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Resume and Cover Letter Tips

Build a Better Resume

There are so many types of resumes and resume templates available for each kind of  resume. Which one should you use? College of Information Sciences and Technology has provided a Resume Template to serve as a guide for students in creating, modifying, and enhancing their resumes. The template outlines a widely accepted and straightforward format for organizing career-related information and includes a variety of helpful tips and hints for developing a professional resume as well. We highly recommend that this format be used as a guide in creating your resume to submit to Compass, IST's job posting system. Additionally, you are welcome to schedule an appointment with a career counselor in the Office of Career Solutions to further polish your resume.

REMEMBER:  You should list your cumulative GPA on your resume.  Only list your major GPA if it is higher than your cumulative GPA. In that case you would list both your major GPA and your cumulative GPA.

Award Winning Objective Statements

Employers' number one complaint about entry level resumes is the lack of a specific objective. This is by far the most important feature of an entry level resume. Without it, you are indicating to the recruiter that you lack direction. The key to writing a successful objective is focus. Think of your own personal career mission statement and use it to form the basis of putting together a successful resume objective. Instead of utilizing the flowery language of the broader career mission statement, focus specifically on what type of position you are seeking at the entry level. To help you express your career objective statement, IST's Office of Career Solutions has put together five sample templates that address specific entry level situations. Also included is a list of skills that should be used in identifying your level of technical expertise. Please click on Objective Statements to access the templates.

When Should I Use a Cover Letter?

A cover letter should be used as part of a limited, targeted campaign to reach potential employers. In other words, take the time to research and understand a company before committing yourself on paper as a potential employee. Don't send your resume and cover letter in mass-marketing style in hopes of making a potential match. A successful cover letter should be specific and personal. Each letter should refer to a specific person at a specific company and provide a specific next step that you will be taking. The cover letter should express two important ideas: 1) what your product can do for your customer (the company), and 2) what your customer will need to do to buy your product. If you are not sure of your product, what differentiates you from the rest of the market? Find out! Research your background and take note of areas in which you excel and make that your number one focus in writing the cover letter. For your convenience, you can find Cover Letter Guidelines (on the menu to the right) to assist you in writing your cover letter. The Cover Letter Template is designed to enable you to build your custom cover letter and the Sample IT Cover Letter will provide a specific example of someone applying for a particular position. For help in writing thank-you letters, acceptance letters, rejection letters, and other types of business correspondence, please refer to Penn State Career Service's webpage "For Students" to find assistance with various types of professional correspondence. (Click on resumes and cover letters.)