Capture the attention of employers through highlighting your experience in cover letters and resumes.
The cover letter bridges the gap between your skills and experiences with the position you’re applying for. Capture the reader’s attention with your interest in the company, a voice that fits your personality, and steps on how to contact you.
A cover letter usually includes three to four paragraphs and answers the following questions:
First paragraph: Introduction
Who you are and why did this position pique your interest? What is the position and how did you hear about it? Are you looking for full-time or a co-op position? What in your background fits the position you’re pursuing? Did someone with connections to the company refer you to apply?
Second paragraph: Sell
What experiences, skills, and abilities are the most relevant to this employer? How can you prove your skills rather than state them? How can you state your strengths from academic experiences, jobs, and campus activities? Why are you the person for the job? What job post requirements connect to your experiences?
Third paragraph: Closing
How can you summarize your experience to focus on their needs? Are there attachments you need to refer them to? What is the best contact information to provide employers? How interested are you in meeting in person to talk more about the possibility of working with them? Will you be the one to reach out if no one responds by a certain date?
Cover Letter Checklist
The letter is addressed to the proper reader. If unknown, addressed to “Hiring Manager”
The letter is formatted with a business appropriate font, size, and layout
The cover letter is personalized to the specific position
Your writing is professional with hints of personality
You did not overuse the word “I” throughout the cover letter
The letter was read aloud and is grammatically correct and free of typos
Hiring managers will spend less than 30 seconds looking at your resume. To stand out from the competition, it is essential that your resume be the best possible representation of who you are and what you have to offer an employer.
In order to write a persuasive resume, you need to answer the following questions:
What is the employer looking for in a potential candidate?
What skills/qualities can you offer an employer?
What resume format will best highlight your skills and accomplishments?
Your name, phone number, and email address should be at the top of the resume. You can add your home address if it’s to your advantage (local to a company you’re applying to). Consider including your personal website, if it’s professional.
Provide a brief statement indicating the type of opportunity by title and/or function you are interested in. If you’re applying for co-op jobs, add when you’re available to work (months, semesters, seasons, etc.).
List the colleges and universities attended, active dates, degrees pursued, and diplomas/certificates achieved. Provide your major(s), any concentrations, and/or your GPA/academic honors received at each school. You do not have to include high school information.
Indicate the name of the company, dates of employment, location, and title of each position. Describe your major responsibilities and note any achievements or skills developed. Include impressive data where it is appropriate and successful project outcomes.
Where you see fit, you can include military record, licenses/certifications, publications, major research projects, volunteer/travel experiences.
The two most frequently used resume formats are reverse chronological or functional. Choose the resume format that most effectively markets your skills and experiences.
Reverse Chronological Format
This is the most popular format. It is most appropriate for the typical student, new graduate, or someone with a very logical career path. This format emphasizes education and job history with the most recent events listed first.
This format places emphasis on transferable skills rather than experience. It is appropriate for a more seasoned individual or career changer. Dependent on the job objective, group your history into broad functional skill categories. This format distracts the employer from dismissing your resume based on a past career path.
The resume is formatted with a business appropriate font, size, and layout
Your name is emphasized at the top with contact information to follow
The resume design can be read and printed easily
You saved multiple formats of the resume for different upload scenarios (pdf, Word).
Your resume file is small to prevent email issues to employers
You used keywords that will stand out to company AI systems
Your resume was read aloud, grammatically correct, typo-free, and presented at a Resume Review session
Employers who list positions are busy with a significant number of students applying. It is recommended you follow up with each employer who receives your resume.
As a rule, if you have not received a response to your application within 10 business days, post-deadline date, you should follow-up with an email or call. Most managers appreciate a follow-up call as it shows a sincere and continued interest in their company. If you really want the job and you think you have a chance, call up to two or three times total. If the manager doesn't seem interested, it is best to move on.