How to get the career of your dreams

Alex Hayes

Resum‚s and cover letters important in landing jobs

Credit: Beth Rankin

Dream Job: Please submit cover letter and resumé by last week.

Students sometimes wait too long to start thinking about and putting together resumés and cover letters and then wonder where to go for help.

“Sometimes we don’t see people ’til their last semester, and that is too late,” said Lindsey Kin, a graduate student who works at Kent State’s Career Services Center.

Career Services specializes in helping students develop resumés and cover letters. The center’s Web site,, provides examples of sections and components the resumé and cover letter should include, as well as links to free online services.

Kin said making a resumé early in college helps because it gives the student a list he or she can use to keep track of accomplishments and periods of employment. The list can also provide the student with a quick resumé if the student should need one.

Students often feel unprepared for making a resumé or cover letter.

“I learned a little bit about it in a grammar class, but that’s about it,” senior English major Lauren Balestrino said.

She said her professors haven’t really covered how to make resumés in her classes.

Word processors like Microsoft Word have resumé templates that assist in making a first resumé.

Meghan Buchroeder, a University of Akron student, said she has used templates for resumés but doesn’t know anything about cover letters.

“We talk a lot about putting together portfolios for graphic design, but we don’t really talk about resumés,” Buchroeder said.

There is no right or wrong way to make a resumé. Kin said each person should create a resumé and cover letter that highlights the individual’s skills.

Kin said honors and activities are an important element.

“You want to look like you’re involved in more than just schoolwork,” Kin said.

She said these elements help you stand out from the crowd, and it shows the potential employer that you want to be involved in what you are doing.

“When someone comes in and doesn’t have anything listed in the honors and activities section, I tell them to go out and join a group today,” Kin said.

The sites listed on the Career Services Web site provide students with valuable resources for creating a resumé and cover letter, Kin said.

One site linked to the Career Services Web site,, offers advice for students writing cover letters, resumés and more. The site has sample resumés and cover letters, resumé templates, an employer information database, a section to post a resumé and a job search. The site is free but requires an e-mail address to sign up.

Another site linked to Career Services,, provides basic information for writing cover letters and resumés and links to pay services.

The site emphasizes keeping cover letters brief and to the point, personalizing the cover letter and avoiding negatives and salary history. also contains links to career sites and resumé distribution services, most of which list resumés for free.

1st Lt. Anthony Freuda, a 2002 Kent State graduate, used his resumé to obtain a position in the Army after he graduated. Though Freuda’s resumé package was specific for the aeronautics field, he said he felt like using a lot of acronyms and jargon would make his resumé confusing to someone who might not understand his background or be familiar with some of the technical terms.

“I used quantitative information to provide specifics in my resumé in the easiest manner for the person to understand,” Freuda said.

He said other people in the Army sometimes have to wait for months after graduation to obtain a full-time position, but his resumé enabled him to secure a full-time position the first day after he graduated.

With students investing so much time and money to achieve college degrees, finishing strong with a good resumé and cover letter just makes sense.

Contact features reporter Alex Hayes at [email protected].