Résumés & Cover Letters

Think of your résumé and cover letter as your personal marketing materials. They highlight how your strengths and skills fit the job and needs of the organization. The resources below can help you write effective résumés and cover letters.

Getting Started

Résumés tell your professional story in a way that demonstrates to employers how you are a good fit for the position and company. We provide these resources to help you get started.

What to Put in a Résumé

Recruiters usually spend only 6 seconds reviewing a résumé. Learn how to make your résumé stand out.

Brainstorm Your Experiences

Brainstorm Your Skills

  • Career Readiness Skills (website) - In college, you develop career readiness skills that prepare you for success in professional workplaces. These skills are developed in every major. Review these skills and the sample behaviors to describe your experiences better.
  • Reflect on Your Skills (presentation) - Use this presentation to brainstorm the skills you develop in college. A brainstorming template is provided in the presentation. 

Brainstorm Your Strengths

  • Cultivating your Professional Identity (presentation) - Your lived experience is valued by employers and your cultural knowledge and skills can enhance the workplace. Review this presentation to brainstorm your community cultural strengths and related work skills to describe your college experiences better.
  • Community Cultural Wealth (video) - This video series can help you brainstorm your strengths using the six community cultural wealth categories.

Brainstorm Your Professional Brand

A professional brand is how employers see you in your major and career. It reflects who you are as a professional. You demonstrate your professional identity in your classroom assignments and campus activities. These experiences are included on your college résumé, portfolio, job applications and in job interviews. In the résumé, your professional brand can be included as a headline and/or summary. Use these tools to get started.

The résumé for college students and recent graduates highlights your experiences on and off campus. It includes what you have done in the classroom and how you explored your academic and career interests. You can describe these experiences by writing about your accomplishments. We provide these resources to help you write your résumé.
To get started, review our College Résumé Sample (handout). 
You can use our College Résumé Scoring Rubric (handout) to evaluate how to improve your résumé.
For more information on writing your college résumé, review the guides below. 

Now that you have written a general résumé, use these resources to customize it to each position you seek.

Now that you have reviewed the position you seek and have customized your résumé, you are ready to write the cover letter. We provide these resources to help you start your draft.

LinkedIn is an online social network that focuses on professional networking and career development. You can use LinkedIn to display your résumé and college portfolio, search for internships and jobs, connect with alumni and meet working professionals.
When creating your LinkedIn profile keep in mind it should not look like other social media profiles. You should take a business approach with your photo, about section and experiences. Use the resources below to get started.

Résumé and Letter Builder

We provide an online résumé and letter builder called Skills First. This AI-feedback résumé builder helps you create keyword-optimized résumés. You can submit your résumé for AI review and for review from our peer career advisors.

Log In: Résumé & Letter Builder

Additional Support

Career advisors, students and campus mascot Eddie smile while at a booth outside the Career Center

For help with how to write and improve your documents, sign up for a group appointment with our career advisors.

Schedule an appointment with a career advisor

We offer workshops throughout the year to help you build your skills in writing professional résumés and cover letters.

Sign up for workshops on the Career Center calendar

Employers host events where you can learn more about what they prefer to see in a résumé and cover letter. 

Sign up for employer events using Cal State LA Handshake

We provide professional headshots with our self-service photo booth. Cal State LA students, faculty, and staff can take professional photos to use on platforms like LinkedIn.  Learn about the photo booth