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Posts Tagged ‘Job Search’

When you’re putting together your application materials for college, you obsess over the essays, SAT verbal scores, and application itself. High school juniors and seniors freak out over writing-related documents–I remember all too vividly. But when we get to job hunting, we often get so wrapped up in interviewing skills and presentation that we neglect writing.  The truth is that all of these components are integral to a successful job hunt.

Kailee’s advice on how to stand out isn’t crazy or outlandish, but it’s useful. She recognizes the value of a well-chosen word and the inclusion (and exclusion) of certain information.

Most college students have a résumé listing their education, experience and activities. It fills up a standard 8 ½” x 11″ piece of paper and tells you nothing about who they are and what they want to do. When applying to jobs, that résumé gets thrown into a pile of hundreds of résumés just like it. So the question is: how do you stand out from the crowd and get your résumé to the top of that pile?

kailee-h1No matter what the position, I always start out by making sure my résumé displays how well-rounded I am. Employers want to see students that have good grades, extracurricular activities, and work experience on their résumé. Someone that has some experience in all these areas is a much better candidate than someone with a 4.0 GPA and no activities or work experience.

For each position or company, it is important to focus in on what makes you right for that particular job. From your entire history of school, activities and work experience, choose only what is most relevant to the job you are applying for. I like to have a different résumé for each type of job, so my experience matches the specific qualifications and responsibilities of that job.

When describing your experience, use action words to describe the responsibilities associated with each position. Also, do not be afraid to list specific accomplishments and awards you have earned – a résumé is the place to proudly display your hard work.

Lastly, your résumé is your first impression on an employer, so do anything you can to jump off the page and show your personality.

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One of the great constants of all job hunts is the need to rise above everyone else. No matter who you are or what job you want, the people who are memorable get the position. It’s not about being the craziest applicant, so don’t think dressing like a swan for your interview will leave a good impression…I mean, I suppose it could in some fields, but overall I’d say no.

Although the need to be unique among the crowd of applicants extends to all job applicants, college students and grads feel the pressure a bit more. Why? Well, you’ve just been educated in a university with thousands of other students who are all armed with degrees and looking for work. By default you’re already one-in-a-million. So here’s where you decide to dazzle them and get your job.

We asked our CBCampus Ambassadors what they’re doing to set themselves apart. Here’s what Bree had to say:

cbbreeCBcampus.com estimates that a résumé is about a 30-second preview of a candidate. So that means my years of education, volunteering, internships, experience and hard work boils down to a 30-second quick read on paper? That is not a lot of time to make an impact on an employer; especially an employer who is sifting through a stack of resumes that probably have the same kind of experience, GPA and activities that are quite similar to mine. Thankfully, my mom is a human resource director so I have a pretty reliable proofreader who has revised my résumé time and time again, always looking for ways to stand out and impress. And since my mom is in human resources, she has always encouraged me to get involved in college and look for opportunities to get experience so I have something to work with come job-hunting time. Along with that, here are some of the major adjustments I’ve made to my resume to make it stand out from the rest:

  • Formatting- my resume has unique format to it, one I’ve never seen in templates or how-to guides. It is still organized but the look has some variety to it.
  • Summary of Qualifications and Personal Statement: instead of an “objective,” I’ve written a brief summary of my strongest skills along with what I strive to achieve for myself and my company in the form of a personal statement. This explains my objective, but in a different way.
  • Always employed- I’ve done some freelance choreography work for small high schools and community theatres throughout the years. Although it isn’t something I’m constantly working at, “Freelance Choreography” is a job I’ve had since mid-high school. It shows consistency, responsibility, initiative and passion.
  • Accomplishments- in each of my jobs, including the basic serving jobs, I try to showcase my accomplishments that helped better the company. From awards I received to goals I reached, as many accomplishments as I can fit are found on my resume.
  • Tailor- if I am going for a specific interview or sending my résumé to a particular employer, I always try to revamp my it a little bit so it appeals to the company and job I’m trying to land.

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As a job seeker, you’re always trying to be The One–the ideal candidate an employer wants. Of course you’re always looking for the perfect employer, but you’re also trying to make yourself just as appealing. And if the cliche is true that necessity is the mother of invention, job seekers today are learning how to repackage themselves in these tough times.  Andrew’s decided to rethink his plans to become a more desirable candidate and to make the most of this recession:

cbandrewIt seems as though the majority of college freshman believe they have a plan for their collegiate career and life after college. I was one of those students who thought he had his major figured out and I even knew the field of work I would get into. At that young age, life seemed simple and the career options were limitless. I figured I would graduate with a business degree, travel Europe, then [return home] and fall into the family business of real estate. Now, everything about that plan has changed as my life has evolved and my mind has become more realistic.

To be honest, I envy my friends who are on the five-year college plan. As I am set to graduate in May, they seem much calmer knowing they have at least another summer and a semester before they have to face the reality of this recession. If it were not for fear of paying student loans, I too would delay my graduation date. Even the prospect of going back for my MBA sounds like a breeze compared to entering the job market. I never planned on getting my MBA until I had a few years of experience in a field that I enjoyed. And seeing the world does not seem like a wise option, as I may need the money I have saved up for it to simply survive in this struggling economy.

As for my job search, I have widened the cities in which I am searching and I am now looking into a variety of fields of work. I am even beginning to look again into an internship with a business. I have had great experiences throughout my college career with internships, and if nothing else, they look great on a resume. According to a recent study, 59% of employers are likely to hire their interns as full time, permanent employees. While they do not guarantee a job, any edge you have over other job seekers is vital, especially as a student who is up against jobless executives.

