Chapter 6: Employment Materials

This chapter focuses on the application letter (sometimes called a cover letter) and résumé, which when grouped together are often called the job package. You may already have written one or both of these employment-seeking documents. That’s okay. Read and study this section, and then apply the guidelines here to the résumés and application letters you have created in the past.

In many job applications, you attach an application letter to your résumé. Actually, the letter comes before the résumé.

The role of the application letter is to draw a clear connection between the job you are seeking and your qualifications listed in the résumé. To put it another way, the letter matches the requirements of the job with your qualifications, emphasizing how you are right for that job. The application letter is not a lengthy summary of the résumé—not at all. It generally introduces the qualifications that match the job posting and explains how you, as an applicant, can help the company achieve their mission. So, you are explaining how your skills and experiences can help the company achieve their goals.

As you begin to think about persuasive writing strategies during a job search, it is equally important to spend adequate time preparing to write your employment materials. This can save you many headaches in the drafting process. This section covers strategies that can help in your job search.

Preparing for a Job Search

Finding a suitable job opening itself can be a time-consuming process.  Here are a few resources you can use to begin your job search:

    • Job boards: browse sites like Indeed, CareerBuilder, Glassdoor and Monster to search for jobs in your field.
    • Specialty job lists: look for lists of jobs in specific industries such as food service (Poached), nonprofits (Idealist), or media (MediaBistro)
    • Company, organization and government web sites: visit the employment section on websites of companies you admire; search federal, state, county, and city websites for job government job postings.
    • Your own network: talk to friends, past employers, and professors or visit LinkedIn to search for openings at companies in your network.
    • Your college: visit your college or university placement office/career center and attend job fairs hosted at your college.
    • Job Connection Services (JCS): Get in touch with CNM’s Job Connection Services, which manages an online job database where employers post jobs for CNM students and graduates. You can also directly contact JCS at the following email address:

Many job seekers also use Craigslist to look for work; just be aware that Craigslist postings often lack detail and may come from headhunters or placement agencies, rather than from the direct employer.

Once you have found a job, make sure to print and/or save a copy of the job posting or job description. You will use this document to help you tailor your application materials. Because companies often delete the job posting once they have received sufficient applicants, it is important that you save your own copy of the document by copying the text and pasting it into a new document, or by saving the webpage.

Conducting a Self-Inventory

As you work on your résumé, you may worry that you have nothing valuable to include, or you may worry that you are bragging. Instead of thinking of your resume as a way to brag, try thinking about it as a way to showcase your skills, work ethic, and experience. One way to overcome these hurdles is to allocate pre-writing time to a self-inventory. Brainstorm your skills, accomplishments, and knowledge. What did you accomplish at work, school, or a volunteer position? What skills have you learned? What would you tell a friend or family member you were proud of having achieved there? Think about how your skills can benefit the company or organization you are applying to work for. Start writing down key terms and action verbs that describe your experiences and accomplishments, and don’t worry yet about putting them into a résumé format.

Drafting Strategies

A great way to begin your drafting process is by brainstorming action verbs that describe your skills, so you may want to browse a key term list such as the one below. First, scan the groupings of skills (Communication Skills, Creative Skills, Financial Skills etc.) for key terms related to skills you have or work you have done. Then, write down 1) categories of skills you have (again, Communication Skills, Creative Skills, Financial Skills etc.) and 2) action verbs that describe skills you have or work you have done (e.g. analyzed, performed, calculated, advocated, etc.).


Brainstorming Action Verbs
Communication/ People Skills Creative Skills


Leadership Skills  

Helping Skills Organizational Skills
Collaborated Combined Assigned Aided Arranged
Communicated Created Coordinated Arranged Categorized
Developed Developed Decided Assisted Distributed
Edited Drew Improved Contributed Organized
Incorporated Illustrated Led Cooperated Recorded
Proposed Planned Managed Encouraged Responded
Suggested Revised Oversaw Helped Updated
Synthesized Shaped Recommended Motivated Tracked
Translated Crafted Reviewed Supported Monitored
Facilitated Conceived Supervised Prepared Synthesized
Mediated Established Delegated Bolstered Adapted

Table adapted from Creating Resumes I by Roads to Success, licensed under CC BY-SA 4.0.

