Resumes, cover letters, portfolios, and CVs

A strong resume, cover letter, portfolio, and/or CV have the power to get you in the door to the interview stage. These documents are essential to making the case for why you have the skills and experience to excel at the job and within the organization and team.

Resumes, cover letters, portfolios, and CVs should be tailored to the job at hand and should be checked thoroughly before submitting to make sure you are putting your best foot forward.

 

From above, a view of a person's hands as they write in a notebook. A laptop also sits on the table.

Resumes

A resume is a dense, fact-based document that provides information on your educational background, details your past professional experience, lists your top skills, and showcases your achievements.

Fingers typing on a laptop.

CVs

A CV is similar to a resume in that it details achievements and history, but does not have the same space limits that a resume does.

As CVs and resumes are similar, many of our resume resources will help you develop your CV.

Since CVs are often requested in international professional contexts, it’s a good idea to learn about the conventions for CVs in the country where you are submitting your application documents. 

An overhead view of a person's hands reviewing documents.

Cover letters

Your cover letter is, first and foremost, structured in the format of professional correspondence and should emphasize why you want to work for that particular organization and why you would be a good fit.

You can articulate this by sharing the most valuable transferable skills you bring (and brief examples to prove it).

A laptop displaying a fashion portfolio is balanced on the side of a couch.

Portfolios

A strong portfolio demonstrates your commitment to personal and professional development, setting you apart in a competitive world.

Why should you make a portfolio?

  • Showcase your skills, accomplishments, and projects 
  • Stand out to potential employers, graduate school admission committees and scholarship or grant reviewers
  • Build your online identity and strengthen your network by allowing you to share your work with professionals and peers in your field

Other career writing  

Whether you are requesting an informational interview with an MIT alum, sending a thank you email after an email, declining a job offer, or simply writing an email to a professional contact, review our professional correspondence samples to help get started.


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