Prepare Your Tools

As you prepare for your internship and job search we want to make sure your toolkit is packed and ready to go. You’ll be surprised at what skills you’ve acquired through experiences that you can weave into your resume, cover letter, and LinkedIn profile to make yourself stand out to employers.

More Information

What Sets You Apart?

The first step is to take a look at the skill areas that employers look for when searching for interns and new hires. It’s time to think about experiences you’ve had in your organizations and involvement, classes, volunteering, and employment. In addition, consider the five competencies that employers desire:

What is a Resume?

Simply put, your resume is a professional summary of you. It allows employers to gain an understanding of your skills, abilities, and achievements. The fundamental purpose of a resume is to secure an interview and move to the next step of the process.

An employer may only look at a resume for 30-45 seconds. This means that your resume should be strategically written to briefly yet effectively communicate your message. The position type and industry may dictate the final length of your resume, but you should be able to summarize your most relevant experiences on one page.

Confirm acceptable length ranges within your organization or industry or ask a Career Connections Center staff member. You can tailor your resume (skills and experiences) for the specific position(s) you are applying for. To make this process easier, you may want to write a “Master Resume” that describes all of your experiences, achievements, accomplishments, etc. in detail. Then, you can pull from the master resume to create a shorter, tailored document.

Getting Started:

  • Before writing your resume, reflect on your experiences. List out the places that you’ve worked, clubs and organizations you’ve joined, volunteering you’ve completed, classes you’ve taken, etc. Your experience doesn’t have to be paid work in order to be relevant to your next position.
  • Next, think about the transferable skills you used or gained in each position. Transferable skills are skills that can be applied in multiple contexts. For example, you can use customer service and communication skills in a restaurant, clothing store, or hotel. The skill doesn’t change between industries. Focus on the transferable skills you’ve gained as you’re writing your resume, because they will be the most relevant to the employer.
  • Next, you’ll want to organize your resume. You might want to view samples to decide on a format that you prefer. You can view samples here. There’s no “right” way to write a resume; it is a unique reflection of you and your experiences. However, you want to be sure your format is consistent, your experiences are relevant to the position, and your writing is concise.

Sample Resume

What is a CV (Curriculum Vitae)?

A CV is a type of resume that showcases your academic accomplishments and achievements. A CV is typically used for positions in academia or research positions in industry. A CV has a more flexible page limit and can be more than two pages. However, you should still be intentional about what you include in your document. Your CV should focus on your accomplishments that are related to the position. To get started, look over samples to get ideas for formatting and style.

Parts of a CV:

Like a resume, there is no one “right” way to write a CV, but you should be sure to confirm CV expectations of your specific discipline in case certain information is expected. Below are some sections you might have on your CV.


Unlike a resume, references are included on a CV. Typically, you can include the information at the end; you might also mention the name of your contact elsewhere in your document, such as in the research experience. You will want to include the following information:

  • Name of Reference
  • Phone number and email
  • Name of Company/Where they work
  • Their position title
  • Their relationship to you

Once you’ve written your CV, bring it in for the Career Connections Center staff to review and provide feedback. You can make an appointment on Gator CareerLink or come for an Express Drop-Ins Monday – Friday 11am – 4pm in the center’s library, no appointment is needed.

Sample CV

What is a Cover Letter?

A cover letter is a one-page document that accompanies your resume. Your cover letter is usually meant to introduce your resume and provide more context to your experiences. A cover letter is typically tailored with a specific position or organization in mind.

Parts of a Cover Letter:

It can be helpful to look at a few sample cover letters before writing your own to get an idea of what to expect. A sample cover letter is below, and more examples are in resource library area Gator CareerLink and in the center. A handout is available in the Career Connections Center and in the resource library. Once you’ve written your cover letter, bring it in for the center’s staff to review it and provide some feedback. You can make an appointment via Gator CareerLink or visit Express Drop Ins for help with your cover letter or other career-related documents.

Sample Cover Letter

What is a Portfolio/Personal Website?

A portfolio is a collection of the relevant projects you have completed that relate to your field or industry. Many students choose to keep an online portfolio of their work as an additional way to demonstrate their skills and qualifications to an employer. Some students will upload their projects to a personal website as well. Typically, online portfolios are used strategically in creative industries, such as art, design, photography, etc. to showcase your specific talent. However, anyone can create a portfolio or website in order to increase their online presence.

To ensure that employers can see your website or portfolio, include the web address on your resume, CV or LinkedIn profile.

Keep in mind, your online portfolio is an extension of your brand. Be sure you are communicating your intended message as you are developing your website or portfolio. Common platforms for a personal website or portfolio include:

What is a Teaching Statement?

If you’re applying for a position in academia as a faculty member, you will likely be asked to provide a teaching statement. A teaching statement gives the search committee a chance to see your teaching style without physically observing your class. Your teaching statement should reflect your goals as an instructor, how you accomplish those goals, and how you will assess students in relation to those goals. You might also consider including how you create an inclusive learning environment for your students. Below are some prompts for writing a teaching statement:

  • What are your goals for student learning?
  • How will you enact those goals? How will you assess those goals?
  • How will you create an inclusive environment?
  • How does my teaching philosophy fit with the mission of the department and institution?
  • What motivates you to learn about this subject? Why do you teach?
  • How do you know you’ve taught successfully?
  • What do I believe or value about teaching and learning?
  • How do your research and disciplinary context influence your teaching?
  • How do the identities and backgrounds of both you and your students affect teaching and learning in your classes?
  • How do you account for different styles of learning?

