8AE1AB24-A72A-7AB0-3A8A47A1B7759A8B
0FB327D4-D7E7-B552-8DA38537EBE51E56

Written Correspondence


Resume Guide CoverResumes

  • Your professional resume is a representation of you – a summary of your education, skills and experiences for your targeted audience.
  • A resume is a living document – it should change with you and your goals.
  • Generally, not longer than one page, until you have several years of professional experience.
Getting Started:

The Resume Guide (view as PDF) is a great place to start. Identify a sample resume that you like, and start drafting your own information into a Word document (avoid resume templates as they can be difficult to edit).


Cover Letters & Correspondence

Cover Letter & Correspondence GuideCover letters and exploratory emails are the two primary types of correspondence you will use when applying for jobs and internships. While a cover letter is expected when applying for a specific position, an exploratory email is used when you are reaching out to an organization to inquire about potential opportunities, especially for informal career-related experiences. For details, see the Cover Letter and Correspondence Guide (PDF).

Exploratory Emails:

  • Use an exploratory email when seeking internship, volunteer, or shadowing opportunities that are not listed.
  • The major difference between exploratory and networking emails is your request at the end of the email. A networking email is a request for a conversation, while an exploratory email is a CRE inquiry.
  • An excellent exploratory email:
  • Articulates skills, interests, and experiences
  • Demonstrates knowledge of the organization
  • Inquires about the possibility of a career-related experience

Cover Letters:

  • An excellent cover letter is personalized and targeted to the employer and the job. Never try to use a template, it will be obvious.
  • Be sure that you are targeting your letter to the specific job, not just the company.
  • Use business format (includes dates, address, and is formal in tone) even in an email.
  • Establish “fit” in the 1st paragraph of the letter: What makes you a good fit for this company?
  • Relay how your skills and experiences will benefit the employer.
  • Ask for an interview at the close of the letter.

Email Networking

The purpose of a networking outreach email is to request an informational interview, either from someone who is already in your network or from a new contact. You are more likely to get a positive response if you follow the guidelines below.

  • Have a subject line that will catch the person’s attention (for example – says “Hamilton” for alums, says name of person who referred you, etc.)
  • Introduce yourself with relevant details that help the reader understand what stage of career planning/searching you are in.
  • Explain why you have chosen him/her to reach out to and state your goal for the meeting.
  • Specifically ask for a meeting and be clear about how you wish to meet (in person, by phone or Skype) and provide your general availability.
  • Keep it short (one paragraph).
  • Be professional (no “love language”, no typos, use appropriate salutation: Dear Mr., Mrs. Dr. etc.)

For a detailed overview of the process of setting up informational interviews, refer to Steps and Tips for Informational Interviewing.


Follow up

  • A sincere and well-written thank-you note (or email) sent within 24 hours of your interview can set you apart from your competition.
  • Thank you notes are generally brief, and should thank the interviewer for their time, refer to something specific about the interview, and reiterate your interest in the position.
  • Send an email, a hand-written thank you note, or both. If you have been corresponding with the employer via email, then email is an acceptable way to send a thank you. Hand-written notes may capture attention, but be sure to send it right away.

Contact Information


Career Center

Third floor of Bristol Center
198 College Hill Road
Clinton, NY 13323 
315-859-4346 ccadmin@hamilton.edu
Back to Top