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Learn how to best highlight your graduate experience and skills and impress a prospective employer in job application documents. To demonstrate your fit for a job and increase your chances of securing an interview, adapt your application materials to match the job description. Review our materials below to learn how to write and format resumes, CVs, and cover letters as well as tailor them to specific job descriptions for academia, industry, nonprofit, government, and business.
Job Application Tools and Best Practices
Cvs and application materials for faculty positions.
Review our example CV templates for Humanities and Social Sciences or STEM disciplines to learn best practices for formatting this document for the faculty job search.
Humanities and Social Sciences CV
Example CV for graduate students and postdoctoral scholars in humanities and social sciences.
Example CV for graduate students and postdoctoral scholars in science, technology, engineering, and math.
Example of an annotated teaching statement for a tenure-track faculty position.
Resumes and Cover Letters
For detailed content guidelines for each section of the document, view our resume chart and cover letter chart. For formatting guidelines for writing a resume and cover letter, view our resume template and cover letter template. View example resumes in the fields of academic administration, nonprofit, industry, government, business, and manufacturing.
Resume Writing Guidelines
Overview of format and structure for a resume.
Annotated resume template highlighting format, guidelines and strategies for framing graduate experience as work experience.
Cover Letter Writing Guidelines
Overview of format and structure for a cover letter.
Cover Letter Template
Annotated cover letter template outlining format, guidelines and strategies for framing graduate experience as work experience.
Reference List Template
Example reference list that outlines what and how to include reference information.
Active Verb List
List of verbs to frame accomplishment statements on a resume.
Example Accomplishment Statements
Examples of short, impactful statements that highlight overall impact in a position and translate academic training into work experience.
Tailoring Resumes and Cover Letters
Review our examples resumes and cover letters for jobs in academia, industry, nonprofit, government, and business. These example documents are tailored to real job descriptions and demonstrate how to write your documents so they highlight fit with the position.
Academic Administration Resume and Cover Letter
Sample job description, resume and cover letter of a graduate student resume for a position in a higher education administration that outlines writing strategies to frame graduate experience and target application materials according to industry standards.
Business Resume and Cover Letter
Sample job description, resume and cover letter of a graduate student resume for a position in a consulting firm that outlines writing strategies to frame graduate experience and target application materials according to industry standards.
Industry Resume and Cover Letter
Sample job description, resume and cover letter of a graduate student resume for a position in a semiconductor manufacturing company that outlines writing strategies to frame graduate experience and target application materials according to industry standards.
Nonprofit Resume and Cover Letter
Sample job description, resume and cover letter of a graduate student resume for a position in a nonprofit organization that outlines writing strategies to frame graduate experience and target application materials according to industry standards.
Learn more about writing resumes, CVs, cover letters, and other application materials from these recent workshops.
CV Writing 101
Learn how to articulate your academic accomplishments within the specific conventions of the academic CV. We will also explore the possibilities for tailoring and persuasively positioning elements within the CV to match certain academic opportunities including fellowships. Finally, we will reframe the CV as a tool and “to-do” list that indicates areas where scholars can bolster aspects of their scholarly identity with intentionality as they progress through their training.
Polishing Your CV: Humanities and Social Sciences
This online, interactive session will address the nuances of CV writing specifically in Humanities and Social Sciences fields and how to frame your research, teaching and service accomplishments for different types of institutions and audiences.
Polishing Your CV: STEM
This online, interactive session will address the nuances of CV writing specifically in STEM fields and how to frame your research, teaching and service accomplishments for different types of institutions and audiences.
Part 1: Demonstrating Institutional Fit
Part 2: Elements of a CV
Part 3: Search Committee Perspective
The academic cover letter.
This session addresses the purpose of the cover letter, its format and necessary contents, along with tips on how to avoid common mistakes and missteps in order to provide the search committee the best first impression. Attendees will leave this session with clearly identified content to include and a concrete outline of their cover letters.
Writing a Compelling Resume
In this virtual workshop, you will learn how to write a resume describing your graduate school experiences that is compelling to employers. You will be able to identify the format and components of a resume, tailor your resume to a job description, and communicate your skills by emphasizing your accomplishments.
Meet with an expert
Make a confidential appointment with a Graduate Career Advisor to explore next steps and prepare for your career.
Make an Appointment
Your cover letter is one of the best marketing tools you have in finding a position. It’s often one of the first things asked of you in the job or internship search process. Learn about how to write an effective cover letter to help you land your next interview!