As you gather information about your work history and skills, double check that your information is accurate and current – gather dates of employment, dates of trainings, lists of activities you have been involved in, academic awards, achievements and special projects. Job descriptions or performance reviews from previous jobs can also include key terms to include on your résumé. Finally, ask former coworkers or managers about your significant workplace contributions.

Free Writing

Find a partner and a piece of paper. Take ten-minute turns speaking and writing. The speaker should describe past work history and experience, especially as it relates to the job at hand. The writer should take notes while listening to their partner’s description, taking care to note any key terms they hear. The writer should also ask questions that help the speaker go into detail about the experience (who, what, when, where, why?). Finally, the writer should help identify any skills or achievements the speaker may not realize he or she has; sometimes we have a skill that we don’t recognize, because we assume it is something everyone can do.  Then, switch.

Researching Your Potential Employer

An important step in the job search process is researching your potential employer as well as the job for which you’re applying. The more you know about an employer and a position, the easier it will be to complete the application process. The easiest way to research a potential employer is to visit the company’s website. Look for an “about us” page or a “mission statement,” and observe how the company describes its goals and values.

Try to answer the following questions about the company or organization:

  • Whom does this company serve?
  • Who are this company’s partners or competitors?
  • What technologies would I use at this company?
  • What is the tone of this company’s materials (formal, conservative, humorous, “cutting edge,” etc.)?
  • How would you describe this company’s brand?

Here are a few more ways to research a company: search for its name on LinkedIn and other social media sites, browse for news articles about the company or press releases written by the company, speak with friends or colleagues who work for the company, or call the company to request an informational interview.

As you research, look for ways to connect with the company:

  • What do you admire about the company?
  • Where do your values and interests overlap with those of the company?
  • What makes this company a good fit for you?

Try to summarize your connection to the company in one sentence. Remember that your potential employer is also your audience, and adapt your tone, examples, and level of technicality accordingly.

Researching the Potential Job

To research the job itself, take advantage of the job description you have found. The job description is your secret weapon; in this document, you are told what the employer is looking for in a candidate.

Print out the job description and annotate it; delve into a conversation with it:

  • Highlight or underline any qualifications that you hold — any skills you have, technologies you’ve used, etc.
  • Make note of any past achievements that relate to any of the preferred qualifications. For example, if the job description seeks a candidate who can diagnose and solve technical problems, write down an example of a specific time in which you did so in a professional or academic setting.
  • Circle any key terms you might use in your own materials. Using the same terms as a potential employer demonstrates to that employer that you are able to “speak their language.”
  • Note any questions/uncertainties and any qualifications you do not have in order to decide what to highlight and what to downplay in your materials (as well as what you need to learn more about).
Word Cloud

Make a word cloud of your job description, using a site like (you will cut and paste the text of the job description into a word cloud generator – note that you might have to try a few different programs before you find one that’s compatible with your computer.) A word cloud presents text as a visual display, re-organizing content so that the largest words are those that appear most frequently (see Figure 1).  A word cloud can be a helpful visual tool to identify key terms to use in your resume and cover letter. You might also be surprised to find that a “big word” (a commonly repeated key term) is one that you would not automatically associate with the job.

In Figure 1, below, we see how some of the words are obvious terms we would expect to find in a children’s museum job description – museum, children, exhibits, playing, etc. However, diversity” and “diverse” are both large terms, too. If you were applying for this job, you would now know to talk about your commitment to diversity/experience working with people from diverse backgrounds.

Cloud of random words
Figure 1: Portland Children’s Museum Experience Facilitator Job Description as a Word Cloud References


Preparation.” From Technical Writing. Authored by Allison Gross, Annemarie Hamlin, Billy Merck, Chris Rubio, Jodi Naas, Megan Savage, and Michele DeSilva is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

 Résumé Formats

The purpose of a résumé is twofold:

  • A résumé is an overview of your skills, experience, and education as they relate to your career objective, and
  • A résumé is a marketing tool that conveys your “personal brand.”

All of us want our résumés to stand out from the stack. However, the best way to create an eye-catching résumé is not through gimmicks or flash, but rather through substance and customization.

Formats: Chronological Résumé  vs. Functional (Skills) Résumé

Work histories come in a variety of forms; so do résumés. Although career experts enjoy debating which style is the best, ultimately you must consider which fits your current situation. Which style will allow you to best package your work history, and convey your unique qualifications?

