Resume, Cover Letters, Networking Best Practices. For MS Students in Computer Science

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1 Resume, Cover Letters, Networking Best Practices For MS Students in Computer Science

2 The Death of the Résumé Associate Director of Bug Squishing at! Watterson Family Household! Watterson Family Home! Ms. Wormwood s Class! Kindergarten! I am the brainchild of Bill Watterson, reclusive cartoonist and in the minds of many one of the greatest geniuses in the history of comics. I am looking for work squishing bugs and playing Calvinball professionally. Please contact me at for more information about my career trajectory. I am always happy to network!! Associate Director, Bug Squishing! Calvin s Family!!

3 Advice is Everywhere

4 How will your job docs get noticed?

5 Agenda: I) Resume Genre II) Resume Format III) Resume Content IV) Cover Letters V) Networking

6 Agenda: I) Resume Genre II) Resume Format III) Resume Content IV) Cover Letters V) Networking

7 Mastering the Genre

8 Mastering the Genre What can a strong resume ACTUALLY DO? What CAN T a resume do? (Almost no matter what). - Give you a chance to do the easy stuff - Make an argument about your skills - Frame your personal narrative - Show you ve done your homework - Get an interview - Project confidence - Get you a job - Obscure a lack of attention to detail - Bend the truth - Tell the whole story of your experience from your birth through the present (including future achievements) - Go onto a second page

9 Most Common CS Mistakes a) Reverse chronological/third person b) Not tailored to each individual opportunity c) Not enough specific detail about outcomes d) Mismatch of skills - What s emphasized - How it s ordered e) Project experience is still experience f) Better integration with other docs/sites g) Sections not appropriately titled h) Overly technical jargon i) Spellcheck!

10 Agenda: I) Resume Genre II) Resume Format III) Resume Content IV) Cover Letters V) Networking

11 Format: (Not so) Easy Stuff

12 Don t let LeTeX run your life.

13 Format: Fonts of Un-wisdom Arial Times New Roman Calibri Cambria Yeah Yeah, You Got it Comic Sans The Calvin and Hobbes font also not great

14 Use a Better Font!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Serifs: Garamond Georgia Palatino Linotype Sans Gotham Light/Bold Serif: Helvetica Neue Light Century Gothic Trebuchet MS Size: 11-12

15 Format: Margins of Error.7 1 all around for all docs Less is more. Way more.

16 Format that Aids Content 2-line contacts Education Thesis? GPA? Study Abroad Headings Bullets Spacing

17 Format that Aids Content Vertical Reverse order Most relevant on top In each section, broadest to most specific

18 Format that Aids Content Horizontal Most important information on the left Compound bullets get lost Strong action verbs should run down the left-hand side

19 Agenda: I) Resume Genre II) Resume Format III) Resume Content IV) Cover Letters V) Networking

20 Read BEFORE you write.

21 Resumes Reward Creativity

22 Resumes Reward Creativity a) Specific Sections b) Strong Summaries c) Strong Verbs d) Skills e) I have No Experience! f) What Kind of Numbers? g) Read Before You Write

23 Stronger Sections Common Education Skills Work Projects Additional Strong(er) Technical Skills/Languages Software Development Experience Research and Analytics Programming Work Experience and Projects Leadership and Service App Development ios Development

24 Stronger Summaries Why summarize? Especially when cover letters are not required, a summary can help highlight what you think is the best experience, given the description. They are not always appropriate and they are not traditional resume objectives. Weak: Master s student seeking a summer internship in software engineering at Google. Stronger: MS Student in Computer Science at The University of Chicago with skills in Python, R, SAS, and others (see below) and extensive project experience in nonacademic and industry settings.

25 Stronger Skills Technical Skills at the top? Depending on the level, applicability, and diversity of your skills, consider putting them after your Education section What Matters Most? What are the areas that matter in the job description? What to Call the Individual Entries? Software, Languages, Technical, Certifications Identify how you Might Improve: If you are deficient in a particular skillset area, you might mention here that you are completing trainings, online coursework, etc. to show that you are improving

26 The skills section isn t the only place you should mention skills.

27 What is a Strong Verb?

28 Verbs: Superhero Costumes Weak(er) Assisted with; Worked on; Looked at; Helped to; Cooperated with Srong(er) Managed, Led, Oversaw Taught, Tutored, Advised Wrote, Edited, Revised, Critiqued Communicated, Presented Analyzed, Synthesized, Examined Collaborated, Facilitated Implemented, Launched Created, Produced, Developed Drove, Gained, Delivered

29 What kind of Numbers? Weak(er) Analyzed data Wrote code Managed interns Strong(er) Analyzed daily; produced weekly presentations Wrote code to produce [x thing] under strict deadlines Managed 4 full-time and 3 volunteer staff

30 I have No Experience feel like this?

31 Misc. Languages Fluency is best. Don t fake it GPA/GRE s/sat s Some may require quantitative scores. Are they useful? Awards Phi Beta Kappa, Named Awards Explain if possible Interests 1-2 and ONLY if they re unique

32 Last Rule: Read First

33 Agenda: I) Resume Genre II) Resume Format III) Resume Content IV) Cover Letters V) Networking

34 The most important word in the genre is FIT.

35 Mastering the Genre What can a strong cover letter ACTUALLY DO? - Show that you can write - Answer why us? - Highlight references - Connect resume s dots - Shape the interview - Clarify why your experience and skills are useful - Convince someone to turn the page What CAN T a cover letter do (Almost no matter what). - Get you a job - Mask your ambivalence - List everything you ve done - Force a person to care about your dissertation or thesis research or coursework. - Go onto a second page

36 8 Common CS Mistakes a) Dearest Robot Selector b) Hello my name is c) Me, me, me, I, I, I, my, my, my d) Then I did this, then I did this. e) What a terrific opportunity for me f) I will never ever say the name of this place. g) Sincrely [sic], h) Written by a Nameless Drone

37 Good cover letters make Arguments.

38 They have a strong Main Claim (P1)

39 strong Sub-Claims (P2/3)

40 which are supported by Strong Evidence.

41 and they point to Next Steps.

42 Agenda: I) Resume Genre II) Resume Format III) Resume Content IV) Cover Letters V) Networking

43 Cultivate a Community

44 Cultivate a Community a) The CS program b) UChicagoGRAD programs - Technical Interviews - Informational Interviews - April 8: GRADUCon c) Using UChicagoAlumni.org with LinkedIn d) Don t forget undergrad!

45 Strong Outreach Dear Calvin I m a current MS student in Computer Science at The University of Chicago, where I focus primarily on [X THING]. I ll finish this summer. I m writing because I saw your profile on LinkedIn and was interested to read a bit about your research in [Y THING] at [Z COMPANY]. I also took a look at your GitHub and was really interested in your work on [P Problem]. It would be great to get your advice about making a transition into [QQ Field] after finishing up with the program here. It would be great to chat for 30 minutes about your work, sometime in the next few weeks. I d be grateful for advice you might have about getting a start in [QQ Field]. I m happy to reach out toward the end of the month if that s easier. Looking forward to talking soon, A-J

46 Use Your Resources

47 Get to Work By February 1 - Schedule a meeting at UChicagoGRAD - Bring a draft of a resume - Identify alumni to reach out to By Spring Break - Conduct informational interviews - Apply, apply, apply Early Spring Break - Conduct mock-interviews at UChicagoGRAD

48 UChicagoGRAD Provides Programming and Events One-on-One Advising: - Careers - Oral Communications - Fellowships - Academic Writing GRAD.UCHICAGO.EDU for DETAILS for QUESTIONS

49 Questions?

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