7 Tips for Leveraging Your Hopkins Story in a Resume

By Michael Gonzales, Life Design Educator, mgonza70@jh.edu

students collaborating

You’ve accomplished wonderful things no matter your year as a Hopkins student! The next step is to tell your Hopkins story in ways that an evaluator would quickly find appealing when reviewing a stack of resumes for a position that you’ve applied to. Here are 7 quick tips for leveraging your Hopkins story in a resume.

#1 Highlight the skill sets you crafted in student organizations/leadership experience

Oftentimes, evaluators will do an initial 20-second scan of an applicant’s resume to determine if your background resonates with the position and organization. To ensure that you capture their attention and are invited to a screening interview, reconfigure your accomplishment statements in your student organizations/leadership experiences and other experiences in your resume so that it is more in line with the skill sets and responsibilities highlighted in the job description.

The mechanics of a high impact relational accomplishment statement includes an action verb, object, and result that resonates with a skillset and responsibility listed in the job description and is common practice in the industry of interest. A high impact statement may include a quantitative reference as well, indicating growth or improvement. Below are examples of accomplishment statements that were created before and after including an action verb, other keywords, and a quantitative point that is more in tune with the job description. 

Connect with a Life Design Educator during office hours for accomplishment statement and other resume design feedback!

#2 Expand your education section but eventually let go of listing your high school

No doubt you’ll include JHU as your primary institution (check-out our resume guidelines for organizing your education content plus other design tips) but make sure to include study away programs and certifications that align with the position you are applying to, for example. Don’t forget to include your expected graduation date, GPA-if it’s requested in the job description and is at or above the preferred GPA, and a list of relevant courses that may relate to the courses that you’ve highlighted in the relevant course section (see tip #3).

You may list your high school as a first year or second year student, but overall, it’s recommended that you omit your high school and focus on your college-level background. However, you do not necessarily have to let go of high school experiences, e.g. jobs, internships, student organization affiliation etc., if the way you’ve described your skill sets and responsibilities are in line with the position you are applying to. The aim is to tell your story in ways that more clearly link up to the position and organization that you’d like to be a part of.

#3 Include relevant courses and projects and incorporate this in targeted sections

Many students are concerned that they do not have enough work experience to fill a standard one page resume. One way to address this is to create two new sections such as “Selected Courses in International Studies” and “Research Projects in Refugee Advocacy” if you are applying to an internship position at a global NGO focused on refugee resettlement support, for example. It provides the evaluator of your resume the ability to easily understand your courses and projects as aligned with the opportunity you are applying to.

Once you’ve included these targeted sections and completed other parts of your Hopkins resume draft, upload your resume on VMOCK for a detailed assessment using AI technology. Login using your JHED account.

#4 Do your research on the position and company/organization you are applying to

It’s one thing to describe your accomplishments, achievements, and experiences in ways that you remember it and another to intentionally include language that directly resonates with the job description of the position you are applying to and the organization you would like to be a part of. Be mindful of the action verbs and other key words used in the job description and organization website and include this language in your accomplishment statements. Also, cast a wide online net and explore resume templates in your industry of interest to ensure that your resume design follows industry specific best practices.

Lastly, make sure to connect with Hopkins alumni via OneHOP who work in the field that you are interested in applying to for direct insight. Hopkins alumni are eager to support current students!

#5 Recraft your targeted sub-headers in ways that your industry/field would easily relate to

Standard practice in resume design is to create sub-headers such as “Work Experience” and “Leadership Experience,” for example. Since evaluators are often reviewing many applications for a single position, the goal for you is to create sub-headers that would directly relate to the position or key skill set. For example, if you are applying to an internship in journalism and you have background as a copy editor for a student organization newsletter and you also have an online personal blog that you manage, a sub-header titled “Editorial Experience” would strategically frame these two experiences in ways that an evaluator would quickly and conveniently understand and relate to. 

If your other work experience does not fit the new targeted sub header that you created, consider listing remaining experiences in a new section titled “Additional Relevant Experience” or in a new section that highlights transferable skill sets such as “Administrative Experience” or “Programming Experience” and include this section below the section that lists your experiences that are directly related to the position you are applying to.

#6 Include your campus jobs or positions in the service sector field

Recalibrate the way you describe your campus jobs and/or service sector positions by focusing on key skill sets that would resonate with the position you are applying to. For example, if the job description highlights collaboration, program management, assisting a supervisor, or community/stakeholder engagement, how would you create targeted accomplishment statements that would include these key skill sets?

To ensure that you are highlighting transferable/flexible skill sets, refer to similar job descriptions in your field! Job descriptions can be found on Handshake by logging in using your JHED account and O-Net Online is a repository of hundreds of occupational descriptions, e.g. tasks, technology skills, and detailed work activities, that you may use to ensure that your resume content follows industry norms. 

#7 Own your story 

The Life Design Lab wants you to feel empowered with what you can bring to the table and you may be hesitant in listing certain experiences that don’t necessarily link up with the position that you are applying to on the surface level. Whether it be listing a part-time job at the family market/business, working as a barista at a coffee shop, or a daycare/babysitter gig last summer, the way in which you tell your story is key to capturing the attention of a recruiter. Again, highlight key skill sets like engagement in customer or personal service, collaboration with team members or clients, assisting a supervisor or client, etc. Connect with a Life Design Educator to explore ways to do that! Go Hop!

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