Graduation! Seems like it’s just right around the corner. It’s a busy time for those who are graduating this spring. Whether you are applying to a four-year college or preparing yourself for a career in your field, it can seem overwhelming. Luckily, we have a few tips that can help you with your future endeavors.
Developing A Resume
Developing a resume is important for life after college because it’s what employers expect when you are seeking a job. A resume is also a key document that is used in the hiring process for hiring managers that communicates to them information about your background and qualifications for the job you are interested in.
Here are some steps for creating a professional resume:
- Choose the right resume format
- Chronological: places the professional history section first. This is useful if you have a professional work history.
- Functional: emphasizes the skills section. This is useful if you’re switching work industries.
- Combination: recognizes professional work experience. This is useful when your skills and history are equally as important
- Include your name and contact information. Be sure to make this prominent and include any additional links that may be relevant to your job search. E.g., links to a portfolio, blog, LinkedIn profile, etc.
- Add a summary or objective. This explains your career goals and is good for those who have limited professional experience. It’s also there to describe work experiences and skills that are relevant to the position you are applying to.
- List your soft and hard skills. Consider what skills make you perfect for the job. Consider both hard (technical) and soft (interpersonal) you can use when changing jobs or industry
- List your professional history with keywords from the job description in your history bullets.
- Include an education section
Tip: If you haven’t graduated yet, you can add relevant course work, leadership positions, and your GPA (if higher than a 3.5)
- Consider adding additional options. If there is space on your resume, consider making this an achievement or interests section, especially if you have little work or educational experience.
- Format your resume. Is your font size consistent? Did you check your spelling? Are your margins evenly spread out?
- Tailor for each position. For each job, adjust some of the keywords in the skills section to what the employer needs. Also, change what you emphasize in your professional history as well.
- Proof Read! Employers are looking for your attention to detail. Be sure your resume has been proofread.
Tip: Read each word slowly out loud, you’d be surprised how much your brain auto-corrects your mistakes.
There are a number of free resources online to help you develop your resume, a quick search will lead you to many different sites.
The Cover Letter
A cover letter should be unique to each position you are applying to and should accompany your resume every time, whether or not it is requested. Oh, and by the way, it should definitely use standard letter format!
Your cover letter should introduce you and clearly focus on your qualifications for the position. It should provide convincing and relevant evidence to persuade the hiring manager of your qualifications. Your cover letter should consistently address your audience’s knowledge level and concerns about your qualifications as well as address the specific needs of the employer. Finally, your letter should include a conclusion that strengthens your qualifications, thanks to the hiring manager, and provides a method of contacting you.
Many employers require professional references. They generally require current or past co-workers and/or direct supervisors. Contact anyone you want to use as a professional reference ahead of time to get their approval and ensure that they will be expecting a call or email from the hiring manager. Plan on having three to five people who can provide positive information about you in a professional capacity. You may also ask them to provide a recommendation on your LinkedIn profile.
Tip: Always contact your references ahead of time so they have advance notice they may be called or emailed from a potential employer.
Develop Your Public Profile
The first thing potential employers may do is check out your presence online. LinkedIn is often the first place they will look. LinkedIn is a social networking site used by both employers and individuals in order to network, apply for jobs, and much more. Think of it as Facebook for professionals. Another online resource is Handshake. Founded in 2013, Handshake is an online networking portal connecting students and recent graduates with employers looking for new talent. Stay tuned for more information on Handshake as MWCC gets closer to launching it this spring.
LinkedIn allows employers to view your profile, qualifications, skills, work experience. Additionally, LinkedIn allows you to network and see who you might know at a company you are interested in, and enable you to learn more about the hiring process before you even apply. LinkedIn also allows for people you have worked with in the past to leave personal recommendations on your profile, another great bonus that hiring managers will see. You should treat your LinkedIn profile as your digital resume, making sure keywords in your personal summary and your objectives as well as within your work history descriptions. This can be similar, if not, the same as your summary on your resume. Employers will often do keyword searches on LinkedIn in order to find and recruit the talent they are looking for.
Tip: Keeping your resume and professional social profiles up to date will help you next time you might need it!
Check Your Privacy
Let’s talk about your personal brand. If you have other personal social media accounts – Facebook, Instagram, etc. – you may want to take some time to comb through and check your privacy settings. Why? Employers tend to do background checks and take a look at your social media profiles to see if you are qualified for the job. So, unless you are ok with your future employer seeing all of your personal pictures and information, it may be time to do a personal brand audit.
We Are Here To Help
We realize preparing for life after graduation may be stressful, but we have resources for you! MWCC offers you tools and services in order to help you with your job search, these include:
- Assistance With Job Search
- Job Search Tools
- Salary Negotiations
- Additional Resume Tips
- How to dress for success
- Interview Tips
For more information about our services, visit MWCC’s Career Services at the Office of Advising, Career & Transfer or to schedule an appointment for a one-on-one session, email Career Services or call 978-630-9325