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Nicole Van Den Heuvel

Nicole Van Den Heuvel ’81 — director, Rice University Center for Career Development — shares her tips for creating a great resume:

All Rice students and young alums share one incredible thing in common: you have either attended — or are attending — Rice University, one of the top universities in the U.S. and the world. You've already been vetted, in a sense, so now make the most of personalizing and tailoring your resume to your intended audience. That's where your uniqueness in your skill set, experience, qualifications and interests will set you apart. And while you can't control the hiring environment, you can control how you present yourself on paper.  

If I could give only one piece of advice about your resume, it is to tailor it to your audience. Rather than being all about you, it's really mostly about the person on the hiring end. Ask yourself: Does my resume showcase why I am the ideal candidate for this particular job? One very effective way is to include a section that highlights "Relevant Skills" or "Relevant Coursework" — or even both. Then list about eight or so skills/classes that are relevant to your experience.

For even more resume resources from the Center for Career Development, check out

We asked Association of Rice Alumni Board of Directors members to share their advice for what makes a strong resume — here's what they had to say: 

Matt Haynie ’03 — When you're tweaking your resume for a particular job posting, make sure you've recently researched the organization and reviewed the job posting. Then, use that info to highlight relevant experience that will make your resume read like it was written for their organization and for this job in particular. That can help make yours stand out if someone is reviewing hundreds of resumes. 

Akilah Mance ’05 — Since you may not have much work experience, highlight relevant coursework. If you are doing it correctly, this section should change slightly as you apply to different types of jobs. You should "tweak" your resume based on the target audience from summer internships to a research opportunity or graduate school. Each needs a slight edit to make it stand out. Good luck!

Michol Ecklund ’97 — Less can be more! I review a lot of resumes and can get lost in the long ones. When describing work experiences, stick to the impactful points rather than listing every task. Good luck, Owls!

Jason Perlioni ’94 — Make it concise and achievement oriented. For every role you highlight on your resume, concisely state 1) your role and 2) what achievements set you apart in that role. This assumes that a hiring firm has multiple candidates, and points out to them your achievements which help you to stand out. 

Corey Devine ’03 — Think resume typos are no big deal? Think again. It's sad but true that a tiny typo can land your resume in the trash. (See: If you're in need of a pair of fresh eyes to review your resume, feel free to reach out to me. 

Students and young alumni: now that you've heard from the experts, be sure to share your resume with someone on Sallyportal! Sometimes, an extra set of eyes is all you need to get your resume ready for submission. Good luck!

Share your Sallyportal Story!

For the February 2017 Sallyportal Newsletter, we’re collecting networking stories. If you have a great networking story (funny or frightening), share it with us!

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Spring Career & Internship Expo Feb. 3

The Spring Career and Internship Expo takes place on Friday, Feb. 3! Students and alumni currently seeking employment will have the opportunity to network with over 100 employers.

Alumni and parent volunteers: young Owls need your help preparing for the expo. Check out the Sallyportal volunteer tab at for the many easy ways you can offer your valuable insight.

Free career webinar Feb. 9

Alumni: interested in making a career change? Don’t miss out on a free webinar offered exclusively to the Rice Sallyportal alumni community. Register today!

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