Resume and Cover Letter to Please Professor — AND Employers

Susan writes:
I am a 52-year-old college student. For class our assignment was to write a resume and a cover letter. While the professor liked my resume he tore my cover letter up but didn’t give any help in writing it.

My question to you is how do I present myself. He wrote that “the resume begs the question why are you in college.” He has me confused as to what I should be putting in the cover letter between his comment and the fact that he didn’t like the cover letter.

Any suggestions? It will be greatly appreciated! If I don’t turn this around there goes my “A!”

The Career Doctor responds:
What the professor probably meant by “the resume begs the question why are you in college” is that your resume likely shows that you had a career and have suspended it to go to college so the reader will naturally wonder why — what your goals are and particularly how those goals and your college degree could help an employer’s company.
Is it not possible to meet with this professor and find out how to improve the letter to his standards?

We have lots of cover-letter resources and samples on our site. I would encourage you to review those especially our cover-letter tutorial.

I’m not saying I or any career expert would necessarily agree with your professor’s standards. People in academia are often out of touch with what works in the real world. Unfortunately your resume and cover letter may have to be different for your professor than they are for actual job-hunting.
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