resume

The One College Assignment That Actually Matters

college assignment
I sometimes find myself wondering how my college assignments could possibly relate to my future career. It seems like I memorize all these theories and concepts, without knowing their practical applications. I mean seriously, has anyone in the real world ever dissected a sentence?! My favorite professors are the rare ones who make an attempt to relate what we’re learning to our futures. It’s often through assignments/projects that I’ve been able to see the things I learn in college extending into my “real life”. Lately, it seems that all my professors this semester are talking about that “portfolio” we’re supposed to be compiling.  So what exactly is a professional portfolio and how do I make one?

The point of a portfolio is to be able to showcase real examples of your work to those interviewing you. It’s a way to show off your skills and strengths as a professional. What does my portfolio contain? I have writing samples from the blogs that I write for (this being one!), a letter of recommendation, feature stories I wrote for my internship over this summer and class assignments that are comparable to tasks I’d have in the workforce. I also make sure I have a few copies of my current resume just in case. I know some people keep their own personal business cards in their portfolio, as well as ones they receive.

Ultimately, what you put in your professional portfolio is up to you—whatever you think future employers would be impressed by. If you have special awards or achievements, show them off! This is your time to shine. College is a four-year period that allows you to build up and add to this crucial piece for your future, so it’s important you have something to show for it!

Make Your Resume The Best-ume

Creating a resume is the biggest wake up call of your life. Not only do you have to think of all the responsibilities you had—or didn’t have—at your last internship, but you need to find a way to stand out. Especially when writing a resume for the very first internship you’re applying for and the only work you’ve ever known is a good old fast food restaurant, it might be tempting to embellish or even lie. While you certainly have to sell yourself and prove to the potential employer that you can get the job done and done well, there are lots of tips and tricks to keep in mind when crafting your resume.

Most importantly, you have to tell the truth. Think of yourself as Pinocchio. Sure, embellishing your duties here and there might seem like no biggie. This particular interviewer might not call up your references and ask. That added skill that you don’t really have might not be needed for this job…but what if they do call? What if that skill’s needed? Adding to your resume might help get you an interview—or even the gig—but at the end of the day, it isn’t worth it. Knowing you lied might trip you up during the interview, especially if they call into question what you wrote (not that they’ll think you’re lying necessarily, they just need to know more sometimes). Honesty is really the best policy for jobs.

If you don’t have a lot of experience or feel like a particular internship didn’t give you a lot of responsibilities, don’t sweat it. Resumes should be limited to one page. Honestly, we’re in college—if you have that much more than a page worth of stuff to tell in a resume, I applaud you. Stick to the most relevant experiences you’ve had. Even if it was an award you won in high school or a major accomplishment, it can stay on—though eventually you’ll cut those things off as you grow in experience and more related qualifications. Instead of lying to fill out your one page, you can also discuss classes you’ve taken that are pertinent to the position. If you want to be a web design intern, add on your web design class. But also be weary of tacking on your whole schedule. Be choosy about what you list on your resume, and keep the unrelated or unhelpful off the page if possible.

In addition to being choosy about the positions you include, you have to be choosy about how you sell yourself. Your interviewer wants to get to know you—but in a work-based sense. Meaning keep your life story out of your resume! If you had a life changing trip to another country, great for you. But it doesn’t necessarily have to be on the page (unless you can add “speaks Italian” to your skill set or gained some kind of related experience while abroad). You don’t need to include a head shot, your random hobbies or even your likes about a particular internship. These things can come up in the interview—if they’re worthwhile—and that kind of talk can be saved for in-person.

The resume is all about the basics: who’d you work with, where did you work , when were you working there, what did you do there with a touch of why you’re qualified for the new position you’re interviewing for. For every internship or job you list, make sure to include all those details. Have at least three bullets for each describing—with action verbs, like “Researched this” and “Wrote that”–some, if not all, of your responsibilities. Include a skills section for specialties, like Adobe InDesign or html or any languages you may know. Don’t forget to have a section for your education, not just the school but possibly your GPA, if you’re on the dean’s list or anything that helps you stand out. You can also have an honors and awards section, which may include scholarships, any awards you’ve won, or any mentions of excellence. Every accomplishment, no matter how seemingly trivial, counts and can make the difference between you and another applicant.

