tone, but let your personality and enthusiasm for the employer and position come through
    • Avoid negative phrases such as, “Although I never . . .” and “While I don’t . . .”
  • Proofread carefully and check for grammar, spelling and typos- have someone else read it over

For information on what to include in your cover letter and to see an example use our Cover Letter Writing Guide


The Career Resource Center Counselors will be happy to critique your resume/cover letter. During the academic year, drop-in counseling hours are Tuesday, Wednesday & Thursday from 1:30-4:30 p.m and Friday 10 a.m. to noon. Drop-in and office hours may change each semester, so please check with the CRC for current hours. You may also call (845) 257-3265 for an appointment. We can also e-mail careers@newpaltz.edu and we will email back our suggestions/comments.