The chronological résumé is a traditional format whose principal section is the “Employment Experience” section. In the chronological résumé’s “Employment Experience” section, jobs are listed in reverse chronological order, and achievements/skills are detailed underneath each position.

In contrast, a functional (skills) résumé, features a well-developed “Skills & Achievements” section, in which skills are organized into categories. The functional résumé still includes an “Employment Experience” section, but it is streamlined to include only the basic information about each position held.

A hybrid (or combination) résumé includes a well-developed “Skills & Achievements” section that highlights the candidate’s most important and relevant skills, but it also includes select bullets under each job in the “Employment Experience” section.

The following pages contain examples of chronological, functional (skills), and hybrid résumé formats.

Making your Resume Stand Out from the Crowd (2017)

Résumé Sections and Guidelines

Whatever format you choose, employers will expect to see certain key sections. There is some room for creativity in organization and phrasing, but make sure to be thorough. Each number in the list below corresponds to a section on the sample résumé that follows; as you read through the list, refer to the sample résumé to see how the section appears in context.

Key Sections of a Résumé

Whatever format you choose, employers will expect to see certain key sections. There is some room for creativity in organization and phrasing, but make sure to be thorough. Each number in the list below corresponds to a section on the sample résumé that follows; as you read through the list, refer to the sample résumé to see how the section appears in context.

  • 123 Four Street · City 10110 · 123.456.7890
  • ←1
  • Business student with extensive retail experience and award-winning customer service skills. Successfully implemented social media presence and branding to improve sales. Strong written communication and graphic design background. Fluent in Spanish.
  • ←2
  • A.A.S. Business (Will Graduate 2018)
  • Portland Community College Additional Coursework in Graphic Design
  • Great Sales Seminar, 2015, 2016
  • Customer Service Training, Macy’s, 2015
  • ←3
  • Customer Service
  1. Received “Outstanding Customer Service” Award, 2016
  2. Assisted up to 100 customers daily in locating merchandise and making purchasing decisions
  3. Increased monthly sales approximately $1,000 by utilizing add-on sales techniques
  4. Supported customers by fielding and resolving key concerns
  5. Effectively handled irate customers and complaints in a friendly, patient manner
  • Merchandising/Marketing
  1. Assisted manager in analyzing sales and marketing trends for purchasing seasonal merchandise
  2. Launched and managed social media presence to increase sales
  3. Created innovative in-store displays and promotional materials
  4. Stocked, priced, and inventoried merchandise
  • Administrative
  1. Produced daily, weekly, and monthly sales reports
  2. Balanced cash drawer with consistently high level of accuracy
  • ←4
  • Retail Associate, Macy’s, Portland, OR              Dec 15 – present
  • Sales Representative, Target, Portland, OR       Sept 14 – Dec 15
  • Server, Otis Café, Lincoln City, OR                        Jan 12 – Sep 14
  • ←5

