University of Mississippi

Building a Job Winning Resume

One of the key things to remember about employers is that there are a number of things they are looking for. Some of them are specific to your study of economics and others are skills that you will develop outside of the classroom. All of the skills listed below are things that you should include on your resume if you possess them. If not, you should get started early in your career at UM to build these skills!

GRADE POINT AVERAGE

Some of you were hoping this wouldn’t be on the list, but it is.  How high does your GPA need to be?  Frankly the higher the better for most jobs.  Most who ask want to see a 3.0.

This does not mean that if you have a low GPA you should give up!  Most employers will consider a higher “in major” GPA or one calculated for your last two years.  This helps people who switch from another (unsuccessful) major early in their college career.

What if you can’t ever get your GPA up?  You will still get a job.  Low GPA may mean low salary – top students in economics graduating in 2001 can earn up to $50K.  Students at the bottom of the class may not earn $25K.  You are an economics major— you decide whether this difference in salary is worth doing more work in school.

TECHNICAL SKILLS

Econometrics and Statistical Skills
Many of our best employers are interested in economics majors to perform some type of data analysis work.  This is one type of “training” that you can learn in school that translates directly into a job skill.  More statistics and tougher statistics is generally better than less, easier statistics.

Computer Programming Skills
Employers like to see programming skills. This does not mean “Introduction to the Internet.” At Ole Miss the best language that is accessible to economics majors is Virtual Basic. HTML skills help too, but not as much as a serious programming language.

What Else?
More math is better than less. Solving tougher math problems in class makes you better able to solve problems concerning numbers on the job. The economics department recommends the 261 & 262 sequence.

LEADERSHIP AND TEAM SKILLS
This is where you get credit for things you are probably doing for fun anyway. Employers are interested in seeing what you are able to do when no one is “making” you do it. This is how they can get a feel for whether you can commit to a goal and see it through. It isn’t really important what you do, as long as it is constructive and you give it your all.

For example, were you a member of a fraternity or sorority? If so, what role did you play? Did you sit around and let others do the work or were you the officer that organized the group’s charity drive your senior year?

Participating in sports is also good, even if you aren’t quarterback of the football team. The more serious you are about the sport the more credit that you get. Captains of teams (even intramural teams) get extra consideration. Even people who do solitary sports get credit if they are serious competitors.

WORK EXPERIENCE
Work experience definitely counts. Internships are ideal. If you can’t get an internship, jobs with more responsibility are better than others. If you have some management responsibility in your part time job during the school year that will count. Staying in the same part-time job for a long time can demonstrate that you can make long-term commitments and get along with people, especially bosses.

OTHER
One thing that will impress employers once you get into an interview is an ability to speak fluently and confidently. This isn’t a skill that will show up on your interview, but it will show up! To develop this skill you need to get used to performing in situations where you are under pressure.