What is a Research Statement?

If you’re applying for a position in academia as a faculty member, you will likely be asked to provide a research statement. This document gives the search committee an understanding of the past, present, and future of your research and how your work will benefit the department or contribute to the university. Be wary of using too much jargon – not everyone is an expert in your field of study, and you want to be sure everyone can understand your content. Below are some prompts for writing a research statement:

  • What question(s) are you trying to answer through your research?
  • Why is this question so important to your field?
  • What existing research has your work built upon?
  • How have your past and present research answered that question? How will your future research answer that question?
  • What motivates you to study your topic?
  • What are some techniques you have successfully used?
  • How can you summarize your results?
  • What are some challenges in your research that you overcame?
  • How can you involve students in your research?
  • How can your research bring in grants or funding?
  • What resources will you need to be successful? (Finances, equipment, etc.)

What is LinkedIn?

LinkedIn is a social media website primarily used for professional networking. LinkedIn was specifically created to connect you to potential employers and to facilitate education on industries and trends within specific fields. It can be a powerful tool throughout your career exploration and job search process.

Creating Your Profile:

LinkedIn is an extension of your online brand, meaning it is a representation of your values, skills, interests, and personality. Your LinkedIn profile should be an authentic snapshot of your online presence as a professional. Be sure that as you create your profile, you maintain a professional tone that is free from typos or errors. The goal in developing a profile is to increase your visibility on LinkedIn to recruiters and employers who are searching for talented candidates like you. The more active you are on LinkedIn; the more visibility you will gain.

Below are the sections of a LinkedIn profile. For more tips and a visual guide, visit LinkedIn’s profile checklist for ideas on how to get started.

Adding Connections:

Once you’ve created your profile, it’s time to expand your network. The people you add on LinkedIn are called “connections.” Start with the people in your industry that you know in real life, such as your professors, mentors, and peers in your industry. Focus mainly on people who work in your intended field; don’t just add all of your friends. Your friends may not work in your industry, and won’t help you when it comes to networking and visibility on LinkedIn.

Continue building your network by exploring who is connected with your connections. For people you don’t know, you can ask your connection for an introduction. Be sure to include a personalized message when reaching out so they know who you are and why you are contacting them.

Joining Groups:

In order to further develop your online brand, join groups related to your industry on LinkedIn. Many industries have professional organizations where you can participate in discussions that are related to your field. This is a great way to increase your visibility on the page and on LinkedIn, and a way to become noticed by employers and recruiters. Not sure what to join? Look at the profiles of your connections and join similar groups.

Finding Alumni:

Another way to expand your network is to tap into the alumni presence on LinkedIn. The “Find Alumni” feature under the “Connections” tab on LinkedIn allows you to sort and filter through thousands of UF alumni based on employer, location, job function, and more. Connecting with alumni is a great way to get advice and mentorship from other Gators in your industry.

Using Your Network

As you begin looking for an internship, full time job or other experience, you’ll want to use your network to ask for advice or connections. Networking is the Number 1 way that people find positions, so use your LinkedIn network to your advantage. When you reach out to your connections, you aren’t asking for a job. Rather, you are asking for guidance and advice about how to go about your search. Setting up an informational interview can be a low-pressure way to get some help and advice relevant to your industry and search.

Here are tips for setting up an informational interview:

  • Ask for a 20-30 minute meeting at their convenience, at their worksite, and assure them you know they are busy and you will be brief. For example:
    • “Hi, Ms. Smith, my name is __________, and I’m a University of Florida student. I’m interested in the marketing field and I’m trying to find out as much as I can about it. I have read a lot about the area, but I really feel it might help to talk to someone who works in the field. I would appreciate meeting with you to discuss this occupation, if you have the time. The interview would only take approximately 20-30 minutes to complete. My schedule is flexible and I can meet with you at your convenience.”
  • If you call, ask them if they are free to talk for a few minutes. If not, ask them for the best time to call them back.
  •  Prepare for every interview by researching the company and having a prepared list of questions to ask. Some questions might include:
    • What is a typical day in the life of a _______?
    • How did you get interested in this occupation? What do you like/dislike about it?
    • What is a typical career path in this occupation?
    • What kind of academic/training preparation do you recommend for this occupation?
    • What skills would you expect new professionals to have?
    • What skills have you developed in your time in the field or within the organization?
    • What skills should I be developing?
    • What professional organizations you would recommend joining?
    • What is the organizational structure and where does your position fit in the organization?
    • Is there someone else you can suggest that I contact for perspective in the industry?
    • If you were going to hire a new entry-level person, what would a highly qualified candidate be like?
    • What are the major challenges/problems that your organization is facing in the coming year?
    • What changes within the industry surprise you when you look back at your career?
  • Dress in business attire and arrive early for the interview.
  • When you meet your interview contact, shake hands and exchange greetings. Take notes during the interview. At the end of the interview, shake hands again, and express your appreciation for the interview.
  • Follow up every interview with a thank you note by email or handwritten

Other Resources for LinkedIn:

Check out LinkedIn for Students for videos and handouts about all the ways to use LinkedIn to build your online brand, prepare for your job search, or develop as a new professional.

Make an appointment with a Career Planner to review your LinkedIn profile and discuss how to use LinkedIn strategically as a student or new professional.

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