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Presenting yourself

In the course of your search for an internship, co-op, field study, post-grad job, or admission to graduate school, you will present yourself and be evaluated in many ways. Any of these could be part of the first impression you make on an employer or graduate school admissions committee, and could determine whether or not you are granted an interview. From your resume, to your telephone skills, to your handshake, to your online identity, your presentation of yourself is an opportunity to make a good impression.


  • Most students are aware of the importance of your resume or CV. Don't stop there!
  • Your cover letter presents your resume and enables you to articulate why you are interested in that particular employer, and how you are a fit for the position. And your job search can involve other kinds of correspondence.
  • Writing professional email is essential in a job search. Your cover letter might take the form of an email, or you might send an email with your cover letter attached. The job search process can involve extensive correspondence via email, and you should retain these for reference.
  • Be prepared to receive and make phone calls to prospective employers as a part of the job search process. You have the opportunity to make a professional impression on the phone.
  • When meeting in person is safe, your handshake is significant in making an impression. Make it a good one. 
  • You'll have occasions where you need business casual attire and professional interview attire. Be ready.
  • Seek consent from individuals to serve as references for you. Develop a document separate from your resume (references are included on a CV). Be aware that employers generally do not check references until they have narrowed candidates to a small pool; this is a labor-intensive process. Nevertheless, be ready in advance to provide this information.
  • Know that your online identity will be viewed and judged by employers. Shape it to create the best impression.
  • Dining etiquette can be critical to job search and on-the-job success. Learn and practice so that good table manners are natural to you.