Résumés & Letters

Build the Perfect Résumé in Three Easy Steps

  1. Create a Draft
    Start by checking out some sample résumés and creating a first draft with our online résumé builder.
  2. Online Revision
    Next, upload your draft to VMock, our online résumé feedback application, for an initial revision.
  3. Career Services Revision
    Schedule a meeting with a Career Coach for a final revision.

The Purpose of A Résumé

A résumé is a brief, concise document, usually only one page in length, that presents, and effectively sells, your skills and experiences to potential employers, graduate school admission committees, scholarship or fellowship committees, or other professional groups. Your résumé represents YOU on paper, so you need to spend some time developing a quality document that will impress the reader. An effective, well written résumé gets you an interview, not a job. An employer will usually spend 6 to 20 seconds reviewing/skimming through your résumé, so the content of your résumé must be clear, concise, and targeted to the type of job for which you are applying. If your résumé has grammatical errors and/or is not well structured, the employer/reader will notice, and you, most likely, will be removed from the candidate pool. Your résumé may be the only chance you get to make an impression, so make it a good one.


You do not need to include references with your résumé when you apply for a position unless the employer requests them. However, it is a good idea to ask your job supervisor (past and present), current professors/teachers and other people with whom you have had a professional working relationship to see if they will serve as a positive reference for you. If so, develop a separate references page to accompany your résumé so that you have it ready to provide to employers when asked. Also, make sure you let your references know when you have applied for a position (perhaps even sending your references the job description), so they are ready when a potential employer calls them to ask about your work performance. (sample references page).

Curriculum Vitae (CV)

While résumés and CVs are both written accounts of academic and professional experiences, a CV is a longer and more involved accounting of academic and professional involvement, specifically used by PhD candidates. For more information on creating and formatting CVs and cover letters, please review the following or contact the Writing Center: The Paper CV, The Online CV, and The Cover Letter.


Résumé Feedback Application: VMock SMART Résumé Platform

Walton Career Services partners with VMock Inc. to help you create a powerful résumé and accelerate your career journey. VMock, a 24-7 online résumé review tool, leverages technologies like data-science, machine learning, and natural language processing to provide instant personalized feedback on your résumé based on criteria gathered from employers and global best practices – from anywhere, at any time of the day. Simply create an account, upload your résumé, and VMock will:

  • Give you an aggregate résumé score to assess the strength of your résumé benchmarked against your own Walton peer group
  • Provide you with résumé guidelines based on your school template to ensure that you do not miss the fine details and establish a great first impression
  • Assess how well you have marketed your core competencies to showcase the right skill set reflected in academics, experience, achievements, etc.
  • Give you line-by-line suggestions to improve your résumé content in view of your course and level of experience

VMock is designed to work with résumés from many different fields across various industries. Once you receive the detailed feedback and make relevant changes to your résumé, you can re-upload it to see the increased score and associated improvements. Check out the VMock Video and our first time user guide to learn more.

Cover Letters

You should send a cover letter if:

  • you are sending your résumé through standard mail or via fax.
  • you are responding to a newspaper ad or any other job announcement that requires you to send a paper version of your résumé.
  • you are applying for a position via an online job board (i.e. Monster.com) and the job system requires a cover letter.

When you are sending an electronic version of your résumé (i.e. your résumé is attached in an email) in lieu of attaching another document to the email, you should create a shortened, professional message within the body of the email that takes the place of the cover letter (sample).

If you are submitting your résumé in Handshake, you should only submit an accompanying cover letter if the job description states a requirement for you to do so. Otherwise, do not send a cover letter; your résumé is sufficient.

Thank You Letters

A 'Thank You' letter should be sent via email within 24 hours to your contact person at the company who coordinated your interview, as well as the interviewer(s) (sample). You can also send a handwritten and mailed letter, but email will ensure timely delivery.

Don't forget! You can use OptimalResume to help you create various types of letters.

Click the links below to view various sample résumés. The files will open as Word documents so you can edit with your personal information.


Graduate and Professional

Cover Letters