Career Development Center Spring 2015 Events

Texas Golf Association 2014 USGA P.J. Boatwright Internship


4 Details Hiring Managers Really Look For in Your Cover Letter

As we all know, writing a great cover letter that will get a hiring manager’s attention is no small feat. The best cover letters are customized for each and every unique job and company. This can be time-consuming but is a super-successful technique for getting your cover letter read and into the interview pile.

But aside from customization, what details are hiring managers looking for when reading job applicants’ cover letters? I can say from experience they are much simpler than you might think.


1. Job and company-specific content that shows you did your research. Think of writing your cover letter as a sales pitch. You’re essentially selling yourself, your skills, and your knowledge to the company. Therefore, hiring managers are looking for details that show you’re familiar with the company and that you would make a good fit.

You don’t have to go all out with these details. But by customizing your cover letter for each job description and making note of any industry-related news, new products, or recent announcements, it shows you’re paying attention.

2. Actions and results from your work experience that relate to that position, not your personal life. Hiring managers truly want to know the details of your past work experience that pertain to the job at hand. This means you don’t need to highlight all of your great skills and experiences. Again, this is where your strategic thinking should come into play.

If you’re not sure where to begin, consider examples of times when your top skills came in handy and consider how that sets you apart for this particular job. Don’t forget, hiring managers don’t want to hear about your personal life, goals, or needs — only about how you can contribute to the company.

3. Short paragraphs with succinct details. While all the details above are great for a cover letter, hiring managers want to receive this information in short and succinct paragraphs. You should focus on making it easy for them to read your cover letter. Don’t get bogged down in the nitty-gritty details of a past project — simply share the most important details that get your point across. Situation, action, results.

Secrets for successful cover letters

4. Professional-quality and error-free content. This last detail is so simple, yet you’d be surprised how often it’s ignored. When writing a cover letter, never forget to proofread your work. If you are customizing each cover letter to every job description, it’s easy to miss some details here and there. But if a hiring manager sees an error, your cover letter will go straight into the “no” pile. The same goes for cover letters that aren’t written professionally. While creativity is great, keep your writing professional and politically correct.

Never forget your cover letter is about what you can do for the company and why you make a good fit for both the position and the organization — and nothing else. Hiring managers are reading your cover letter quickly, so make it short, professional, and give them the details they want to see.

Heather R. Huhman is a career expert, experienced hiring manager, and founder & president of Come Recommended, a content marketing and digital PR consultancy for job search and human resources technologies. She is also the instructor of Find Me A Job: How To Score A Job Before Your Friends, author of Lies, Damned Lies & Internships (2011) and #ENTRYLEVELtweet: Taking Your Career from Classroom to Cubicle (2010), and writes career and recruiting advice for numerous outlets.

Photo courtesy of Wondercoses


U.S. Department of State Internship Experience Program (IEP) and the Internship Temporary Experience Program (ITEP)

Accepting the first 50 applications for the U.S. Department of State Internship Experience Program (IEP) and the Internship Temporary Experience Program (ITEP) Programs.

These vacancies are for Office Automation (GS-399, Grade 4) Student Trainees located in: Los Angeles, CA and Honolulu, HI.

Please visit USAJobs to start the online application process and search for the following vacancy announcement numbers:



These two programs replace all former paid internships (e.g. Student Temporary Employment Program, Student Career Experience Program, Cooperative Education Program, Stay-in-School Program, and the Summer Clerical Program).

The Internship Experience Program (IEP) allows for non-temporary appointments that are expected to last the length of the academic program for which the intern is enrolled. IEP participants, while in the program, are eligible for noncompetitive promotions.

The Internship Temporary Experience Program (ITEP) places interns on temporary appointments not to exceed one year with the possibility of extensions in one-year increments. The temporary nature of ITEP allows for interns to work during seasonal and holiday breaks in academic programs. ITEP participants are ineligible for noncompetitive promotions. If an ITEP participant is qualified at a higher grade level, he/she must compete for the position via a USAJobs vacancy announcement.

Both programs allow for non-competitive conversion into the competitive service following successful completion of all program requirements.

Veteran’s preference applies.

So consider a Pathways internship with the U.S. Department of State, witnessing and participating in the formulation and implementation of U.S. foreign policy, working closely with the U.S. diplomats and civil servants who carry out America’s foreign policy initiatives.

Visit our forums if you have any questions, or to search for topics of interest. The forums can be found under Engage on the website. You can also search our FAQs for more information.

U.S. citizenship is required. An equal opportunity employer.

