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With the beginning of the fall semester only a few weeks away, many offices on campus are and will be hiring student workers. You can find job descriptions on the “student employment” website:

This is also the time of the year when I hear from colleagues who are reviewing résumés. The calls, emails and sometimes even actual examples highlight the most common mistakes job seekers can make. I am here to help you avoid those mistakes!

In my workshops and individual appointments, I stress the importance of customizing the résumé for each and every position. So, if you are applying for a position on campus that requires skills and experience in event planning, teaching or interacting with office visitors, the résumé should look very different from one that you would use to apply for a technical position or internship.

A résumé for an event planning position should give examples of  your roles in the events you worked at or managed. The bullets should demonstrate your organizational skills, communicating with others, solving logistical problems and meeting deadlines. If you are applying for a teaching or a coaching position, your bullets should highlight listening, successfully explaining material and motivating others. If you are applying to work in an office where you are greeting people and answering phones, communication skills and evidence of outstanding customer service need to be described.

Only apply if you meet the criteria of the position. If the position is asking for certain majors or years in school, apply if you are in the major or have the years of school.

The first paragraph of your cover letter should include the position title and number for which you are applying. In the body of the letter, explain why the position interests you and what you will do to contribute to the department in that position. The letter should give the reader an idea about your personality and demonstrate your written communication skills and style.

Do not take a generic cover letter that you found online and simply change a few words. That is not a customized letter.

Applying for internships and jobs can be time consuming. Finding the right match is worth the effort. Even though each resume is different, there are some basic principles that are always applicable. Use your career center!

Look at the online workshops at and tips from Career Spots at

Attend live workshops and résumé reviews at upcoming Friday sessions in preparation for the Career Fair on October 1.

Read job descriptions carefully and follow application directions.

Create résumés that will make hiring managers immediately reach for the phone to call you for an interview!


Joyce Donahue is a Career Coach in the Fulton Engineering Career Center. She is a Nationally Certified Career Counselor and holds “Master Career Counselor” membership status in the National Career Development Association.