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The Thomas J. Watson School of Engineering and Applied Science

Organizing Your Skills

You have explored opportunities for your professional journey, now the next step is to organize the skills you have learned. 

Strong Action-Verb List

This is how to market your specific Watson skills and the navigate searching for a position and applying.  Also, please use this list of strong action verbs to assist your writing. (LINK)


The résumé is a summary of your experiences and a reflection of how those experiences have tailored you to become the ideal candidate for a job.


  1. Get your résumé critiqued by a Fleishman Center and Watson Career and Alumni Connections; ask your friends, family, relatives, professors or advisors to read it before you send it to an employer or recruiter.
  2. Have it reviewed by Watson Career Services for further fine-tuning.
  3. When sending your résumé via the Internet, it is best to save it as a PDF to retain formatting.
  4. When submitting your résumé in person, it is best to print it on résumé paper, preferably with shades of off-white or beige.
  5. Know everything on your résumé, inside and out. Be prepared to talk about every point on it during an interview (whether on the phone or in person).


  1. Make the résumé no longer than one page.
  2. Maintain margins at an even distance all around the page if you can. A margin of 0.5 inches (“Narrow” setting in Word) is ideal. The margins should not be less than 0.3 inches.
  3. Be consistent with font styles, sizes, spacing and alignment. Font sizes should be no smaller than 10.
  4. Be sure you are using space effectively. Too much white space makes it appear as if you don’t have much to offer.
  5. Check the résumés in the Watson Career Services office for examples of good formatting.

You want your bullet points to encompass the following aspects:

  1. What: Start each bullet point with a strong action verb.
  2. How: What skills did you use? What tools did you use? Elaborate on how you accomplished something.
  3. Results: What was the final outcome? Why did you do what you did? Discuss your goals and results to complete your statement.
For further assistance on your sections in your resume, please see this form as well as the following resume examples: section link

Sample Resumes

Cover Letters

The cover letter is an opportunity to market yourself in your own words while adding substance and new information in addition to what has been provided on your resume.  Example: Cover-letter

Here is an outline of how to structure a cover letter.  Think of it as a persuasive paper.

Here is an easy guide for cover letters and thank you notes to help you along the way: Guide


To demonstrate how your skills, abilities, qualifications and competencies fit the job or internship requirements so that you stand out from the competition.


  1. Market your skills to an employer
  2. Highlight soft skills (interpersonal, leadership, teamwork, etc.)
  3. Brand yourself: showcase your unique enthusiasm for a specific position
For more assistance please see this link and visit our office: cover-letter assistance

Searching for a Job, Internship

Whether you are searching for an internship or your first job much of the searching process will be the same. You can see job and internship postings via hireBING and on our website

Materials to have ready

  1. Resumes (Many copies)
  2. Cover Letter
  3. Business cards
  4. List of names of people or organizations you wish to contact
  5. Start networking discussions (practicing your pitch, connecting with referral contacts, and final target contacts)
  6. Summaries of each networking discussion (with names)
  7. Thank you's


Research Your Options

Reflect on what kind of experiences will help you to achieve your goals. This will help create a clear focus on what internships would be relevant to your expectations.

Places to search

It is essential that you use a variety of resources to increase your chance of landing a full time position.

  1. Fleishman Center for Career and Professional Development
  2. hireBING website
  3. corporate, research, educational and government websites
  4. e-mail blasts
  5. contact former professors and classmates
  6. Social media networks (LinkedIn, Facebook, etc.)

Websites to use beyond hireBING:

Networking should be at the center of your internship/job search strategy. Get the word out that you are actively looking for employment.

Right Target, Right Fit

Begin your employment search by taking a thorough inventory of your interests, skills, accomplishments, experience, goals, and values.

The key to a successful employment search is to recognize what makes you a unique candidate and to communicate this effectively to a prospective employer, both verbally and in writing.

Conduct research on various fields and local companies within those fields.

Now that you have done your research, figure out what company fits you best. Some of the topics include:

  1. Company values and goals
  2. Company reputation and stability
  3. Location
  4. Job advancement
  5. 5 or 10 year plan

Stay on track

This will help you build a network of valuable contacts both for your current job search and for future ones.

  1. Keep track of the progress of your internship/job search.  You can use this spreadsheet to help.
  2. Maintain a detailed record of all the jobs you have applied for - communications, interviews, referrals, and follow-up actions

Preparing to Apply

  1. Tailor your résumé and cover letter so that it's specific to the internship that you're applying for.
  2. Review your résumé with a professional at the Fleishman Center for Career and Professional Development.
  3. Review your résumé with the Watson Career and Alumni connection office
  4. Have business professional clothes for the interview
  5. Attend a mock interview for practice


  1. Submit your résumé and cover letter for the position
  2. Ensure that you know where to apply
  3. Politely and professionally email a recruiter of the given contact for clarification.
  4. Apply to as many jobs as possible
  5. Apply as early as possible - Many internship/job application dates are early in the school year

Be Persistent, Proactive, and Assertive

Do not wait around for an internship/job opportunity to come knocking at your door. It is important to make your name and face known before your competition does. While cold calling may be very intimidating, it remains a powerful strategy. Use every angle and networking contact that you have, and always try to obtain more points of contact. Also, remember that everyone experiences rejection; however those who are persistent and grow from their mistakes will eventually land the job they want.

Last Updated: 5/18/18