Mississippi College

Get Started

  • Create an inventory of your accomplishments. Include education, volunteer experience, jobs, projects, sports, organizational activities, computer skills, special training, and leadership positions.
  • Analyze the job description. Address the specific qualifications desired. Identify key words and necessary skills.

Format

  • Start with a blank document. Do not use resume templates included in word processing software or online.
  • Limit to one page. Set margins at .75” or 1.0” all around. Set paragraph spacing to single space.
  • Use font size 11 pt or 12 pt. Use one, easy-to-read font such as Times New Roman, Garamond, or Calibri.
  • Avoid graphics, color blocks, and multiple fonts. Make sure your resume can be easily scanned.
  • Include your name, address, phone, and professional email address at the top of the page. Align at left or center.
  • Ensure section headings are clearly identifiable, emphasized (bold and/or all caps), and in alignment on the page

Objective or Summary

  • Optional. Do not include both an objective and a summary section.
  • Objective: clearly state your career expectations (job title or job type) and your ability to contribute to the employer.
  • Summary: list 3-5 statements which draw attention to your key qualifications and accomplishments. Include specific computer proficiencies and language skills.

Education

  • Include school name, location (city, state), full degree title, and graduation date or expected graduation date.
  • List most recent degree first. Include the degree you are currently pursuing at Mississippi College.
  • Do not include high school information after your freshman year.
  • Include GPA if 3.0 or above

Experience

  • Include company name, location (city, state), job title, dates employed (month year), and 3-5 bulleted action statements.
  • List in reverse chronological order (most recent experience first).
  • Begin each description with an action verb. Describe past experiences in past tense. 
  • Write in telegraphic style, not full sentences. Do not use “I,” “me,” or “my.”
  • Use clear and concise phrases, not vague passive descriptions.
  • Focus on specific and quantifiable results of your work, significant achievements, and recognitions received.

Honors/Activities

  • List awards and academic honors received from an employer, organization, or school. Include date(s) received.
  • List extracurricular activities and volunteer work during the last four years. Include title (if any) and dates.
  • Include leadership positions held in student government, social organizations, academic clubs, and other activities

Make It Happen

  • Double check for grammar and spelling errors. Review for consistency.
  • Make sure there are no misrepresentations and you have authored an authentic resume.
  • Schedule an appointment with a Career Services professional for review or additional assistance.
  • Print on high quality resume paper. Or, save as a .pdf if submitting electronically.

Get Started

  • Create a well-written, tailored cover letter targeted to a specific job, field or organization.
  • Entice the prospective employer to review your resume by highlighting major points relevant to the position you are seeking. Do not rehash your resume. 
  • Set a professional, yet engaging tone. Get to the point soon after the salutation. Be brief, pertinent, and accurate.
  • Illustrate the qualifications and skills that make you unique and a good fit for the position. Avoid generic language. 
  • Focus on how you can contribute to the employer, not how they can help you. 
  • Hone your sentences so each word counts and keeps the prospective employer’s attention.

Content

  • Greeting. Address your cover letter to a real person. If you do not know the name of the person to address, use their title.
  • Do not use “To Whom It May Concern”. A little research goes a long way toward a positive first impression. 
  • First paragraph. Refer to the position and how you learned about the opening. If you were referred to the position by a mutual acquaintance, this is the place to use it. Include the formal title and location.
  • Middle paragraph(s). Draw a connection between your qualifications, experiences and the employer’s requirements for the position. Researching the organization and analyzing the job description will help you tailor this section. Use examples of how you have demonstrated skills they need.
  • Closing paragraph. Establish your next step. Take a proactive approach and ask when an interview can be arranged. 
  • State you will contact them within a specific time frame. Thank them for their time and consideration.

Format

  • Keep your cover letter to one page.
  • Use the same header from your resume. Use the same font style and size as your resume. 
  • Customize your letter to include the company name, job title, and industry.
  • Use clear, concise phrases and avoid vague descriptions.
  • Vary the sentence structure. Do not begin every sentence with “I”. 
  • Maintain correct verb tense and a consistent voice.
  • Do not include personal information such as age, marital status, health status, etc.
  • Do not state salary requirements unless requested in the job announcement.

Make It Happen

  • Double check for grammar and spelling errors. Review for consistency.
  • Make sure there are no misrepresentations and you have authored an authentic cover letter.
  • Schedule an appointment with a Career Services professional for review or additional assistance. 
  • When sending a printed copy, print on quality resume paper and sign your name in blue or black ink.
  • When sending electronically, do not attach your cover letter to an email; use your cover letter as the body of the email

Research the Employer

  • What is the primary service or product of the company/organization? Who are their customers/clients?
  • What is the history of the organization? Who are their key executives?
  • Where is their main office/headquarters? Do they have other offices or divisions?
  • How many employees do they have? Who are their key competitors?
  • What is their reputation in the community?
  • What are emerging issues that may affect the industry or organization?

Prepare for the Interview

  • Understand the job description and duties. Be prepared to relate your experience to these qualifications.
  • Know yourself. Be able to clearly articulate how your education, skills and experiences will benefit the employer through specific examples.
  • Focus your remarks on what you can do for the employer, not what you want from them.
  • Prepare specific examples on these topics: conflict resolution, time management, leadership, and communication.
  • Have 3-5 thoughtful questions prepared for the interviewer.

Practice

  • Practice interviewing with a Career Services professional, friend, family member or trusted advisor.
  • Tell me about yourself.
  • Why are you interested in this position? career?
  • How has your education prepared you for your career?
  • Why do you want to work for this company?
  • What experience have you had when information was miscommunicated? How did you solve that problem?
  • What are your top 3 strengths? top 3 weaknesses?
  • Give me an example of a time when you used good judgment and logic in solving a problem.
  • Tell me about a time when you were required to prioritize your tasks.
  • Do you prefer team or individual projects? Why?
  • Describe a leadership role you have undertaken.
  • In what way do you feel you can contribute to our company?
  • Why should I hire you?

Make It Happen

  • Double check the location, time, date and name /title of the interviewer.
  • Dress conservatively. Gentlemen: A dark suit, dress shirt & simple tie; avoid heavy aftershave. Ladies: dark pantsuit or skirt suit. Be sure to minimize jewelry; avoid showing cleavage and wearing strong fragrances.
  • Carry a leather portfolio with copies of your resume and references. Don’t be afraid to take notes.
  • When you meet the interviewer, extend your hand for a handshake with a firm, but not tight, grip.
  • Maintain eye contact and show interest during the interview. 
  • When the interview is over, extend your hand for a handshake. Thank the interviewer for his/her time. 
  • Be sure to ask for a business card. Within 24 hours, send a handwritten thank you note or an email.

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