U.S. Deptartment of State Logo Questions? Contact Us


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Developing a Job Search Plan

The typical job search takes 6-9 months…Start yours today!

Know yourself and what you have to offer:  You are more than your major

  • Consult Career Center staff to decide if you should begin with a career assessment(s)
  • Identify and list all academic and non-academic experiences:  List all college education, related coursework, certifications, specialized training, work, student organizations and community service experiences
  • Complete (you will need to obtain the access code for at The Career Center, 216 Davis Hall) to identify the skills you have demonstrated in the past, to identify words that describe you and to prioritize your top ten working conditions
  • Meet with Career Center staff to review your assessment results

Determine your job targets:  A focused job search yields the best results

Define Desired Job Tasks and Employer Targets

  • Define your geographic targets
  • Explore jobs you can pursue with your major (this should be completed very early – freshman & sophomore year)
  • Research market trends to identify which jobs are in great demand (this should be completed very early – freshman & sophomore year)
  • Meet with Career Center staff if you have questions or need assistance

Identify a list of potential employers and learn about them:  It is up to you to find employers “right” for you

Develop an initial list of employers that interest you

  • Use the University Library and other online resources to identify employers in your area of interest, including HIREAMAVERICK, our online job database
  • Consult with Career Center staff about job shadowing, information interviewing and other forms of networking to learn more

Prioritize your list of potential employers

  • Use online resources to research employer targets
  • Thoroughly research each employer’s website to learn about its culture, values and hiring process

Create your resume & cover letter and prepare for interviews:  Preparation and practice makes for a better performance

Prepare you resume and cover letter

  • Use the Career Center’s Resume Guide (includes information about cover letters) to develop a draft of your resume
  • Using what you have learned about yourself and your potential employers, tailor your resume and cover letter to each job to which you apply
  • Meet with Career Center staff to review & critique your resume and cover letter
  • Create a separate document using your resume header for you reference list

Learn how to present yourself professionally to employers

  • Update email addresses and voicemail messages to portray a professional image
  • Acquire appropriate attire (business suit) for recruitment events and interviews
  • Learn abut general professional etiquette to make a positive first impression

Prepare for the interviewing process

  • Meet with Career Center staff for tips on interviewing
  • Improve answers to potential interview questions by using the Career Center’s practice interview software, InterviewStream
  • Practice, Practice, Practice your interviewing skills

Initiate your search:  Success is something you create

  • Consult with Career Center staff to identify the most appropriate strategies for finding job opening.  Examples include:
    • HIREAMAVERICK, our online job database
    • University Library and online resources
    • Classified ads, professional organizations websites and publications
    • Employer information sessions
    • Job Fairs
  • Develop a network
    • Brainstorm a list of people who work or know someone in the industry you are targeting: i.e. parents, relatives, neighbors, friends, faculty, former and current employers, social group memebers and alumni
    • Create your sales pitch: a 20 to 30 second message to let the employer know your related interests and what makes you a highly desireable cnadidate.
    • Schedule informational interviews with people who may be able to assist you
    • Persevere – it may take 10-12 contacts before you find someone who can help
  • Establish direct contact with employers through emails, telephone calls or letter
    • Evaluate employer interactions and identify ways to improve your techniques

 Follow-up appropriately:  First impressions count and so does follow-up

Follow Up After Interviews, Correspondences and Contacts

  • Send thank you letters, notes or emails within 24 hours
  • Provide requested information (transcripts, references, etc) in a reasonable time frame
  • Devise a process to keep track of your commitments and follow up with your contacts.
  • Note any hiring time lines and employment cycles for your preferred employers

Stay focused and monitor your progress:  Having a plan will keep you on track to success

  • Demonstrate flexibility in your job search and adapt your plan to new job leads
  • Develop realistic goals that need to be completed each week
  • Document all job search activities and organize information such as contact names, phone numbers, email addresses and important dates
  • Accept “dead ends,” learn from your mistakes, and maintain you momentum until you have accepted a job offer
  • Consult with Career Center staff if you are not making progress
  • once you have accepted an offer, remove yourself form other consideration

Evaluate and negotiate offers:  Make sure the job is a good fit

  • Refer back o your assessment information to consider the factors most important to you in a position
  • Create a budget of your monthly expenses to determine salary needs as well
  • Read additional resources on successful salary negotiations and follow up with Career Center staff if you have questions
  • Determine when, what and how to negotiate (keeping in mind that benefit packages are included in salary offers)
  • Obtain accurate salary data using the Career Center, university library and online resources
  • Draft and rehearse a script to assist you in the negotiation process