Applying for Positions

Tailoring your resume and cover letter to a job posting will give you a much better chance at receiving an offer to interview.

When applying for open positions, the most common application materials you'll be asked to submit are a resume or CV and a cover letter. Depending on the career area additional components may be requested including a sample of your work, copy of your transcripts, or other certifications as required. For academic job positions you likely will also be requested to provide a teaching statement, research statement, diversity statement and letters of recommendation. 

For each job posting you will want to tailor your materials to address the required and preferred qualifications using the terminology in the job posting. 

Top tips for a tailored resume:

  • Make sure you clearly demonstrate how you meet the required qualifications in your resume
  • Use the terminology and jargon from the job posting in your resume
  • Use quantifiable elements when possible 
  • Include accomplishments and products created or improved within position description bullet points

Top tips for the cover letter:

  • Make it clear what position you are applying for and why you are interested in the position
  • Use the body of the cover letter to further explain what skills, experiences, and capabilities you are bringing to the role and how these elements will further the mission and vision of the organization/team/role

For templates and examples of effective job materials see the resources below.


  • Stanford's Guide for Pursuing Meaningful Work

    This guide provides templates and examples for CVs, resumes, cover letters, and additional job materials for PhDs seeking both academic employment and careers beyond the tenure track.

  • ImaginePhD

    Within the "Apply" section of each job family there are analyzed sample job descriptions and examples of a tailored resume and cover letter for a specific job posting. There are also general resources for tips and strategies for evaluating job offers, writing cover letters, writing a resume, and more.

  • The Muse's Cover Letter Collection

    Crafting a great cover letter can set your application apart and help you get your foot in the door. But where to start? This collection from The Muse as tips, templates, and examples to get you going—from great opening lines to real samples that actually worked.