Finding career opportunities takes planning, preparation, and time.
From writing the best resume for the job, assessing your skill set so that you can position yourself for the best opportunities, to preparing for the interview, following up, and yes, applying, the Career Management Center team can help you put your best self out there.
Your resume is a snapshot of your life story. It should be a living document that reflects your evolving auto biography. It will assist you in landing your next career opportunity. Always be aware of your audience.
Writing your Resume
Identify your story.
What have I most enjoyed in my previous experiences?
Are there activities that I engage in where the time flies by?
What do I find myself discussing with friends and family?
What are the classes that I would take just for fun?
It is also great to identify your skills, this can be done by taking online tests or just knowing yourself.
Take a look at these helpful tips and links to get you started.
- Mix up your word use
- Design the resume for quick skimming
- Use keywords
- Proofread, proofread, and then read it again
- Get professional help with the CMC team
Resume Resource Links
- The Muse- 43 Resume Tips That Will Help You Get Hired
- Resume Writing Tips
- Categorized Action Verbs for Resumes
- Resume Templates 1
- Resume Template 2
Then it is also helpful to Identify your values. Here is a resource with different categories of values and how you can define yours in each category.
- Monster.com- Work Values Checklist
Do your research
Know your Audience and do some research on the company you are applying for. This will help you be more confident in answering and asking questions.
Know Yourself How do your skills, interests, and values relate to this opportunity? How does it relate to your career goals? Keeping in mind the organization’s mission and vision, ask yourself, “What can I contribute to this organization?”
Know the Organization Research the organization. Learn about its mission, products/services, customers/clients, competitors, strategies, market landscape, related current events, and media presence.
Know the Kind of Interview Is the interview in person? Is it over the phone? Or perhaps it is an online video interview through Skype? If your interview is not in person, it is important to find a quiet space where you will not be interrupted by distractions, loud noises, or a loss in service.
Reflect on Past Experiences Many organizations use behavioral-based interviewing, which means they want to understand how you react in different situations. For example, “Can you please tell me about a time there was a conflict within a team you were a part of?” These questions can be tricky if you have not reviewed your prior experiences and thought about the results of your actions.
Get it Right Investigate each potential employer and consider preferences for length, format, and content of your resume. Be sure to follow special instructions for supplemental application materials. Provide all documents requested, and determine if appropriate to send additional, e.g. reference list. If possible, save all of your documents in one PDF and attach them to your application
Apply to Jobs
Applying to internships and jobs is not as easy as submitting your resume and receiving a job offer in a few weeks. This process can take a good deal of time depending on your industry and the process used by the employer.
You will likely be required to write at least one personal statement as a part of your application. A Personal Statement is good have whether you are applying for a job or graduate school.
Admissions committees want to admit motivated students with a strong potential for success in their program. Admissions committees and future employers will want you to articulate your interest in the field, focus on your drive to pursue the degree (or position) and the actions you took to develop knowledge and skills in the academic area. Also, be sure to write about your future goals and how their program (or position) is aligned with your interests and will prepare you to reach your goals.
Be sure to have your statement reviewed before submitting. In addition to review services offered by the Career Management Center, you may want to have a faculty member read it.
CollegeUSA- 10 tips for writing your personal statement
Letter of Recommendation
Most graduate programs will ask for letters of recommendation to support your application. Letters are a valuable part of your application, so building your network of potential letter writers and requesting letters early in the application process is vital.
GradSchoolHub.com- How important are letters of recommendation?
Interviews can be very nerve racking for some, and others it comes so easy. Whenever you go in for an interview you always need to remain calm and confident. Show them you really want this job. Always be prepared and know what you are going in for. Have some questions that you would like to be answered and make sure you are always polite. Good first impressions are everything.
If you are just starting your interview preparation process, it may be helpful to schedule a 30-minute career coaching appointment to discuss what you can expect from the interview process. This can include going over interview attire, overall structure, and basic strategies on how to answer questions. Once you have an idea on what to expect, we recommend scheduling a mock interview. A mock interview allows you to practice your interview skills in a real-life setting. The mock interviews can be customized to your field of interest or a specific interview that you have coming up.
- (The Muse) The Ultimate Interview Guide
Practice Responding to Questions
Take the time to practice interviewing. Think about your responses to common questions. Anticipate questions that may be asked based upon the position description.
Be ready to respond to difficult questions. How will you explain or address a low grade point average? Why did you change your major three times? Do not try to avoid these questions. Be prepared to explain the situation honestly and in a positive manner. Negative results are okay if they are explained as a learning experience.
Remember, the CMC can set up mock interviews with faculty and professors that can best represent the career you are applying for.
This goes back to doing your research about the company you are applying for. Companies like to know that you are truly invested in working for them. Questions should be personalized to the certain job but here is a link to a few questions to get you started.
- (Big Interview) Top 12 Best Questions to Ask at the End of the Job Interview
Dress for Success
Select clothes appropriate for the type of interview, industry, and organization. Make sure to convey professionalism at all times. First impressions make lasting impressions.
The Career Management Center has a Dress for Success Closet available for students. Students can come and borrow dress clothes for interviews.
- (Indeed) How to Dress for Success
Your interview is complete and you feel relieved! You may be drained following an interview and have other obligations, but it is important to follow-up with each individual involved in your interview within 48 hours. This will reinforce that you are indeed interested in the position.
There is more to an offer than solely salary. Some aspects of a job to consider are insurance, vacation/ sick days, and company culture. It is also important to consider whether or not you will be a good fit within the company. Here are a few questions to ask before you accept the job.
- Will you feel welcomed and comfortable to be yourself?
- Do your values align with those of the organization?
- Will the position help you advance your professional goals? If it doesn’t, what are you getting out of it?
Know Your Worth
You are not obligated to take the first offer provided to you by an employer. It is best to do some research before the final interview to truly know if you are receiving your worth. Some things to think about are:
- The cost of living in your location
- Average salary for entry-level employees in your field
- (Monster.com) Determine your Value
After you have completed your research on industry norms, you are ready to assess whether your offer is worthy of negotiation. It’s important to consider your work experience and ensure your experience matches what the organization is seeking. This part may feel intimidating and each offer is unique. For assistance with negotiating your offer, make an appointment with The Career Management Center.
- (Payscale) How to Negotiate a New Job Offer
Accepting or Declining
The final step is accepting or declining your job offer. There are a lot of factors that go into evaluating job offers. There is more to it than seeing an ideal salary and saying yes. Know your worth and decide if you want to negotiate your salary or benefits. Identifying and accepting the right-fit offer for the next chapter in your story is important! Accepting an offer should be taken very seriously. Please seek advice from The Career Management Center if you have questions or concerns about accepting an offer.
- (Lifehacker) How to accept and decline job offers