How to Create a Cover Letter

How to Create a Cover Letter

How to Create a Cover Letter

A cover letter accompanies your resume. It states your intentions, introduces your voice, highlights specific qualifications and skills. Lastly, it encourages the reader to look at your resume. Your interview starts the moment you apply for an opportunity!

Cover Letter Look & Format:
1. Scannable
Be direct and to the point
3-4 short paragraphs

2. Clean
White space is important!
Avoid italicizing or underlining

3. Keep it Professional
Correct terms (but not jargon)
Consistent, professional font

Parts of a Cover Letter
1. Header
– The header of your cover letter should reflect the organization’s location, hiring manager and the date in which you send in your application. Make sure to do your research before submitting your materials so that you have the most up to date information!
– If the recruiters name is not available, search the organization/company on LinkedIn to see who works there and to get an idea of who might be reading your application

2. Greeting
– Specific name
– Dear Hiring Manager
– Dear Director of Human Resources
– Use a colon or comma

3. Introduction (The Ask)
– State your interest
– Identify connections (if applicable)
– Identify 2-3 skills that make you an excellent fit for the position

4. Body
– States qualifications/skills
– Previous work experience
– Concrete examples
– Impact /results

5. Closing
– Demonstrate research!
– Brand-specific information
– Mission-alignment
– Enthusiasm

6. Thank you
Include closing phrases such as:
– I look forward to speaking with you in the near future.
– Thank you for taking the time to review my credentials.
– Thank you for considering my application.

7. Include signature
– Kind regards,
– Best regards,
– Best,

Cover Letter Building Resources:
How to Write a Cover Letter
Complete guide to writing a cover letter
How to Write a Cover Letter as a College Student
College Student Cover Letter Examples

Make sure to create a new cover letter for each application (but yes, you can use a template). We look forward to helping you get that next big opportunity!

Best,
Let’s Go Team

Resume Building Tips

Resume Building Tips

How to Create a Resume

 

A resume is a summary of your academic background, paid and unpaid work experience, achievements, and co-curricular experiences. It is a strong statement of your skills, abilities, experiences, and accomplishments presented in a way that demonstrates your ‘fit’ for the role you are applying to. It motivates employers to meet you to discuss employment opportunities. Reflect on how you can make your resume describe what you’ve accomplished in your roles. 

Remember: there is no one right way to present yourself on paper. It is beneficial to research the preferred way to present these documents to employers in your field. In addition, be mindful of how you format your resume, particularly with the increased use of applicant tracking systems (ATS) to assess online applications. ATS friendly resumes contain keywords that match the job description, highlight relevant work experience and professional skills. ATS stores, ranks, and scores Resumes and Cover Letters based on main keywords, formats, job titles, work experience, and so many other factors.

Resume Writing Tips: 

1. Review the job description 

  • Identify the required and desired skills and qualifications. Look for keywords. Consider using similar or same wording in your resume if you feel they apply. 

2. Create a list of accomplishments

  • List your education, jobs, volunteer and leadership positions, relevant coursework, and notable projects.
    • What did you enjoy doing or are proud of?

3. Identify your relevant skills and experience

  • Emphasise skills that you’ve gained that can be used in the position that you are applying for.

4. Write descriptive action phrases

  • What you say is important, but how you say it can make all the difference. You have transferable skills* to offer potential employers, whether you are applying to your first job or fifth.
  • Always begin your bullet points with action verbs! 
  • Arrange the descriptive phrases in order of relevance to the position you are seeking. 
  • Avoid using “I” statements and articles (“the” or “a”).

* Transferable skills are skills you have developed in multiple settings that enable you to do your job well across industries. You develop these skills in the classroom, through school projects, in jobs and internships, and through hobbies and extracurriculars.

5. Keep it Consistent 

  • No matter what formatting choice you make, maintain editorial consistency by using that format throughout the document.
    • For example, if one header is in a bold font, make sure all headers are bolded. Each position on your resume should include a title, place of employment, location and date range or year.
    • Resumes that are free of errors with consistent formatting convey attention to detail and professionalism. Always make sure to use spell check before submitting your resume! 

6. Keep it Visually Balanced 

  • The form and function of a resume is for an employer to quickly scan and get an overview of your professional experience within seconds!
  • Strong resumes have a balance of black and white space, meaning you want to avoid an overwhelming amount of text or an overwhelming amount of empty space.
  • Pick a legible font and avoid using text smaller than 10 points.
  • Don’t include any photos and keep graphics to a minimum. If you choose to use color text, make sure everything is legible when the document is printed in black and white.

