Need resume advice? Skip ECS 3390

Yiyi Ding | Mercury Staff



If you’re an ECS major looking for full time employment, a great way to accomplish this is through internships. Unfortunately, ECS 3390 — the class designed to help students with the rigorous internship application cycle — regularly fails to provide relevant guidance; you’re better off talking to the Association for Computing Machinery or other students who actually understand the job market of today.

At UTD, the sole course designed to explicitly prepare ECS students for the challenging internship application process, ECS 3390, relies on outdated conventions such as the use of professional summaries and hobby sections for formatting application material. This can significantly impact students’ career prospects. The course has undergone modifications and restructuring dating back to 2005, and yet professors still use a one-size-fits-all approach, taking no more than a cursory glance at each student’s resume with some professors simply scoring each resume submission with a grade of 100 and providing no further comment or help. This can hinder non-traditional students, such as the 19% of the student body that attend part-time, whose qualifications aren’t always effectively conveyed in a resume template geared toward a recent high school graduate.

ECS 3390 aims to teach students how to communicate and present themselves in the workplace. Much of the course work focuses on activities such as resume design and presenting. However, your experience may vary widely depending on what professor you take it with. Many example resumes provided by professors still contain a professional summary. This section, typically a few sentences encapsulating your work experience, often falls short, offering nothing new for your resume. In truth, it wastes valuable space, potentially undermining your application instead of enhancing it. Slightly less impactful but equally as puzzling, some of the professor-provided resume templates on eLearning inexplicably contain a hobbies section at the bottom.

This becomes even more confusing when you find the standard resume template that UTD provides its students through the Career Center is devoid of these common mistakes. The Career Center’s template is formatted as a single page which is easily scannable by recruiters while excluding the summary section and hobbies section found in ECS 3390 templates.

Syllabi obtained by The Mercury show that some professors deviate from the convention of requiring resumes to be one page, allowing submissions that exceed this length. Since any time spent reviewing a resume for a corporation is expensive, it is extremely important to use an efficient and well-defined format. If people with decades of experience can keep their resume to a single page, then you can, too.

Your resume will almost single-handedly determine your entry into an internship or career, so it’s important to get it right. According to an article by the Indeed Editorial Team, hiring managers spend just a few seconds reviewing each resume. So the meticulous optimization of every part of one’s resume becomes very important, as even a couple superfluous sentences could diminish a student’s internship and job prospects.

While ECS 3390 provides less than desirable advice from professors who haven’t applied to a job in decades, students can still find better resources across campus. Organizations such as the ACM and Women Who Compute offer resume workshops, oftentimes in partnership with companies that are actively hiring students. These organizations provide relevant advice on what an actual hiring manager is looking for in your resume. So, if your goal is to land an internship or a job, then consulting students who have successfully navigated this journey offers the best results, as the advice they provide is more tailored to the current job market and comes from a student who was very recently in your same position.

Given the abundance of resources at UTD, students should not fooled by ECS 3390’s attempt to pass itself as a helpful resource for resume making. Students should instead continue working together by sharing their experiences since the course dedicated to resumes has failed at its one task. There are numerous, more advantageous options available across campus.



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