At times it seems tough to concentrate on the schoolwork I need to accomplish in order to graduate due the anxiety of entering the job market. I need to remind myself to keep focused on the present and do what I need to do now, and not to worry about the future. As I have learned, there is little point in planning for the future because my life and the world around me are constantly changing… In the end, everything seems to fall into place.

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The economic malaise that began in 2008 and is still going on now has thrown everyone for so many loops. As we’ve discussed here on several occasions, college students and graduates have their a unique set of obstacles. And even then each student has his or her own concerns. Some degrees are more in demand than others, and we don’t know what industries will bounce book sooner than later. It’s all very tricky.

On the plus side, you’re not alone. Although you probably look at your classmates as potential job competition, you also have a country of people feeling what you’re feeling. The frustration, confusion, excitement, and everything else.

Here’s what Tierney’s feeling right now:

cbtierneyLike many upcoming college graduates my outlook isn’t too bright. I can’t help but be pessimistic, especially with my degree of choice…journalism. My dream has always been to write for a newspaper and they are diminishing daily. Obsolete is the best way to describe them. Buzz words in newsrooms have become consolidation and convergence.

Journalism has been changing in the last few years. Fewer people go to the print media to receive their news. They’ve come to rely on the internet for their information. This forces journalists to work harder to produce more content, in less time, for less money.

In addition, the entire work industry is shrinking-making it difficult for anyone to move into the working world. Although many blame the economy for the breakdown of newspapers, the truth is news organizations have been attempting to adjust to new demands long before the recession began.

The competitive nature of the job market has enhanced the need for journalists who are multi-faceted and able to work in all forms of media. This is also the case for all job hunters.

For anyone searching for entry-level jobs, the trend is overwhelmingly in new media practices. Job hunters must play up their skills in this area and showcase their willingness and ability to learn even more. The use and understanding of new technologies is what sets apart the experienced and the inexperienced-for once giving an edge to us newcomers.

Within the last year, realizing my print dream was dying, I began to research online journalism techniques. The response wasn’t promising. Writing HTML code bored me to tears and the concise nature of writing news for the web was difficult because it wasn’t what I was accustomed to. I suffered through the learning and came out better because of it.

While college graduates may be forced to acclimate to a not so friendly economic situation, there are things that can be done to combat the effects. We must explore our options. Widen our horizons. Take time to learn new things. And with the current state of the economy there is no time like the present!

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The work of finding work

The idea that finding a job is its own full-time job is nothing new. Until recently most students and graduates hadn’t experienced that adage firsthand. Now, people of all ages are aware of the hard work needed to find a job–whether or not they want to.

This article on MSNBC describes a visit to a recent University of Illinois job fair. Not surprisingly, the job seekers outnumbered the employers by a wide margin.

One job seeker explained how long this process is taking him:

Joshua London graduated from the University of Wisconsin in December. “I’ve been applying for four to five months. I’ve probably applied for 300 to 400 positions and I spend six hours a day online applying and handing out my resume. It’s tough. I make a little money on the side, but finding a full-time job is very hard for a college student,” he said.

That’s not to say everyone will have the same experience, but as you enter the working world, realize that you’re up against many people looking for these jobs, too. The lesson?Be as prepared and motivated as they are.

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In a recent nationwide survey, CareerBuilder.com found that nearly one-in-four human resources managers said they receive, on average, more than 75 resumes for each open position; 42 percent receive more than 50 resumes. This survey was conducted online among 252 human resources professionals and 8,038 U.S. employees.

Other key findings:

  • The vast majority of human resources managers (78 percent) reported at least half of the resumes they receive from various recruitment resources are from unqualified candidates.
  • Thirty-eight percent of human resources managers report they spend one to two minutes reviewing a new application; 17 percent spend less than one minute.

With numbers like that, you need to know how to make your resume stand out among the masses.

Executive Quotes and Tips

Advice from Rosemary Haefner, Vice President of Human Resources at CareerBuilder.com:

  • “Human resources managers serve on the front lines of a company’s recruitment efforts and are often the gatekeepers of the interview process. Because they can receive a large volume of applications, you may only have a matter of seconds to make a lasting impression. Make sure to include a career summary at the top, which provides a quick snapshot of your skills and accomplishments.”
  • “Half of workers we surveyed said their resumes are not up to date. You should always have a current resume and portfolio ready to go because you never know what the next day will bring whether it’s a weak or healthy economy.”
  • “Fifty-one percent of human resources managers reported they use an applicant tracking systems to screen and manage their resumes. It’s important to incorporate keywords from the job posting into your resume because it will increase your chances of appearing near the top of the employer’s ranking of the most relevant candidates.”
  • “Many workers, especially those operating in industries that have experienced mass layoffs, are looking to new industries and professions to find opportunities. In these cases, your best option may be a functional resume, which lists experience by skill categories rather than chronologically.”
  • “If you’re a recent college graduate, make sure to include volunteer work on your resume as most employers consider this to be relevant experience.”

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Our recent entry from Mike, one of our CBcampus Ambassadors, was posted to our blog Monday (October 27th) and got a big response from our readers!

Many of the readers who commented agreed with Mike’s opinions – namely, that salary is an important factor when considering a job offer, but not the only one.  

In response, we’re posting some related content that recently appeared on CareerBuilder.com. This article talks about other things to think about or things that you can negotiate for when you’re about to be hired (or at review time).

(more…)

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