Wayne State University

Aim Higher

Career Tools

We offer both on-site and online tools to help you achieve your career goals. Some of what we offer is below.

For more information and resources, visit our office (Rands House, Suite 240), e-mail or call us at 313-577-4781.

On-site resources and advising

We have career materials and computer workstations to help students and alumni on their career journeys.  

And our expert staff can assist you with career tools, answer your questions and provide career guidance.

We'll help refine your job search, improve your professional documents, practice interviewing, and more!

Cover letters

Cover letters are often an employer’s first introduction to you. They are the lead-in to other documents like your resume and work samples.

A cover letter can be a business letter or an e-mail. It should briefly introduce you, explain why you’re interested in the position or company, and highlight your best skills and experiences that fit the company’s needs.

A good one entices employers to learn more about you.

A bad one could be the only interaction you have with an employer.

Your cover letter goes beyond your ability to sell yourself as the best available prospect. It demonstrates your ability to communicate – especially your ability to write clearly and succinctly.

Some cover letter tips:

  • Research the company and tailor your letter accordingly
    • Align your skills with the company
  • Keep it brief
    • 1 page max
    • The longer your letter, the less likely it will be read
  • Proofread many times
    • Your letter must be error-free or it will likely be tossed aside
  • Type it and sign the letter when sending a hard copy

More tips and cover letter samples are in our cover letter packet. (pdf, 72.5kb)

Resumes

A resume is a key professional document that provides an overview of your relevant skills, educational background, and experience.

It isn’t meant to get you a job. Rather, it gets you through the first screening and selected for an interview.

A resume summarizes what you bring to the table. The goal of the resume is to get an interview, so make sure it represents the “best you” possible.

The average employer spends 15 seconds reading a resume. Make sure yours attracts attention quickly. If it doesn’t, it may never be read at all (half of all resumes go unread).

A good resume:

  • Is easy to read and conveys information quickly
  • Addresses the audience’s needs
    • Example: It explains technical content to non-techies
  • Uses specific, concrete language
    • Example: Developed marketing campaign that increased sales by 15 percent
  • Identifies the relevant aspects of your background, skills and experience to the job
  • Has zero spelling and grammatical errors

Sample resumes and more tips are in our resume packet(pdf, 402k)

Curriculum Vitae (CV)

A curriculum vitae, or CV, is a professional document used when seeking academic and research positions.  It’s also a common document when searching for jobs outside the U.S.

A CV is similar to a resume, but provides a detailed overview of your relevant professional, research, and academic experiences, including a list of publications and presentations. 

The typical CV is longer than a resume, with three pages often considered a minimum length.

Details on CVs and how they relate to resumes are in our CV packet. (pdf, 102k)

Etiquette

Professional etiquette can play an important role in your career.  It can help you land a job or promotion. Similarly, it can be a reason you didn’t get the job or were passed over for the promotion.

The term “professional etiquette” can run the gamut.

What exactly does it mean?  Does it mean how to behave in the office? At networking events? At dinner? At after-work functions?

The short answer is “yes.”  Professional etiquette covers all those scenarios and more.

Good professional etiquette means you possess the social skills required in a work setting. It also proves you’re a mature adult capable of succeeding, whether in the boardroom or the barroom.

Visit our office to learn more, or attend one of our workshops.

References

An employer will typically ask for references at some point during your job search.  This is because they want to speak with people who know you and how you operate professionally.

Your references document should be separate from your resume and other professional documents.

It should be formatted neatly and include a title and contact information for each reference. You should also indicate each reference’s preferred method of contact (ask them if you don’t know).

When it comes to references, DO:

  • Use people who know you through academic or professional experiences
  • List your relationship with each reference (i.e., former supervisor)
  • Keep your references document updated with the latest contact information

And DON'T:

  • Use a relative or significant other as a reference
  • Include your references when submitting your first resume, unless requested
  • Forget to thank your references when you land the job

More information on references is available in our references packet. (pdf, 145k)

Thank you notes

Thank you notes politely show gratitude to potential employers, recruiters, interviewers, references, and others.

Sending a sincere, appreciative note shows you’re grateful for their time and consideration.

It’s best to send one within 24 hours of your interview, meeting, etc.  However, a note a week late is better than no note at all.

Typing a thank you note, or sending an e-mail, is acceptable. 

Conversely, a hand-written note on nice paper adds a personal touch that stands out.

More tips and a sample thank you note are in our thank you notes packet. (pdf, 101k)