The University of

Professional English

Online Course

A resume is a brief summary of your abilities, education, experience, and skills. Its main task is to convince prospective employers to contact you. A resume has one purpose: to get you a job interview.
Resumes must do their work quickly. Employers or personnel officers may look through
hundreds of applications and may spend only a few seconds reviewing your resume. To get someone to look at it longer, your resume must quickly convey that you are capable and competent enough to be worth interviewing. The more thoroughly you prepare your resume now, the more likely someone is to read it later.

Professional English Menu

Home Page
Required Work
Unit 1:  Eight Steps to Effective Writing
Unit 2:  Effective Business Letters / Format / Style / Organization
Unit 3:  Grammar and Style Review
Unit 4:  Resumes
Unit 5:  Proposals
Unit 6:  Business Information and Research
Unit 7:  Annual Reports

Other Resources

Business Week Online
New York Times
U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission
Company Annual Reports
Report Gallery
Small Business Administration's Office of International Trade
Elements of a Grant Proposal
Search Engine

Unit Overview
In this unit, you will learn the basics of developing a resume and cover letters.  You will also develop an understanding of how to tailor your resume to fit the needs of a potential employer.


Resume Tutor
   Resume Samples
   Cover Letter Samples

Prepare Your Own
Write three resumes -- style them for specific purposes, as though you were responding to specific job applications.
    Include a cover letter.

Sample "Cold Call" Resume Cover Letter from
Components of Your Letter

  • The Salutation: Since you are writing an unsolicited letter, it's crucial that you address a particular person. Do some research so you can get your resume in the hands of the manager most likely to be interested in hiring you.
  • The Opener: There are a number of different techniques you can use to open your letter. Here are two examples:
The Value Proposition: "If you have identified goal-surpassing revenue and market-share growth among your goals for 2002, my credentials will be of interest. Allow me to introduce myself: A marketing executive with 15 years of experience within Fortune 500 environments…"
The News Angle: "After reading of your consulting-services expansion in yesterday's Wall Street Journal, I am eager to join your team as an accounting manager. You will benefit from my top credentials, including CPA with Big Five experience and multilingual fluency (Spanish, Portuguese, Italian)…"
  • The Body: Summarize the key strengths you bring to the table. A great strategy is to include a bulleted list of achievements and qualifications that would benefit the company. Provide an overview of your main selling points and examples of how you have contributed to your current or former employers.
  • The Close: End your letter with an action statement, promising to follow up to explore the possibility of an interview. This is a much stronger closing than, "I hope to hear from you soon."