The Huck Institutes of the Life Sciences

Writing cover letters, preparing CVs/Resumes

The first step in getting a job is to submit a cover letter and CV/resume, along with any other requested documents. These documents identify your skills and make the case for why the employer should spend the time to bring you in for an interview. In addition, they will be the first impression your potential employer has of you, so you definitely want to make sure you can wow them! To do so, you need to make sure your cover letter and CV/resume are clear and concise. Each job application will likely result in a slightly different form of each of these documents, but coming up with a base is the first step. You will need these kinds of documents throughout graduate school as well, so it's best to get started on the process right away! Here are some tips.



Campus resources:



Off campus resources:



Online resources:




  • Continually update your CV and/or resume, 1-2 times a year
  • Keep detailed records of your work history (start/end dates, supervisor name/contact info, duties, accomplishments, etc.)
  • Have your adviser, other mentors, and peers review your resume/CV and cover letters
  • Make sure your online profiles (i.e. LinkedIn) are up-to-date
  • Review your CV/resume to identify weaknesses so that you can build on them
  • Create targeted cover letters and resumes for specific job ads, using jargon from those job ads (without plagiarizing!) and highlighting skills/qualifications in the job ad that you have