WCSU Covid-19 Information Fall 2021

Career Success Center : Work on my Resume, Cover Letter, and Portfolio

Resume Sections

The most important sections sets you will want to include in your résumé are Profile OR Summary of Qualifications (one or the other but not both), Education, possibly Coursework, Internship Experience, Work Experience, Extra-Curricular Activities – which can include clubs, memberships, volunteer or community work. Finally, Honors and/or Awards can be included at the bottom. Click the blue boxes to see longer explanations on what should be included and examples of each section!

Sample Resume

JANE SMITH

Street, Town, State ZIP • Jane.Smith@gmail.com • (555) 123-4567
www.linkedin.com/in/customized-name-url

SUMMARY 

  • Information Technology technician with three years of help desk experience and superior attention to detail
  • Certified in technology systems support
  • Fluent in Spanish

TECHNICAL SKILLS

  • Excellent proficiency in Microsoft Office Applications: Word, PowerPoint, Excel
  • Canva, WordPress

EDUCATION

Western Connecticut State University, Danbury, CT Anticipated graduation: May 20xx
Bachelor of (Arts/Science/Fine Arts) Degree in _________; Minor(s) in ______
GPA: 3.5/4.0 (only include if 3.5 or above)

EXPERIENCE

Employer #1, Town, State

Title of position, Month  20xx - Present

  • 3-5 relevant bullet points that reference experience and skills sought for the position to which you are applying AND Why/Your impact  
  • Past tense action verb + What function/skill you did/used + Why you did it/how it impacted the company
  • Ex. Created a newsletter to better inform customers of products and services offered, yielding a sales increase of 10% 

Employer #2, Town, State

Title of position, June 20XX - August 20XX

  • 3-5 relevant bullet points that reference experience and skills sought for the position to which you are applying AND Why/Your impact  
  • Past tense action verb + What function/skill you did/used + Why you did it/how it impacted the company
  • Ex. Assessed client needs during intake to determine relevant resources and expedite referral process for counselors

Employer #3, Town, State

Title of position, September 20XX - May 20XX

  • 3-5 relevant bullet points that reference experience and skills sought for the position to which you are applying AND Why/Your impact  
  • Past tense action verb + What function/skill you did/used + Why you did it/how it impacted the company

PROFESSIONAL ASSOCIATIONS AND ORGANIZATIONS

WCSU Information Systems Society: Vice President, Month 20XX - Present

  • Coordinated four career events for members

Explanation

Profile (Or summary of qualifications)

This section is a short introductory paragraph at the beginning of your résumé that shows how you are of value to the employer.  It can establish your professional worth and help get you noticed.

  1. The goal is to encapsulate your experience in a short space and highlight four to six high-level skills or accomplishments that really make you stand out.
  2. Things to include could be honors and awards, professional or academic achievements, or relevant training and education.
  3. Include short phrases that showcase your abilities, skills, and expertise.
  4. Avoid clichéd language such as “detail-oriented” or “excellent communication skills.”
    Don’t just say it, you must be able to include an example of how you DEMONSTRATED it.
  5. Always be sure to use attention-grabbing keywords and action verbs to signify the importance and magnitude of your accomplishments and achievements.

Examples:

PROFILE (or SUMMARY OF QUALIFICATIONS if you choose)

  • Maintained a 3.8/4.0 G.P.A. while working full-time
  • Recognized as Who’s Who Among College Students
  • Served as Class President from 20XX to 20XX
  • Consistently won awards for highest sales activity while working part-time
  • Acknowledged for providing exceptional customer service while working as an intern
  • Received merit increase for exceptional work performance

Technical Skills (or hard skills)

This section is a short list of all of the hard skills in which you have experience. This list may change depending on the skills the employer seeks in a hiring candidate. If an employer specifically lists in their job description, under "Qualifications," or "Requirements," that they are looking for someone with WordPress experience, this is the section where you would list WordPress to show you have experience doing what it is the employer cares about.

  1. By using the words (skills) you read in the job description, you will be noticed by the applicant tracking system (ATS) and have a better chance of being called for an interview.
  2. The list does not need to be very long. Only include the key words you read so you can catch the employer's attention to make them want to continue reading.
  3. All skills always need to be spelled out and there should not be any abbreviations.
  4. Avoid clichéd language such as “detail-oriented” or “excellent communication skills.” This section is meant for "Hard Skills" and not subjective adjectives of who you think you are.
  5. This section typically goes directly below the Profile (Summary) section because you want it to be one of the first things the employer notices.

