Self-Help Information: Resume & Cover Letter
PARTS OF A RESUME
Although there are several components listed below, be sure to
choose only those that are relevant to you and the job you are
applying for. Note: This is not an exhaustive list of headings.
There may be others that apply to your specific resume that may be
The heading is the top portion of your resume that includes
information such as your name, address, telephone number, and e-mail
address (optional). You should not include the following information
on your resume (employers have no legal right to request this
information either): age, sex, race, religion, marital status,
number of children, health, physical attributes, sexual orientation,
or personal habits.
The employment objective tells the prospective employer what you
want. You want to be as specific as possible. The skills summary
tells the prospective employer your most sought-after skills,
abilities, accomplishments and attributes.
Education and Related Coursework
List degrees earned, your major/minor areas of study, the name of
the college, city and state where located, month and year of
graduation and GPA/Class Rank (optional). If you attended any
special programs or courses that supplemented your education, you
can also list them in this section. These would include elective
coursework, training sessions, and training modules.
Related Work Experience
In this section, list your job position, the company’s name, city
and state where located, the time period you worked there and what
you accomplished while you worked there. Include any experience
gained from volunteering, practicum or internships. This is the
place to show you are employable and have marketable skills. Don’t
just list what you did (job duties), list how well you did them
Use this section to highlight any leadership roles you have held
both in and out of school. This can include offices held, projects
led, groups led, etc. Demonstrate how your leadership was effective
and the skills you used as a leader.
This section should highlight additional training and
certifications relevant to the position you are applying for and
that sets you apart from other applicants. This would include
conferences, workshops and seminars attended, and certifications or
Use this section to list any abstracts or articles you have had
published during your education.
List any honors and awards received (both academic and
Use this section to list any clubs or organizations for which you
are a member.
This section lists your contributions to various organizations
within your community.
GENERATE A LIST OF YOUR ACCOMPLISHMENTS
Employers want to know what you have achieved in past jobs to see
how you can contribute to their organization. Job duties tell a
prospective employer what you did; accomplishments tell them how
well you did it. Think time, money and amounts. Use the acronym CAR
(Challenge-Approach-Results). Consider the problems you have faced
(the Challenges), your unique contribution (the Approach), and the
benefits that you have imparted (the Results). Read the examples
below to get a better understanding of the difference between a job
duty and a job accomplishment.
Job Duty: Responsible for keeping accurate client records
in a multi-doctor practice.
Developed and maintained a computerized system for tracking
production of six veterinarians in a $950,000/year small animal
Job Duty: Responsible for chemotherapy treatments.
Job Accomplishment: Developed and implemented chemotherapy
protocol and treatment plan for total of 14 cancer patients (3
felines, 11 canines) that resulted in remission and improved quality
and length of life not possible without treatment.
More accomplishment examples:
Primary orthopedic surgeon for Whitman County Humane Society
Hope Fund, which led to adoption of the 15 dogs aided by the
Implemented external skeletal fixation devices for fracture
repair of 25 canines and felines during the past three years.
Improved clinic exposure through development and marketing of
clinic web site and advertising at local theaters.
Excellent interpersonal and client relation skills demonstrated
through retention and increase of client base.
Increased personal production by 7%, which contributed to an
overall increase in clinic production of 11% in a mixed animal
Ask yourself the following questions:
What did you do that was faster, better, cheaper?
Save your organization time, money or eliminate waste?
Identify and/or help solve any problems?
Institute any new methods, systems or procedures?
Suggest a new service, product or project?
Re-organize or improve an existing system?
Refine the nature of an existing task?
Maintain a consistently high level of performance?
Demonstrate leadership skills and exhibit good team player
Reach out for more work or more responsibility?
Achieve results with little or no supervision?
Establish new goals and objectives?
Accomplish something others thought could not be done?
Coordinate any event or project?
Train another person? What were the results?
Acquire industry-specific knowledge?
