- Consider adding a graphic. This suggestion is pretty radical, and it’s not for everyone, but a very small, tasteful graphic on your resume and/or cover letter could sharpen your focus. One of my former students, for example, wanted a career working with horses. She placed a tiny horse graphic at the top of her resume. Her career focus was instantly apparent. Another student pursuing a law career used a tasteful scales of justice graphic; another interested in international business had a small world-map graphic. See a sample with graphic here.
- Powerful resumes and cover letters make the most of your college experience.
Too many college students miss the opportunity to exploit valuable experience on their resumes and cover letter because they overlook unpaid experience. Experience is experience. It doesn’t have to be paid. Anything you’ve done that has enabled you to develop skills that are relevant to the kind of job you seek is worth consideration for resume and cover letter mention. That’s especially true if you don’t have much paid experience. The key, as noted in #1, is relevance. Consider the following in evaluating what experience and skills you’ve gained that are relevant to what you want to do when you graduate:
- Previous internships
- Summer jobs
- Campus jobs (work-study)
- Entrepreneurial/self-employed jobs
- Temporary work
- Volunteer work: school, church, club, not-for-profit organizations
- Research papers/projects
- Campus activity positions
- Fraternity/sorority/social club positions
- Extracurricular or sports leadership positions
And go ahead and list material from these areas under your Experience section. Don’t confuse the reader with a bunch of differently labeled experience sections, such as Internship Experience, Volunteer Experience, Work Experience, and Project Experience.