Résumé Guidelines

      1. Contact Info: Create a header that includes your address, telephone number, professional email address, and possibly a Linkedin page.
      2. Headline (Also called Summary, Profile or Highlights of Qualifications): include a brief summary of your professional self to grab your reader’s attention. Think of this section as your “elevator pitch,” offering a quick impression of your personal brand.  Include a few key (relevant) achievements/strengths (in bullets or sentences). Summary/profile sections are especially useful for candidates with a long work history, or who have experienced job transitions. Here are two formulas for a one-sentence headline:
      3. – “Accomplished [job title]/Certified [industry] professional holding more than [x] years of experience, specializing in [x,y,z].”
      4. – “[Field of study] graduate seeking opportunity to focus on [x,y,z,] and promote [desired company’s mission or goal].”Have you been starting your résumé with an Objective statement? These days, most experts recommend leaving the objective off your résumé entirely. Objectives too often emphasize what you want from a job, rather than what you can offer an employer, and thus are generally seen as a waste of space.
      5. Skills/Achievements/Qualifications:  
      6. – Use sub-headers to group skills into skill set headings (management skills, customer service skills, laboratory skills, communication skills, etc.). Use targeted headings based on the qualifications your potential employer is seeking.
      7. – Include only the most relevant, targeted skills and achievements.
      8. – Emphasize quantifiable achievements and results: skills, equipment, money, documents, personnel, clients, etc.- Use the active voice (supervised sixteen employees, increased profits, built websites) vs. the passive voice (was responsible for supervising or duties included…)
      9. – See the “Building a Better Bullet” section below for more information on how to craft an effective “skill bullet.”
      10. Employment Experience:
      11. – List positions in reverse chronological order (most recent first).
      12. – Include basic information for each job: job title, employer, dates employed, city/state (and country if outside the U.S.) of employment.- Include internships and skilled volunteer positions (but if you do, title the section “Experience” rather than “Employment”).
      13. – Consider filtering work experience into “Related Experience” and “Experience” instead of one employment section to highlight most relevant jobs (and downplay less significant experience).
      14. Education:
      15. – Place your education section after the headline/summary section if it is recent and relevant, after the experience section if your stronger qualification is employment experience.- List the most current degree/school attended first, and proceed in reverse chronological order.
      16. – Include the following information for each educational item: the name of the school, the school’s location, your graduation date or anticipated graduation date, the degree earned (and major if appropriate).- DO NOT include high school if you are in college unless your high school work was outstanding or unique (like a trade/technology/arts high school).
      17. – Include trainings and certifications (e.g. first aid certifications, sales seminars, writing groups).
      18. – Develop this section by adding educational accomplishments:
      20. o Your GPA (if it is 3.0 or better, and if it is expected in your industry)
      21. o Relevant courses (if they prepared you for the job)
      22. o Special accomplishments (conferences, special papers/projects, clubs, offices held, service to the school)
      23. o Awards and scholarships (could also be separate section – Honors)
      24. Optional Sections (not included in Figure 5):
      25. – Volunteer Work: List skilled volunteer work (building websites, teaching classes) under skills, along with your other qualifications, but include general volunteer work (making meals for a soup kitchen, etc.) toward the end of your resume in its own section or under activities.
      26. – Activities:
      28. o DON’T include a section titled “Hobbies” or “Other,” with irrelevant interests.
      29. o DO include interests that may be relevant to the position, but aren’t professional skills (sports for Nike, Eagle Scouting for leadership, golfing for business jobs, game design/play for game design jobs, blogging for PR jobs). Market yourself in the best light.
      30. o DO include honors, awards, publications, conferences attended, languages spoken, etc. You may choose to include a separate honors section or fold these into your skills/achievements section.
      31. References: Do not list references on your résumé.  Instead, give a separate sheet at the employer’s request.  Generally, three references are sufficient. The most important references are your superiors, but you can also use co-workers, clients, or instructors. Contact each person to verify his/her willingness to act as a reference for you. Your reference sheet should match the look of your cover letter and your résumé.

The following tips will help you write a résumé that adheres to the conventions employers expect while ditching fluff in favor of expertise.

Using “Me” and “I”:

The convention in a résumé is to write in sentence fragments that begin with active verbs. Therefore, you can leave out the subjects of sentences. Example: “I eliminated the duplication of paperwork in my department by streamlining procedures” would become “Eliminated paperwork duplication in a struggling department by streamlining procedures.”

Quantifiable Skills:

The more you can present your skills and achievements in detail, especially quantifiable detail, the more authoritative you will sound. This means including references to technologies and equipment you have used; types of documents you have produced; procedures you have followed; languages you speak; amounts of money you have handled; numbers of employees you have supervised or trained; numbers of students you have taught; technical languages you know; types of clients you have worked with (cultural backgrounds, ages, disability status – demographic information that might be relevant in your new workplace); graphic design, blogging or social media skills; and so on.

Filler Words (Fluff):

Avoid generic, filler words that can be found on many resumes and don’t suggest meaningful skills. Filler words include: “team player,” “results-oriented,” “duties include,” “fast-paced,” and “self-motivated.” If you MUST use these phrases, find concrete examples to back them up. For example, instead of using “team player,” include a time you collaborated with peers to earn a good grade on a project, save your company money, or put on a successful work event.


In at least one place in your resume, preferably more, make mention of a positive impact (or result) of your skills/achievements. How did you create positive change for your employer, coworkers or customers? Did you resolve a customer complaint successfully? Did you make a change that saved your employer money? Did you build a website that increased traffic to your client? Did you follow procedures safely and reduce workplace injuries?

