USC Price School of Public Policy

Educational Guides



A resume is a one‐of‐a kind professional summary that employers and recruiters use to get a grasp of your experiences, skills, interests, and achievements. If written well, a resume is your ticket for that coveted interview spot. So showcase—don’t list. Be succinct—not longwinded. Take your time—don’t rush. Those busy recruiters and HR managers will zip through your resume if it doesn’t pique their interest. In fact, most prospective employers will spend 6‐30 seconds reviewing it. To ensure that yours gets the attention it deserves, we recommend that all Price School students use the following guidelines.

Resume Guidelines for All Students »

Download Resume Tips for Master’s Students »

Download Resume Tips for Undergraduate Students »


Download Tips to be Career Competent »


A cover letter is a one-page business style document that accompanies most resumes when applying for jobs and internships. Not all employers ask for one, but if they do, do not underestimate the amount of time required to complete it. In fact, this letter is one of the more challenging documents to write as it can be quite difficult to articulate why you are the most qualified candidate for the job without sounding self‐indulgent. A great way to accomplish this is to explain sincerely and directly how your career goals and values match the company’s, and how your previous experience has prepared you to fulfill the job requirements. If written well, your letter will not only pique the prospective employer’s interest, but also, it will encourage him or her to read your resume carefully.

If you don’t know if a position exists, or if there are any openings, write a “Letter of Inquiry” identifying the type of position you’d like, and expressing interest. Since you will not be certain what the organization is seeking, it is imperative to conduct thorough research so that you can highlight experiences and skillsets that you feel are most relevant to the company’s current needs.

Download Cover Letter Tips »


Download Offer Negotiation Tips »


What Is It?
According to Ace the Case, “[a] case interview is a unique type of job interview technique used predominantly by management consulting firms…to better screen candidates by assessing their analytical skills in a pressured real-time environment.” The question itself is a hypothetical business problem that you must be prepared to discuss within an allotted time period. The interviewer wants to see that you can think under pressure, analyze information, perform basic calculations with large numbers and structure a cogent answer with recommendations for the firm. Like a behavioral interview, there is not right or wrong answer. Rather, the interviewer is considering how you think and then, trying to imagine you as part of their team.

Who Uses Them?
Typically, consultancies and investment banks.

How do I Prepare?
Practice. Practice. And, then practice more. We recommend buying Case in Point, the interview prep bible. Do you have friends at Marshall? Connect with them and with other Trojans who are in positions that interest you. Use your list of dream firms to check if they have resources on their websites.


  • Bring your portfolio, a blue and black pen, 5-10 pieces of blank, white paper and a watch.
  • Think carefully about your timeline. A typical case if 40 minutes so break it down like this:
    • 5 minutes: examine the prompt; what is the problem (ask clarifying questions and verify the objective)
    • 15 minutes: create your structure and start analysis
    • 15 minutes: evaluate your options
    • 5 minutes: present recommendations
  • Pause and mentally regroup as needed.
  • If the math isn’t working out, move on and approximate.

Helpful web sites for case interview preparation include: