The University of Massachusetts Amherst

Career Skills

These guides will help you gain internship and job application skills. Included below are tips, examples, and links.

Customizing Resumes

Cover Letters


Career Fair Prep


The Case for Customizing Resumes

1.) The Rise of the Robots. Otherwise known as mathematical algorithms or Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS), there are over 200 different versions out there and the list just keeps growing. It’s how employers are coping with the huge numbers of applications submitted online. ATS often sorts the resumes first, and then throws out over 70% of the applications before humans start reviewing them. Since robots don’t read cover letters, you have to change your resume to make it through this system.

2.) The first read-through of a resume by human eyes is often about 2-10 seconds. Those humans are only looking for the directly relevant material. If they can’t find it quickly (even if it is there) they will throw your resume (and you) away.

The work world runs on the maxim: “People hire who they know and who they like,” so sitting back and expecting a career and a job to lay itself at your feet with no investment on your part will probably result in fewer interesting choices upon graduation. Getting out into the world, interacting with people, working in some capacity alongside them will allow you to experience new environments and make connections with people who can help your future.