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A Step-by-Step Guide to Resumes and Cover Letters

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Muhlenberg chapter.

The first major step to applying to jobs and internships is writing a resume. Essentially, a resume outlines your past and current job, education and volunteer history to future employers. Here are  steps that you can follow when creating your first resume:

First, you should include your name at the top of the page in a font that is bigger and bolder than the rest of the text. This should stand out on first glance because you need the employer to know who you are. Below that, you should include your email; I would suggest you use your school email. Next, you should write your phone number and a link to either your personal website or linkedin. Beneath that, you write your home address. This should be oriented to the left of the page. 

After you write all of the basic information about yourself, you should include specific categories. On my resume, I included education, work experience, volunteer work, and leadership. I underlined each of these subtitles to make it clear to whoever is reading my resume. Below these categories on my resume I wrote the name of the school, organization or job, and then use bullet points to describe the position I had as simply as possible.

You also want to include the time period that you had certain positions and how long you have been at your school for. Under the education category, you should write what your major and minor is. Generally, you want to include more information you have done in college when writing your resume because employers want to see the most recent work you have done, but including one or two activities or awards from high school is okay!

To get more of a detailed description of what your resume should look like, here is a guide from the Muhlenberg Career Center that you can use when creating it. 

It is extremely important to look over and proofread your resume before you send it to employers because most of the time, your resume is your first impression. I would suggest going to the career center, if your school has one, or having friends and family read it over for you.

After writing your resume, the next step is to make your cover letter, which is a way to provide a company why you would be fit to work there in a more detailed way. In the heading you should include your name, phone number, email, and date. Below that you should the name of the hiring manager along with the name and address of the company you are applying to.

There should be multiple paragraphs including the opening that gets the employer interested, a second paragraph that explains why you would be a good candidate, and a third paragraph that explains why you want to work there. They should not be incredibly lengthy, but to the point. The closing paragraph should be formal and should tell the employer that you are enthusiastic about the position. 

Each cover letter should be specific to the company you are applying to, so including information about the organizations will show the employer that you have done your research. Once you have a basic outline of what your cover letter and resume should look like and include, it is a smooth process!

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Ali Senal

Muhlenberg '18

Muhlenberg '18 Grad with a BA in Theatre and Jewish studies. My hobbies include sleeping, movies, and spreading vegan propaganda. Former Editor-in-Chief of Muhlenberg Her Campus.