At the end of the day, a resume is a sheet of paper. Yes, it is important and yes, you should spend the time and energy to make it look and sound nice and professional. But you in person is worth more than you on paper. So don’t sweat it if you don’t have any awards to your name or your skill set appears limited. Put yourself out there, let your personality shine in your interviews and don’t just let your resume do the talking.

– ToonyToon

College Graduates: Having a Bachelor’s Degree Is Not Enough

The following is a guest post by Noel Rozny of myFootpath

The college diploma: With graduation just around the corner, it’s that important-looking piece of paper that college graduates are dreaming of this time of year.

Too bad you can’t take it with you to a job interview.

The truth is that once you enter the working world, the bachelor’s degree you worked really hard to get is going to occupy just a small amount of space on a much more important piece of paper: your resume.

That’s right: it’s your resume, not your actual diploma that future employers care about. Sure, they want to see that you graduated from college, preferably in a field related to the job you’re applying to. But more importantly, they want to see what kind of job skills you have, where you worked, and what kind of impact you had on that organization.

And the resume is they key to relaying all of this information. If it’s done correctly, your resume can get you past the hundreds of other applicants going after the same position (the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reports the unemployment rate is still 8.5 %) and into the interview room.

So if you want to a job after graduation, you’ll need to start working on your resume now.

How to Get a Jump Start on Your Resume

1. Get Help From a Professional

Do you have a resume? If not, start working on yours right now. Your college or university probably has a career center on campus, so take advantage of it. The career experts there can help you build a resume from scratch and best of all, they’ll do it for free. As an alternative, there are also many professional resume writing services that can help you out for a fee.

2. Don’t Forget Collateral Materials

So you helped design the brochure for your dorm’s annual fundraiser? Awesome! Did you write a letter or article that was included in your student newspaper? Great! Get these materials together so you can take them to future interviews. Future employers don’t just want to hear about what you did, they want to see it if at all possible. Put your samples in a nice clip book or organizer and bring them to your interview. Even if you email any links beforehand, it’s still nice for your interviewer to be able to see what you worked on in person.

3. Go Digital

It’s not enough to buy some nice letterhead and call it a day. Nowadays you also need a strong digital presence, so that when recruiters Google your name, they get your LinkedIn profile and your Google+ profile, not some ridiculous Facebook photo that’s 5 years old.

If you haven’t joined these social networks yet, do it! They’ll not only help you show up positively in the search results, but they’re also great networking tools. Put up a professional head shot, use strong keywords to describe who you are and what you want to do professionally, and above all else, keep them free from profanity and other inappropriate posts.

I know it sounds like a lot of work, but trust me, it’s well worth it. Job searches can take several months so the sooner you get started, the closer you’ll be to that first job out of college.

Noël Rozny is Web Editor & Content Manager at myFootpath, a career and education resource for students of all ages. Visit myFootpath.com to find the bachelor’s degree, master’s degree or PhD program that’s right for you.

How to Score an Internship

College students are hard pressed for time; that’s why it’s so difficult to prepare for events a few months in advance. Although school keeps you busy, just remember that the main reason you’re attending college is to get a better job after graduation. Besides good grades and extra-curriculars, a part-time internship is one of the best ways to make yourself stand out from the rest of the applicant pool. Internships allow students to get a taste of what it’s like to live in an office and understand the ins and outs of the workplace. Although a lot of degrees require an internship, it’s never too early to head start (that’s right, I’m speaking to you Freshmen). Having more than one internship under your belt makes you look all the sweeter!