Resume Building Resources: 

  • Resume Writing: LINK 
  • Online Applicant Tracking System Tips: LINK
  • Resume Writing Guide: LINK
  • Resume Template: LINK
  • Additional Resume Tips + Templates: LINK
  • Resume Tips- LINK

LinkedIn Profile Resources: 

  •  Linkedin Tips – LINK
  •  Linkedin Tips for Students – LINK

We look forward to helping you gain that next big opportunity! 

Best, 

Let’s Go Team

Credit Cards 101

Credit Cards 101

You see it all the time on movies and TV! People go shopping and pull out their nice sparkly credit card to pay for the charge, but what exactly is it? Credit cards are actually a staple in adult finances. Read below for more on what credit cards are and why they matter!

Q: What is a credit card?

During a transaction, a credit card will work the same as a debit card. Both cards have a 16-digit number, a security code, and an expiration date; however, the mechanics behind them are different. 

While debit cards withdraw your own funds from the bank, credit cards draw from a loan. This “loan” is called your credit line. Banks will approve you for a certain loan amount and this loan is the maximum the bank is giving you to spend. If your credit line is $500, then you can only use $500. If your credit line is $1000, then you can only use $1000. 

Because the money is not yours, you have to pay the money back month-to-month. Most banks have a listed minimum payment amount. For example, you may have used $300 of your $1000 credit line, and you’re required to make at least a $35 payment each month. The minimum payments vary from bank to bank. 

Notably, credit cards charge you an interest rate. Because the bank is allowing you to use their money, they will charge you interest to make more money back. If your interest rate is 10%, then if you use $100, you have to pay the bank back $110 ($100 + $10 for interest). 

There are different types of credit cards. Some are specifically meant for college students! As you grow older, you will have options to cards that are specific to travel, rewards shopping, and more.

Q: Why should I get a credit card?

Importantly, credit cards can help build and increase your credit score! A credit card is a perfect way to show lenders that you are a reliable consumer through on-time payments and credit usage. 

If you pay your credit card bill every month on time, your credit score will go up! If you pay more than the minimum payment each month, your credit score will also go up!

Additionally, using only a portion of your credit limit is extremely beneficial! Financial experts recommend using only 30% of your credit limit. This indicates to other lenders that although you have access to more money, you do not need to use it all. So if you have a $1000 credit limit, it is recommended that you only use a constant $300. If you use more than 30%, your credit score may decrease, but if you manage to keep it at 30% or lower, your credit score will go up!

Q: Who can get a credit card?

There are a few requirements for a credit card. You must:

  • Be at least 18 years old. At this age, you must have a reliable source of income (your financial aid counts);
  • Have a social security number. If you are a DACA recipient, you can use the SSN assigned to you to apply;

Applications will then ask for other basic information such as your residence, birthdate, and more. Note that some banks may require that you have a co-signer. A co-signer is someone who becomes responsible for your debt if you cannot pay it back. If you miss your credit card payments, then the co-signer begins to be charged and becomes liable for the debt. 

After submitting an application, you will know if you got approved or not within a few business days. Some cards let you know if you got approved instantly!

Q: How do I get a credit card?

The first step is choosing a credit card to apply to. Because we are not financial experts, we cannot recommend specific cards; however, there is plenty of information available online. Some cards are specifically designed for college students. While your credit limit may be lower, it will have more advantages for college students such as easy approval or no yearly charges. 

Google, “best credit cards for college students,” and choose according to what you think is best! Remember that this is a huge financial decision and can impact you negatively if you get rejected. First, make sure that you can prove you have access to financial aid. A work-study or part-time job will always be a plus! If you have not worked for a few months anywhere, you should wait until you have a longer history of income. Credit cards are a safer option for people who have been working for at least a year or two.

Follow the links below for more resources on credit cards! Please remember that we at the Let’s Go team are not financial experts. More individualized advice is required by experts. 

 

Credit Score 101

Credit Score 101

We’ve all heard the term thrown around, but what exactly is a credit score? It seems like a random number assigned to you by the universe. Some adults have a “good” score while others have a “bad” score. Regardless of its ambiguity now, however, it is a significant number that can affect your finances as you begin your journey into adulthood. Read more on credit scores below!

Q: What is a credit score?

A credit score is a number that represents your “creditworthiness”. The number signals to lenders whether they should let you borrow money or not. It can also determine what interest rate lenders choose to charge you. The higher your credit score, the more lending opportunities you’ll have. 

A credit score ranges from 300 to 850. Typically, a “very poor,” score is one between 300 and 579, a “fair,” score is one between 580 and 669, a “good,” score is between 670 and 739, a “very good,” score is between 740 and 799, and an “exceptional,” score is between 800 and 850. 

