DLA Cover Letter and Resume Tips

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Preparing your resume or cover letter for applying to become a Discovery Learning Apprentice? Have a look at the following tips and hints. If you have any questions or concerns, please contact Dan Watson at 303-492-4404.

Cover Letter Tips

What length should my cover letter be?
If possible, limit your cover letter to no more than two pages.

What should I put in my letter of intent or personal statement?
A good letter of intent should include:

  • a paragraph or two on prior research/lab/work experience;
  • a list of the five projects you chose and why you are interested in them/why you would be a good match for them – be sure to address the requirements of the positions for which you applied; and
  • a closing paragraph or two on other qualities that you possess that answers the question: What would make you a good candidate overall – curiosity, motivation, work ethic, communication skills, team work skills, etc.?

What are you looking for when you ask me to tell you why I am interested in the projects I picked?
Something made you pick each of these projects. What attracted you to them? Examples include:

  • Prior experience with the topic – in past lab work, attended a lecture on the subject, etc.
  • Fascination with research area
  • Intending to pursue this research area in your future – for grad school, as a career choice, etc. Keep in mind that the professors offering the projects may be reviewing your cover letter. You should make it clear why each project is of interest to you.

Why is it important that I write a good cover letter?
Your cover letter is your “calling card.” Tell us why we should be interested in you ahead of all of the other students who applied for a Discovery Learning Apprenticeship.

My GPA isn’t the greatest. Do I still have a chance?
Students with a GPA of 3.2 or above have the best chance of being selected for this program. If your GPA is below 3.2, please explain in your cover letter why you believe you would still be a good candidate for this program – perhaps your GPA has improved over time, perhaps you had one bad semester due to health problems, etc.

Does it help if I express an interest in pursuing graduate school?
It won’t hurt, but only include this in your cover letter if it is true.

Resume Tips

What length should my resume be?
If possible, limit your resume to one or two pages.

What should I include in my resume if I don’t have prior research experience?
You aren’t expected to have prior research experience so don’t be concerned if you don’t. However, your resume should tell us what you’ve been doing with your non‐classroom time. Don’t forget to include items such as:

  • Work experience
  • Educational background
  • Knowledge of certain lab techniques
  • Classes you have taken related to engineering
  • Things you have created (e.g. in class projects, teams projects, etc.)
  • Leadership opportunities in which you’ve engaged
  • Volunteer opportunities that may demonstrate your teamwork or leadership skills
  • Awards/honors you’ve received
  • Special interests that make you unique
  • Be sure to tailor your resume to the Discovery Learning Apprenticeship Program. For instance, don’t have an objective at the top that says you are interested in a summer internship!

Any other specific tips for my resume?
It is always best to target your resume for the job you want. That is, an “objective statement” at the top that talks about an internship in industry should be updated to indicate you are interested in a position in the DLA program. Lead with your strongest points – which might be prior research experience, completed course work, work experience, etc. In general, list the most recent experience first. Tips for writing good resumes can be found at the Career Services website.

Overall Hints

  • Proofread your cover letter, resume and application! Have someone else look at your cover letter and resume, too! A second or third pair of eyes is always a good thing!
  • Again,you are welcome to apply for any listed projects open to students from your major, as long as you meet the applicant requirements. Check the requirements and explain in your resume or cover letter how you meet the requirements; you have wasted a choice if you apply for a project for which you are not qualified!
  • Deadline for application is April 30. No late applications will be accepted.
  • If you are interested in receiving an Active Learning Award at graduation, you will need to have a research experience! Participating in a Discovery Learning Apprenticeship is one way to fulfill the research component of the Active Learning Award.
     

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