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Student and Alumni Resources

This page is for current students and alumni who are looking for assistance from Career Services. We have put together information that is critical for landing the career you have always wanted. We touch on resumes, cover letters, interviewing, references and thank you’s.

Below are some helpful links to aid you in your job search. If you need assistance or additional resources, please contact Career Services directly. We are here to help.


Resume writing can be a stressful and overwhelming task at times. Keep in mind the reader of your resume will be looking at several resumes.  Make sure yours stands out from the rest.  In this section you will find general tips, layout suggestions and sample resume and cover letters.  If you do not find what you need, please contact us in Career Services for additional assistance.  We are here to help!

General Resume Tips
  • Keep it to one page.  Be brief but have sufficient information.
  • Consistency and clarity are key in formatting a resume.
  • Utilize strong action verbs to begin your bullet points, but vary your word choice.
  • Tailor your resume to each position.
  • Think of results and accomplishments and insert them where appropriate.
  • Emphasize your unique skills.
  • Make your resume stand out—use a personalized heading, bold and italics, lines, etc.
  • Print your resume on high-quality paper.
  • Keep your resume up-to-date with experiences, accomplishments, GPA, etc.
  • Have your resume reviewed by a professional or someone in Career Services.
  • Always have an updated default resume on Spartan Career Link.
Resume Sections
  • Contact Information (Required)
  • Objective (Optional)
  • Education (Required)
  • Honors (Optional)
  • Relevant Courses (Optional)
  • Experience (Required)
  • Leadership, Activities, and Service (Optional)
  • Skills (Required)
  • Interests (Optional)

Career Services has created several resume examples that you can download and use to help create your own.

The following are in a Microsoft Word Microsoft Word Document format.

Cover Letters

Resumes always need an accompanying letter that briefly introduces you and your resume. A well-written resume will allow you to apply for employment opportunities with confidence. The cover letter, however, will hopefully convince the reader to place your resume in the "to be interviewed" pile. Use the cover letter as your marketing tool and sell yourself to the reader.  How well you do this can be measured by how many calls you receive for interviews. Spend as much time as necessary to produce a top-notch cover letter. 

Cover Letter Tips:
  • Keep it to one page
  • Use professional verbiage
  • Make the letter brief but make sure you sell yourself
  • Do not use a copied format, make it personal
  • Proofread your letter, have a professional proof it too!
  • Remember, you are trying to land an interview so make sure yours stands out.

Below are examples of cover letters that you can download and use to help create your own.

The following are in a Microsoft Word Microsoft Word Document format.

References and Thank You Letters

References and Thank You Letters

Some employers may ask for references when applying to jobs or after an interview. Do not include them in your resume.  If an employer wants them, they will ask. The same holds true for letters of recommendation. You may have them available, but you do not need to include them unless asked. Letters of recommendation are rarely asked for as a part of the hiring process. Having 3-5 people listed as references is ideal.

Whom should you ask?

  • Selecting people that have supervised your work in extracurricular activities, volunteering, jobs, and internships are appropriate.
  • Utilize Faculty and staff members that you have connected with at USC Upstate.
  • Personal references should not be family members and should only be used if they can speak to your skills and talents that would be applicable to an employer.
  • Make sure you ask the people you are planning to list as references and provide them with background information on the position for which you are applying.
  • Only list people that you know will give you a professional and glowing recommendation.

How do you provide the information?

  • Have a prepared Reference Page that is formatted like your resume (same font and style) with you when you interview, otherwise be prepared to provide it at a later date.
  • Provide each contact’s name, job title, company name, work address, phone number, and email address.
  • Send each of your references a thank you note when your job search is over.

Thank You Letters

Thank you letters are important and follow up is critical during the interview process. A thank you letter, restating your interest in the position and the organization, should be sent within 24 hours of each interview, and should be sent to each person that you spoke with. Be sure to ask for business cards or ask the person arranging the interview for the correct spelling, titles, business emails, or business addresses of each person you met. Make each note somewhat different, and try to reference something you discussed in the interview. Take no further action until at least one week beyond the date when they said they would contact you. At that time, a phone call to see if a decision has been made is appropriate.

Sample Wording for a Thank You Letter (use same formatting as a cover letter)

It was a pleasure to meet with you to speak about the Marketing Representative position at ABC Organization. I especially appreciated talking with you about ….

If given the opportunity, I am confident I can make valuable contributions to your organization. Thank you for the time you took to interview me. I look forward to hearing from you about this position.

The Basics
  • Be prepared
  • Have two or three good questions for the interviewer
  • Be yourself at all times
  • Remember: the interview is primarily for you to sell yourself
  • Be punctual, arrive 5-10 min early

What is the interviewer looking for?
Regardless of the interview style used, the interviewer is looking for certain traits or benchmarks in order to compare you to the "typical" person who has been successful in that firm, such as:

  • Personality
  • Verbal communication
  • Ability to be convincing
  • Self-confidence/poise
  • Assertiveness
  • Professional appearance
  • Motivation
  • Leadership ability
  • Understanding of the organization you are interested in
  • Extent of interest in a career with the firm/organization
  • Academic preparation
Things to Avoid:
  • Do not be overly concerned with the possibility of rejection. Instead, focus on the possibility of getting the job and on what you can do for the employer.
  • Never be critical of a company or the performance of anyone employed there. Above all, do not "bad mouth" a former supervisor.
  • Do not argue. Sell yourself with confidence, but always keep the discussion friendly and open.
  • Do not show irritation with delays or interruptions--even if you are irritated. Help the interviewer run a good interview, whether he or she is good at it or not.
  • Do not apologize for things you cannot change or are not responsible for (e.g., your age, education or work history).
  • Do not lie or pretend. Do not be afraid to admit there is something you do not know