Resume & Cover Letter

A business resume should be a marketing tool to represent the unique skills and value you would bring to an employer. Recruiters scan resumes in seconds, and having a well written, effectively organized resume can determine how far you get in the application process.

Sections in a Resume

Contact Information
  • Name, mailing address (if desired), cell phone number and email address. Consider adding a LinkedIn URL to showcase your completed profile.
  • Make sure your email address is professional; best email contains your full name.
Education
  • List college degrees in reverse chronological order (most recent first)
  • Differentiate yourself once admitted as a business student by listing your education as follows: University of Utah, David Eccles School of Business
  • Accurately represent current major and status (don’t list the major until you are officially accepted)
  • Include graduation dates, even those in the future
  • Do not list high school after your freshman year
  • GPA & Honors can be included
  • Relevant coursework can be included; focus on relevant topics and projects related to the position you are seeking
Experience & Accomplishment Statements
  • Include organization/company name, position/title, and dates of employment
  • Highlight relevant experience using strong action words by business function. Here is the list of Action Verbs to use.
  • Focus on describing accomplishments and the positive impact you made on the organization – not just your duties or responsibilities. See examples here (link to entire worksheet: Accomplishment Statements Sheet)
  • Don’t begin statements with “responsible for…” or “experience working in…”; Instead, describe your background in terms of achievements
  • Be specific about what you have done. Don’t claim you are “detail-oriented” or “hardworking” or a “team player” without giving an example.

    Step 1: Action Verb Step 2: Who/What/How Many? Step 3: Why/Result/Goal/Purpose/Benefit?
    Designed and Implemented a training program for sales staff of 35 that clarified procedures and increased competency
    Produced a set of reports for the accounting department in accordance with the new SBA guidelines
    Provided system administration for an information systems organization of 12 users that resulted in more efficient daily operations
    Reduced production time by three hours on a key weekly report getting essential information to the media by noon instead of 3 p.m.
Activities
  • Could include on-campus clubs and leadership, professional organizations, community involvement and volunteer work. Take a leadership role whenever you have an opportunity.
  • View BYU’s suggestions on how and when to list an LDS mission or other church service on your resume.
Skills
  • List specific relevant skills where your proficiency will add value to the organization (e.g. languages, technical skills, certifications).
  • This section is crucial to some majors (IS).
Interests
  • Include specific interests with details to serve as conversation starters.
  • This section is crucial to some majors (Accounting/Finance).
Formatting Types
  • Lists, describes, and provides dates for each job and educational experience separately and in reverse chronological order (most recent first)
  • Most employers prefer this style
  • Works best for those who have progressed in titles and have a good work history
  • Highlights your skills and how they qualify you for the desired position while de-emphasizing non-related employment and dates
  • Works well for those with limited education, significant employment gaps, lack of work experience, or experience in a different field; this format can be used both by recent grads and career changers.
  • The actual employment history is listed at the end of the resume and provides the most basic information, such as employer name, job title, location and dates.
  • Combines both detailed work history and skills.
  • May include a “skills summary” or “highlights” section.
Formatting & Tips
  • Unless you have 15+ years of experience, limit your resume to one page only.
  • One-inch margins (all the way around) are standard, but may be adjusted to accommodate more information; some white space is essential.
  • Use bullet points, not paragraphs.
  • Use headings to clearly organize your content into sections (education, experience, activities, skills, interests, etc.)
  • Be consistent with your format throughout the document, including abbreviations, fonts, spacing, etc.
  • Avoid italics and underlining since optical scanners can misread them; use all caps instead (sparingly) and bold to make your important work and phrases stand out.
  • Choose a font that is easy to read such as Arial or Times Roman; size 10-12 point.
  • Don’t use templates or resume programs to create your resume, as it shows lack of interest and initiative
  • There’s no such thing as a “one size fits all” resume. Customize and tailor your resume to audience.
  • A resume is NOT a list of everything you’ve ever done. Let the job description guide what to include and what to leave out.
  • There is no excuse for errors—spelling, grammar and typos can eliminate you from consideration.
  • Have your business career counselor or career ambassador review your resume.
  • Upload your revised resume to UCareerPath.
  • Do not include the phrase “References available upon request.”
Resume Rubric
  • Our rubric will allow you to rate your resume against established success criteria.
  • Please note that this rubric is to be used as a general guideline for appropriate formatting and content. Employers may have additional preferences that impact the selection of candidates.
Resume Rubric
Cover Letter

A well-written business cover letter expands upon the highlights of your resume and tells your professional story using concise business writing. It should be tailored to specific jobs and addressed to the appropriate contact within the organization; customize cover letters with keywords from the job description and with company specific language

Answer the 6 “W’s”:

  • What position are you applying for?
  • Where did you hear about the position?
  • Who are you in terms of your education?
  • Why are you interested?
  • Why should the employer consider you for the position?
  • Where may you be contacted (phone/email)?

Cover Letter Outline

Cover Letter
References

References should always be listed separately from your resume. Format reference list the same as your resume, using the same heading to create a consistent, branded look. List each reference name, the relation to you and the contact information for that reference (phone and email). Choose references wisely — your reference should know you and your work well. You should be confident that they will give you a positive recommendation. A list of at least 3-5 professional/academic references is the norm. Make sure you have checked with all references before listing them.

Remind your references if you believe an employer will contact them (you put their name on an application or gave your one page out at an interview).

References
Sample Resumes by Program

The following are just examples of resumes to get ideas from, they are not meant to be copied exactly. Remember that you should work to tailor your resume to the job you are specifically applying for.

General Business
Accounting
Management
Marketing
Operations Management
Entrepreneurship
Finance