The purpose of a cover letter is to make a compelling case for yourself as a candidate for a particular job, and it complements what’s in your resume. It’s an opportunity to tell an employer more about you than just what they’ll see in your work history. Other things matter too, like work habits, communication skills, drive, people skills and overall enthusiasm for the job. A good cover letter doesn’t summarize the resume that follows; it adds new details that aren’t on the resume that explain why YOU would excel at this particular job .
We suggest thinking back to past compliments from supervisors or teammates when you’re trying to come up with skills to highlight and tying them to an anecdote to make things feel a little more grounded. Anyone can say they are a “team player” who “works well under pressure,” but not everyone can talk about how their successful presentation sealed the deal with a hesitant client, or brag that they’ve got spreadsheet customization skills that their coworkers have described as a “game changer.”
To take the pressure off the writing process, imagine you’re writing an email to a friend about why you think you’d be great at the job. You probably wouldn’t do that by stiffly reciting your work history; you’d talk about what you’re good at, how your experiences align with what it takes to do the job well, how you’d approach the work, and why you’re excited about it. That’s a good basis for any cover letter.
Cover Letter guide
Be Mindful of the Medium
For a hard copy cover letter or a word document for electronic application submission, use the same heading as you have in your resume. This will make sure all of your documents match and looks very professional.
- If you’re submitting the cover letter as an email, the subject line should include your name, the job title, and/or the posting number
- When emailing your materials, write your cover letter in the body of the email — omit the header, date, and address section; only keep whom the letter is addressed to and the body of the letter
- Make sure to include your contact information in the signature of the email when emailing a letter, in case it’s forwarded
What to Avoid
While different job descriptions will require you to think differently, here are some points you should always avoid:
- Don’t use a generic letter for every position you apply for, instead, take the time to tailor each cover letter to the particular company and position that you’re applying for
- Don’t be in a hurry — be sure to follow the instructions in the job posting, and include any information specifically requested
- Avoid typos, misspelled words and false or exaggerated information — always have someone else proofread before sending
- Don’t address the letter to “To Whom it May Concern”! Use the name of the hiring manager or you can use one of the following salutations: “Dear Hiring Manager” or “Dear Hiring Team”
Below you’ll find cover letter examples paired with respective job descriptions. For these examples, read the job description closely and then the matching cover letter to better understand how to write a cover letter that’s tailored to the job. These examples are intended for inspiration only — to show what our cover letter advice can look like in practice.
- Cover Letter Example for an Internship
- Cover Letter Example for a Research Opportunity
- Cover Letter Example for a Full-Time Position
Want a Cover Letter Review?
Make an appointment with a CNS career coach
Everything You Need to Know About the University of Texas at Austin Expanded Resume
Students want to put their best foot forward on their college application, but sometimes space can be the limiting factor in doing so. This is especially true of the ApplyTexas application, which is why UT Austin recommends students submit an expanded resume to bolster their application.
The expanded resume is basically a list of every experience a student has had that will help the admissions office get a sense of who they are as an applicant. UT expects these resumes might run three to four pages—or even more—so instead of just listing titles and dates, students will describe their activities, define their roles, and elaborate on their specific experiences.
This gives students a chance to highlight all their experiences: academic, extracurricular, professional, and personal. And it means they can show off their accomplishments in a more detailed way to pro-actively demonstrate their fit for their first-choice major.
The University of Texas at Austin Admissions Application Expanded Resume
What's included on the expanded resume.
In a word: everything.
There's a reason they call it expanded—UT wants students to list everything that might be even remotely relevant to their potential at the university. All extracurricular involvement starting with the summer before ninth grade should be included. Here are some examples:
- School clubs
- Sports (school or community)
- Arts and performance (school or community)
- Community involvement or service
- Independent academic activities
- Career-related exploration
And that's just the tip of the iceberg. If it’s done outside school hours and isn’t related to assigned classwork, routine studying, or leisure activities, it's fair game.
How Should You Organize The Resume?
The expanded resume is unlike a typical professional resume in that it provides much more comprehensive detail. No need to be concise here. In fact, the expected length for the expanded resume is three to four pages, though five to six pages may be acceptable for students with a great deal of involvement.
So how do you organize pages and pages of activities? For starters, remember that organization in the traditional reverse chronology set-up is unnecessary. However you group it, we recommend you organize the resume to highlight activities that align with your first-choice major or that showcase in-depth involvement and passion. For example, students applying to the McCombs School of Business would list any of their business endeavors and business-related internships toward the top.
The college essay & resume for UT Austin process can feel overwhelming. Our program provides an experienced coach and a proven framework, working one-on-one to reduce the stress so the student can tell a compelling story.
