In other classes at our former university, students create World Wide Web pages and work with real clients to critique and improve Web pages. Marketing research students conduct research for actual clients, as well. We’ve seen students successfully construct entire resumes based solely on the real-life experience they’ve gained in their classes, and the same can certainly be done with cover letters. Thus you need to ask yourself about all your applicable academic accomplishments:
- Did you write a software program, design a Web page?
- Did you excel in any competitions?
- Did you achieve a superlative, such as the highest grade, the best test score, the strongest essay?
- Did you have any creative accomplishments? Were any of your poetry, plays, stories, music, art published, performed, or exhibited?
Next put your extracurricular, volunteer, and community activities under the microscope:
- What leadership positions did you hold that demonstrate important skills?
- Did members of your group choose or elect you to a certain position based on special skills you possess? Did you choose to take on additional responsibilities?
- What are the kinds of things that your friends and classmates always ask you for help and advice about? What are your areas of expertise?
- What community service projects did you undertake?
- Did you use organizational or managerial skills?
- What ideas did you come up with to improve your organization?
- Did you handle money or budgets? Did you raise, collect, or manage funds?
- In what ways did you exhibit interpersonal skills?
- Did you train, teach, or orient organization members? Did you speak in public or write for an audience?
- Did you employ problem-solving, conflict-resolution, or mediation skills?
- Were you required to deal with the public?
- How did you demonstrate teamwork or individual drive and determination (for example, as an athlete)?
- Did you respond to complaints or smooth ruffled feathers? Did you work with the general public?
- Were you required to juggle many projects simultaneously under deadline pressure?