Resumes, CVs, cover letters, and portfolios — these professional documents are your first impression on potential employers, and it is crucial to make them stand out. But knowing the differences between each document and how to curate information for each can be confusing. In today’s blog post, we outline the differences between each resource and offer tips to enhance your professional profile.
The Resume: Your Professional Snapshot
Purpose: Resumes are concise snapshots of your professional journey, highlighting your relevant skills, experiences, and achievements.
Tips for Crafting a Resume:
- Tailor for Relevance: Customize your resume for each application by emphasizing skills and experiences most pertinent to the position.
- Quantify Achievements: Use measurable outcomes to showcase your impact. Numbers add credibility and help potential employers contextualize your accomplishments.
- Clarity and Consistency: Maintain a clean, organized format. Use bullet points for readability, choose a professional font, and keep it to a single page for entry-level positions.
Check out example resumes from UF’s Career Connections Center here: Resume-Examples-Updated.pdf
The Curriculum Vitae (CV): A Comprehensive Professional History
Purpose: CVs are comprehensive documents detailing your academic and professional history. They are ideal for research or academic positions.
Tips for Crafting a CV:
- Chronological Order: List academic and professional experiences in reverse chronological order (most recent first), including publications, presentations, and academic achievements.
- Research Focus: Highlight your research contributions, detailing publications, conferences, and your specific role in each project.
- Professional Development: Showcase workshops, certifications, or conferences attended to emphasize your commitment to continuous learning and growth.
Check out example CVs from UF’s Career Connections Center here: Sample CV (uconnectlabs.com)
The Cover Letter: Your Personal Pitch
Purpose: Cover letters are personal pitches expressing your interest in a specific position. They are submitted alongside your resume or CV.
Tips for Crafting a Cover Letter:
- Company Research: Demonstrate your knowledge of the company by mentioning specific projects, initiatives, or values that resonate with you.
- Tell Your Story: Use the cover letter to narrate your career journey, explaining how your experiences align with the position. Make it engaging and memorable.
- Highlight Skills: Reinforce key skills and experiences mentioned in your resume or CV, providing specific examples of your qualifications.
Check out example Cover Letters from UF’s Career Connections Center here: Cover-Letter-Examples.pdf
The Portfolio: Showcasing Your Best Work
Purpose: Portfolios present tangible evidence of your skills, often including samples of your work, projects, or creative endeavors.
Tips for Building a Portfolio:
- Be Selective: Include a curated selection of your best work. Quality is more impactful than quantity.
- Diversity of Skills: Showcase a range of skills and projects to demonstrate your versatility and adaptability.
- User-Friendly Format: Whether digital or physical, ensure your portfolio is easy to navigate. Provide context for each piece to guide the viewer.
Check out an example Portfolio from UF’s Career Connections Center here: WRITING SAMPLES | Portfolio
Once you’ve drafted your resume, CV, cover letter, and/or portfolio, it can be helpful to have a second set of eyes take a look and offer feedback. The UF Career Connections Center offers Express Drop-In sessions designed for document reviews (i.e. resumes, cover letters, personal statements), mock interviews, and quick Career Planning questions. Express Drop-In visits are designed to be 15-20 minutes long and are hosted by a Career Ambassador. The Fall Express Drop-In Hours (August 23-December 8) are as follows:
- 11:00 am-3:00 pm | Students can join anytime between 11:00 am-2:45 pm
- Monday, Wednesday, Friday- In Person
- Tuesday and Thursday- Virtual
UF Students also have access to Quinncia, an interactive artificial intelligence-based platform that helps students build a strong resume and excel at interviewing. Quinncia offers resume review and mock interviews and can be accessed here: Access | Quinncia.
Your resume, CV, cover letter, and portfolio collectively tell the story of your academic and professional journey. By following these tips, you’ll be well on your way to presenting a polished and compelling professional profile.