Building a Better Bullet (Two Skill Bullet Formulas):

Each skill bullet may need to go through a few revisions before it shines. Here are two formulas to help you strengthen your bullets:

Formula 1: Verb + Details = Results

Start your bullet with an action verb describing a skill or achievement. Follow it with the details of that skill or achievement, and then describe the positive impact of your achievement. For example:

Formula 2: Accomplished [X] as measured by [Y] by doing [Z]

Develop your bullets by going into detail about how you accomplished what you have accomplished and why it matters to your potential employer. Compare the following three versions of the same skill bullet:

Note how the third version is not only the most specific, but it is the one that most demonstrates the “so what” factor, conveying how the applicant’s skills will benefit the potential employer.

Key Terms:

Remember, use key terms you gathered in your pre-writing, preparation phase (from the job description, research into your field, and the “action verb” list presented earlier in this chapter). If your potential employer is using a résumé -scanning program, these key terms may make the difference between getting an interview or a rejection.


Résumé length is a much-debated question, and guidelines change as the genre changes with time. In general, the length of a résumé should be no longer than one or (at most) two pages (and each page should be full — no 1.5 page résumés). Some fields, however, may have different length conventions (academic resumes, for example, which include publications and conference attendance, tend to be longer). If your résumé is on the longer side, your work history should justify the length. Some experts recommend one page per ten years of work history; while that may be extreme, it is better to cut weaker material than to add filler.


Résumé design should enhance the content, making it easy for the reader to quickly find the most significant and relevant information.  See the chapters on Document Design for overall design tips.

Here are a few general guidelines:

Field-Specific Conventions:

You may find that there are certain conventions in your field or industry that affect your choices in writing your résumé. Length, formality, design, delivery method, and key terms are just some of the factors that may vary across disciplines. Ask faculty or professional contacts in your field about employers’ expectations, visit your school’s career center, or conduct web research to make informed field-specific choices.

      • Developed (VERB) new paper flow procedure (DETAILS), resulting in reduced staff errors and customer wait times (RESULT)
      • Provided (VERB) friendly customer-focused service (DETAILS) leading to customer satisfaction and loyalty (RESULT)
      • Organized (VERB) fundraising event (DETAILS) generating $xxx dollars for nonprofit (RESULT)
      • Provided (VERB) phone and in person support for patients with various chronic and acute health issues (DETAILS & RESULT COMBINED)
      • Supported (VERB) 8-10 staff with calendaring, files and reception (DETAILS), increasing efficiency in workflow (RESULT)
      • First Draft:  Participated in a leadership program
      • Second Draft:  Selected as one of 125 for year-long professional development program for high-achieving business students
      • Final Draft:  Selected as one of 125 participants nationwide for year-long professional development program for high-achieving business students based on leadership potential and academic success
      • Templates are handy, but bear in mind that if you use a common template, your résumé will look identical to a number of others.
      • Use tables to align sections, then hide the borders to create a neat presentation.
      • Use ten-twelve point font.
      • Don’t use too many design features — be strategic and consistent in your use of capitalization, bold, italics, and underline.
      • To create visual groupings of information, always use more space between sections than within a section. This way your reader will be able to easily distinguish between the key sections of your résumé, and between the items in each section.
      • Use the same font in your résumé and your cover letter to create coherence.

Adapted from Résumé Sections and Guidelines. Technical Writing. Authored by Allison Gross, Annemarie Hamlin, Billy Merck, Chris Rubio, Jodi Naas, Megan Savage, and Michele DeSilva and licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

Example of the Chronological Résumé  Format


123 Address | City, State 01234

10.1234.5678 |


AAS:    Portland Community College 2010 | Sign Language Interpreting

BA:    University of Colorado, Boulder 2007 | Psychology

Certifications: Certificate of Interpretation, Registry of Interpreters for the Deaf | Certificate of Transliteration, Registry of Interpreters for the Deaf


Staff Sign Language Interpreter | St. Joseph’s, Boulder CO | September 2014 – present

Provide Sign Language Interpreting to approximately 15 Deaf adults with pervasive mental illnesses in a Partial Hospitalization setting. Provide interpreting for staff meetings, therapeutic groups, psychiatry sessions, and medication monitoring.

