Surefire 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 is relevance. Think about all of your college experience, including classes and extracurricular activities. What did you do in your classes that helps to qualify you for the job of your dreams?
Consider first your classes. Many lucky students undertake activities in classes that are every bit as valid for providing experience as paid jobs. Such activities include:
- Class projects
- Research papers and projects
- Group projects
- Hands-on assignments and “real-world” experiences
- Laboratory experience
- Study-abroad programs
Look, for example, at your school’s special programs and relevant, hands-on projects you’ve done in classes. The university where we taught has an unusual program in the finance department in which students invest actual money in a stock portfolio. Such a program provides an excellent way to make the most of your college experience in your cover letter, as in this example:
Currently, I am involved in a unique program at my university that sets me apart from other recent graduates who apply to your firm. For the past year, I have been part of the Roland George Investment Program, the only undergraduate program in the Southeastern United States that allows students to invest real money in the stock and bond markets. The Roland George Program has allowed me to gain practical experience in portfolio management and has enhanced my communication and teamwork skills. I have also fine-tuned my research techniques to make the best stock and bond selections.