College of Veterinary Medicine

Counseling & Wellness Services

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 listed.

Heading

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.

Objective/Skills Summary

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 (accomplishments)!

Leadership

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.

Professional Development/Certifications

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 licenses held.

Publications

Use this section to list any abstracts or articles you have had published during your education.

Honors/Awards

List any honors and awards received (both academic and non-academic related).

Clubs/Organizations

Use this section to list any clubs or organizations for which you are a member.

Volunteer/Community Service

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.

Job Accomplishment: Developed and maintained a computerized system for tracking production of six veterinarians in a $950,000/year small animal practice.

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 Hope Fund.
  • 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 multi-doctor practice.
  • Ask yourself the following questions:

  • What did you do that was faster, better, cheaper?
  •  Increase membership/participation/sales?
  •  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 skills?
  •  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?
  •  Motivate others?
  •  Coordinate any event or project?
  •  Train another person? What were the results?
  •  Acquire industry-specific knowledge?

  • NON-TECHNICAL COMPETENCIES

    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 job candidates

    1. Communication Skills (verbal and written)
    2. Honesty/Integrity
    3. Interpersonal Skills (relates well to others)
    4. Motivation/Initiative
    5. Strong Work Ethic
    6. Teamwork Skills (works well with others)
    7. Analytical Skills
    8. Flexibility/Adaptability
    9. Computer Skills
    10. Detail Oriented
    11. Leadership Skills
    12. Organizational Skills
    13. Self-Confidence
    14. Friendly/Outgoing Personality
    15. Tactfulness
    16. Well Mannered/Polite
    17. Creativity
    18. GPA (3.0 or better)
    19. Entrepreneurial Skills
    20. Sense of Humor

    Other Non-Technical Competencies

    1. Professionalism
    2. Positive Attitude
    3. Time Management
    4. Dedication
    5. Discipline
    6. Goal Setting
    7. Commitment
    8. Multi-Cultural Experienc

    Written examples may include:

  •  Proven interpersonal and teamwork skills in academic and work environments.
  •  Demonstrated personal qualities of strong work ethic and dedication to high quality performance.
  •  Multicultural experience through education and team related relationships.
  •  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 and faculty.
  •  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 environment.
  • 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 objectives.
  • Effective independently or as a member of the team.
  • Diplomatic and tactful with both professionals and nonprofessionals.
  • 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 _________areas.
  • 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 _______________ languages.
  • 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 establish priorities.
  • Enthusiastic, creative, and willing to assume increased responsibility.
  • 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 ________ people.
  • High energy coupled with enthusiasm and dedication to ________________.

  • ACTION WORDS

    Accepted
    Accounted
    Achieved
    Acquired
    Adapted
    Addressed
    Adjusted
    Administered
    Adopted
    Advised
    Advocated
    Allocated
    Allotted
    Altered
    Analyzed
    Answered
    Anticipated
    Applied
    Appointed
    Appraised
    Approved
    Arbitrated
    Arranged
    Assembled
    Assessed
    Assigned
    Assisted
    Audited
    Authorized
    Awarded
    Balanced
    Budgeted
    Calculated
    Calibrated
    Carried
    Catalogued
    Categorized
    Certified
    Checked
    Centralized
    Changed
    Clarified
    Classified
    Cleaned
    Coached
    Collaborated
    Collated
    Collected
    Communicated
    Compared
    Compiled
    Composed
    Computed
    Conceptualized
    Condensed
    Conducted
    Consolidated
    Constructed
    Consulted
    Contracted
    Converted
    Conveyed
    Coordinated
    Copied
    Corrected
    Correlated
    Counseled
    Created
    Critiqued
    Cultivated
    Defined
    Delegated
    Delivered
    Demonstrated
    Described
    Designated
    Designed
    Detailed
    Detected
    Determined
    Developed
    Devised
    Diagnosed
    Directed
    Disciplined
    Discovered
    Dispatched
    Dispensed
    Displayed
    Dissected
    Disseminated
    Distributed
    Drafted
    Drafted
    Edited
    Elected
    Eliminated
    Empowered  
    Encouraged
    Endorsed
    Enforced
    Engineered
    Enlarged
    Enlisted
    Entered
    Established
    Estimated
    Evaluated
    Examined
    Executed
    Exhibited
    Expanded
    Experienced
    Experimented
    Explained
    Extracted
    Fabricated
    Facilitated
    Filed
    Financed
    Forecasted
    Formed
    Formulated
    Founded
    Gathered
    Generated
    Governed
    Graded
    Grouped
    Guided
    Handled
    Headed
    Hired
    Identified
    Illustrated
    Imagined
    Implemented
    Improved
    Improvised
    Increased
    Informed
    Initiated
    Innovated
    Inspected
    Installed
    Instructed
    Insured  
    Integrated
    Interpreted
    Interviewed
    Inventoried
    Investigated
    Issued
    Itemized
    Joined
    Launched
    Led
    Maintained
    Managed
    Manufactured
    Marketed
    Measured
    Mediated
    Minimized
    Modified
    Monitored
    Motivated
    Negotiated
    Notified
    Observed
    Obtained
    Operated
    Ordered
    Originated
    Organized
    Outlined
    Overcame
    Oversaw
    Participated
    Performed
    Persuaded
    Planned
    Predicted
    Prepared
    Presented
    Presided
    Prevented
    Prioritized
    Produced
    Programmed
    Promoted
    Protected
    Proposed
    Provided
    Publicized
    Published  
    Recognized
    Recommended
    Reconciled
    Recorded
    Recruited
    Rectified
    Reduced
    Refined
    Reinforced
    Reorganized
    Repaired
    Reported
    Represented
    Researched
    Resolved
    Retrieved
    Reviewed
    Revised
    Scheduled
    Selected
    Separated
    Set up
    Shaped
    Simplified
    Solved
    Sparked
    Surveyed
    Staffed
    Strengthened
    Studied
    Succeeded
    Summarized
    Supervised
    Surveyed
    Synthesized
    Tailored
    Taught
    Tested
    Trained
    Transcribed
    Transformed
    Translated
    Tutored
    Typed
    Unified
    Updated
    Utilized
    Verified
    Wrote  

    Sample Resumes


    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:

    Anne LaFrance, MA, Licensed Mental Health Counselor
    alafrance@vetmed.wsu.edu
    (509) 335-4607
    135A McCoy Hall


    NOTE:  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
    Last Edited: May 12, 2014 9:24 AM   

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