Resumes and Cover Letters
Career Services offers a number of career preparation tools. You can also schedule an appointment to meet with a campus career advisor.
A resume is an outline of transferable skills, qualifications, experiences, and educational background that an individual possesses. Action verbs should begin each bullet point describing your skills and experiences and should be in the accurate verb tense (past/present). Some people think of a resume as a thirty second commercial that will help you distinguish yourself from the rest of the candidate pool.
The purpose of a resume is to give a brief overview of who you are as a candidate. A resume communicates to an employer what you can offer to them as a potential employee. A good resume combined with a dynamic cover letter will motivate someone to meet you.
Also consider using eFolio Minnesota, a multimedia electronic portfolio designed to help you create a living showcase of your education, career and personal achievements. All Minnesota residents, including students enrolled in Minnesota schools, educators and others can use eFolio Minnesota to reach their career and education goals.
Another useful tool to consider using is Wordle - consider using this tool to ensure that your resume contains key words to target the career field you're interested in.
When applying by mail or email, a cover letter is always sent with a resume. It is used to introduce yourself and your qualifications to an employer. A cover letter answers two important questions:
1. Why do I want this particular position with this particular organization? Do your research. Learn about the organization so you can say something positive about them and explain why you want to work for them as opposed to their competitors. When researching an organization, you might focus on their mission statement, introduction of new products or technologies, expansion into new markets, gross revenue or environmental policies.
2. Why should they hire me?
Focus on two or three of the highlights from your educational, work, volunteer or personal experiences and how they will benefit the employer.
Rules to Consider
- Never exceed one page
- Minimize "I" statements as much as possible
- Single-spaced sentences, double-spaced between paragraphs
Type the word "Enclosure" two spaces below your printed name
Guide for Effective Interviewing
During an interview the employer will be evaluating your abilities, skills and interests to see how well they match the position requirements. Your goal during the interview includes developing a positive rapport with the interviewer and gather details of the position and organization. To build your confidence and strengthen your interviewing techniques try some of these approaches:
- A Mock Interview at Career Services can help you prepare
- Dress professionally
- Turn off your cell phone prior to entering the building
- Arrive at the interview site 10 - 15 minutes early
- Be polite to the receptionist
- Avoid verbal fillers such as "um," "ah," or "like"
- Use gestures that enhance your verbal message
- Sit tall and lean forward slightly to show interest
- Be detailed, yet concise with your responses
- After the interview, send a thank you letter within 24 hours
- When answering questions, use real life examples to back up your examples
- Review Sample Interview Questions (PDF)
- Address the employer with Mr./Ms./Doctor followed by their last name
- When greeted by the employer, offer a firm handshake, maintain eye contact and smile
- Research the organization in advance and have questions ready to ask the employer
Review the following steps to sign up for an on-campus interview:
- Log in to Warrior Jobs
- Upload and publish your resume (you will want to upload a cover letter and recommendation letters if you have them)
- Click on "Interview Schedules" and then "View all upcoming interviews"
- Search for jobs you want to apply for
- View the application requirements
- Locate the "How to Apply" section at the bottom of the details
- After viewing your resume and/or cover letter, employers will decide if you will be accepted for an interview and you will be notified via email.
Length and Location
Employers typically set 30 - 45 minute interviews. Most interviews are conducted in Career Services, 314 Maxwell.
On-Campus Interview Preparation
Get your resume and cover letter critiqued as well as practice the answers to the most asked interview questions using InterviewStream.
Contact & Events
Learn more by setting up an appointment with a career advisor. In Winona: Email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 507.457.5878. In Rochester: call 507.280.5079 or stop in at SS125.
Career Spots Videos & Podcasts
Videos on WSU Major Programs
PodcastsView our podcasts and learn more about various job search techniques and resources including: Student2Work, Warrior Jobs, creating a resume, annual career fairs, cover letter and/or portfolios!
STUDENT2WORK - Get That Campus Job!
Learn how to utilize our online job listing site to find an on or off-campus Internship, Work-Study or Student-Help job!
STUDENT2WORK - Staff & Faculty Supervisors
Utilize our online job listing site to hire a student for an Internship, Work-Study or Student-Help position your department may have to offer!
STUDENT2WORK - International Students
Find an on or off-campus Student-Help job that fits your needs!
Make the Most of Career Fair
Be prepared for the Career Fair on the Winona State University campus! Learn who is coming, what to bring, why you should attend, and what to research before you go.
Are you a future educator looking for that first position after college? Or have you decided to share your knowledge with the youth by changing your career to teaching or an education-based career? Then learn all about the Minnesota Education Job Fair held annually in Minneapolis. Learn how to prepare and to be at your best to land a job in education!
MNSU Job Fair
Are you looking for an exciting internship to prepare you for your career after college? Are you nearing graduation and ready to find your first professional position? This podcast will provide you with information about the Minnesota State Universities Job & Internship Fair held annually in Minneapolis. Put yourself ahead of the competition by reviewing these tips on networking and how to best prepare for the big day!
Career Services & You!
Need help getting your resume together? Confused about the job search process? Or are you struggling with declaring your major? This podcast will give you a quick overview of the great services and programs offered by Winona State University Career Services!
Along with resumes and cover letters, other professional documents will be a part of the job application process; this can be a great way to display your professional manners and etiquette.
A reference page generally goes along with a cover letter and resume. This document is a compilation of individuals who you believe can speak highly of your skills and qualifications. Reference Page Example (PDF)
Thank You Letter
A thank you letter is designed as a sign of appreciation that the employer took the time to meet and interview you. Thank You Letter Example (PDF)
Declining a Job Offer Letter
A declining job offer letter is designed to be respectful and appreciative for the opportunity to interview and for the job offer. Declining Letter Example (PDF)
Accepting a Job Offer Letter
An accepting job offer letter is intended to be an official and professional way of accepting the job that has been offered to you. Acceptance Letter Example (PDF)
Career Service's InterviewStream is an excellent tool for anyone wanting to enhance their interviewing skills. It is a private and free way to practice answering the most asked interview questions.
No, I do not have access to a webcam:
Practice your interviewing skills from the kiosk location: Winona campus (314 Maxwell). You will be able to set-up your profile and answer up to 6 questions in 20 minutes or less. No appointment necessary!
Yes, I have access to a webcam:
You can conduct the practice interview from home! First select the InterviewStream login button and then follow the directions below:
- From the InterviewStream website log-in or select: "Register"
- Fill out your profile information.
- A confirmation email will be sent to you.
- From your email select "Click Here to Login"
- Enter your username and password
- Select "Conduct an Interview" or "Mobile Interview"
- Select "Created for Me" or "Custom Interview" to choose the questions that you would like to practice answering (Question List).
- Align yourself in front of the Webcam and then click begin!
- Once your interview is completed you will receive an email with a link to your recorded answers.
Instructors, if you would like us to set-up a customized question set for your class please email us your request.