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Resumes + Cover Letters

Make the right impression on paper

When it comes to first impressions, few can be as important as the resume and cover letter you submit for your dream job. Let Career Services help you make it count.

Writing a resume

Although writing a resume is intimidating at first glance, following these hints will get you started in the right direction.

  • Pick the right length. The hard-and-fast rule of a 1 page resume leads many college students to leave off qualifications. Your resume should give the employer an idea of who you are and what you have accomplished. For some students, this may extend to two pages. Definitely don’t try to add ‘fluff’ to your resume to add to its length.

  • Leave your high school accomplishments out. Unless you received a truly distinguishing award in high school, it’s probably better to focus on your college accomplishments. One exception to this would be work experience you gained in high school that is relevant to the position you’re applying for.

  • Craft a new resume for each position. Although many students spend hours working on their resume, fewer are willing to revisit that resume and tailor it to the specific position to which they are applying. This is a time-consuming step but it will pay dividends for the conscientious candidate. HR personnel see so many resumes that it is obvious to them when they are receiving a generalized template that the candidate has mailed to dozens of jobs. Take the time to highlight your skills that are relevant for the position and make sure your  cover letter is personal and relevant.

Take the opportunity to sell yourself with your resume, rather than reciting a list of your achievements and organizations.

After your resume is completed

  • Remember to proofread! Even a small spelling error conveys carelessness or lack of intelligence and will put your resume into the NO pile.
  • Make an appointment in Handshake to have your resume reviewed by a Career Services staff member.

Cover letter guidelines

*These guidelines apply to both hard copy correspondence and e-mail.

  • Do not send a resume without a cover letter.
  • Create targeted cover letters for each position and employer.
  • Call attention to elements of your background — education, leadership, experience — that are relevant to the employment opportunity. Be as specific as possible, using examples.
  • Reflect your attitude, personality, motivation, enthusiasm, and communication skills.

Cover letter writing tips:

  • Avoid overusing the word "I." More emphasis should be placed on the organization and how you can help them.
  • Highlight relevant qualifications.
  • Explain why you want to work for the organization or company.
  • Use a font style that is simple, clear and commonplace, such as Times New Roman, Arial or Calibri.
  • Remember to sign the cover letter before sending it to employers.
  • Schedule an appointment in Handshake to have your cover letter reviewed.
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