Our program for students applying to UT Austin includes:
- Guiding students through the UT expanded resume development process
- Managing your student’s essay timeline for one long essay and four school-specific supplemental essays
- Coaching students through a targeted set of college essays, including one long essay and four school-specific supplemental essays
- Providing students with suggested edits and proofing for this targeted set of college essays
- Review of essays and application by our internal admissions committee
Your student will be carefully matched with a coach based on personality, working style, and first-choice major—it’s just one of the many ways we modify our proven process to meet individual student needs
If your student is struggling with how to organize their expanded resume, here are some typical sections to get them started:
This is where the student would list any school clubs or independent projects they worked on: everything from acting in a school play to participating in student government to leading study sessions for classmates.
Volunteer work/community service
Here, students should list the experiences they've had in their community. Whether it's an extended volunteer commitment or a one-time community service event, it's worth listing. Just remember: if all the student's activities are one-off, it might demonstrate a lack of depth of involvement. If that's the case, it might be best not to include a section devoted just to community service.
This is a great spot to highlight experiences that will demonstrate fit for the student's first-choice major. Even if the internship/job itself doesn't match up perfectly with the desired major, there are sure to be skills the student gained during the experience that are applicable. Think outside of the box.
Anything a student does during the summer is fair game, as long as it shows a passion for something—and some motivation (no video game marathons). This can include sleep-away camp, academic programs hosted by universities, mission trips, or even independent projects completed over the summer.
This is the recommended section for honor roll distinctions, school awards, or honors societies including National Honors Society or Mu Alpha Theta. The exception to this rule is if a student had significant leadership positions in these organizations or conducted unique projects most other schools' chapters haven't—then they could put this info in a different section.
In general, students shouldn't waste too much space on the awards section. Include a brief description of the award only if it's unique or the reader wouldn’t be able to infer its significance. For example, "High Honor Roll, Valley High School" or "Most Valuable Player, Lacrosse" are self-explanatory; "New Vision Award" isn't.
Another way to organize the resume is thematically. This can be helpful if a student doesn't have a host of awards or community service experience—instead, it highlights the experiences they do have.
Here are some examples of themed sections:
- Business endeavors
- Theater and dance
- Social justice/community organizing
- Independent research
- Computer programming
But remember, students should create themed sections that best showcase their experiences. This is just a starting point.
How Should You Describe Each Activity And Accomplishment?
UT's preferred formatting involves listing grade level, hours per week/weeks per year, and position titles (especially if they’re leadership titles). For example:
Captain of the Canton High School basketball team 4 hrs/wk - 20 wks/yr 11, 12
Formatting it this way will also make it easier when it's time for the student to describe their activities on the ApplyTexas activities section, since it requests this same information.
Of course, it doesn't stop there. The point of the expanded resume is to list as much information as possible about the activity. Below the basic information, students will include a bullet list—using active verbs—that expands on the activity with information that the reader couldn't glean from the title.
The most important thing to remember: go beyond the obvious.
For example, if a student is describing their involvement on the basketball team, the reader will know that they attended practices and games, but nothing else goes without saying. Even if the students lists themselves as captain, the expanded resume is the place to say they were elected captain by their peers. And remember some accomplishments expand beyond the activity itself. For example, maybe the student was the only basketball player to work with the booster club on a special fundraising project.
As the student is describing their experiences, they should highlight special projects or leadership positions, but don't leave something out just because it seems tangential. Here's an example from the UT website to show the kinds of notes a student might include:
An activity note:
Captain of the XYZ soccer team 5hrs/wk 11, 12
An EXPANDED statement:
Captain of the XYZ soccer team 5 hrs/wk 11, 12
-Elected (or Assigned) position
-Arrive early and work with coach to get practices started
-Mentor new team members
-Assist with equipment
-Lead warm up drills
In the end, students should remember this is their resume: they have the freedom to present it however they feel it best highlights their strengths, accomplishments, and fit for first-choice major.
You may also be interested in:
College Admissions Trends for The Class of 2021
How to Choose Who Writes Your UT Austin College Recommendation Letters
7 "Hidden Gem" Majors at UT Austin
5-Point Scorecard To Make Sure Your Apply Texas Essay A Stands Out
Everything You Need to Know About Honors Programs at the University of Texas at Austin
Note: These services and programs are in no way related to the University of Texas. The University does not endorse the program or College MatchPoint’s services.
This page is licensed under Creative Commons under Attribution 4.0 International . Anyone can share content from this page, with attribution and link to College MatchPoint requested.
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Faculty Application: Cover Letter
Criteria for success.
- You demonstrate scientific accomplishment and scholastic achievement.
- You clearly define the vision and impact of your future research program.
- You differentiate yourself from your advisor(s), colleagues, and other faculty candidates.
