Your resume and cover letter may be an employer’s first impression of you. A successful resume and cover letter will persuasively express the unique skills and experiences that you can add to an organization.

Resumes should always be written with a specific job opportunity in mind. However, there are some general rules that can guide you in the creation and organization of your resume:

  • Use 10 to 12 size, professional style font (nothing colorful or fancy)
  • Keep your resume to one page. Check out the W.H.O. Method for writing your resume.
  • List your academic and professional experiences in reverse chronological order
  • Include job title, organization, location, date, and a description of the skills you gained from each experience
  • Be positive and honest about your experience, skills and capabilities
  • Proofread for flawless punctuation, grammar and syntax
  • Start each bullet point with meaningful and descriptive action verbs (see list)
  • To create the document that best connects you to the specific employers make sure to add key words from the qualifications section of a posting as well as the job description
  • Always keep in mind that this is an "ad" for what you can do for the employer, not a list of your past jobs
  • Click here for a sample resume.


The Center for Career Planning and Internships provides Whittier students with an exclusive resume-building software program called Optimal Resume. This program allows you to create high impact resumes based on your major and career goals.  You can also create and manage unlimited resumes, depending on the position in which you are applying. Workshops are provided each semester on the best use of this system. Please visit our schedule of events to RSVP for the next one. For more information, please contact us at

A successful cover letter should highlight the unique skills that make you a perfect fit for an employer. Do not repeat what is on your resume, but expand on something unique about your experience. Great cover letters, like great resumes, should be written with a specific job opportunity in mind, but these general guidelines should be followed:

  • Formally address the letter to a specific person—include name and title, if known
  • Use the same font style and size that you used in your resume
  • Highlight the experiences or skills that specifically match what this employer is seeking
  • Focus on how you can benefit the employer, not vice versa​
  • Review the format of a cover letter and common mistakes here​
  • Click here for a sample cover letter