Assignment #3 (Part B): Resume and Cover Letter/Personal Statement. Due by the end of Week 13. You’ve done the research about your job/internship or graduate program, and now you know that you want to apply. The next step is refining your documents to make the best argument for your candidacy.
Whether you are going the Job or Grad Track, you will need to complete a resume. Your areas of focus will differ for each, as the Job Track will focus more on work experience and skills while the Grad Track will focus more on educational background and competency. Consider this when you are arranging the sections of your resume.
If you are going the Job Track, you must then write a one page cover letter that follows the best practices of cover letters you learned through the readings, the samples, and the lectures. I will grade meticulously on the Cover Letter, as it must be revised to perfection (in terms of grammar and mechanics) and it should follow the patterns set forth in the samples.
If you are going the Grad Track, you must write your first draft of the Personal Statement. I say “first draft” because this is a document that will be one of the toughest things you ever write. I will grade far more leniently on the Personal Statement because it is longer, more complex, and will require further work.
*This portion of the assignment is worth 170/200 total points, so take the necessary time to submit something you’re proud of.
YOU CAN EITHER SUBMIT BOTH OF YOUR DOCUMENTS (Resume/Cover Letter or Resume/Personal Statement) IN A SINGLE .DOC OR .DOCX FILE OR AS SEPARATE FILES; HOWEVER, I DO NOT KNOW HOW TO SUBMIT THEM SEPARATELY SO PLEASE DO WHICHEVER IS EASIEST!
DO: list all of your experience in reverse chronological order; make your contact information stand out; use white space to your advantage; find specific ways to describe the skills you’ve taken from jobs/experience; revise to avoid ANY errors; utilize text effects such as bold, italic, and underline to help guide your readers’ eyes.
DON’T: Go onto a second page; write your skills as though they only apply to a single job; use too many words to make the page look disorganized; write in complete sentences; use too few words to make the page look bare; rely on vague, trite concepts that others will have (such as “hard worker,” “organized,” etc.).
DO: Single-space and skip a line between each paragraph; block the paragraphs rather than indent; include appropriate contact information; sign at the bottom; have clear, focused paragraphs (3 to 4 maximum) that follow the “formula” for good cover letters; give specific examples of your strengths rather than just listing abstract adjectives; revise carefully.
DON’T: Repeat your resume too much; ramble so that your paragraphs read too long; use superlatives to make yourself sound unrealistically good; apologize or admit to weaknesses that they don’t need to know about.
DO: Stay on-prompt; follow Gotera’s advice for devoting time to important elements; show them how seemingly “unoriginal” traits about you actually make you stand out; start and end with a narrative; research a professor or two and mention your shared interests; account for any gaps in your transcript that may need explanation; show confidence.
DON’T: Write the same thing every other applicant will write; assume that your honest experience isn’t unique or good enough; say what you think the want to hear; focus too much on the negatives of your candidacy (in fact, apart from a brief mention of something you feel sticks out, avoid negativity altogether); make it sound like the statement could have been copy/pasted to another institution.
FORMAT FOR EACH:
Resume must simply be a resume. You can use a template or just a Word document, but know that part of your grade is the aesthetic. Good looking resumes turn heads. Do not include references – they can ask for those if they need to.
Cover letter must follow cover letter format. It should have contact information at the top, a proper greeting, clearly defined block paragraphs, and a sign-off at the bottom.
Personal statement can be formatted however you find most appropriate. I prefer double-spaced, like an academic essay, for my grading. Be sure you have your name at the top.