University of Wisconsin–Madison
rooftop view of engineering campus

Resumes and Cover Letters

Your resume markets you and your accomplishments. Be honest, and emphasize your strengths and goals. Your resume will also serve as a perfect professional introduction at career fairs and interviews.

Information you need to have:

Contact: Include your name, email, address and phone number.

Objective: What kind of job do you want?

Internship, entry-level, etc.
Industrial areas of interest
Don’t use words like “challenging” or “interesting”. Don’t focus too heavily on what the employer can do for you.

Education:

Include degree level, major, intended graduation date and university
Include GPA: can be your cumulative/overall or within major
Optional: important academic projects, honors or scholarships

Experience:

Highlight any directly related experience (this can vary based on who you are sending your resume to)
Include sections of your choice, such as: lab experience, additional work experience, communications experience, cross-cultural experience. etc.
For each experience, list your duties and accomplishments. Be quantitative, if possible.
Use phrases and avoid personal pronouns
Use action words (i.e. achieved, developed, enhanced, etc.) to start your descriptive line

Skills:

List:
Language Skills
Computer Skills (i.e. MATLAB, R-Studio, Java)
Lab skills/tools (i.e. CoE shop, welding, milling)
Note: Use descriptive words such as proficient, advanced, etc.

What else could you include?

Activities, org. experience, leadership roles
Volunteer experience
Awards, scholarships or honors
Other extracurricular interests (i.e. sports, band, etc.)

ECS Job Search Guide: Developing Your Resume (pdf will open in a new window/tab)

Cover Letters provide a more in-depth explanation of your resume, relevant experiences and your immediate career goals. It is usually a response to specific job postings, but can also be used as a follow-up. A good cover letter should paint a picture of what you will bring to this job experience, and how it aligns with your goals and skills. Your cover letters should be specific to each employer.

Include the following elements in your cover letters:

Introduction: Clearly state why you are writing to the employer. If appropriate, identify, by name, the person who suggested you contact the employer.

Body: Emphasize why you would do well in this job. Match your qualifications with the employer’s needs. Expand upon specific details from your resume that match the position for which you are applying.

Closing: Request an interview or a site visit at the employer’s earliest convenience. Close with an appreciative statement (i.e. “Thank you for your time and consideration.”).

Note: Remember to maintain a professional tone. Double check your grammar and spelling.