Category Archives: Resumes
While I post about many other topics, I still haven’t forgotten the purpose of this blog. The purpose of this blog is to give advice in regards to career paths, the economy, and proposed steps forward. I realize that I have been a working professional for only two years. But in those two years, I’ve worked for two very diverse, large-scale companies and have held a total of four positions. Some may think I’m “not qualified” to give advice, or maybe that this blog shouldn’t exist at all. Maybe they’re right. But I feel that I’ve made tremendous strides as a young working professional, and my hope is that I can share my experiences and what I’ve learned thus far so you can avoid making those mistakes. That is why I’m here.
Let’s start from the beginning. Let’s say you’re approaching college graduation. By this time, most people would recommend that you should have “at least two internships under your belt” and that you “should have been applying for jobs all year long as a senior”. Yes, this is sound advice. Is it absolutely necessary? No. At least in my opinion it’s not.
To be perfectly honest with you, I wasn’t thinking about my future that much when I was in college. Sure, I was working towards a degree and trying to figure out what I wanted to do with my life, just like everyone else. But I realized early on that I wanted to truly enjoy college. I did not have any internships. I did not have a part-time job. I spent one summer with friends and my new boyfriend, the second summer at weddings, the third summer in Europe on a study abroad trip, which leaves us with the fourth summer- the summer after graduation. THAT’S when I started applying for jobs. Personally, this was the best decision I’ve ever made. I knew that I would be working for the rest of my life, so why bog down the happiest time of my life with internships and part-time jobs that would turn out to be “less important” in the long run? I chose to live my life in the moment, and I haven’t regretted it since.
Right after I graduated, my roommates and I moved out of the townhouse we’d lived in for two years. I moved back in with my mom and worked a part-time job as a server at a restaurant to make some extra cash. You better believe when I wasn’t working, I was on my computer 24/7 applying for jobs. I would wake up in the morning, grab a cup of coffee from the kitchen, walk upstairs, and start scouring the internet for job listings in my pajamas. I remember my mom saying, “Shouldn’t you be getting dressed and dropping your resume off at places?” This brings me to my next point. There are so many tools available to us now that didn’t even exist five years ago. Yahoo Jobs, CareerBuilder, Monster, Indeed, Simply Hired, LinkedIn- the world we live in now is a job seeker’s dream world! You can immediately apply for jobs across the world with the click of button. No more snail mail. No more dropping your resume off in person. Live in a small town and want to get out? Always dreamed of living in a different country? You can! The internet is your oyster.
I mainly used Indeed when applying for jobs. This is because Indeed takes all of the job listings out there, from CareerBuilder, Monster, Yahoo, Simply Hired etc, and compiles them all into one website. Indeed and LinkedIn are the two I would recommend most. My dad has always said to me, “Getting the interview is the hardest part.” Boy, was he right. So before shooting off your resume into cyberspace, make sure it’s up-to-date and that you have an outstanding cover letter (more advice on that here). The downfall of applying for jobs on the internet is that after awhile, all of these resumes and cover letters begin to look the same to employers. Make yours stand out in a unique way without going over the top. It should look professional, neat, organized, and should be no longer than a page if you’re just starting out.
I submitted about 10-15 resumes online per day. If I was feeling really ambitious, sometimes I’d get to 20-25. I didn’t stick to just one industry-I applied to multiple ones. All I wanted was to get my foot in the door; I didn’t really care what industry the job was posted in. I knew I just needed to get some experience under my belt. My dream industry will find its way to me… eventually.
I applied for jobs, in all different industries, all sorts of positions, 10-15 per day, for a month and a half. I only got called for 3 or 4 interviews. One of those interviews turned out to be my lucky charm.
Don’t give up. Be persistent. If there’s a job out there that you really want and is realistically attainable, use LinkedIn to network. Communicate with others. Build your network. Ask for help. But most importantly, know in your heart that things will work out for you. Everyone’s timeframe is different, so don’t get discouraged. And by all means, if you want advice or need help, email me.
Seriously. You can pick my brain.
We’re all aware that it’s extremely important to create items we may need for future success. This includes creating resumes, mock interview situations, stationary for thank-yous, and so on. Regrettably, many of us don’t realize that the updating of these items is just as important as the creation.
This morning after a prolonged session at the gym, I perched at my desk and started clicking away on my MacBook. Although the rest of my life is completely organized, my desktop, for reasons unbeknownst to me, is not. I know I should save pictures and articles into labeled folders, but somehow I find that saving them to my desktop makes it easier to find them… an organized mess, if you will.
After a few minutes of clicking, I stumbled upon my resume. Even though my resume is only a year old, some of the contents seem truly irrelevant now. By no means am I thinking of searching for another job, but I realized that if I don’t keep it up to date, there may be pieces that flutter from my mind every now and again. And so, with that, I have decided it’s time for an update. I mean, my address on my resume still reflects my home in Arizona. And I’ve moved TWICE since then. Silly me.
Best advice: The more current it is, the better off you’ll be.
Your resume needs to instantly communicate your career target with a descriptive headline. It also needs to adequately reflect your depth of experience in a brief, hard-hitting opening summary. This summary should highlight your top selling points.
For your objective, add one that spells out your goals and shows the relevance of past experience. For example: “Award-winning educator seeking to leverage five years of teaching experience to transition into corporate training.”
