A Guide for Students
Resume & Cover Letters
A resume is a concise, well-organized summary of your background and qualifications. It does not describe everything you have done, but highlights what is most relevant to the position you are seeking. Writing your resume will take time and effort, but this guide will help you focus on the essential components. Before distributing your resume, have a Career Counselor, a Career Center Peer Advisor, or a professional in your field review it to make sure it represents you well. Employers devote 15-30 seconds reading each resume—make it attractive, readable and informative. Individualize your resume to highlight your unique qualities.
ncoConn ectio To register, log in to the Care n! er Center webpage: http :/
The Career Cent er introduces a new on job and campu s recruiting reso -line urce:
ATTENTION ALL STUDENTS!
Things to Consider: • Most of your resume’s content should be related to the job you are applying for. A Career Counselor can help you relate your academic study and work experience to your career goals. • Including some of your courses or class projects on your resume can provide employers with insight into your training for the job. • When describing projects, internships or work experience, focus on your accomplishments, not just your responsibilities. • Strike a balance between text and white space for ease of reading. 1. Begin with a summary or objective Showcase two or three of your most exciting accomplishments in brief bullet points. Or, use an objective to concisely describe the job your are seeking. 2. Describe your Education State your degree, your school and major, as well as your actual or anticipated graduation date. “California State Polytechnic University, Pomona” can be listed on either the first or second line of your education section (see examples on back). Do not state your high school information; community college information is optional. You can supplement your degree information with information about academic honors (e.g., Dean’s List) or class projects that relate to your career goals. 3. Chronological vs. Functional Resumes In a chronological resume, the section that relates to your professional, volunteer or internship experiences is arranged by date. In a functional resume, your experience is categorized by job function (e.g., “sales”, “programming”, “customer service”). Many employers prefer chronological resumes, like the examples on back. Use reverse chronological order, starting with your most recent job, when listing experiences on your resume. 4. Focus on your accomplishments Describe your accomplishments for each job or internship, not just your responsibilities. Prospective employers are primarily interested in the value you've brought to your past employers. Most important are improvements you made and their benefit to the department or organization 5. Use descriptive verbs Describe your experiences in bulleted phrases that start with an action word, and use past or present tenses consistently. These verbs are particularly effective: • directed, led, managed, supervised; • achieved, delivered, drove, generated, grew, increased, initiated, instituted and launched; • accelerated, created, developed, established, implemented, instituted, performed, pioneered, planned, produced, re-engineered, restructured 6. Make your resume inviting to read. Be sure your resume has sufficient white space. The margins should be at least a half-inch long. Insert white space between your sections and descriptions of your experiences. Use bold-faced type for section headings, employer names and job titles. If the document lacks eye appeal, few people will review it.
Resume/Cover Letter Guide 2006
Career Center Calendar
Check http://career.csupomona.edu for current dates, times and locations for Drop-In Advising, workshops and career events.
Brief, 10-minute sessions with a Peer Advisor who can provide you the tools and resources to be successful. No appointment necessary! Mon-Fri: 11am-3pm & Mon-Thur: 5-6pm Summer Hours: Mon-Fri: 11am-3pm
WHAT TO AVOID...
• • • • • •
Resume templates that come with word processing software Beginning phrases with “I” or use complete sentences Including personal information such as marital status, social security or national origin Using flashy graphics or colored paper Mentioning controversial activities or associations Listing unrelated, minor duties such as “opened mail” or “filed documents”
• • • •
Exaggerating your experience Using meaningless words or phrases such as “seeking a challenging position: or “seeking a position working with people” Starting phrases in the experience section with “My responsibilities included” Using abbreviations
Sample Chronological Resume for International Business:
JANICE WU 2211 Tenth Street, Los Angeles, CA 94111 (626) 300-4444 email@example.com
Sample Chronological Resume for Computer Science:
Nancy Lawrence 1899 Fulton Way, Apt. # 333 Pomona, CA 91768 (909)555-6565 firstname.lastname@example.org http://www.nlawrence.com Objective Education An part time position or internship as a Software Engineer California State Polytechnic University, Pomona May 2005 Bachelor of Science in Computer Science, (GPA 3.1) Design Classes: Programming Language & Compilers, Operating Systems, Data, Structures, Digital Design, and Database Systems. Software: ViewLogic Workview, Oracle, vxWorks Programming: Java, C++ Operating Systems: Windows 2000/NT/XP, Unix (BSD, Solaris, Linux) Projects Designed and implemented an operating system including thread management, multiprogramming, virtual memory, file systems, and networking capabilities (UNIX, C++) Designed and implemented a disassembler (MIPS RISC assembly language, UNIX, C++) Developed a serial and infrared sender, receiver, and controller (Xillinx FPGA and software) Experience WIND RIVER SYSTEMS, Pasadena, CA June 2004 – January 2005 Engineering/QA Co-op Intern: Identified problems of the Real Time Operating System, vxWorks. Communicated with development engineers and recommended solutions. Installed and operated vxWorks. Planned, designed, and implemented regression tests for vxWorks libraries. PASADENA CITY COLLEGE, Pasadena, CA February 2002 – March 2004 Computer Lab Assistant: Responded to students’ questions and helped them resolve problems in C++, and Java. Developed interpersonal skills and problem solving strategies while working with students from a wide range of backgrounds. Worked in the lab 20 hours/week while completing lower division coursework at the college. (2/01-6/02) SATELLITE TV WORLD, La Verne, CA January 2000 – November 2001 Technician: Installed and maintained home satellite television systems. Repaired and rebuilt systems.
