Résumes & Letters

Build the Perfect Resume in Three Easy Steps

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

The Purpose of A Resume

A resume 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 resume represents YOU on paper, so you need to spend some time developing a quality document that will impress the reader. An effective, well written resume gets you an interview, not a job. An employer will usually spend 6 to 20 seconds reviewing/skimming through your resume, so the content of your resume must be clear, concise, and targeted to the type of job for which you are applying. If your resume 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 resume 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 resume 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 resume 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 resumes 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.

Resume & Letter Builder: OptimalResume

Enrolled Walton College students have free access to an online resume and letter building website, OptimalResume. Through the system, students can create a resume/letter from scratch or improve an existing resume/letter. Best of all, you can work at your own pace. You don't have to finish your document in one sitting, and you can check your progress along the way. Check out the OptimalResume and Letter first time user guide.

  • First Resume: Even if this is your first resume, OptimalResume makes the process fast and easy - and it ensures top-quality results. Step-by-step, OptimalResume helps you construct a resume that is appropriate for your career or employment objective. It prompts you to enter the required information and provides helpful samples and suggestions on wording and format.
  • Existing Resume: If you have an existing resume, you don't have to redo it - simply cut and paste the content into OptimalResume.
  • Letters: Through OptimalResume, students also have access to OptimalLetter, an online letter builder that makes it easy for you to create almost any kind of letter with custom instructions and examples. OptimalLetter works much like OptimalResume in that students create letters section by section with stepwise instructions and examples.

Using OptimalResume

  • Go to https://uark.optimalresume.com/validate_user.php.
  • Enter your UARK email address and click "Continue". You will then receive a confirmation email from the system. Follow the instructions in the email to create your account. (Alumni should click "Alumni Click Here" and follow the outlined registration steps.)
  • Create your profile and continue with the OptimalResume prompts.

OptimalResume FAQ's

  • What's the log in page for returning users?
  • I'm a graduate of the Walton College, can I use OptimalResume?
    Yes. You will need to pay the one year registration fee of $29.00 directly to OptimalResume Builder.
  • I'm not a business major, can I use OptimalResume?
    Yes. Please visit career.uark.edu for the University Career Center's OptimalResume login instructions.

Resume Feedback Application: VMock SMART Resume Platform

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

  • Give you an aggregate resume score to assess the strength of your resume benchmarked against your own Walton peer group
  • Provide you with resume 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 resume content in view of your course and level of experience

VMock is designed to work with resumes from many different fields across various industries. Once you receive the detailed feedback and make relevant changes to your resume, 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 resume 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 resume.
  • 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 resume (i.e. your resume 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 resume 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 resume 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 resumes. The files will open as Word documents so you can edit with your personal information.


Graduate and Professional

Cover Letters