Becoming Employed

  • Whether you plan to enter the workforce after high school or need extra work while in college, the following pages will help you apply for jobs. Most jobs will require either a resume or application, and perhaps both. The next few pages will help keep you organized. You’ll also find tips to create a resume and cover letter—and samples. On the last page of this section, you will find a table for tracking your job applications—a helpful tool to ensure nothing falls through the cracks.

Tips on getting a job

Five Questions you might want to ask in the Interview

  • Are there any concerns you would like me to address?

  • If I were offered this position, how would you measure my success, and what could I do to exceed your expectations?

  • Can you tell me about the team I’ll be working with?

  • What do you like about working here?

  • What is the next step in the process?

Creating Resume and Cover Letters

  • Create a Resume

    Content and format are equally important. If your work history is strong, but the format is difficult to read or contains typos, employers won’t consider you. Use the Experiences tool in Xello to track this information and easily turn it into a resume!

    Resume basics

    1. Heading: Include your name, address, email address, and phone number. Make it stand out and make an impression by using large, bold font. Make sure your email is professional (not or for example).
    2. Education: List your high school diploma and all degrees completed or in progress. As a high school student, include your GPA if it is 3.0 or above. List courses that reflect your work ethic and high aspirations, such as AP or dual enrollment courses, and relevant coursework for the job you’re applying for. After college graduation, you don’t include high school information.
    3. Experience: Include your job title, the employer, the location (city and state, at minimum), and the dates of employment for each job listed. Include a brief description of your achievements / responsibilities. Ideally, paid work and unpaid work (community service) are listed separately.
    4. Honors / Awards / Scholarships: (Optional) Include the name of the organization that bestowed the honor / award and the date. Only include scholarships based on merit, not financial need.
    5. Special Skills / Highlights: (Optional) List any unique, relevant, or necessary skills not reflected in education or experience (e.g., foreign language fluency, computer program expertise, etc.).
    6. References: Ask permission first to list people as references and provide them with a copy of your resume.


    Create a Cover Letter

    If you have the opportunity to add a cover letter to an employment application, do it! It gives the employer a better sense of your communication skills, as well as a sense of your personality and enthusiasm for the job. Some employers require a cover letter. If a cover letter is required to apply for a job and you don’t include one, your resume or application, no matter how good, will not be reviewed.

    Cover letter basics

    1. Greeting: Address your cover letter to the proper person.
    2. Opening: Write a personable, inviting opening paragraph that highlights how your skills are a perfect fit to the job.
    3.  Hook: Highlight your achievements as they relate to the job you’re applying for.
    4. Skills: Highlight additional relevant skills, such as computer languages or certifications.
    5. Close: Briefly recap your strengths as a candidate and include your contact information.