Q: How do I get a credit score?

Your credit score is determined by a mixture of factors, each with varying significance. There are 5 main factors that determine your score: 

  1. Payment History – Payment history refers to the record you have of paying other debts on time or not. The more you pay your bills when they’re due, the better this portion of your score will be.
  2. Amounts Owed – This doesn’t necessarily regard your overall debt, but the rate at which you use your credit. Lenders want to see that you don’t use large portions of their loan all at the same time. For example, if a credit card gives you $1000, they don’t want to see you using $800 of it. 
  3. Length of Credit History – Length of credit history refers to how long you have been borrowing money from lenders. Typically, the longer you’ve been borrowing money, the better your score will get. This portion of your school will get better as you grow older!
  4. Credit Mix – This refers to the type of debts you have. There are different kinds of loans such as student loans, car loans, home loans, credit cards and retail accounts. Your credit score typically increases when there is variety in your loans. This does not mean that you must have all kinds of loans for a good score, but it signals how you’re choosing to spend your money. 
  5. New Credit – This refers to how often you’re asking lenders to borrow money. Lenders do not want to see that you are constantly asking for loans. Usually, you should wait at least six months between opening loans. For example, if you took out a credit card with your bank in January, it is best to wait until June until you go to an Electronics store for a card. 

For some people, some factors weigh more than others. For example, the first time you take out a loan, your credit score might be more dependent on the amount you owe rather than your payment history since you don’t have a “history,” just yet. 

Q: Why is a credit score important?

A credit score can determine whether you get a loan or not, and what interest rate you have to pay your loans back at. Say that you want to get a car in the near future but don’t have all the money to buy it from a car dealership. You decide to buy the car with credit but the car dealership rejects you the loan because of your “bad” credit score. It may work the same for when you want to buy a home, or even finance an expensive cell phone. 

Additionally, a credit score can be viewed by certain actors who you give permission to. For example, when you are applying for an apartment, the landlord may want to know your credit score. For the landlord, this might determine whether you’ll pay your rent on time or not. If your credit score is “bad,” they can reject you. 

Overall, the score has a significant impact in the world of finance. 

Q: Who gets a credit score?

Anyone in the United States is given a credit score determined by a set of identifying factors. Although social security number is a common identifier for lenders, they can also use your address, birth date, phone number, and more to determine who you are. In other words, you do not have to be documented to receive a credit score. 

Q: When do I get a credit score?

Your credit score starts when you open your first lending account. If you have any student loans, you already have a credit score, even if you’ve been unaware of it. 

More Resources

How to Build Credit

Check Your Credit Score for Free

Filing Taxes as a College Student FAQs

Filing Taxes as a College Student FAQs

Adulting is scary! Suddenly, money is everywhere and confusing. Part of that confusion can definitely stem from filing taxes. Taxes, however, can be tackled, no matter how mysterious. Here are some FAQs about filing taxes as a college student.

***Please note that Let’s Go to College CA can not offer professional tax advice. This post serves as a collection of answers found online. Consult a tax professional for specific questions regarding your unique situation***

Q: Do college students need to file taxes?

A: ANYONE who is single (not legally married) AND earned more than $12,400 in 2020 is required to file taxes. Earned income includes salaries, wages, tips, professional fees, and taxable scholarships and fellowship grants. 

Additionally, you are required to file taxes if your unearned income was more than $1,100. Unearned income includes taxable interest, ordinary dividends, capital gain distributions, unemployment compensation, taxable social security benefits, pensions, annuities, and distributions of unearned income from a trust.   

Source: Internal Revenue Service (IRS) 

Q: Can my parents still claim me as a dependent?

A: Yes! Your parents can claim you as a dependent until you are 24 years old AS LONG AS they provide more than HALF of your living support AND you are a full-time college student. If your parents provide less than half of your support and/or if you are not a full-time student, you should file your taxes independently from them.

Source: Internal Revenue Service (IRS) 

Q: Can I file my own taxes as a dependent?

A: Yes! Even if you are a dependent, you may still file taxes if you had earned income in 2020. If you had a job where you were taxed, you may be entitled to a refund. All you have to do is note in your tax return that you will be claimed as a dependent with your parents. A tax preparer or tax preparing website will assist you with this. 

Source: Internal Revenue Service (IRS) 

Q: What is the American Opportunity Tax Credit?

A: If you/your parents make less than $80,000 a year, you may be entitled up to a $2,500 credit from the government. The credit is meant to help you pay for qualified education expenses. The main factors of eligibility are being enrolled at least half-time during the beginning of 2020, not having finished the first 4-years of higher education, and having no felony or drug conviction.

