Preparation: Creating Application Materials

This section is about creating effective application materials. The purpose of your resume and cover letter is to secure an interview, NOT a job! Selling work experience and skills to employers is like selling a product. You must market yourself. How do you do this? You need to identify selling points and communicate that effectively through your application materials.  


On average, employers spend around 7-10 seconds pre-screening a resume, so you want to make an impact and stand out as fast as you can. 

Cover Letters:

The cover letter is an introduction to the resume, generating interest on the part of the employer and leading him/her to want to learn more about you. 

Curriculum Vitae (CV): 

Many students wonder what the difference is between a CV and a resume. A CV is a document that contains information from your resume plus other related academic accomplishments such as teaching experience, research experience, publications, awards, presentations, honors, and other additional details. CVs are not normally used except in academic/faculty positions, scientific, or research positions. International employers may use CVs as well. Many employers use CV and resume interchangeably, but most entry-level positions are looking for a resume. If you are not sure if you need a CV or resume, consult with faculty in your field or the CDC to determine what is appropriate for your field.  

Professional References:

Many jobs will ask you for professional references. This will be a list of people you have asked to recommend you when directly contacted by a potential employer. Here are resources about what information to include and best practices when asking for reference. 

Portfolios and Credentials:

A portfolio is a collection of work samples that showcase your major work and accomplishments. Here are some resources if a portfolio is needed in your application.  

Additional Materials

Writing Samples: 

Work Philosophies