Add new employment, skills, and accomplishments. Changing jobs, earning a promotion, and receiving expanded responsibilities should be reflected in an updated resume. Also include professional activities, such as earning certificates, degrees, and courses. Don’t forget to add any work in progress, including your graduate school degree.
Delete less relevant experience. For example, those of us who have recently graduated probably shouldn’t have any information on our resume from high school. Replace your high school achievement with your most recent work experience or professional activity. Most corporations probably won’t care that you were among the top 10% of your class for the highest AP history exam score…
Another great idea is to start a kudos file. Resolve to start a file for projects and successes you achieve during the year. Copy performance reviews and keep them in this file. Print out complimentary or congratulatory emails and file these away. List new committees you join. Jot down assignments you complete during the year. Include details of quantifiable results (e.g., percentages, dollar amounts, before/after comparisons) of your efforts while still fresh in your mind. Your kudos file will remind you where you excelled so you’ll be ready to punch up your resume.
Finally, be sure to update regularly. You should update your resume throughout the year, not just at the beginning or end. Think of it as a progressive project. You never know when opportunity may come knocking at your door.
After reading over some peers’ job searching mishaps/confusion, I have decided to post a tid-bit of advice. Besides going to company websites, submitting your resume and cover letter, and anxiously waiting by your phone/email for some sort of response, I have run across a few websites that may help those active in the job search.
Places To Post Your Resume:
Websites To Use When Conducting a Job Search:
1. indeed.com (Thank you to Jessy Albaz for opening up my eyes to this amazing website! They take ALL postings from careerbuilder, monster, yahoo, and many other websites so that every job listing is right under your nose!)
2. HeadHunters websites. Go to Google and type in “(your major) headhunters”. You’d be amazed as to how many places you can post your resume. To learn more about what headhunters actually are, check this out: http://www.execsearches.com/articles/headhunters-who-are-they.htm
6. internqueen.com (For those of you looking for internships, this website is incredible. InternQueen has been featured in The Wall Street Journal, FoxBusiness, The New York Post, AOL, Alloy.com, YPulse.com, E!News.com, Yahoo Business, MarieClaire.com, and more.)
I apologize for the abrupt ending of this post, but I hope this information helps my fellow job searchers. I have used each and every one of these websites and know that they really do work. On average, I have at least 10 new emails daily from employers who have found my resume online and wish to speak with me. Might as well give it a go, it’s much more efficient than searching in the newspaper!
After going through the interview process a number of times, I’ve come up with some advice to help fellow first-time interviewers. Of course, it needs to be understood that the interviews I’ve participated in have been for business positions, but I figure first-time interview questions are similar across the board. I know many people Google interview advice all the time. The information in this article is a collection of my research, knowledge, and experience in the interviewing process. In other words, I know it has a wonderful chance of working because I have used this advice and gotten called back to second interviews. I plan to have a job very soon, just waiting for the right one to come along.
In an interview, employers really want to know six things. Can you do the job? Do you have a positive attitude? Are you a motivated employee? How interested are you in the company and the work they do? Will you fit into this organization’s work culture? And most importantly, why do you want to work for this organization?
Communication skills, a strong work ethic, teamwork skills, and initiative are four great qualities to keep in mind while answering interview questions.
My Five Steps to Nail an Interview
1. Do Your Research
One of the most important things you can do before an interview is research the company. You need to have knowledge of the industry, the company interviewing you, and obviously the position you are interviewing for. You can find this information by looking at employer websites, annual reports, newspapers, and magazines. An amazing website that has helped with my research is hoovers.com. And you don’t even have to sign up!
2. Know Who You Are
Know your skills and strengths, as well as your weaknesses and what you’re doing to improve upon them. Analyze the job description and match your skills and qualities to that description. Always have examples ready, you may need to back up your answer.
3. Effective Communication and Collaboration
Behavioral questions are a favorite for many employers. When an employer asks you a behavioral question, they are looking for your ability to handle a task, assignment, or situation. Many interviewers think that past behavior is a good indicator of the present, but make sure not to dwell too much on the past. The company doesn’t necessarily want to know everything you did in your past- they are more interested in what you can do for them in the future. Behavioral questions usually cover specific skills required by the position, such as teamwork, leadership, communication, time management, decision-making, and problem-solving.
4. Be the Best Candidate
Convey your professionalism and develop a connection with the interviewer. Interviewers can tell when you are using cliche answers, so do your best to individualize them. Always be 15 minutes early. Make a good impression. Smile. Make eye contact. Use a firm handshake. Always have several copies of your resume handy. Be positive when describing your experiences. Remember that conservative attire is always the most appropriate. Express confidence and be approachable.
5. Finish Strong and Leave a Lasting Impression
Always always always ask questions at the end of the interview. This is the biggest mistake first-time interviewers make. You need to show your interest in the company, so if you are asked, be sure to have a list of questions prepared. Questions I have asked in the past include: What are the company’s strengths and weaknesses compared to its competition? What kind of work can I expect to be doing the first year? What is the organization’s plan for the next five years, and how does this department fit in? Never ask about salary or benefits! Wait until you are made an offer. Be enthusiastic when you leave and project confidence as you shake hands. A strong closing leaves a good final impression.
One more thing…
The Top 6 Questions Interviewers Ask
1. Tell me about yourself.
2. Why did you major in …?
3. What are your career ambitions?
4. What motivates you?
5. What are your strengths and weaknesses?
6. Why should we hire you?
Prepare for these and you will be able to answer any variation in a heartbeat. Happy Interviewing!