USC Price School of Public Policy

Student Resources



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.

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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.

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