- You demonstrate an aptitude for teaching and advising students.
- You establish what your niche will be in the department.
- You clearly display your excitement and passion for the position.
- Critical contact information: name, degree, current position, email, and phone number
- Your professional profile or webpage ( e.g., LinkedIn, ResearchGate, Academia.edu)
- Date, department, and university name and address
- Salutation – “Dear [Faculty Search Committee / Department Head],”
- Brief introduction – Display excitement. State specific terms related to the faculty position, department and university. For example, if you are applying to a “cluster” hire that includes faculty across multiple departments, such as Systems and Synthetic Biology , then state this directly. State the position you are applying for (i.e., tenure-track appointment, assistant faculty position).
- Strong opening statement – Declare succinctly your targeted research areas. Establish your foundation on which you will base your research. Emphasize novel interfaces and applications within your proposed research.
- Scientific achievements – Summarize successes highlighted in your CV that demonstrate the breadth and depth of scientific expertise. Demonstrate your productivity, as well as key scientific or technical strengths with supporting details.
- Motivation & impact – State areas of expertise and indicate specific aims of your future research program. Clearly describe how these aims align with current research initiatives in the department or university.
- Teaching & mentorship – Highlight your experience in the classroom and as a research mentor and service in the profession or community.
- Wrap-up – “Additional documents are enclosed. Please feel free to contact me if supplemental information is required. ”
- Follow-up & thank you – Be clear that you expect to hear back ( e.g., I look forward to your reply ). Thank the committee for their time and consideration.
- Closure – Maintain professionalism. Sincerely , Best regards , and Kindest regards are appropriate closing phrases. Include your electronic signature.
The faculty cover letter is the first part of your application to be read by the Faculty Search Committee. Your cover letter may be the only part anyone reads if the Search Committee doesn’t like what they see in your cover letter. Therefore, the primary purpose of a Faculty cover letter is to capture attention and generate interest among members of the specific department for which you are applying.
The cover letter should serve as a letter of introduction. It connects all other application material, such as the CV, research statement, and teaching statement. Brainstorm approaches to reiterate important points and themes between these documents in a complementary, cohesive, and concise manner. The cover letter should not be longer than one page.
Analyze your audience
Knowing what the Faculty Search Committee is looking for will help you tailor your application. Searches for new hires often focus on specific research areas ( e.g., robotics, machine learning, nanomaterials, systems, renewable energy). If this is the case, you should customize your application to highlight your work in the specified research area. Explain why you are a good fit and how you’ll benefit the department.
Alternatively, departments may concentrate solely on the best candidates regardless of pre-selected scientific disciplines. In such cases, you have more flexibility in presenting yourself. Still, you should indicate your research area in a clear manner and give a strategic vision for your research program.
Additionally, academic employment opportunities differ based on whether positions are tenure-track or non-tenure track, research-focused or teaching-focused, and the type of institution (R1 university, liberal arts college, etc.). Investigate the responsibilities and culture associated with each of these positions, and include only information relevant to the specific position – don’t waste valuable space on irrelevant experiences.
Advocate for yourself
The cover letter emphasizes your past and present academic career while promoting your future potential. For many of us, exuding confidence in an open letter of introduction is challenging, but you have to believe in yourself before you can convince others to believe in you.
State your pedigree
In academia, the institutions and departments you have attended and the advisors for whom you have worked do matter. State this information in Scientific Achievements . Inform your audience if you have co-taught classes with distinguished professors in Teaching & Mentorship or emphasize existing collaborations in the Motivation & Impact section.
Quantify your productivity
Academia identifies scientific contributions by the following conventions: number of publications, quality, and impact. In addition to research articles, noteworthy contributions may also include book chapters, or your role as a conference or journal reviewer. Emphasize alternative sources of scientific communication (and funding) such as distinguished merit-based fellowships.
Engineering students are likely to be co-authors of patents; state this information.
Describe your future potential
Beyond reiterating your past accomplishments, you must also show you are prepared to handle the future challenges of being a Principal Investigator. By far, the most difficult paragraph to write in the faculty cover letter focuses on the Motivation & Impact of your future research program. Clearly articulate the vision of your future research program and describe how your leadership will facilitate an environment of scientific and teaching excellence. Demonstrate expert understanding of your field, and confidently state your qualifications as a leader in research, educator, and citizen of the university.
Define your niche
Your application will be one out of hundreds. You must differentiate yourself and your research program from other candidates, as well as previous or current advisor(s). Ask yourself what you will do that is unique compared to any of your past or future colleagues. How will you uniquely fit into the department? What is your niche?