Recent research in the field of veterinary medicine, conducted by
Brakke, KMPG and NCVEI, has shown employers consider more than the
technical skills and knowledge of veterinary medicine. Employers
want to know you possess certain non-technical competencies
that would make you a well-rounded person able to function in a team
environment and when working with clients. It is important to
demonstrate these skills on your resume. You can incorporate these
competencies in the skills summary section, in your cover letter, or
in the work experience section.
Top twenty non-technical competencies employers look for in
- Communication Skills (verbal and written)
- Interpersonal Skills (relates well to others)
- Strong Work Ethic
- Teamwork Skills (works well with others)
- Analytical Skills
- Computer Skills
- Detail Oriented
- Leadership Skills
- Organizational Skills
- Friendly/Outgoing Personality
- Well Mannered/Polite
- GPA (3.0 or better)
- Entrepreneurial Skills
- Sense of Humor
Other Non-Technical Competencies
Written examples may include:
Proven interpersonal and teamwork skills in academic and work
Demonstrated personal qualities of strong work ethic and
dedication to high quality performance.
Multicultural experience through education and team related
Positive attitude and quick learner with the ability to adapt
to new challenges.
Communicate and work well with others from a wide variety of
backgrounds and personalities.
Inspire others to set and achieve personal and team goals.
Motivated, goal-oriented and dedicated to excellence.
Excellent verbal and written skills with clients, staff, peers
Ability to work both independently and as a team.
KEY PHRASES FOR POWERFUL RESUME & COVER LETTER WRITING
Excellent written and verbal communication skills.
First-hand experience with a wide range of cultures.
Long-term interest in _____________________.
Managed a very successful __________________.
Completed assignments to our clients’ complete satisfaction.
Well-organized and resourceful.
A creative flair for putting on events.
Excellent communicator; able to draw people out and quickly put
them at ease.
Strong credentials in ____________and _________________.
Creative problem solver.
Possess a positive, professional image suitable for any business
Theoretical grounding in _____________and ________________.
A quick learner with ability to adapt to new challenges.
Designed and implemented a highly successful employee
Skilled at developing rapport with all types of people.
Able to resolve conflicts in a diplomatic manner.
Effective in working with people from _________________.
Outstanding communication and presentation skills.
Taken specialized courses in ____________ and ________________.
Thrive on working with people and helping clients achieve their
Effective independently or as a member of the team.
Diplomatic and tactful with both professionals and
Highly motivated and goal oriented.
Well-versed in _______________. A generator of creative ideas.
Excellent references from _________________.
Effectively interfaced with management at all levels.
High level of professionalism.
Trained by one of the area’s most reputable _________________.
Succeeded in only _________ months to educate myself in
Project a highly competent and professional image.
A finely tuned sense of _________________ and its uses.
Excellent organization, communication, and writing skills.
Familiar with ________________ cultures and politics.
Designed courses to train over _______________ people.
Excellent command of both ___________ and _______________
Able to pinpoint problems and initiate creative solutions.
Poised and competent as a professional representative.
Extensive public service in nonprofit organizations.
Special talent for improving systems. Able to accurately
Enthusiastic, creative, and willing to assume increased
Effective at public speaking and media presentations.
Ability to organize many documents into a coherent presentation.
Effective in developing programs which reach goals.
Communicate well with a wide range of personalities.
Extremely dependable in completing projects.
Special talent for coordination of colors and visual effects.
Can be counted on to get the job done.
Planned, managed and supervised events for up to ________
High energy coupled with enthusiasm and dedication to
Cover Letter Format
Need Additional Help?
Washington State University College of Veterinary Medicine
Counseling and Wellness Services offer free individual counseling for these and
related issues for veterinary students (WSU Veterinary Students ONLY). For more
information or to schedule an appointment call or e-mail:
Donna J. Scott, PhD
The information contained in these self help
documents is not to be used as a substitute for professional care. Neither the
authors, Washington State University nor the College of Veterinary Medicine
assume liability for injury incurred by following the information presented in
these self-help documents