Examples:

TECHNICAL SKILLS

  • Microsoft Office Applications: Word, Outlook, Excel, PowerPoint, Publisher
  • Adobe: Illustrator, Acrobat
  • HTML, Javascript
  • WordPress, Google Blogger
  • Canva

Education

This information should be listed as: School Name, Town, State, Degree, Major, GPA (if it is at least a 3.0 or higher) and graduation date (or anticipated date).  Special coursework or areas of study, and/or workshops can be listed under a separate heading called Coursework or Course Highlights. Once you have enough experience, the education section should be moved to the bottom.

  1. List your education in reverse chronological order.
  2. If you have a bachelor degree, there is no reason to list an associate degree.
  3. Whether you are s college student or a recent graduate, there is no need to include your high school.
  4. The only thing bold in this section should be the degree you hold. It is ok to use commas or colons to separate information.
  5. If you are a recent graduate or your academic background is your strongest qualification, you might want to put it closer to the top of your résumé: especially if your major or coursework is relevant to the position.
  6. Experienced professionals should consider eliminating dates of graduation if it was more than 10 years ago. Including a date might make you appear older and your knowledge outdated.

Example:

EDUCATION

Western Connecticut State University, Danbury, CT
Bachelor of Science Degree in Marketing; Minor in Psychology; G.P.A. 3.8/4.0
Anticipated graduation: May 20XX

Coursework/Course Highlights

If you are a student or recent graduate, consider providing the full name of any relevant coursework that would show your advanced knowledge of a subject, such as Advanced Algorithms & Analysis or Fluid Dynamics. The label sounds specific and implies a more specialized knowledge of subjects within your field.  For experienced professionals, citing coursework can illustrate your efforts to maintain, or even expand, upon your level of expertise.

Seminars, lectures, continuing-education classes, additional training and coursework all reveal to an employer that you are motivated and ready to keep current with trends and developments in your particular field.

  1. List courses in order of importance.
  2. Do not include introductory courses that all students are required to take. It does not set you apart from others.
  3. This section is optional and should appear after, or in conjunction, with the Education section.

Example:

EDUCATION

Western Connecticut State University, Danbury, CT
Bachelor of Science Degree in Marketing; Minor in Psychology; G.P.A. 3.8/4.0
Anticipated graduation: May 20XX

MARKETING COURSE HIGHLIGHTS: Consumer Behavior, Marketing Management, Marketing Research,
Microeconomics, International Business, Social Media Marketing

Internship Experience

Internship information is still work experience and can be treated the same as you would treat anything in the Work Experience section.  However, for this information to stand out, especially for college students and graduates, it is best to place internships under its own section.

  1. Use strong action verbs to describe your experience, and when possible, include numerical measures.
  2. Eliminate phrases that are menial such as, “filed paperwork, organized files, ran errands…” 3. Include phrases that demonstrate how you left your mark and made a difference as an intern.
  3. Throughout your résumé, write in the first person without using pronouns. Phrase your statements as if you were talking about yourself without using the words I, Me, My, or Myself.
  4. “Responsible for…” is a vague phrase that does not clearly describe your level of involvement. It is better to use strong action verbs to show how you contributed.

Example:

INTERNSHIP EXPERIENCE

Marketing Assistant/Intern, ESPN, Bristol, CT                                                                                         20XX – Present

  • Analyze competitive information and prepare business proposals for marketing staff
  • Present media kits to new clients and perform follow-ups
  • Moderate heavy phone lines and interact directly with clients
  • Implemented a tracking system for monthly expenses and travel arrangements
  • Organize weekly sales staff-meetings and set up conference calls for the outside office
  • Mastered Microsoft Office Word, PowerPoint, Excel, Outlook and Publisher skills

Work Experience

This section can go by several names which include: Work Experience, Professional Experience or Experience.

Consider the various positions you have and come up with four to six of the strongest contributions you made to each position.

Whether you worked at Burger King, as an intern in college, or a seasoned professional making a career change, we all have transferable skills.

