Guidelines for Creating a Cover Letter and Resume

​Share this page​


We recommend you combine your cover letter and resume into a single document before you start the job application process for the City of Phoenix.  We accept Word (.doc or .docx), Text (.txt), or PDF (.pdf) documents.  Cover letters and resumes can only be uploaded as a single document when applying for a particular job.

The purpose of a cover letter is to introduce yourself and describe how your specific skills, abilities, and experience match the organization's needs.  We recommend you focus on communicating your skills and achievements by connecting the requirements listed in the job announcement to your own background.  Your cover letter should be concise, confident, and create an interest in learning more about you.

Cover Letter Main Components

  1. Identify the specific job and how you learned about it.
  2. Match your skills, experience, training, and education with the job requirements described in the job announcement.  Include any knowledge you have about the City or department.
  3. Emphasize your enthusiasm and interest in the job.

Cover Letter Guidelines

  • Use standard business letter format.
  • Proofread carefully (better yet, get a trusted person to proofread it for you).
  • Sell yourself. Be formal, polite, honest and confident.
  • Do your homework on the organization and department.
  • As a general guideline, a cover letter should be one to two pages, depending on your experience and level of the position.
  • Address the cover letter to "(name of the position) Selection Committee."

The cover letter is usually your first opportunity to make a first impression. Make it an excellent impression.

Your Resume

To ensure that all of your experience and education are given full consideration during the selection process, we recommend the following guidelines for your resume.

  • Objective Statement: Provide a brief statement including the specific job title.
  • Education: Identify your educational background by listing your degree, field of study, and school. If you have not yet completed your degree, the education you have completed can be considered if you include the number of credit hours earned and your projected graduation date.
  • Experience: Prepare your resume in a chronological format identifying the dates of your work experience in a month/year format, beginning with your present or most recent position. Describe your employment history, for at least the past five years. Be sure to include all employment history relevant to the position you are applying for, even if it is more than five years ago. Include job titles, names of the organizations you worked for, duties, and number of employees you supervised (if applicable). Include relevant information requested in the job announcement, this ensures that you will receive full consideration for your knowledge, skills, abilities, and experience. List the last salary (estimates are acceptable) for each position.   
  • Additional Skills and Training: Include all relevant part-time or volunteer experience, and training.

Resume Guidelines

  • Qualifications will be evaluated based on the information you provide in your cover letter or resume. The amount of experience you have and the way you describe it will determine whether you advance to the next step of the recruitment process.
  • Please do not include personal information such as age, marital status, number of children, religion, health, etc., in your cover letter or resume.
  • As a general guideline, resumes should be between one and three pages, depending on your experience and the level of the position.