Job Tips

There are three common components to getting a position: a lead, a letter of application, and a resume. Below are some helpful ideas and hint that may help you get your ideal job.

Job fair


Searching online resources and professional newsletters one can often find employment listings that can lead to connections to a future job, but when you are looking at job listings, don't restrict yourself to the job titles that come to mind readily. Not everyone uses "your" terms to describe "your" perfect job.

  • Check out Handshake and other resources on the Career Center website that may be helpful.
  • Try finding connections through LinkedIn.
  • If you browse a classified section of the paper for "environmental" jobs you might find potential jobs for Environmental Science and Studies graduates under "Environment," "Ecology," "Engineering," "Education," "Laboratory," and other titles.
  • Do your homework before applying for a job. Find out what you can about the organization. The more you know about them, the more effectively you can "pitch" your application letter and resume towards them. The role of your application letter and your resume is to "sell" yourself to this potential employer.

Cover Letter

You make your first impression with your cover letter or an introductory email. A cover letter must succinctly convey to the reader:

  • Who you are,
  • why you are writing to them,
  • why you are a strong candidate for the position.

Except for the first item, it is good to try not to say any of these things points directly. Try instead to show them who you are rather than telling them who you are.

If you were applying for a research assistant position, for example, you might express your enthusiasm for research based on the experiences you have had in laboratories rather than stating point blank that “I love research.” Or, another fruitful approach is to explore the researcher or companies work and cite examples that you found interesting.

Finding the right balance of length, content, and style in your letter can be challenging. The best way to develop a good letter or email is to generate the best draft you can (after several revisions) and then seek a friendly review from a fellow student, a professor, or the Career Center. Be open to criticism and editing!  

Each job you apply for will require a slightly different letter but once you get the major elements developed, you can just revise your template for each new opportunity. Some phrases or paragraphs from past letters might come in handy for a new application.

Tips for Resumes

The purpose of a resume is to to succinctly convey your experiences and career interests so that a potential employer can ascertain if you might be a good fit for a position. The Career Center at Towson University has many resumes on file that you can use to get a sense of what your resume should look like. Additionally, working with Career Center staff can be an excellent resource. Quality resumes emphasize clarity, conciseness, neatness, and ease of reading. Keep it clean and simple, don’t make it fancy.

If the thought of drafting a resume is intimidating, again, the Career Center can be a great resource. But remember, it is your resume, you will have to do the work to create a quality resume.

Some important items to include on your resume are:

  • Personal information (i.e., name, address, phone number, e-mail)
  • Brief goals statement
  • Educational information (i.e., colleges attended, date(s) of attendance and graduation date).
  • Professional experience (internships, jobs, volunteer activities, etc.)
  • Professional skills (computer skills, laboratory skills, familiarity with types of equipment, etc.)
  • Relevant coursework (listing courses which reflect the breadth of your academic experience as related to the position)
  • It can be helpful for new graduates to have a list of references that know you in an academic or professional way. Be sure to ask these individuals who you wish to list if they are willing to serve as a reference. Often jobs will request references, so having some supervisors or professors lined up as references could be helpful.  

Make sure that each resume is tailored to the job you are applying for. Look at the job description and emphasize your skills that you think will fit best at this organization. The phrasing (use action words), order, and format of your resume is important so work with the Career Center to develop a well-polished finished product.

Finally, don’t be afraid to submit your applications. Apply to jobs that you think are “safe” and that you are well qualified for. However, it is also important to apply for jobs that are a “stretch” and that will help you grow professionally. Don’t underestimate your potential for a new employer, you are skilled and capable.

For more resources check out the Career Center, set up a meeting, and browse the internet for resources. Also check out the job board listings and resources within the Resources for Internships and Jobs page.