The Subjective Resume

What is a resume? According to most dictionaries, it is a written summary of a person’s education, experience and other important information. But a resume goes far beyond that for you, the job seeker. A resume needs to be a marketing piece or advertisement for you to prospective employers. And what do all great advertisements have in common? They focus on the best feature of the product and put all the other information in fine print (or not mention it at all).

So what does this mean for you and your resume? Your resume needs to focus on your best features and qualifications for the position. If you have relevant experience you need to focus on that information, not your stint as a bag boy in high school. Information like that becomes part of the fine print (or not mentioned at all). But the entire time you are exalting your best features, remember to remain honest at all times. Lying in a resume will not help in the long run. Not only will they expect things you cannot deliver but they may call you on it and not hire you.

Need to know more about writing that great resume. Check out the Career Center’s resume handout, “Developing an Effective Resume,” on our website.

And don’t forget to attend the Career Center Resume Workshop on October 15 or 16 at 3:00!  For more details look at then events calendar on the Career Center Website.

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Social Networking: Are you Prepared?

Fact: There are over 14,000 profiles in the Facebook CofC Network.

Fact: MySpace is one of the most trafficked websites on the Internet.

Fact: Social Networking websites like Facebook and MySpace can be used against you during the hiring process.

There is one common denominator between college students world wide (though there are a few of you who will say Not Me!). That is social networking. I do not mean going out to parties or clubs and hanging out with friends. Social networking in today’s world means connecting socially through the Internet on “social network” websites. You talk with friends, leave ‘presents,’ post pictures and your views of the world around you all without leaving your computer. But have you thought about what those messages or pictures are saying about you? For example, the pictures of you dancing on top of a table at a local bar may not be the best image for a potential employer to see.

More and more employers are becoming connected to potential employees in the various social networking websites. They do ‘research’ on employees and may not hire you based on the impression they receive. But it does not end once you get the job. Just because employers are paying you, does not mean they are not checking up on you. Pictures or comments that are deemed unprofessional by your employer or potential employer can harm you.

Before the job search process (and after you get the job) think of a few simple things to combat a negative impression your employer may have toward you.

  • Make sure all of the pictures of you (both ones you post and others post) do not feature you being too unprofessional.
  • Do a Google search of yourself to see what appears. To be forewarned is to be forearmed.
  • If you do have a Facebook or MySpace account you may want to set the privacy settings higher so only friends can view it.

For more tips and suggestions go to our Social Networking page. What are some other ways you can combat negative impressions based on your social networking pages? Do you have any horror stories about employers and these sites? Do you think employers should use social networking sites to check on present or future employees?

Who Needs A Reference?

Everyone that’s who. These are the people who will vouch for you and hopefully praise you to potential employers. What they can say can make a lot of difference on whether or not you are hired.

So how do you choose who to use as a reference. First and foremost do not use any kind of familial relation, so no parents, aunts, uncles, cousins, etc. Potential employers may question the validity of the reference when talking with someone who you consider a family member. In other words, if you went to a family reunion with this person try not use them.

Who you can use:

  • Professors
  • Past employers
  • Supervisors
  • Business Associates

Remember to ask these people for permission and how they best want to be contacted. If you do not ask your reference will be blind sided and perhaps not give you a great reference. This also allows you to discuss with your reference what type of positions you are applying for and to help your reference remember some of the different accomplishments you have achieved. For more tips on reference go to http://www.cofc.edu/%7Ecareer/References.pdf to learn more about layout and who to choose.

Resumes that Make an Impression

When writing a resume you want to stand out, not blend in with a crowd. Most positions you apply for are going to get numerous applications and you need to ensure the employer looks at yours. Plus, you need to impress the employer or they will not give you an interview.

Make sure your resume not only reflects you, but also reflects the position you are applying for. You should not have a generic resume that you send out to every organization you are applying to (resumes for career fairs are the exception). Each position you are applying for is different so each resume you send should be different. When applying for a position look at the skills, qualifications, and duties of that position, if you have any of that in your experience make sure that is highlighted in your resume and cover letter.

The majority of people do not consider changing around their resume when submitting it to different positions. So be different and make an impression!

Here are some more tips to make an impression on potential employers:

  1. Spell check—employers will be put off by resumes with even the slightest grammar or spelling error. And do NOT rely on spell-check!
  2. Use high quality paper in a soft neutral color tone.
  3. Do NOT use a template! You want to be unique not have your resume look like everyone else’s.
  4. Be concise. If the resume is too long then you will lose the employers attention. One page is always a safe bet.

For more guidance on writing a resume visit our Prepare My Resume, Cover letter, & Job Search Strategy page. You can also visit our office in the Lightsey Building during Drop-In hours: 1 pm to 4 pm on weekdays.