  1. List your job title, organization name, town/state, dates of employment and a description of responsibilities and achievements.
  2. List your jobs in reverse chronological order, beginning with your most current position.
  3. Give the most weight and space to your most recent (within the past 10 years) experience.
  4. Do not include dates on work experiences dating back more than 15 years.
  5. It is acceptable to include unpaid jobs, freelance work, or volunteer work.
  6. Not all experiences must be included; select those with the most relevance for the position you are seeking.

Example:

WORK EXPERIENCE

Production Assistant, Media Productions, New York, NY                                                                   20XX - Present

  • Coordinated makeup and wardrobe for commercial and infomercial productions
  • Collaborated on identifying wardrobe themes and coordinated wardrobe selections with set designers

Assistant, SMART Magazine, New York, NY                                                                                                20XX – 20XX

  • Notified leading manufacturers to obtain sample merchandise
  • Collaborated with the Fashion Editor and organized clothing and accessories for photo shoots
  • Created captions and explained new seasonal fashion trends for monthly issues
  • Transformed and wrote the “Makeover” feature for the magazine
  • Selected and secured subjects, coordinated photo shoots, and collaborated with the Style Team

Extra-Curricular Activities

This section can go by several names: Extra-Curricular Activities, Volunteer Work, Community Service, Memberships or Associations. Whichever name you choose, it is a good way to reflect your values and commitments.

As for volunteer experience, it can indicate that you possess such qualities as dedication, commitment, loyalty and dependability.  However, do not include every charitable thing you have ever done.  The examples you list should be relevant to the job.

  1. List the organizations or places where you volunteered, the positions or roles held, and the dates you participated in the activity.
  2. This section should come near the end of your résumé.
  3. You do not need to include every detail of your involvement.
  4. Activities should be appropriate in the context of the whole company.

Example:

EXTRA-CURRICULAR ACTIVITIES

  • Toastmasters International, Competent Communicator, 20XX – Present
  • Komen Race for the Cure, Registration Boot Volunteer, 20XX – 20XX

Awards/Achievements

This section is where you define the different ways you have been recognized for your abilities.  It can include work, athletic or school related awards.  It can also include awards that display you as a bright, smart, young and energetic professional.

  • If your awards are linked to your education, you might want to place the honors/awards information under the Education
  • Keep descriptions short and concise.

Examples:

EDUCATION

Western Connecticut State University, Danbury, CT
Bachelor of Science Degree in Marketing; Minor in Psychology; G.P.A. 3.8/4.0
Anticipated graduation: May 20XX

Honors and Awards

  • Dean’s List, 20XX – 20XX
  • President’s Scholarship Award, 2012

OR

AWARDS/ACHIEVEMENTS

  • Recognized as Who’s Who Among College Students for 20XX
  • Recipient of the Dunkin Donuts Scholarship Award, 20XX
Tips for Developing Adaptability

-  Change your thought process

-  Force yourself to take risks

-  Encourage others to be open minded

-  Embrace learning 

BEST PRACTICE #10: HOLD NEW-HIRE PANELS.

New-hire panels are one of the best ways to showcase an organization to interns as a great place to work. These are panels of five or six people who were hired as new grads within the last three years. They act as panelists in a meeting of interns, giving a brief summary of their background and then answering questions from the intern audience. Your interns get insight about your organization from your new hires—people who they perceive are like themselves and who they consequently view as credible sources of information.

In these meetings, I’ve found that the interns consistently bring up the same topics: Why did you choose this employer over others? What was your first year like? How is being a full-time employee here different from being an intern? Do you recommend getting a graduate degree? In the same field, or an M.B.A.? Is it better to go straight to graduate school after the bachelor’s or better to work a while?

It’s also fairly consistent that the new hires will offer other types of advice to your interns, such as how to handle finances those first couple of years out of school. (Their typical advice: Don’t run right out and buy a new car, and, Start contributing the maximum to your savings plan as soon as you are allowed.)

College relations staff should attend these sessions, but should remain unobtrusive, staying in the back of the room so as not to stifle the conversation. By being there, you stay aware of what is on the minds of your target group, and you can answer any detailed questions that may come up, such as those related to benefits.

BEST PRACTICE #11: BRING IN SPEAKERS FROM YOUR COMPANY’S EXECUTIVE RANKS.