Educational Sign Language Interpreter | Boulder High, Boulder CO | August 2011 – June 2014

Provided Sign Language Interpreting for Deaf and Hard of Hearing High School students in day-to-day activities including academic classes, assemblies, after-school clubs, varsity sports, class trips, and more.

Interpreter Intern | Portland Community College, Portland OR | January 2010 – June 2010

Provided Sign Language Interpreting services for one deaf college student for all of her day-to-day activities including academic classes, after-school clubs, advising sessions, and more.

Customer Service | Kaiser-Permanente Medical Center, Clackamas OR | 2008 – 2010

Provided members with information pertaining to benefits, enrollment, and coverage. Assisted members with benefits-related questions and concerns, resolving problems and supporting members with special needs.


Volunteer | Denver Homeless Family Solutions | January 2016 – present

Prepare and serve meals, collect and sort donations, overnight host.


National Registry of Interpreters for the Deaf

National Association of the Deaf

Note that the Chronological Résumé:

  • Lists both work and education in reverse chronological order (starting with the most recent positions/schools and working backward)
  • Lists job achievements and skills under each position
  • Presents experience under headings by job title, company, location, and dates of employment
  • Allows employers to easily determine work performed at each company

Example of the Functional (Skills) Résumé  Format


Portland, Oregon



Personal Résumé

M 971.123.4567

Graphic Design major with about 10 years full-service agency experience, from creative marketing material design to print management and coordination with a wide range of clients. A passionate and dedicated designer, capable of handling a large workload and tight deadlines. Working toward B.A degree in Graphic Design.



Print Management

Managed 5000 copies MTT company calendar printing process, from finalizing artwork to output file check, paper stock selection, color proofing, print finishing, and delivery deadline coordination.

Event Management

Designed and organized a company anniversary cocktail event for a new client – INSTINET Hong Kong, receiving positive feedback from client’s guest and resulting in 3years event management contract with Pink Tiger Media.

Editorial Design with Collaborative

Designed and collaborated with Prince of Wales Island International School on production of 16pp program book, received positive feedback from every division of the school and resulted in more business to Priority Resources design team.



Portland State University

Portland Community College

Equator Academy of Art

B.A Degree Graphic Design – Expected enrollment 2018

Associate Transfer Degree – 2016-present

Diploma in Graphic and Multimedia Design – 2004-2006



Senior Graphic Designer

2013 – 2015

Priority Resources – Penang, Malaysia

Editorial design, Web interface design, vendor coordination

Jr. Art Director


Pink Tiger Media – Penang, Malaysia

Team management, Event management, Marketing campaign, Visual communication, vendor coordination

Graphic Designer


Moonlight Media & Design – Penang, Malaysia

Exhibition design, Branding & Identity design, Print design, Product branding, Typography, Event management

Trainee Graphic Designer


Dolphin Printing – Penang, Malaysia

Print production, Packaging, Customer service




Awarded $3,000 tuition scholarships from Portland State University (2017-2018)


English, Bahasa Malay, Chinese: Mandarin, Cantonese, Hokkian, Hakka

This résumé  is licensed under CC BY-NC 4.0.

Note that the Functional (Skills) Résumé :

  • Focuses on skills and experience, rather than on chronological work history
  • Groups functions or skills under categories
  • Describes responsibilities, accomplishments, and quantifiable achievements under categories in the skills section
  • Opens with a brief summary/profile detailing strengths (one-three sentences)
  • Demonstrates how you match the requirements of your potential job by including relevant achievements and accomplishments

Example of the Hybrid Résumé  Format

Anthony Swift

1234 Happy Lane, Hillsboro, Oregon 97006 · ·   971-555-1212


Electrical engineering major with experience in testing, analyzing and developing digital systems. Strong written communication skills and experience working with diverse cultural backgrounds.

Skills and Abilities

Technical Skills

  • Designed and built a pulse and breathing monitor which required over 40 hours of troubleshooting. Involved circuit design and building, and circuit analysis. Required a good knowledge of reading electrical component schematics and basic programming with an Arduino.
  • Proficient in Windows, Mac, Office Suite: Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Access.

