Résumés and Documents

When you’re looking for job, you have to do more than submit job applications. You also have to provide documentation that demonstrates that you have the credentials and professionalism to be successful in the workplace.


A résumé is a summary of your educational background, work experience, and relevant skills.  Along with a cover letter, your résumé gives employers their first impression of you as a candidate. 

International job-seekers, please note: An American résumé is similar to what may be called a curriculum vitae (CV) in other countries; however, it should not be confused with an American CV, which is longer than a résumé and generally used to showcase a research and/or publication background.

Curricula Vitae

A curriculum vitae (CV) is more comprehensive than a résumé for an industry job, usually at least two pages long.  It is used to apply for faculty or instructor positions, some types of research positions, or fellowships and includes a summary of your educational background as well as teaching and research experience, publications, presentations, awards, honors, affiliations, and other details.

Cover Letters

Your cover letter allows you to put the work experience on your résumé or CV into a context for employers.  You should use a cover letter to introduce yourself to an employer, explain your interest in the company or institution, and in the specific job that you are applying for, highlight special interests or skills needed for the job, and persuade the employer to offer you an interview.  A strong cover letter also gives you the chance to show the employer that you have good written communication skills, which are important in any job.


A recommendation is a positive statement by a reference—often a current or former supervisor, colleague, or professor with whom you had a close relationship—about your suitability for a particular job or program.

Thank-You Notes

Thank-you notes or email messages show respect and appreciation for the people who have helped you with your job search or given you the opportunity to interview.


Engineering Career Resources & Employer Relations

College of Engineering

117 Hammond Building

The Pennsylvania State University

University Park, PA 16802-4710

Phone: 814-863-1032