If the credit brings down the overall tax you owe to zero, you can have 40 percent of any remaining amount of credit (up to $1,000) refunded to you.

Source: Internal Revenue Service (IRS)

Q: What information do I need to file taxes?

A: The main things you will need to file your taxes are your social security number, your mailing address, a W-2 form(s) (provided by your employers), a 1098-T (provided by your school), and a 1098-E (provided by your school loan servicer). 

Source: Internal Revenue Service (IRS) 

Q: Can I file taxes if I am undocumented?

A: Yes! If you are undocumented, you are required to file taxes if you made more than $12,400 in 2020. 

Source: The Balance

Q: What if I don’t have a social security number?

A: If you do not have a social security number, but still are required to file taxes, you can use an Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN). The ITIN does not allow you to work legally in the U.S., but can be used when reporting taxes. To get an ITIN, you can apply for one through the IRS. 

Source: Internal Revenue Service and The Balance

Q: What if I don’t have a mailing address?

A: You can choose to use a P.O box for tax filing purposes. If you are experiencing homelessness, however, you can ask a shelter or service center if you may use their address on your records and they may allow it.

Source: Get It Back 

Q: Can I claim a device such as a laptop or a tablet as a qualifying educational expense?

A: Yes! If you bought a device in 2020 because it was required for school, then it qualifies as an education expense. However, if you are claiming the Lifetime Learning Credit, you may not deduct equipment purchased from the education institution. 

Source: Turbo Tax

 

How to Vote in California: Registering, Mailing Ballots, and Propositions!

How to Vote in California: Registering, Mailing Ballots, and Propositions!

By ARIANA LOPEZ TORRES

Ariana is studying microbiology, she enjoys listening to true-crime podcasts and spending time with her cat Luna.

How to register

California offers voter registration online at RegisterToVote.ca.gov

Voter Registration Guide:  Cal Matters Voting Guide  

To register in California you must:

  • Be a United States citizen
  • Be a resident of California
  • Be at least 18 years old or older on Election day
  • Not be currently in state or federal prison or on parole for the conviction of a felony

Poll Workers 

Be a Student Poll Worker

To be a student poll worker you need to be 16 years old, a U.S. citizen,  must maintain a 2.5-grade point average, and receive permission from your parents or guardian. Additionally, you may be eligible for a stipend ranging from $64 to $150 depending on where you live. 

More information found here

Become a Poll Worker 

To serve as a poll worker you must be:

  • A registered California voter or legal resident of the U.S. who would be eligible to vote 

Responsibilities:

  • Set up and close voting place
  • Help voters understand their rights 
  • Protects ballots and voting equipment 

To apply to become a poll worker, contact your county elections official for an application

Vote by Mail 

All registered voters will receive a vote-by-mail ballot for the November 3, 2020, General Election. 

Steps:

  1. Fill out your ballot
  2. After you have voted, insert your ballot in the envelope provided, making sure you complete all required information on the envelope
  3. You may return your voted ballot by mail, in person, or to a drop box;
  • If you are returning your ballot by mail, it must be postmarked on or before Election Day and received by your county elections office no later than 17 days after Election Day
  • If you are returning your ballot in person or dropping it in a drop box, it must be delivered no later than the close of polls at 8:00 pm on November 3rd
  • Anyone may return your ballot for you, as long as they do not get paid on a per ballot basis. In order for your ballot to be counted, you must fill out the authorization section found on the outside of your ballot envelope. 

More information on elections, candidates, voting, and helpful resources can be found here.

Propositions

Propositions, also known as ballot measures, are laws, issues, or questions that appear on a state ballot for voters to decide. They are the only way to change a state constitution in all states except Delaware.  

Title Subject  Description 
Proposition 14 Bonds Borrow Money to Continue STEM Cell Research

Background: Issues $5.5 billion in bonds for the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine (CIRM) to conduct stem cell research.

Voting YES: allows for $5.5 billion bonds to be borrowed for stem cell and other medical research. Increases focus on improving access to treatments by changing CIRM structure.

Voting NO: a $5.5 billion bond is not issued.

Proposition 15 Taxes Increase Commercial Property Tax to fund Schools & Local Governments 

Background: Current tax assessment is from Prop 13 (1978) without adjustment for inflation since then.

Voting YES: property taxes on commercial properties worth more than $3 million would go to fund local government and schools. Prop 15 would be phased in starting in 2022, raising $6 to $12 billion yearly. 

Voting NO: property taxes do not change from what was approved in 1978.