You can always go to your university career center for advice on places to intern. However, if you are anything like me, you have no idea where the career center is, and don’t have the time to schedule an appointment to talk about your interests with a random adviser you’ve never met. There are many different ways to find an appealing internship, even if you don’t know what career you want to delve into. Here are a few tips and ways to find internships between eating ramen and cramming the night before a test:

Make a Flawless Resume and Cover Letter. In order for employers to take you seriously, your resume must be written to perfection. If any grammatical errors exist, you will more than likely not even be considered. Don’t freak out though (it’s only your future career at stake), just take some quality time on it, and have others (that you trust) make suggestions/corrections to create the best resume you can. Consider the same steps for your cover letter, making sure you are showing this possible employer you can fulfill their needs.

Networking. This is one of the most important things you can do while in college. Knowing someone in a company you’re interested in can easily get you a foot in the door. Network through previous employers, teachers, friends, and even other family members. If face-to-face doesn’t suit your style, there’s a little thing called social networking. Use LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter and/or Google+ and talk to people about what position you’re looking for. There is bound to be someone along the way who can send you in the right direction.

Attend Job Fairs. Employers know that there are students looking for jobs, especially those who are Juniors and Seniors. Make sure you stand out at these–no, that doesn’t mean you should wear a plaid suit–by showing employers your interest. Be confident and do your research on the companies that intrigue you. Asking the right questions about a company will make representatives remember you, rather than just being a name in a stack of papers.

Look at Multiple Job Site Search Engines. There are plenty of websites out there such as CareerBuilder.com, Monster.com, LinkedIn.com, SimplyHired.com, Craigslist.com, etc. These will give you an idea if any particular employers are looking to hire, what kind of job postings there are, and what jobs are available in your area. These are great resources for finding opportunities you may have never considered.

Happy Hunting!

 

Willhelm

I’m reading Campbell Biology

Important Steps to Take Before Graduation

As a fifth-year senior, I like to think I’ve learned a lot in my collegiate career. I’ve had the benefit of learning from many of my own mistakes as well as my friends’ and have compiled some advice here on this lovely blog to help YOU guys succeed in your post-college careers! Since it’s about that time to start thinking about graduation, here are some tips I came up with for the class of 2012 and beyond (I hope the class of 2011 has already taken care of most of these since graduation is right around the corner – yikes!).

1. Hold an Internship: This is probably the most important piece of advice I can give. I have completed one internship already and am current working another one (at the wonderful eCampus.com!) and I can’t even begin to tell you how much I’ve learned. Fortunately for me, an internship was part of my required curriculum, but I highly recommend it to anyone and everyone. If nothing else, the interview process for finding an internship taught me much more than I could learn in a classroom. It’s terrifying at first, but once you get the hang of it, it’s smooth sailing. I had so much more confidence after completely my first interview because I knew what kind of questions they were going to ask me in the next one and I felt much more prepared! I was also much better at “selling myself” (at least I think so…hey, I got the job!). I cannot say enough positive things about internships. I have met so many amazing people in different fields and my networking abilities have grown immensely! Like the old adage goes, “it’s not about WHAT you know, it’s about WHO you know.” Internships are the ultimate stepping stone to a successful career in whatever path you choose to head. Our own KatVonD wrote an awesome post on some Tips For Snagging Your Perfect Internship that is definitely worth the read! Here are some other great resources to help you out as well: Top Ten Highest Paid Internships and How to Get Them, Bloomberg Businessweek’s 50 Best Internships,  Disney College Program,

2. Meet With a Professor to Go Over Your Resume: Your resume is the first impression that potential employers have of you. It has to be professional (no stupid typos), informative (only the relevant information), and answer the why question (what sets you apart from all the other resumes they will read? why should they hire you?). Almost any professor will be willing to take a few minutes out of their day to help you perfect your resume!

