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Crafting an Effective Resume and Cover Letter

A strong resume and cover letter are essential to making a good first impression with a potential summer employer. The following OPIA resources can help you perfect these documents and present your background and experiences in a way that employers will find compelling.

  • OCS’s Yih-hsien Shen and OPIA’s Catherine Pattanayak cover the fundamentals of effective resume and cover letter writing in these online resume and cover letter workshops.
  • OPIA’s public interest resume tips and samples will help you craft a strong document.
  • OPIA’s public interest cover letter tips and samples provide key insight into developing an effective cover letter. Public interest cover letters often differ significantly from their private sector counterparts.
  • OPIA’s Job Search FAQs answer many of the most common 1L resume and cover letter questions.
  • Take advantage of OPIA’s resume and cover letter review service. After you have reviewed the above resources and formatted your materials accordingly, complete our resume and cover letter review request form with your materials uploaded as Word docs, and we will return it to you in 7-10 business days with edits and feedback. We will review one resume and one cover letter per student per year.

We often receive a high volume of resume and cover letter review requests after the Thanksgiving holiday. If you want to ensure your materials will be reviewed before December 1, submit them to OPIA by November 11.

Public Interest Interviews

Interviews take on particular significance with public service employers, who give tremendous weight to the kind of person they sense you are, the depth of your commitment to their mission and how well you would fit in with the office. The following resources can help you prepare to put your best foot forward in your public service interviews.

  • Review our tips on preparing for public interest interviews and interview presentation.
  • Make note of questions you should be prepared to answer and ask during an interview.
  • Remember that thank you notes should always be written after an interview.
  • Some public interest employers may engage in behavioral interviewing, an interview technique based on the premise that past behavior is the best predictor of future performance. Review our list of common behavioral interview questions.
  • Don’t forget to do your homework! Finding out as much as possible about the employer you are interviewing with will help you appear enthusiastic about the employer’s work and craft a compelling narrative about why you want to contribute to that work as a summer intern.
  • Your personality and demeanor are just as important, if not more important, than your accomplishments. Be sure to convey energy and interest in your interview, and show employers that you are the kind of person with whom they would want to work.
  • A mock interview can help you prepare you for the real thing. Make an appointment with an OPIA advisor to practice your interviewing skills.Be sure to indicate when you sign up for the appointment the specific job you are interviewing for, so that we can tailor our questions accordingly.


Come Meet with an OPIA Advisor!

OPIA advisor speaks with two students in a large groupIf you’ve started to think about your summer goals, we encourage you to make an advising appointment to discuss your plans. One-on-one advising can be extremely helpful in giving direction to your job search.  

Review advisor bios and make an appointment. Be sure to include some notes about your interests and thoughts for the summer job search when signing up, so that your advisor can best prepare for your appointment. Students that have already met with an advisor are welcome to schedule a follow-up appointment with any advisor if they wish to.

If you are having any difficulty scheduling an appointment, please call us (617-495-3108) and we will help you find an appointment.