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Archive for April, 2009

Writing resumes and cover letters

As the summer and graduation date approach, the economy may seem too depressing for those who are still struggling looking for a job or internship. But even in these tough economic times, students can improve their odds of finding a job with an appealing résumé, BU advisors say.

Deborah Halliday, the Assistant Director of Boston University’s Office of Career Services, gives some pointers.

She says:

  • Because a résumé is often the only chance to show a company one’s strength and experience, résumé writing is critical in job searching.
  • “Employers go through the résumés very quickly and they’ll screen you out if the résumé doesn’t appeal to them.”

Some of her advice:

  • Write customized résumés. Consider the expertise a particular job is looking for and keep the résumé relevant.
  • Don’t list courses that are obviously in your territory (for example: Microeconomics and Macroeconomics if you’re an Economics major).
  • Create a master document including ALL your work experience and pick the items relevant for each particular job you’re applying for.

Some resources she suggests:

  • The website of Career Services provides tutorials and templates to help students organize their résumés.
  • The Office of Career Services helps people format and write resumes.
  • Some BU schools, including COM and SMG, have their own career center.

Her tips on cover letters:

  • A good cover letter may help overcome a thin résumé.
  • “Employers understand that you don’t have a lot to put on your résumé if you are a freshman and they will be very forgiving about that, but you need to show a strong interest in your cover letter.”
  • Every cover letter has to be different because an effective cover letter has to draw connections between you and the employer.
  • “Talk about what you know about the company, why you want to work there and why you would be a good fit.”

– by Yue Huang
Boston University student