Résumés & Professional Correspondence
A résumé is an organized summary of your qualifications, goals, accomplishments, and interests. It should tell the reader what you have accomplished, as it relates to what you want to do. A résumé shows that you are prepared and qualified for a specific position or career field. It's important to tailor your résumé to each opportunity of interest.
The best place to start is by reviewing the Résumés module in the Career Development Toolkit.
Review the Engineering Employer Preferred Résumé Format with Pro Tips to view tips for writing an effective resume. These tips come directly from engineering employers who recruit Cornell talent.
View the Engineering Employer Preferred Résumé Format w/out tips to see what a one-page engineering resume may look like. This template is a way to get started with a format that is appreciated widely by engineering employers.
If you are going into a more creative field, however, you may wish to design your own format. View the Creative Résumé Format with Pro Tips and Two Column Résumé for additional suggestions.
On your résumé, every bullet point should start with a strong action verb. Use the Action Verbs for Engineers handout as a reference when writing your descriptions.
5 Tips to Craft an Effective Résumé
Cover Letters and Professional Correspondence
The purpose of a cover letter is to express your interest in working for a specific organization and expand on the experiences and skills presented in your résumé. Tailor your cover letter to each position to which you apply. Your introductory paragraph is especially important because it is where you will explain your interest in working for a specific organization. To write a convincing introductory paragraph, you will need to research the organization and think about why you are genuinely interested in the work they do. Do not use generic language in your cover letter that could apply to any position and/or any company within your field of interest.
While not all applications require a cover letter, a well-written, tailored cover letter can strengthen your application and make you a more competitive candidate.
How you communicate with employers and alumni will leave an impression, make it a good one! Additional information about cover letters and other professional correspondence is available in the Letters module of the Career Development Toolkit.
While the module includes sample text, your outreach should sound like you, so don't copy and paste. The guidelines include examples for how to request a deadline extension, accept or decline an offer, and check on the status of an application.
A portfolio is a way to display examples of your work and showcase your knowledge, skills, and accomplishments. It is also a great way to show your approach to a problem or your thought process. Some employers will require a portfolio as part of their application.
There are many methods for creating a portfolio, and the Portfolios module in the Career Development Toolkit outlines your options in detail.