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I'm in my schools co-op program. An instructor said I should include the "awesome courses I have taken and what I did in them". Is this recommend? A potential problem could be that the reader wouldn't know the courses offered at the schools I have attended. In this situation I would have to write a course description for each and this would significantly increase the size of my cover letter or resume.

Also I can always send my transcript so I don't see the point of this. Would it be a better idea to mention some large projects I had done but take them out of school since it's not important?

I actually do have 4 or 5 other jobs I can mention on the resume/cover letter for the field I'm in. So I do have some work experience.

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I'm assuming you don't have enough previous work experience, or none at all, and your only strong point is the school you followed and what you did during it.

Schools teach you things, regardless of how "awesome" they are. So that's exactly what you need to keep in mind when writing things down.

Don't concentrate on describing each course in detail. Instead, focus on what you have accomplished throughout school. When applying to a job, where you got and what you obtained is more important than who helped you get there and how you got there, unless the road you took was indeed exceptional (read: unlike that taken by the countless other students).

In short, list the important theoretical concepts that you studied and are relevant to the job. If you've done relevant assignments and, even better, projects, list those too.

  • Actually I do have quite a bit of work experience – bobby Mar 7 '14 at 3:11
  • When you say "list" do you literally mean list? I thought it's bad to just "list" in the sense you don't say anything showing you know how it's applicable or how it's used? For example "listened to customers" vs "listened to customers to ensure you are helping them find the right thing" – bobby Mar 7 '14 at 3:14
  • In that case, I'd focus more on getting your relevant work experience on paper. A short sentence describing each item in your list is by no means going into details about it, so it won't hurt, just don't overdo it. Always keep in mind the fact that, unless you did something special, what you're writing down about your school in your cover letter has probably been written by a ton of other students. – user11026 Mar 8 '14 at 16:53
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I like you last idea: Mention the projects you did and their scope, to show that you have hands-on experience doing real stuff, (you can/should mention that they were done in the school context) but writing up "I took a course in Advanced Data Structures", etc does IMO sound strange.

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    .... why? This doesn't attempt to explain why it is correct. – enderland Mar 6 '14 at 22:34
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    @enderland I'd disagree, as he pointed out here it shows "that you have hands-on experience doing real stuff". That's a very good reason to mention projects and their scope when applying for co-ops or internships. – Rachel Aug 6 '14 at 17:49

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