One of the greatest advantages to students in having internships is the access they get to accomplished professionals in their field. Consequently, speakers from the executive ranks are very popular with students—it’s a great career development and role modeling experience for interns. Having a CEO speak is especially impressive. Best scenario: Your CEO speaker is personable, willing to answer questions, and willing and able to spend a little informal time with the students after speaking—your interns will be quite impressed.

For you, having your executives speak to interns is another way to “sell” your organization to the interns, and get your executives invested in (and supporting) your program.

BEST PRACTICE #12: OFFER TRAINING/ENCOURAGE OUTSIDE CLASSES.

Providing students with access to in-house training—both in work-skills-related areas, such as a computer language, and in general skills areas, such as time management—is a tangible way to show students you are interested in their development.

You may also want to consider providing interns with information about nearby community colleges: Many students will be interested in attending during their work term to take care of some electives and/or get a little ahead with the hours they need to graduate. If you have the budget, you may also want to consider paying the tuition for courses they take while working for you, but, as is the case with housing, any assistance you can provide—even if it’s just providing them with information about local schools—will earn you points with students.

BEST PRACTICE #13: CONDUCT FOCUS GROUPS/SURVEYS.

Conducting focus groups and feedback surveys with these representatives of your target group is a great way to see your organization as the students see it. Focus groups in particular can yield information about what your competitors are doing that students find appealing.

BEST PRACTICE #14: SHOWCASE INTERN WORK THROUGH PRESENTATIONS/EXPO.

Students work very hard at completing their work and are generally proud of their accomplishments. Setting up a venue for them to do presentations (formal presentations or in a fair-type setting such as an expo) not only allows them to demonstrate their achievements, but also showcases the internship program to all employees.

BEST PRACTICE #15: CONDUCT EXIT INTERVIEWS.

Whether face-to-face or over the telephone, a real-time exit interview done by a member of the college relations team is an excellent way to gather feedback on the student’s experience and to assess their interest in coming back. Having the students fill out an exit survey and bring it to the interview gives some structure to the conversation.

BEST PRACTICE #2: HOLD ORIENTATIONS FOR ALL INVOLVED

It’s important that everyone “be on the same page,” so to speak. Make this happen by holding an orientation session for managers and mentors as well as a session for students. Orientations ensure that everyone starts with the same expectations and role definitions. This is time well spent—the effort you put into these sessions will pay off throughout the program.

BEST PRACTICE #3: PROVIDE INTERNS WITH A HANDBOOK AND/OR WEBSITE.

Whether in paper booklet format, or presented as a special section on your website, a handbook serves as a guide for students, answering frequently asked questions and communicating the “rules” in a warm and welcoming way.

A separate intern website serves many of the purposes of the handbook, but has the advantage of being easy to change. You can use your website as a communication tool, with announcements from the college relations staff or even articles of interest written by the interns themselves.

BEST PRACTICE #4: PROVIDE HOUSING AND RELOCATION ASSISTANCE.

Few employers can afford to provide fully paid housing for interns, but you’ll find that you get a lot of appreciation if you offer any kind of assistance toward housing expenses. If that’s not possible, provide assistance in locating affordable housing: For those relocating to the job site, the prospect of finding affordable, short-term housing can be daunting. Easy availability of affordable housing will make your opportunity more attractive to students, broadening your pool of candidates.

If you can pay for all or some of your interns’ housing, be sure to design (and stick to) a clear policy detailing who is eligible. This will eliminate any perceptions of unequal treatment. In addition, be aware that employer-paid or employer-subsidized housing is considered a taxable benefit. Check with your internal tax department on exceptions to this.

You will also want to consider the issue of relocation, which is separate although related to housing. Many organizations pay some or all of their interns’ relocation expenses to and/or from the job site.

BEST PRACTICE #5: OFFER SCHOLARSHIPS.

Pairing a scholarship with your internship is a great way to recruit for your internship program—and this is especially true if you are having difficulty attracting a particular type of student or student with a specific skill set to your program. Attaching a scholarship can increase your pool of candidates with the desired qualifications.

BEST PRACTICE #6: OFFER FLEX-TIME AND/OR OTHER UNUSUAL WORK ARRANGEMENTS

Students mention flex-time as one of their most-desired features in a job. (A flexible time schedule during their internship eases their transition to the workplace.)

If you think about how students spend the day on campus (varied schedule each day, with varied activities such as work, class, social time), you can understand that 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday is a bit of an adjustment for them. A flexible schedule can make them feel less chained in by an unchanging routine.

