Course work usually isn’t necessary unless it’s unusual or you have very little else to list in your resume. Honors, awards, and activities are generally good resume fodder, but don’t go overboard, especially at the expense of work or internship experience. We knew one new grad who had an impressive list of honors and awards. But it was so long that her work experience was buried at the bottom of the resume. Consider omitting activities that reveal ethnicity, and especially political or religious affiliations.
Let go of high-school activities and honors unless they are truly exceptional or demonstrate an early interest in your chosen career. Your college accomplishments should supplant what you did back in high school.
2. Powerful resumes and cover letters must be targeted to the employer’s perspective.
When constructing your resume and cover letter, put yourself in the mind-set of the employer. Ask not what the employer can do for you but what you can do for the employer. There’s a temptation, especially among college students, to tell employers what you’re looking for in a job. We frequently see that tendency in Objective statements. The old chestnut about “Seeking challenging position with growth potential,” is so overused that it is meaningless to employers.
Employers want to know what you can do for them, how you will benefit their companies, how you will impact their bottom lines. While they’re not totally oblivious to your career hopes and dreams, your aspirations are not their primary concern.
3. Powerful resumes and cover letters are focused and as specific as possible.
The sad truth is that resumes and cover letters are read for between 2.5 and 20 seconds. So you have only the briefest moment to catch the employer’s interest. The employer wants to know as quickly as possible: What do you want to do and what are you good at? He or she doesn’t have time to wade through lots of text to find out.
So how can you sharpen the focus of your resume and cover letter?