The Motivation & Impact section provides an opportunity to concisely define your niche. State specific aims of your proposed research that expand upon the department’s core strengths while simultaneously diversifying the university’s research portfolio ( e.g., emerging research fields, state-of-the art technologies, novel applications). Carefully consider research centers, core facilities, or affiliated institutes at the university. In many cases, campus- or state-wide research initiatives may complement your research program.
Finally, take advantage of any experiences you’ve had outside of academia. Have you previously worked in industry or consulted? Would these former and future relationships lead to additional funding for your lab? If so, suggest more unusual avenues of additional funding. It may no longer suffice to focus primarily on traditional grants sponsored by government agencies. Think of creative alternatives and diversify your future financial portfolio. This, in turn, differentiates your research program from colleagues.
Finally, you will more than likely apply to multiple departments and universities. Therefore, modify your niche for every application!
Make important information concise and identifiable
Again, your application is one out of hundreds. Helping the Faculty Search Committee easily identify important information in your cover letter will only improve your chances of moving forward in the hiring process. A faculty cover letter should not exceed 1 page , so you must present your qualifications to the Faculty Search Committee in a concise manner.
Maximize impact of words. When it’s accurate, use verbs that illustrate impact (“led,” “developed,” “innovated”) over verbs that make you sound passive (“participated”). Aim for verbs that are more specific to the actual contribution you made.
Minimize redundancy and wordiness. For every sentence, challenge yourself to remove as many words as possible without changing the meaning of the sentence.
Use keywords. Keywords cited by grant-funding agencies, easily recognizable by any faculty member, should be included in relevant sections of your faculty cover letter. Using field-specific vocabulary may demonstrate your understanding of the field and the department’s needs, but be aware that Faculty Search Committees that are more mixed in expertise may require simpler vocabulary and/or explanations accessible to a broader audience.
Maintain abundant white space. In terms of formatting, inclusion of white space is easy on the eye while providing a precise transition from one section to the next.
Crafting your faculty application is a process that will continue indefinitely.
- Devote time to your faculty application, and work in consistent increments over the course of weeks not days.
- Take time to brainstorm, reflect, write, edit, critique, and revise accordingly.
- Seek guidance in terms of technical content, emphasis of soft skills, as well as grammatical improvements and aesthetics from colleagues and friends.
Above all else, remember that the faculty application is a creative process. Enjoy it!
Content adapted by the MIT Electrical Engineering and Computer Science Communication Lab from an article originally created by the MIT Biological Engineering Communication Lab .
Resources and Annotated Examples
Ee faculty cover letter.
Submitted by an MIT PhD candidate who now holds a faculty position at UT Austin 474 KB
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We all know how dreadful the entire job-hunting process can be, from applying to several jobs for weeks to finally hearing from a few. An essential aspect of the process is how streamlined your Resume is and if it has the relevant information to attract the interviewer. You may also be required to go one step ahead and submit a cover letter for some job applications. Now, your mind must be wondering what a cover letter is and why it is relevant to a job application?
Don’t worry! We will walk you through how to write a cover letter and why it is essential.
What is a Cover Letter?
A cover letter is essentially a one-page document that you submit along with your resume while applying for jobs. Its purpose is to brief the hiring manager about your professional background, and you have to briefly summarize your introduction, key skills, and experience in 300-400 words.
Does it matter if the cover letter is good or not?
Yes, as long as you write a strong cover letter, be rest assured that the hiring manager will read your resume. However, the chances of your application being straightway rejected if your cover letter is not upto the mark are also high.
So, the next time you sit down to apply to your long list of dream companies and if they ask for a cover letter– be better prepared.
How To Write A Standout Cover Letter?
Make sure that you do not just summarise your resume while writing a cover letter. A cover letter should ideally supplement your resume.
Header: Add your contact details in this section- name, current job profile, address, phone number, email address, and social media handles.
Hiring Manager/Interviewer Details: Write the hiring managers’ details and the date.
First Paragraph : Start with the position you’re applying for and tailor it to each specific job.
Second Paragraph: Highlight your experience, skillset, strengths, and how you are the best fit for the job.
Third Paragraph: Explain why you are interested in the company and what you bring to the table.
Last Paragraph: Summarize your letter by asking them to consider you for a personal interview.
Cover Letter Samples
It is pretty evident now that cover letters are an essential part of the job interview. Be it for your interviewer to shortlist your resume or for them to have a brief summary of your background, skill, and experience. It is also equally important to personalize your cover letter to each different job you apply for. This goes on to show your determination and efforts and leaves a positive impression on the hiring manager. So, are you ready with your cover letter? Do let us know if our cover letter samples helped you land your dream job!