Organization and Professional Development Skills

  • Coordinated finals study sessions with staff of ten math instructors and more than 100 students in attendance.
  • Organized and planned community clean-up events while delegating tasks to a team of 15 students.
  • Planned S.T.E.M. (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) panel consisting of six professionals from various industries, providing students the opportunity to learn about different career paths.

Instruction Skills

  • Managed foreign teacher organization, communications, and hiring. Introduced innovative teaching methods to staff and created exciting classroom environments for Chinese students.
  • Maintained communications between management and foreign staff using Mandarin Chinese while ensuring high teaching standards were maintained. Trained new foreign teachers as well as overseeing three education centers to verify quality of teaching.


Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering, Oregon Tech, (2016 – 2019)

Associates of Science Degree, Portland Community College, GPA: 3.8 President’s list – 7 quarters (2013-2016)

Chinese Language, Beijing Language University, Beijing, China (2009-2010)

Work Experience

Math Tutor, Portland Community College, Portland, Oregon (2014 – 2016)

Gave special instruction to students to help simplify difficult math concepts and walk students through critical thinking process to solve difficult problems. Instructed students working on advanced mathematics courses.

Math Club President, Portland Community College, Portland, Oregon (2014 – 2016)

Organized finals study sessions for the college with over 100 students attending each session. Facilitated events with panels of working professionals giving students access to vital information about pursuing specific majors. Hosted weekly study sessions to help struggling students successfully pass math exams.

Data Entry Specialist, Seamless Systems, Portland, Oregon (2013 – 2014)

Maintained national database of legal documentation with extensive use of Microsoft Access.

Head Foreign Teacher and Trainer, KidsCan!, Beijing, China (2010 – 2012)

Worked with Chinese investors and management to create a training curriculum for the Hubei Province region. Instructed foreign teachers and developed fun team-building activities that created strong bonds between the staff. Mediated between foreign and Chinese staff when language barriers were present.

Anthony Swift Resume is licensed under CC BY-NC 4.0.

There are many reasons to choose one format over another; the chronological résumé is a strong choice for candidates with a work history in a field closely related to the job posting. On the other hand, the functional résumé serves candidates who are transitioning between fields, candidates shifting from a military to a civilian career, or candidates who have gained skills in a variety of different settings (workplace, academic, volunteer). The hybrid résumé offers the best of both worlds.

Because functional (skills) and hybrid résumé formats are the easiest to customize for a number of different potential employers, the following section of this chapter (Key Sections of a Résumé) will emphasize those formats.


Résumé Formats from Technical Writing. Authored by Allison Gross, Annemarie Hamlin, Billy Merck, Chris Rubio, Jodi Naas, Megan Savage, and Michele DeSilva and licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

Cover Letters

The cover letter serves a few critical functions. If the resume is characterized by breadth (giving a broad overview of your qualifications), the cover letter is characterized by depth (choosing a few most significant qualifications to cover in detail). Written in paragraphs rather than bullet points, the cover letter is the first writing sample your employer will see from you. In paragraphed prose, it is easier to market your unique qualifications and how you will fit in with the culture of the company. An effective cover letter will create a picture of you as a potential employee, and inspire a potential employer to learn more about you.


How To Write A Cover Letter (Example Included)

Keep the following tips in mind as you write your cover letter:

  • Your cover letter is essentially an argument for why you should be granted an interview. Make sure to support the claim that you are qualified for the position with evidence. Demonstrate your authority by speaking in detail about your qualifications, and SHOW the reader that you have the skills and abilities necessary to do the job at hand. The more detail you offer and the more precise your language is, the more the reader will be able to picture you doing the job. See the sample cover letter below for examples of “showing.” Your goal is to explain how your abilities can help the company achieve their goal or mission.
  • Use your audience analysis research to help you connect with the company and to choose the appropriate tone, level of formality, and level of technicality.
  • Follow the format for professional letters described above.
  • Do not duplicate information in the cover letter and the résumé. These are two different documents with different purposes.

In the era of social media, the idea of writing a cover letter to introduce your résumé may seem outdated.


