Resume & Cover Letter

The resume is an essential tool in the job search process. The resume is a document that conveys how your education, work experience, involvement in organizations and other qualifications match those identified in the job description. The intent of the resume is to obtain a job interview. The Career Development Center offers a free online tool for CSULB students and alumni to assist with the process of developing your resume called Resume Builder.. Resume Builder will allow you to easily create resumes and cover letters in Word, Rich Text, Plain Text, and HTML - resulting in your own professional website. You are also encouraged to attend Resume Writing workshops offered throughout the academic year by the Career Development Center.

Developing a Resume

Types of Resumes

There are many different types and styles of resumes. The two most commonly used resumes are the chronological and combination-functional. This does not mean that other types are not useful or effective.

  • Chronological resume: Places emphasis on work history. Information appearing in the sections of the resume are started with the most recent or current experience listed first.
  • Combination-functional resume: Places emphasis on specific skills and competencies related to the position.

Curriculum Vitae (CV)

A CV is a more detailed version of a resume highlighting your qualifications and relevant experience. CV's are often required when applying for academic (in higher education such as a faculty position) or science/research positions or graduate and professional schools. A CV may be several pages long.

Tips for Writing a Resume

  • Purpose of resume is to obtain an interview
  • Use a font style and size that are easy to read; 10pt – 12pt
  • Keep resume to one page, if possible
  • State an objective to clearly articulate the type of position for which you are applying
  • Target your information to the job objective
  • Under the Education and Experience sections list most recent information first
  • Highlight accomplishments
  • Organize information in a logical manner
  • Pay careful attention to spelling, punctuation, grammar, and style
  • Proofread carefully. Do not rely on "spell check." Use a dictionary. Ask others to proofread it for you.
  • Should be neat in appearance; center on page
  • Keep information honest, clear, and concise
  • Print on good quality white or off-white paper
  • When sending electronically save as PDF
  • Ask for help at the Career Development Center, BH 250
  • Attend a Resume Writing workshop

Action Verbs for Resumes

Action verbs should be used throughout your resume to sell yourself and promote your accomplishments. Action words give energy to your resume. SELL, DON'T JUST TELL!! The Career Development Center has provided a list of sample action verbs for your resume.

Action Verbs for Resumes List

CDC Resume Worksheet

Use the Resume Worksheet to jot down information about yourself; print out a copy of the information, bring it to the Career Development Center and have it reviewed by a professional staff member.

Word Format | Web Format

Sample Resumes and Curriculum Vitae (CV)

You can also review Sample Resumes and Curriculum Vitae to get ideas on how to create your own personal resume.

College of the Arts

College of Business Administration

Health & Human Services

College of Education

College of Engineering

College of Liberal Arts

College of Natural Sciences & Mathematics

Curriculum Vitae



OptimalResume is a comprehensive, web-based tool that helps job seekers create and manage resumes. With Optimal Resume, you can create chronological, functional, or combination resumes. It is easy to use with convenient resume previewing, forward/backward navigation, drag and drop reordering of sections, and the ability to delete and add sections at any time. Resumes are automatically generated in several formats, including Rich Text, Plain Text, PDF, and HTML, and users can edit, download, rename, or delete resumes at any time. You can create and manage an unlimited number of resumes in your account, and the software includes spell checking, action words, and format assistance. A state-of-the-art Resume Stylist provides a variety of format styles from which to choose.

Build a Resume Online | Powered by Optimal Resume

Developing a Cover Letter

The cover letter is your introduction to a prospective employer. Create a brief and purposeful cover letter by using clear and direct sentences. Use the job posting announcement to tailor your cover letter to the specific position for which you are applying. The heart of your cover letter is the middle paragraph describing how your qualifications are a good match for the employer's requirements.

1st Paragraph

Introduce yourself and name the position for which you are applying and how you learned of the opening or organization. If an individual made you aware of the opening, be sure to use their name and affiliation. Example: "Dr. Jane Kwan at CSULB suggested I forward my resume in response to your posting for a Research Assistant."

2nd Paragraph

  • Tell why you are interested in the organization or position.
  • Discuss qualifications that would be of greatest interest to the employer, using positive statements about skills and abilities.
  • Indicate any related experience, educational background, or specialized training that might increase your employability.

3rd Paragraph

  • Reiterate your interest.
  • Refer the reader to your enclosed resume.
  • Close by making a request for an interview and provide your phone number and email address, or indicate when you will follow up.

Tips for a Professional Cover Letter

  • One page, 8½" x 11" document size
  • If printed for traditional mail, use white or off white stationery paper
  • Use a standard business letter layout or use the same banner that you have created for your resume.
  • Your cover letter should be in the same font as your resume, ranging from 11 to 12 point in such type as Arial, Courier, Helvetica, or Times.
  • Address the letter to a specific person whenever possible. Sometimes you will need to contact the employer's offices to determine the name of the person to whom the letter should be addressed.
  • Give care and attention to spelling and grammar, including the spelling of names.
  • If you are submitting both your cover letter and resume by email, you will have two options. Attach both as documents with a brief note in the body of your email. Use a clear subject line, such as "Human Resources Assistant Posting – Resume of [your name]". Alternatively, you may paste the content of your cover letter into the body of the email and attach your resume.
  • If the employer has given explicit instructions for how to submit your cover letter and resume, follow them.
  • Every contact you have with the employer, including your cover letter, serves as material for their evaluation of you as a candidate. This is your one chance to make a great first impression!
  • You can use Resume Builder in CareerLINK (BeachLink) Jobs to create your cover letter.

Sample Cover Letters