Other work arrangements that have been found successful with students include keeping them on as part-time, remote employees after they go back to school (depending on the type of work they do for you and whether they have a willing manager), and having them come back and work over school breaks for a couple of weeks. These are excellent ways to keep communications open and build a stronger bond.

BEST PRACTICE #7: HAVE AN INTERN MANAGER.

Having a dedicated manager for your intern program is the best way to ensure that it runs smoothly and stays focused on your criteria for success. Unfortunately, the size and resources available to most internship programs mean that this isn’t always possible. If your program isn’t big enough to warrant a dedicated full-time staff member, an excellent short-term solution is to hire a graduate student (look for a student working toward an advanced HR degree) to be your intern, and put this college relations intern in charge of the daily operation of the internship program. This gives the interns a “go-to” person, and gives you and your staff a break from the many daily tasks involved in running a program of any size. For this to work, you have to plan the program structure in advance (don’t expect your intern to do it), and be very accessible to your college relations intern

BEST PRACTICE #8: ENCOURAGE TEAM INVOLVEMENT

Involve your college recruiting teams—whether they are “volunteers” who participate in college recruiting, staff members dedicated to college recruiting, or some combination of both—in your intern program. They can sponsor social or professional development events, and help to orient the interns to your company culture. In my experience, college team members served as cooks at intern picnics, hosts at speaker events, and drivers for social outings such as ball games.

BEST PRACTICE #9: INVITE CAREER CENTER STAFF AND FACULTY TO VISIT INTERNS ON SITE.

Although some programs—especially those that are very structured on the university side—make visits by career center staff and faculty a regular practice, most do not. In general, career center staff and faculty members have relatively few opportunities to visit employer work sites to see firsthand the types of experiences that their students are getting. By inviting them to your site, you will build a better working relationship with these groups, which can lead to more student referrals, enhanced campus visibility, and increased flexibility on their parts when your business needs dictate it.

BEST PRACTICE #1: PROVIDE INTERNS WITH REAL WORK ASSIGNMENTS.

Providing interns with real work is number one to ensuring your program’s success. Interns should be doing work related to their major, that is challenging, that is recognized by the organization as valuable, and that fills the entire work term.

You can guarantee that hiring managers provide real work assignments by checking job descriptions, emphasizing the importance of real work assignments during a manager/mentor orientation sessions, and communicating with interns frequently throughout the work term to determine who they perceive what they are doing.

 

Don't try to change what can't be changed...you can REFRAME!

(HINT, you have to work with, not change, gravity)

 

 

Consider your views on the world

Reflect on what work is and what it means to you

What dysfunctional thoughts can be reframed?

What's the life challenge/opportunity we want to solve and/or learn more about?

 

Take some personal assessments 

Evaluate your current work/play/love/health

Open up meaningful discussions with your family and friends

 

 

 

 

Create some future Life Sketches; do real brainstorming and think up lots and lots and lots of ideas

More = Better

 

 

Narrow your testing options, build some ideas, select some ideas, and plan the quick/cheap/easy prototype

Ask a lot of questions

 

 

Get into some real work, try stuff, reflect on what works for you and refine your next steps to designing a better life

 

 

 

 

Keep moving forwarding and just do stuff. ​
Turn your ideas into action.  ​
The Career Success Center has lots of ​custom ideas for you. ​

 

 

Ask lots of questions, ​research your options, ​be active in class, ​follow interesting organizations​ and people​

 

 

 

Life and the career process ​is not just one or two things-​it is a process.

Turn bumps in the road ​into learning opportunities. ​

 

 

You live, eat, work, study with others, ​so they all are a part of your life. ​
They have lots of ideas, experience, and contacts, and ​should be a part of your life design​

 

 

 

Learn different ways to look ​at things to get unstuck​

 

 

Get Prepared!

The Career Center is available for drop-ins from 10am – 5pm Mondays through Fridays, but our online resources and tools are available 24/7. 

Our online resources cover comprehensive guides and advice for resumes, cover letters, interviews, finding jobs & internships, building professional competencies, and creating a network. 

Start your career journey by clicking on one of the six buttons below!

Share with us how the Career Success Center has helped you on your career path at careersuccess@wcsu.edu or in person in our office.