Career Services Workshop Reaction: Cover Letters and Resumes

Today I attended a Cover Letter and Resume Workshop put on by Career Services in honor of Student Employment Week here at Georgia Southern University. I found the workshop to be helpful especially with graduation just around the corner. First the instructor went over how to build a winning resume; a winning resume is a good marketing tool that shows off your skills, talents and abilities. An important thing to remember that the instructor said is that the potential employer cannot see you, so you must put together an accurate, brief and concise professional document that will project your professionalism and potential worth to an employer.

In order to first start your resume, you need to begin by making a list of everything significant you can do or have experience in. It is important to list any jobs, education, experience in the field you are applying for, computer or technical skills, activities and involvement, awards and honors, foreign language fluency, professional affiliations, etc. Then when it comes time to actually creating your resume for your potential employer, then you pick out what best matches the job description from your list.

One thing that really surprised me today was how the instructor told us not to limit ourselves. For example she said it is okay to have a resume that is over one page even if you are just getting out of college. I found this surprising because I have always been taught that you have to “earn” additional pages on your resume, for example by staying with a company for more than 5 years, or just have been in a particular field for a long time with a lot of background knowledge. I found this helpful, because when creating my resume I had to make cuts on what should stay and what should go because I felt that it was not supposed to go over one page.

I also learned today that your objective and your cover letter are not just the same for every position, and that each one needs to be tailored for the position that you are interested in. Also if you are graduating college within the next year, it is not necessary to put any high school relevant information on your resume, this includes what high school you graduated from and when. But if you did receive an academic scholarship in high school for college, this is something that you would want to have on your resume.

In your cover letter, it is your goal to give the potential employer enough information for them to have interest into actually looking at your resume. Be sure to address your letter to an individual, make the most of the opening paragraph, use simple language, tell the employer how you can meet their needs and expectations, and be sure to have the correct and updated information for how they can reach you.

After all this, if your resume and cover letter describes exactly what the company is looking for, then you could be called for an interview or for references. The instructor today made it clear that your voicemail needs to be personalized, or at least say your name that way the potential employer knows that they have called the right number. In addition, stay away from downloading ring-backs or music; you never know if the person calling has a different taste in music as you. Lastly, be aware of the location of where you are when you answer your phone if the employer does call, for example if you are watching a football game with 20 people screaming in the background, it is best to just let it go to voicemail and then call them back at your earliest convenience.

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10 responses to “Career Services Workshop Reaction: Cover Letters and Resumes

  1. Hi Micaela! I’ve been to a couple of resume seminars lately, though not the one that you attended, and I learned a lot of the same things. I think that going to these workshops is one of the best things that we can do as soon-to-be grads to aid us in finding a job as soon as possible. I liked the idea about making a list of everything that you can do and then tailoring that list to the job that you’re applying for. Someone at another workshop I went to mentioned doing that but I had forgotten about it until I read your post. I was also surprised by the fact that the person leading your workshop said that it was ok to have a resume that was longer than one page. Like you, I’d always heard that you had to earn more than one page. Thanks for all the great advice!

  2. Micaela,
    I found this post really helpful. I have been told a lot of different tips about what you should and shouldn’t put on a resume and since I’ve been attending a lot of career fairs lately I want to make sure my resume is perfect. One point that you made during your post that I found to be helpful was the fact that we shouldn’t limit ourselves. I completely agree and some professors have advised me to omit some parts of my resume like where I went to high school. I also thought that it was interesting that she addressed your voicemail and how it needs to be professional sounding as well.

  3. Jessica Cameron

    This workshop was a very interesting and helpful one. I agree with your shock to hearing you shouldn’t limit yourself on your resume. I have made my font small and have almost no margin space and still had to cut several things I felt that were relevant and necessary. I’m glad this information stuck out to you too. I feel like after every seminar or conference I attend with tips on resume writing, I go back and edit mine. I am constantly changing things on my resume because everyone says different things about the proper way to organize or write it. So confusing!

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  5. These workshops are so helpful! I’ve been to a couple of them before and they helped me with my resume and cover letter so much! It’s a pain to reprint your resume/cover letter for every job application, but it’s so worth it. The more personal you make it to that company, the more they are going to think you want the job. No one wants the standard “to whom it may concern.” It’s tough updating it constantly, but it’s worth it to keep up with it!

  6. ashleyprisfunrenfroe

    Workshops like that are sooo helpful. Especially now when I am trying to get an internship and closing in on graduation in a year! I too have been told not to go over a page for my resume, but I went to career service not too long ago to have my cover letter and resume revised and looked at and they told me not to limit it to one page if you feel like there are things that a potential employer would like to know you have done, been involved in, or have knowledge about. However I do still feel confused on what to include and how long to make it because I do hear so many different things. I don’t want to go overboard and sound like I’m bragging about every little thing on my resume, but I do want the employer to know that I am a hardworker.

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  8. laurenashleylee

    I am so glad that you found this workshop to be helpful. I used Career Services to help with my resume and cover letter, too. They were so kind and sincere in their comments and remarks. I wish I would have been able to attend this workshop but I had class at the same time.

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  10. Interesting to read that the speaker said it’s okay to go more than one page for a student resume. Having worked in HR for years, I respectfully disagree. You typically only get a few seconds of attention from the person reading your resume — and if information doesn’t stand out immediately, your resume gets put aside. What I’d recommend is have a one-page resume, then have a beefed-up LinkedIn profile link on your resume, so if the person reviewing your resume wants more details, he/she can find it online. It’s important to be concise on paper. Catch their attention by showing how you are uniquely qualified for the role you’re applying for.

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