OBJECTIVE Assistant Brand Management position for an International Retailer. EDUCATION Bachelor of Science, Business Administration: International Business, Marketing Minor California State Polytechnic University, Pomona GPA: 3.72 Hitotsubashi University - Education Abroad Program, Tokyo, Japan Fall 2002-Spring 2003
PROJECTS Undergraduate Research Apprentice Program, California State Polytechnaic University, Pomona Sept 2005-Present Brand Equity Research Assistant • Collected and examined cross-cultural brand equity data from various journals & databases • Reviewed and summarized literature on brand equity formation, management, & transferability International Marketing Seminar, Hitotsubashi University, Japan Sept 2004-Dec 2004 • Developed strategies to promote sales of instant coffee in team of 4 for a multinational’s Japanese coffee division • Conceptualized and developed 4 commercials and 2 public relations events • Conducted research on youth segments and current trends to form reference materials for firm EXPERIENCE Deloitte & Touche, LLP, Los Angeles, CA June 2005-Sept 2005 Tax Advisory Intern • Researched and wrote articles for Tax Director to highlight implications of tax rule changes • Analyzed tax returns and financial statements to assist in the completion of tax returns for corporations, partnerships, and individuals U.S. Department of Commerce, Commercial Service, Los Angeles, CA June 2004-Sept 2004 International Trade Intern • Researched and developed objectives, goals, and budget plans for fiscal year 2001 for Middle East team consisting of 25 commercial officers in the US and abroad • Drafted team proposal currently being implemented by the division to promote trade opportunities such as International • Buyer Program shows and educational seminars • Contacted international trade liaisons to assess export opportunities for small companies ACTIVITIES Beta Alpha Psi, National Honors Business Fraternity Community Service Coordinator Organized 4 community service events for over 40 students in local chapter Acted as liaison between Beta Alpha Psi and local community Mar 2005-June 2005
All well composed cover letters should include: • Specifically, why you are interested in the potential employer • What you have to offer that will make an employer particularly interested in you • When and how you will be contacting the addressee to follow-up on your letter . Your cover letter is at least as important as your resume, so compose each letter carefully. Business letters are designed to present information about your experience and qualifications beyond your resume, and to reflect your ability to communicate well. Unless you are attending a Career Fair or have been asked not to send a cover letter, a cover letter signals that you have a high degree of interest in the position. However, if you are applying online through a job search engine such as Monster.com, you will not need to include a cover letter unless instructed to do so. Customize cover letters for each job. Form letters do not create a positive impression with employers. Tips for Success: • Describe and quantify your accomplishments, not responsibilities • Be concise, preferably keeping it to one page • Read the letter out loud and proofread for typographical or grammar errors • Do not overuse “I”; vary sentence structure • Be sure the letter is employer-focused; target your audience • Sign your letters, if sent by regular mail
MISTAKES TO AVOID:
• • • • Misrepresenting your background, skills, qualifications and experiences Stating incorrect information about the employer Sounding desperate Confessing shortcomings or not giving yourself enough credit for what you have accomplished
MAIL VS. E-MAIL
Follow “how to apply” instructions on job postings precisely. Some companies will accept e-mails with MS Word attachments and some will require that your cover letter and resume be cut and pasted into a template on a website. When possible, consider sending an email to the hiring manager or Human Resources recruiting address with your cover letter and resume attached, and following up with a cover letter and resume by regular mail.
For samples, visit the Career Center website: http://career.csupomona.edu
The following is intended as a guide. Cover letters should be unique and original.
Your street address City, State Zip Code Email address (Area Code) Phone Number Current Date Employer’s Name Position or Title Company Name Address City, State Zip Code Dear Sir or Madam (or use name if available): First Paragraph—State the reason for the letter, the specific position or type of work for which you are applying and the source of awareness/contact with the company (Career Center, new media, friend, official website, career fair), Second Paragraph—This paragraph is where you show your interest in the position and organization. Indicate why you are interested in the position, the organization, and its products or services, refer to research you have conducted on the position and employer. Try to stimulate interest in you as a possible employee/intern. Third Paragraph—The third paragraph is where you demonstrate your qualifications and create interest in you as the ideal candidate for the position. Communicate to them what you can do for the organization as an employee/intern and why they should hire you. You may want to highlight particularly relevant aspects of your resume, experience and/or educational preparation. You can also include relevant skills or qualifications that you did not include in your resume. Last Paragraph—In the final paragraph, you ask for action. Indicate your desire for an interview and flexibility as to the time and place. You may want to indicate that you will followup with a phone contact on a particular day or week to arrange an interview. Be positive in your attitude. Expect and appointment. Sincerely,
Or use the heading from your resume
If you are unable to find the name of the addressee, adopt a general salutation such as “Dear Hiring Manager” or “Dear Human Resources Representative”.
Sign your name here
Your typed name here Enclosure
Keep your cover letter to one page!
THE CAREER CENTER
Building 97 – Room 100