Chicago State University

Career Documents

Before starting your career search, it is important that you have a library of documents that will include a resume, cover letter, list of reference, and a thank you letter and/or email follow-up letter.

A resume is an overview of your education, experiences and skills that is used to market yourself to potential employers by giving insight to the value that you can bring to their company. Employers’ first screening of a resume happen in just a matter of seconds, so it is imperative that the document is well-structured and concise, with the intention of drawing attention to your vital information.

Cover letters typically accompany a resume when applying for a position. The purpose of a cover letter is to create an impression and separate yourself from the competition. This is where you introduce yourself, display your interest in the position/company and expand on the experiences you have had and how they directly relate to the position you are applying for. Although the basic outline for a cover letter may not change, the essentials of this document will change as you apply for different opportunities.

Your list of references should include people who can attest to your character, experience and work ethic positively. This list should not be included on your resume, rather in a separate document that you can easily provide an employer, if asked.

A thank you letter and/or e-mail follow-up letter are another way to separate yourself from the competition. This is short hand-written letter or e-mail that you can give or send to an employer after your initial interview to show your appreciation to the employer for taking time to meet with you and considering you for a position with their company.