3. Master Your Cover Letter: Not every position will require a cover letter, but it’s a necessity to have on hand when someone asks for it. Your cover letter should grab the reader’s attention and make them want to hire you! It will act as a supplement to your resume. Also be sure to include what you know about the company you’re applying for. Showing them that you’ve done your research and respect their company is always a huge plus! Your cover letter should be no longer than one page, just enough room to get to the point and tell them why you’re the perfect person for the job. There are plenty of websites you can reference to help you tweak your cover letter. Here are a few: Creating Your Cover Letter,  Purdue OWL Online Writing Lab, US News: Cover Letters That Worked

4. Make a Linked In Profile: Social Networking is big (duh) and it is only going to continue getting bigger. The influence that social networking sites have on the job market is huge as well. Linked In, for those of you who aren’t familiar, is a professional social networking site (think: a business version of Facebook).  I highly encourage you to make a profile and upload your resume to it. Linked In is a great way to network with people in your similar field, and to find out about interesting news in your industry. Still uncertain? The crafty people over at Linked In have made a helpful how-to video just for students to help you get started! Check it out HERE.

5. Set Up a New E-Mail Account: Your .edu email address won’t fly after graduation, so it’s important to create a new email address (hotmail, gmail, yahoo, etc) before starting the application process. Don’t forget to move all of your important emails from your school address over to the new one, though! I’m sure you’ve acquired lots of important files in your college years that will benefit you afterwards, so be sure to transfer them over. Please, please just be smart and know that an email account like lonelygirl15@hotmail.com or naughtyhotty@gmail.com is not going to land you a job. Try sticking with some combination of just your first and last name. You can thank me later.

6. Set Your Privacy Settings on Facebook! I cannot stress this one enough. We now live in an age where Facebook profiles are one of the biggest factors influencing a company’s decision to hire you or not. No, you don’t have to delete all of your drunken pictures of you at parties with lampshades on your head, just make sure you change your privacy settings so no one can see them! I recommend changing your settings so that your friends are the only ones who can see anything on your page. I chatted with my bosses and they informed me that the way applicants represent themselves online is a HUGE part of whether they will hire someone or not. If someone is dumb enough to have a picture of a marijuana plant as their profile picture, they’re not going to find a job anytime soon. Not only does it have an impact on the job market…Here is an interesting story on the impact that Facebook has in today’s college admissions. Also, here’s a link about little-known Facebook privacy settings: Facebook Privacy: 10 Must-Know Security Settings

7. Know What You Want to Do! The number one question I’m always asked in interviews (after “tell us about yourself”) is “what do you want to do?” Up until now, my answer was always “make money and be happy.” Completely true, however, I realized recently that that response won’t suffice. In order to sell yourself to a potential employer, you have to know what you want. Pinpoint your dream job (realistically) and describe it to the best of your ability. With your current skills and experience, what do you want to do with your life? It’s okay if it’s not exactly the same job you’re applying for. Employers understand that everyone has to start somewhere. But as long as you find something you’re passionate about, head that direction and don’t look back!

8. Back Everything Up and Have a Portfolio if Necessary: Every graduate’s worst nightmare is having your hard drive crash right before graduation and losing all of your work. I can’t stress it enough – BACK UP YOUR FILES!!! My laptop crashed right before my last semester of school and i lost everything….yes, everything. Thank goodness I had all my schoolwork backed up and was able to salvage my portfolio! USB drives are great for storing a few things, but a backup hard drive is the best route to take! Don’t wait til it’s too late….back it up!

hope this girl isn’t applying for a job anytime soon!

9. Google Yourself: One of the most helpful things a professor ever told me was to Google myself. I was surprised (and slightly embarrassed) by what came up. I found an old blog from freshman year that was required for a political science class I took, as well as my old MySpace page that I hadn’t updated since Junior year of high school, among other things. I had completely forgotten about both, but was shocked to see them come up at the top of the results when i searched for my name. I promptly deleted both of the pages and now the only thing that comes up is my Linked In profile (again, the way you represent yourself online is of the utmost importance when looking for a job). So do yourself a favor, and Google yourself! You might be surprised to see what you find.

Well, that’s all the advice I have for now. I hope some of these things help you in the future, and you are able to land the job of your dreams! Here are some more helpful links to aid you in your college/post-college adventures:

Koda Blog

-Route 66 (66 Things to Do Before Graduation)

Campus Splash

USAToday College

Huffington Post College

Best of luck!

 

Riddler
I’m reading Geography: Realms, Regions, and Concepts