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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

Nathan Chow is a graduate of Boston University's College of Communication. As a leadership and career coach who helps millennials land their dream job, he helps them 1) figure out their strengths and purpose, 2) edit their cover letters and resumes, and 3) negotiate higher pay with confidence. Nathan's mission is to minimize people's stress and anxiety and lead them to happier lives. One client's pay multiplied by 1.5x after two hours with Nathan. Another received $4000 more after 15 minutes working with Nathan. Check out and subscribe to the free newsletter. In his free time, Nathan loves to read, write, dine out, eat ethnic food, run, salsa dance, play soccer, take photos, juggle, joke, laugh, and meet new people---but certainly not all at the same time. Nathan reads and responds to all email.

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