Help with writing a resume (and cover letter questions)

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Hi,

I'm helping someone with writing a resume and had few questions.

There is a final year project which is mostly covered during last 2 semesters of EEE BS program. But almost every semester also has a semester-end project. What's the proper term for such 'semester-end projects' or 'minor projects'?

Should a fresh graduate list those 'semester-end projects' other than the final year project?

Thank you for your time!
 

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  • #2
PhanthomJay
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You should mention them in general sense without getting specific, like “...in addition to completing multiple end of semester projects related to coursework, (I) also completed a major project in my senior year (list Specific project but don’t get into detail). Resumes that are too long sometimes get unread.
 
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  • #3
berkeman
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I'm helping someone with writing a resume and had few questions.
Resume for what? What exactly is EEE, and what types of jobs are they applying for with this resume?
Should a fresh graduate list those 'semester-end projects' other than the final year project?
I don't understand what the difference is, but as a recruiter (in the EE field), I always like to see as much project documentation as possible, so I can ask questions about it. If you've worked on a project, you should be able to answer very detailed technical questions about it. That works a lot better for me as an interviewer versus asking my canned technical questions.
 
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Thank you!

You should mention them in general sense without getting specific, like “...in addition to completing multiple end of semester projects related to coursework, (I) also completed a major project in my senior year (list Specific project but don’t get into detail). Resumes that are too long sometimes get unread.
After your reply, I checked that 'final year project' is also called 'senior project'.

Resume for what? What exactly is EEE, and what types of jobs are they applying for with this resume?
I believe that "EEE" stands for Electrical and Electronic Engineering.

Any entry job related to electronic engineering.

I don't understand what the difference is, but as a recruiter (in the EE field), I always like to see as much project documentation as possible, so I can ask questions about it. If you've worked on a project, you should be able to answer very detailed technical questions about them. That works a lot better for me as an interviewer versus asking my canned technical questions.
Though your suggestion contradicts with what @PhanthomJay said above, in my opinion, few other persons have suggested the same to include some detail about the senior project. I was also suggested by one person that if the documentation is available online, like on Google Drive, you should mention the link to it so that the recruiter could check it if they are interested.
 
  • #5
Klystron
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Agree that most human resource departments prefer brief resumes. Cover letters are commonly even more minimal and tailored to the specific position. Solution could be to bring and/or email a detailed attachment describing projects once an interview is scheduled. Even when links are provided to project documents in online resumes, it never hurts to carry hard copy to an interview but every document should look professional.
 
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  • #6
berkeman
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Though your suggestion contradicts with what @PhanthomJay said above, in my opinion, few other persons have suggested the same to include some detail about the senior project. I was also suggested by one person that if the documentation is available online, like on Google Drive, you should mention the link to it so that the recruiter could check it if they are interested.
Yeah, I'm just saying that I like to see as much real work by a candidate as possible. I don't want it included in bulk in a resume, links to online versions would be great, and absolutely bring the work documentation with you to your interview with me. I can tell so much more about a candidate by going into detail on projects they have actually worked on. Maybe in the resume just give as many links as you can to online copies, and mention that you will bring project documentation with you to in-person interviews.
 
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  • #7
Choppy
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Just to add another idea...

You can keep a kind of "master" resume in your own files. The master document doesn't need to be condensed down to a page limit. It can and should include details of the different projects that you've worked on, essentially all of the information that might be relevant to a job search.

When you apply for a specific position, you then trim this document down into a succinct resume with the most relevant information for the position contained within the specified limits. Ideally, every resume should be tailored for the specific position you're applying for. The exception is if you happen to be going to a job fair where you might potentially make contacts and want to hand out something on the spot.
 
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  • #8
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Thank you for the suggestions!

Please have a look on the attachments, single-column format, two-column format. Personally, I prefer the two-column format because it helps you to organize the information more neatly and also you can contain more information on a single page compared to the single-column format. Please let me know what you think.

Also if someone has been doing job(s) somewhat unrelated to their degree after finishing their school but now is trying to apply for a job related to their field, how should one tailor their resume?

Thanks a lot for your time!
 

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  • #9
berkeman
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Personally I prefer the single-column format. I like the overall design of the 2nd resume, although I'd like to see all of it to make more comments.

As far as jobs that aren't related to your field, it's okay to list them, but limit them to 1-2 lines in the chronological Work Experience section, and expand the entries for technical jobs. It's good to have a continuous timeline for Work Experience, but more than 1-2 lines per non-technical job won't help any, IMO.
 
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Thank you!

