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Building a Successful Resume and Cover Letter

Employers frequently look for a certain set of competencies, which we have listed here using language adapted from English coursework.

The following eight items have been identified as  the most desired skills  for employers according to surveys conducted by the National Association of Colleges and Employers. The following paragraphs offer suggestions for how to frame your English studies and undergraduate experiences in terms of these career competencies. Telling future employers specific stories and instances of how you have manifested these skills in the academic world will help to show your mastery in practice.

  • Professionalism and Work Ethic demonstrates your personal accountability and effective work habits, including time management, integrity, punctuality and the ability to learn from mistakes.
    • Received feedback from professors and improved writing
    • Managed a tight schedule of reading and writing
    • Prepared and synthesized a large amount of reading for quick turn-around
    • Created successful work habits 
    • Managed a work balance across academic and career pursuits
  • Creativity and Problem Solving is the ability to make decisions, use sound reasoning, and overcome problems with ingenuity and creativity.
    • Created a plan to tackle a challenging final project 
    • Introduced a new way to think about a particular issue within a piece of literature
    • Conceptualized a group project 
    • Overcame a particular obstacle within a classroom project or club,
    • Devised a new approach to a piece of creative or academic work
  • Communication shows your ability to articulate thoughts and ideas clearly and effectively in both written and verbal contexts.
    • Composed a piece of writing for a specific audience 
    • Created and/or maintained creative means of communication and collaboration (i.e. GroupMe, Google Drive, etc.)
    • Wrote persuasively and with a purpose
    • Exhibited excellence in grammar usage
    • Facilitated group discussions or class conversations
  • Teamwork is the capacity to form collaborative relationships with a diverse range of colleagues, work within a team structure, and negotiate and manage conflict.
    • Solved a problem in a group project
    • Created a presentation on a chosen topic
    • Reflected on another student’s writing through peer review or workshop
    • Worked with others towards a common goal
  • Global and Intercultural Fluency, Equity, and Diversity includes cultural sensitivity, respect, openness and the ability to learn from people of diverse cultures, races, ages, genders, sexual orientations, and religions.
    • Read texts from widely-different perspectives
    • Listened to and reflected on other points of view in classroom discussions
    • Conceptualized different audiences and the divergent values they hold
    • Developed means to create equity within the classroom
  • Digital Technology can include competency in existing digital technologies as well as the ability to adapt to new and emerging technologies.
    • Discuss the specific programs that you’ve used in order to create projects for your English classes including Canva, iMovie, TikTok, etc. 
    • Wrote, recorded, and/or edited a podcast
    • Designed promotional images for social media
    • Adapted and/or directed a video project
  • Leadership can be defined as a proficiency in leveraging the strengths of others to achieve common goals and using interpersonal skills to coach and develop others.
    • Facilitated work within a group projects
    • Served in a leadership role in a club or organization
    • Trained a fellow student on how to complete a specific task
    • Educated others through peer review, presentations, or projects
    • Coordinated a group project
  • Career Management is the ability to identify and articulate your skills, strengths, and experiences in a way that’s relevant to the position you desire; proficiency in exploring and pursuing job options; and the ability to self-advocate in the workplace.
    • Conceptualized an alternative project with a professor for a class or an independent study
    • Shaped a project through research
    • Communicated needs effectively with professors and peers

There are many resources available to UT students in order to build strong documents for the job market including the Judith Anderson Herbert Writing Center. Find out more at the Center for Career Development & Academic Exploration website.