University of Wisconsin–Madison

Resume & Cover Letters

Congratulations! You’ve decided to apply for an internship, job, grad school, or scholarship that hopefully excites you. Your application is often your first chance to introduce yourself to an employer, graduate program, or scholarship review committee. Applications for these opportunities vary and are usually quite different from what you may have filled out when applying for part-time jobs throughout high school or college.

For that reason, it’s important to spend time thinking about how your skills and experience make you a good fit for the opportunity. This process can take a little bit of time but trust us (and your future bank account): it’s worth it.

On this page, we’ll break down the parts of an application and add some best practices to consider. If you’re looking for examples of resumes for specific industries, please check out the Career Community pages.

Your Resume(s)

Yeah, you read that right. Resume(s). As in you’ll probably have to create more than one.

Each job, internship, scholarship, or graduate program requires different skills and has unique needs and requirements. In the same way, your resume must be tailored to address each opportunity. It’s important to carefully review your resume each time you apply, remove irrelevant information, and reorganize your bullet points so that the most important stuff is always listed first.

We encourage you to return to this page as often as needed to make sure your materials are the actual best.

If you’d like one of our career advisors to look through your materials, please make an appointment.

Resume Samples and Tool Guides

Your Cover Letter

Your cover letter serves several purposes as part of your application. It demonstrates that you understand the needs of the employer, organization, or grad program and that you “get” them. This is your chance to introduce how your skills and experiences can serve as assets to their team.

The cover letter also serves as a writing sample, and good written communication skills typically rank anywhere from #1 to #3 on annual surveys of skills employers want in their new hires. So proofread, proofread, and proofread again.

Your cover letter and resume are not meant to be duplicates of each other, but to be complements. They should work together to help build your case as a qualified candidate for the position or opportunity you’re applying for.

If you have any questions or would like another set of eyes on your cover letter, let us know. Our career and internships advisors and specialists are here to help guide you through this process.

 

Cover Letter Samples and Tool Guides