By the way, is it okay if the resume is two-pages long instead of one? Does a two-page long resume look unprofessional and giving the impression to prospective employer that the applicant doesn't even know how to write a good resume?!
 
  • #11
Klystron
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Thank you!
By the way, is it okay if the resume is two-pages long instead of one? Does a two-page long resume look unprofessional and giving the impression to prospective employer that the applicant doesn't even know how to write a good resume?!
In my experience conducting technical interviews a second page is fine. Hit the highlights on the first page so the resume gets selected. Usually second pages contain information on older positions in reverse chronological order (newest experience first) and less important details. Legible contact information and key skills on first page are more important than fitting too much on one page IMO.
 
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  • #12
berkeman
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is it okay if the resume is two-pages long instead of one? Does a two-page long resume look unprofessional and giving the impression to prospective employer that the applicant doesn't even know how to write a good resume?!
Out of undergrad, my resume (for on-campus recruiters) was probably one page long.

I think that for all of my resumes for later interviews, my resumes were 2 pages long. After I had some job experience, I didn't want to shrink my strong educational experinece, and wanted to provide some details about my strong work experience. No way that fits on one page.

The resumes I've reviewed over the years for R&D EE positions have varied from 2-4 pages. I don't mind a 4-page resume if it contains many years of outstanding relevant experience. For a relatively new EE, a couple of pages would usually be enough, IMO.

Feel free to PM me your draft resume for more personalized comments, BTW. Best wishes in your current job search! :smile:
 
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Feel free to PM me your draft resume for more personalized comments, BTW. Best wishes in your current job search! :smile:
Thank you. Actually I started this thread to help someone else but it'll help me a lot with my own resume as well!

Best,
PG
 
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  • #14
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Hi,

I had a related question so I thought it'd be better to ask it here. I'd need to apply for a job after some months so I was going through some books to understand how it all works.

I have read online in the past that a cover letter should be used whenever it's required or possible. It should be properly written to demonstrate that why you are interested in the given position and should contain any related information which makes you look fit for the given position.

In the attached quotes, taken from seemingly popular books, you can see that it is strongly advised against writing a cover letter.

What is your take on this? I'd say that they might be right about not writing a cover letter because why a recruiter would go through a cover letter of an applicant considering there might be many applicants some with good cover letters and others with worthless cover letters which are a mere extensions of their resumes. I've heard that sometimes a recruiter for a given departments doesn't even have a background in the related field. For example, a recruiter for an engineering department doesn't have to be an engineer. So, in such a case, a cover letter wouldn't appeal much to the recruiter.

I'm not sure if cold prospecting is still helpful in today's world but I can imagine in such a case a good cover letter could help you if it ends up on hiring manager's desk. I'm sure if it is mailed rather than e-mailed, there'd be more chances of it getting read.

I didn't know that there also exists a software which filters out resumes.

Thank you for your help!
 

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  • #15
Choppy
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They're just plain wrong.

Include a cover letter unless explicitly directed otherwise.

why a recruiter would go through a cover letter of an applicant considering there might be many applicants some with good cover letters and others with worthless cover letters which are a mere extensions of their resumes.
Because if you can't write a decent cover letter, that's a flag that you're not a good fit for a position that requires effective communication skills and/or the ability to present oneself in a professional manner.

The cover letter is an opportunity to make a direct and succinct statement to the recruiter that explains why you're a good fit for the position, why you want it, and highlights qualities that are unique about yourself.

I've heard that sometimes a recruiter for a given departments doesn't even have a background in the related field. For example, a recruiter for an engineering department doesn't have to be an engineer. So, in such a case, a cover letter wouldn't appeal much to the recruiter.
Often what happens is that larger companies will have a human resources department, and yes, these people won't have a technical background. But when a company is hiring for a technical job, the HR department tends to act like a filter. It's surprising how many people apply to positions they are not remotely qualified for. They manage the process, make sure candidates submit all required information, and can even generate a short-list based on certifications or other prerequisite information. But the final decisions are often made by a hiring committee that includes technical people, even if they're only working from a pre-selected short-list.
 
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  • #16
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Thank you for the input, @Choppy!

I have also read that it's a good idea to append your cover letter to the end of your resume because this way the ATS (Applicant Tracking System) could be tricked or helped to recognize you as a legitimate candidate; it's better than stuffing or padding your resume with unnecessary keywords just to trick the ATS.

Could you please also let me know your opinion about cold prospecting? Does it help? I have been told that sometimes it's a good idea to mail your resume and cover letter to the concerned person if possible.

Thanks a lot for your and time!
 
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