A general outline for cover letters:

  1. Salutation: Make your best attempt to find a specific name (or at least the job title) of the person to whom you should address this letter.  If you cannot find the name, you may address the letter “Dear Hiring Manager.”
  2. Opening Paragraph: State why you are writing, specifically naming the position to which you are applying. Indicate how you learned about the position (networking if you can). In one sentence, use your audience analysis research to establish a connection with the company. Finally, in one sentence, summarize your strongest qualification/s for the job.
  3. Body Paragraph(s): Build each paragraph around a key qualification or professional strength that relates to the job for which you are applying. Open the paragraph with a claim about this qualification/strength, and then provide a developed illustration of a time in your work or academic history when you used/excelled at this skill, or used it to benefit others. For example, if the job requires excellent customer service skills, you might discuss a time in which you used your customer service skills to diffuse a conflict or increase your company’s profits. Try to make a clear connection to the job position you are applying for; how can this skill enhance the company you are applying to work for? It can be effective to conclude your middle paragraphs with sentences that express how these past experiences prepare you for the potential job.

Closing Paragraph: Thank the reader for his or her time and consideration. Gesture towards an interview. You may explicitly request an interview, or you may wish to include a phrase like “I look forward to discussing my qualifications with you in person, soon.” If there is any information the reader should know about getting in touch with you, include it; if your phone number and email address do not appear elsewhere in the cover letter, include them here. You may refer the reader to your enclosed resume.


The Key Forms of Business Writing: Basic Letter

Sample Cover Letter

12248 SE Wilderness Dr.

Portland, OR 97214April 29, 2017Mr. Doug Jones

Director of Human Resources


600 Minnow Lane

Seattle, WA 12345

Dear Mr. Jones:


At Portland State University’s computer science job fair on April 9, 2017, I met with your representative, Ms. Karen Lincoln, regarding your entry-level Database Administrator opening. Not only am I a DBA and SQA certified CIS specialist, but I also have over a decade of experience in the steel and manufacturing industry EVZ specializes in. My strong manufacturing and technological background prepares me to help EVZ continue your impressive track record of safety improvements.

Introductory Paragraph

Your introduction should discuss the following:

– The title of the job for which you are applying

– Where you heard about the position

– A connection with the organization and its goals

– How your experience matches the position

– How you will help the organization achieve its goals

From my conversation with Ms. Lincoln and your online information, it’s clear you are looking for someone who not only has technical skills, but who understands the steel industry. Within six months at United Steel Mill, I was promoted from Clerk to Machine Operator, largely as a result of my attention to detail and ability to collaborate. In three years, I had worked my way up to Plant Safety Coordinator, Quality Control Database Administrator, and Floor Trainer. While in those roles, I implemented a plant-wide safety program, saving my company roughly $15 million in recovered product, and reducing accidents by over 25%. In addition to demonstrating my understanding of the steel industry, this experience demonstrates the kinds of skills EVZ seeks: accuracy, integrity, and strong problem-solving skills.

Body Paragraph 1

This paragraph should discuss the following:

– More connection with company goals/mission

– Support for your claim that you can help them achieve goals/mission

– Specific example based on information in résumé

– How you will help the organization

I have a BA degree in Computer Information Systems and an AAS in Network Administration; through my experiences, I have become very familiar with all aspects of Database Administration. In my position as Database Intern for Work Inc., I enrolled users, maintained system security, and monitored user access to the database, with 30-40 concurrent users at any given time. At Portland State, I maintained a 4.0 GPA, was admitted to Phi Theta Kappa, and was placed on the President’s List every term – a standard I will bring to EVZ.

Body Paragraph 2

This paragraph should discuss the following:

– More detail on position requirements

– More detail supporting your claim that your experience fulfills these requirements

– Specific example based on information in résumé

– How you will help the organization

EVZ has grown rapidly for twenty years, and I would like to speak with you to discuss how my experience can aid your commitment to improving safety, quality and processes as you continue to grow. Enclosed is my resume, and you can reach me at 503-555-6237 or with questions. Thank you for your time and consideration. I look forward to meeting with you soon.

Closing Paragraph

This paragraph should do the following:

– State your main objective: an interview

– Provide contact information

– Close the letter in a professional manner, thanking the reader

– Provide signature block

– Provide enclosure information


John Ice


Figure 5: Sample Cover Letter

Adapted from Cover Letters. Technical Writing. Authored by Allison Gross, Annemarie Hamlin, Billy Merck, Chris Rubio, Jodi Naas, Megan Savage, and Michele DeSilva and licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

Back to: English 1210 > ENG 1210 Technical Writing Table of Contents