Résumés and Cover Letters

Résumé Sections Example | Résumé Formats and Examples | Writing a Cover Letter

A résumé documents your skills and experience relevant to the position you are applying for. Its layout and design should help the reader quickly scan the page and understand how you are qualified. Typically, the primary purpose of a résumé, cover letter (and portfolio if required), is to be selected for an interview.


  • Highlight how your skills overlap with the employer’s needs. Carefully review the employment posting, company website, and other resources to understand the qualifications.
  • Include action phrases that identify relevant skills and accomplishments demonstrated through your experience. Use action verbs and avoid paragraphs.
  • Make your résumé easy to scan; consider bolding words (such as your name, degree, job titles) and maintain enough white space to avoid overcrowding.
  • Check grammar and spelling for accuracy. It should be error free.
  • One page is recommended unless your relevant experience requires a second. Always follow application directions if any are given regarding length.

Résumé Formats

Chronological Résumé: For most internships and jobs, you will use a chronological résumé; functional and combination formats are also an option. The difference between the three is how you format your experience section. All other sections such as skills or awards are the same.

  • Chronological: Your experience is listed in one section from most recent to least recent. Action phrases are included under each position.
  • Functional: Action phrases are listed under skill headers rather than individual positions (identify 2-3 skill areas relevant to the job you are applying for; list each action phrase under the appropriate skill area). This format also includes a work history section at the bottom of the résumé that lists each job title, organization, location, and dates.
  • Combination: Combines aspects of the chronological and functional formats. Action phrases are listed under each position and positions are divided under skill section headers.

Artist Résumé: When applying to submit your art to professional venues (commercial and non-profit galleries, museums, art centers) or when completing applications for grants, residency programs, commissions, and other exhibition opportunities, use the artist résumé format.

Curriculum Vitae (CV): In the U.S., “CV” is used to describe a document commonly requested for higher education and research-related positions. A U.S. CV tends to be longer than a résumé and emphasizes areas such as research, teaching, exhibitions, awards, grants, service, presentations, and publications. Outside of the U.S., the “CV” requested is more similar to a U.S. résumé. Information on expectations by country is available in GoinGlobal.


Résumé Sections Example


  • email address, phone number, web presence (if applicable, e.g., link to portfolio)
  • While a street address has historically been included, current trends include omitting your address completely or including only city, state, zip code. However, including your street address is still an option.


  • List universities where you have earned a degree in reverse chronological order.
  • For each, include degree and major, university, and graduation (month, year).
  • You can also include information such as Minors, GPA, study abroad, languages, scholarships/academic honors, and related coursework (if you create a separate section for any of these do not repeat under education).



Master of Landscape Architecture, University of Oregon, expected June 20xx

Bachelor of Science in Art and Technology, University of Oregon, expected June 20xx

  • Computer and Information Technology minor
  • Study abroad in Rome, Italy, summer 20xx



    • Select from your experience that demonstrates skills relevant to the job. Experience can be paid or unpaid: employment, internships, volunteer, leadership activities, etc.
    • Include your position title, name of organization, city and state, dates (months/years)
    • Action phrases: when describing each experience, focus on skills demonstrated and results achieved. Highlight transferable skills (those that are used in a variety of settings) and skills specific to your career field. Avoid using “I” and instead begin phrases with action verbs. Make these phrases easy to skim; avoid lengthy paragraphs and consider using bullets. When writing phrases ask yourself who, what, how, and why to help you identify details and impact. Include numbers when possible, to show level of responsibility.



    Outreach Intern, Arts for All, Portland, OR, Jan 20xx-present

    • Developed relationships with 25 local arts community centers; presented to each executive staff on strategies to bolster their community engagement
    • Managed logistics including venue selection, catering, and invitations for fundraising gala with 350+ attendees
    • Trained and supervised team of 12 volunteers for gala


      Optional Sections:


      • A brief description of your abilities, qualities, experience, and achievements relevant to the position for which you are applying. It might also include the type of work you are pursuing. Typically, this is the first section after your contact information.


      • Relevant skills and projects developed through coursework can be listed in a separate section with a title such as Academic Highlights, Academic Projects, Studios, Research, or Design Projects. This can be a useful section if your career-specific knowledge and skills have been demonstrated primarily through your academics rather than volunteer/employment.


      • List skills relevant to the position, e.g., computer knowledge, languages, design skills, craft skills. This can be a succinct way to highlight skills needed for the position.


      • Community or university activities not mentioned in the Experience section.


      • Awards, honors, scholarships, or other recognition you have received.


      • Interests can show diverse skills/knowledge and can highlight your fit with an opportunity that would otherwise not be apparent through your experience and education. This section is often placed towards the bottom of the résumé.


      • References are usually needed for applications but they do not need to be placed on the résumé. Instead, use the space on your résumé to promote your skills and experience.
      • Typically, references are previous or current supervisors, faculty, or others who can positively describe your skills and performance related to your work.
      • When listing references, include their name, job title, organization, phone, and email, and optionally, their relationship to you, e.g., current supervisor.
      • Ask references for permission before providing names to an employer.

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      Writing a Cover Letter

      Prepare Before Writing - know yourself, the position, and the organization.

      Study the posting (if available). What does the employer want? Review the qualifications carefully. Compare these qualifications to what you have to offer and identify the overlap. Identify examples of how you have demonstrated these qualifications. Your examples will show proof of your skills. These examples might come from class projects, internships, leadership, volunteer, or other experiences. Also, research the organization (its work and culture). How does the culture and the organization’s services and projects align with your interests and values?

      Be promotional and show your enthusiasm. Cover letters are a marketing tool to show the employer why you are a strong candidate. Explain your interest in the specific organization and highlight your most relevant skills and experience. Use an active voice and enthusiastic tone.

      Make It Easy for an Employer to Select You to Interview. Tailor each letter to the position and organization. While this approach takes time, it will demonstrate to the employer why they should schedule an interview with you. Focus on what you can do for the employer. Know what the employer wants and clearly outline why you meet their needs.

      Additional Tips

      • Cover letters typically do not exceed one page
      • Avoid over-used phrases and clichés
      • Cut extraneous words; keep sentences and paragraphs short
      • Check for coherence and readability; read your letter aloud
      • Be the employer; would you be interested in you?
      • Ensure it is error-free!

      Cover Letter Example

      The following is an example of formatting for a cover letter sent as an attachment to an email or uploaded for an application. If you are sending a cover letter in the body of an email, begin with the salutation.



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