At the Career Center, we don’t just follow best practices when it comes to creating interview materials. We see them lived out every single day. Corporate executives, business professionals, educators, nonprofit leaders, and more have all shared what it takes to move a resume from the bottom to the top of the pile. Does yours have what it takes?

Have Your Resume Reviewed

Stop by for a drop-in resume review appointment. We’re here in Lucina Hall Monday through Friday, between 1 p.m. and 4 p.m. Whether you’ve never created a resume, or if you’ve had one for years, we’ll provide insights and strategies to make sure you’re all set to impress.

Resume Tips and Best Practices

Although you’ve spent a lot of time gaining experience in your field of study, it isn’t always easy to describe those experiences. Sometimes, it helps to see examples of what others are doing with their own application materials, and a little advice can go a long way toward helping you emerge as the strongest candidate for the job.

When you sit down with us to review your resume and other application materials, here’s how it will work: We’ll talk about your career goals, and then we’ll make sure that the career story you’re telling on paper will be a clear and compelling message.

Spend some time reviewing the examples below, and if you’d like to see how your resume and other materials measure up, connect with us today.

Connect With a Career Coach

Each resume sent to employers should always include an introductory cover letter. If sending a paper copy, be sure to print and sign your cover letter. You may also email your signed cover letter as a PDF, depending on the employer.

A well-prepared portfolio can be a tool that sets you apart from any other job candidate. It is designed to showcase your achievements, the scope and quality of your experience and training, and your skills and abilities.

Organizing Your Portfolio

  • Determine the skills necessary for the job you will be interviewing for.
  • Choose items that will document how you have used those skills for the employer.
  • Provide a loose leaf portfolio notebook and/or an online, digital version.
  • Use clear page protectors to preserve your materials and to make rearranging your portfolio easy.
  • Arrange your portfolio to show how your abilities relate to the employer's needs.
  • Label the different sections for ease of finding information in the portfolio.

What to Include

  • a copy of your resume
  • an official copy of your transcript
  • a fact sheet, in list form, that displays your skills and what you like to do
  • a list of experiences that do not fit into your resume
  • certificates of awards, honors, and special training
  • a program from an event you planned or in which you participated as part of a class project or campus organization
  • a list and description of conferences and workshops you have attended
  • writing samples
  • documentation of technical or computer skills
  • letters of commendation or thanks
  • letters of nomination to honors and academic organizations
  • newspaper articles that address some achievement
  • internship or co-op summary report

If you are seeking a teaching position, you may want to add

  • student teaching evaluation materials
  • sample lesson plans
  • a link to a digital recording of your teaching
  • sample syllabi
  • pictures of bulletin boards or other projects you designed
  • teaching tools you have created
  • information about a field trip or other event you organized
  • pictures of yourself working with students

In addition to the kinds of materials in your traditional portfolio, a digital portfolio might include an expanded version of your resume, audio and video clips, an email link, a link to Ball State's website as well as one to your major department's pages, a link to the curriculum for your major, and other appropriate links.

You will need to be prepared to write various types of letters for your job search, including cover letters, acceptance letters, and eventually letters of resignation. You’ll also need to write thank-you notes to everyone who assists you in your job search and everyone who interviews you.

Read example letters (PDF).

Reference lists are typically a separate page of your application and not part of your resume. References might be current or former supervisors, faculty, student organization advisors, and other people who know you professionally. References are not your family, friends, or neighbors unless the application specifically calls for personal references.

Let Us Guide You Through Your Journey

We have services and resources to meet your needs depending on which of the following stages of your career journey you are in. So at which stages is it most useful to use the services described on this page? See below!
Search icon Light Gray

Explore Options

Let our career experts, professional network, and tools guide you through some of your earliest choices.

Handshake Icon

Develop Skills

Resumes, interviews, workplace etiquette, and more play such a large role in making sure you’ll earn a future job offer.

Wrench Icon

Build Experiences

We’re here to make sure you find the best connections, the strongest networks, and the best experiences.

Transition Icon

Make the Transition

Ready to leap from classroom to professional world? We’re here to help you with job postings, on-campus interviewing, job fairs, and more.

arrow iconLearn More About Career Stages