Proposition 16 Affirmative Action  End the Ban on Affirmative Action

Background: repeals Prop 209, which prohibits discrimination or preferential treatment based on race, sex, color, ethnicity, or national origin in public employment, education, and contracting. 

Voting YES: allows “diversity” to be considered by public agencies. Does not alter current laws guaranteeing equal protection or prohibiting unlawful discrimination.

Voting NO: Prop 209 ban on affirmative action remains in effect. 

Proposition 17 Suffrage Restoring the Rights to Vote to People on Parole

Background: Currently, the CA Constitution requires people with felonies to complete their imprisonment and parole before regaining their right to vote.

Voting YES: allows people on parole to vote, if they are U.S. citizens, residents of California, and at least 18 years old. 

Voting NO: people on parole will continue to be unable to vote.

Proposition 18 Suffrage Voting Rights for Some 17-year-olds

Background: Currently, the CA Constitution requires voters to be at least 18-years-old on the election date to vote in that election.

Voting YES: allows 17-year-olds to participate in primary and special elections if they will be 18 years old by the next general election. 

Voting NO: no changes to CA constitution no one under 18 years of age can vote. 

Proposition 19 Taxes Property Tax Transfers and Exemptions 

Background: Changes tax assessment transfers and inheritance rules

Voting YES: allows all homeowners that are over 55, disabled, or victims of natural disasters to be eligible for property tax savings. Inherited if used as primary homes or farms. Creates a state fire protection services fund. 

Voting NO: some homeowners that are over 55, disabled, or victims of natural disasters are eligible for property tax savings. All inheritance properties remain eligible. 

Proposition 20 Law Enforcement  Changes to Criminal Sentencing, Parole, & DNA Collection 

Background: Makes changes to policies related to criminal sentencing charges, prison release, and DNA collection.

Voting YES: makes changes to AB 109 (2011), Prop 47 (2012), and Prop 57 (2016). These props intended to reduce the prison population. Increases penalties for certain theft and fraud misdemeanors. Require DNA collection for certain misdemeanors. Increases the requirements needed for early parole consideration. Redefine 51 crimes as violent, excluding them from the parole program.

Voting NO: no changes. Penalties would not increase for certain misdemeanors. Early parole consideration factors would not be increased. DNA collection only required for felonies, sex offenders, and arsonists. 

Proposition 21 Housing  Rent Control

Background: in 2010, Prop 10 was introduced and rejected. Prop 10 would have allowed rent control on any type of property. Prop 21 builds upon this but adds more specifics. 

Voting YES: allows cities to limit rent increases for buildings at least 15 years old. Exempts single-family homeowners who own up to two homes.

Voting NO: no changes. Rent control is limited. 

Proposition 22 Business  App-Based Drivers as Contractors

Background: Considers app-based drivers to be independent contractors and enacts several labor policies related to app-based companies

Voting YES: Define app-based rideshare and delivery drivers as independent contractors. Create new labor and wage policies such as an earnings floor and limited work hours for app-based drivers. Requires companies to provide or make available occupational insurance. 

Voting NO: App-based drivers could be classified as employees under AB 5 (109). Drivers would have less work flexibility but also have standard benefits that businesses must provide employees.

Proposition 23 Healthcare  Regulation of Dialysis Clinics 

Background: This prop comes from an ongoing conflict between a labor union for healthcare workers (SEIU-UHW West) and CA’s two largest dialysis businesses (DaVita and Fresenius Medical Care).

Voting YES: Require every clinic to: have at least one physician present at all time, report data to the state, obtain state approval before closing a clinic, and not discriminate against patients  based on the source of payment

Voting NO: no extra requirements for clinics to be imposed 

Proposition 24 Business  Stronger Consumer Privacy Laws 

Background: The California Consumer Privacy Act of 2018 (CCPA) went into effect in January 2020 and enforcement began in July 2020. The act gave individuals more control over their data. Companies have to explain if data is being sold or collected. Consumers can opt out or request data deletion.

Voting YES: Strengthens current privacy laws. Defines data “sharing” to allow consumers to limit data sharing. Establishes the Privacy Protection Agency. 

Voting NO: No changes from the CCPA (2018)

Proposition 25 Trails  Cash Bail. Should We Keep it or Not?

Background: Senate Bill 10 (SB 10) was passed in 2018 which would make CA the first state without cash bail for those awaiting trials. Cash bail was replaced with risk assessment based on the suspect’s risk of failing to appear in court and on the suspect’s risk to public safety. SB 10 was put on hold due to a petition.

Voting YES: upholds  SB 10. Cash bail would be replaced with risk assessments.

Voting NO: Rejects SB 10. The bail system would remain as is.