Application Toolkit

Resumé Writing Guide

Resumés are the quintessential application document. How seriously you want to be taken as an applicant should be exhibited in the time and effort you place in developing your resume.

Creating a resumé is not simply listing your jobs and activities. It is a careful and intentional articulation of the skills you’ve learned from your experiences and how they will help the organization you’re applying to.

This Resumé Writing Guide will take you step by step through the drafting process. Once you have a draft that is ready to review, contact our office to set up an appointment.

Cover Letter Writing Guide

Cover letters introduce you as a candidate for the position you’re seeking. They are not a rewrite of your resumé. These are separate documents that should complement your resumé. Cover letters require that you have researched the organization and have a good understanding of the position you’re applying to.

This Cover Letter Writing Guide will take you step by step through the drafting process. Once you have a draft that is ready to review, contact our office to set up an appointment.

CV Writing Guide

There are two types of application documents that are called Curricula Vitas

The first is an academic document utilized by faculty to explain their research, teaching and service experience. They are used to apply to research and teaching positions at colleges, universities and institutes. They are often long—usually five or more pages—and are in more of a narrative format.

The second type of CV is the preferred application document for European countries and other nations. This form of CV is actually a closer approximation to the American resumé than an academic CV. While often longer than the traditional one-page resumé, it is still more concise and less narrative than an academic CV. If you are applying to a position outside the U.S., develop a resumé and then use GoingGlobal to learn how to adapt it to the preferred CV style of your country.

Personal Statements

Personal statements are a vitally important component of any graduate or professional school application. For many programs, they serve as your interview. In any case, they are very challenging to write and very rewarding when successfully completed.

The personal statement is at its best when it has, at its core, a thesis. What is the central point you are trying to drive in the statement? Developing a thesis is a reflective process. It takes time to really think about what message you are trying to convey.

The document, “Tips on How to Write a Personal Statement” provides some general advising on the process. Below, you can review additional suggestions based upon the type of program you are applying to.

Personal Statements for Academic Programs

When writing personal statements for an academic program, you are making the argument that you have the research skills, mindset and scholarly interest that is worth funding by the program. Keep in mind the following:

  1. You should, in your statement, identify the professor within the program who you want to study with. You should understand their research, publications, etc., and how they connect with your research goals. Contact the professor before applying to be sure they are accepting doctoral students that year.
  2. Your statement should draw a line from your current research, areas of focus, etc., to your work in graduate school. You should also state how you came to be interested in these ideas or research questions.
  3. While you do not need to know exactly what you want to do after you graduate, you should be able to show how the research you are pursuing will connect to career goals.

Personal Statements for Professional Programs

Personal statements for professional programs differ a bit from academic ones in that you need to focus more on your personal development and how it connects to the career you are seeking training in. Your statement should address the following:

  1. What lead you to pursue this program of study? What career goals do you have related to it?
  2. What about you makes you a fit for this profession? This not only includes experiences you have had, but the insights about your personality, values and character that connect to it.
  3. Why do you want to pursue training at the particular graduate program? What about the program makes you want to study there? (e.g., certain professors, the clinical opportunities, reputation of graduates in the field, etc.)


At its best, interviewing is a conversation between you and the employer. This conversation confirms your ability to do the job, affirms your commitment to the mission of the organization and shows how you will get along with your future colleagues.

Good interviewing goes beyond being friendly and outgoing. Being knowledgeable and able to share your understanding is what employers seek from great candidates.

Career Development can help you prepare for an interview:

  1. You can schedule and appointment to learn more about interviewing, understanding differing question types, styles of interviews (e.g., one-on-one, panel, group, etc.), and how best to prepare. Email Erin Truong,, for more information.
  2. You can set up a practice interview. This is formal experience in which you come to Career Development dressed professionally and answer questions as if it were a real interview. The experience is video recorded and you are debriefed at the end.