Building Your Experience: One Bullet Point at A Time

“Please attach your resume to the application.”

These words appear on every job application. Everyone always tells you to make sure that your resume stands out against the other candidates. How am I supposed to make sure that mine is different from all the rest? What are the important things that I need to include on it? These are all questions that come to mind when writing a resume.

I have read plenty of articles giving me all sorts of resume tips. I have been in classes where creating a resume was an assignment. How was I going to make sure that mine stood out?

I start from the top. Name, contact information, and education. Your name is important, so I make mine a little bit of a bigger font than the rest of my resume. I include my address, phone number, and email so that when the employer reads my amazing resume they knew how to get ahold of me. I put my school name, my major, expected graduation date, so the employer knows that I have the education background for the job that I want. This section wasn’t too bad.

In the related work section I make sure that I bold all of my position titles, places of employment, and the dates that I was there. This way, when the employer is scanning my resume they can quickly see the titles and then read on if they are interested. In the sub-points for each job, I describe what I did, always starting with a verb (this website has a great list of verbs that make your resume more powerful https://www.themuse.com/advice/185-powerful-verbs-that-will-make-your-resume-awesome.) If I currently hold the position, the verb is in the present tense, if it was a past position, the verb was in the past tense. I put my experience in chronological order. You can choose to do it this way or you can order the positions by relevancy.

2Throughout college I have been involved in many different student organizations. My resume was a perfect place to show all of the relevant skills and experiences I have gained through those. This section is formatted just like the related experience section except instead of them being employment related, they are leadership and professional organization related.

The final step in my journey to make my resume one that would stand out to employers and land me that job is to get feedback. My family is happy to help, my friends are almost as happy, but I will have to read a couple of their resumes too. I will also take it to one of Career & Leaderships Resume Doctors so that I could get a more professional opinion on it as well.

4

After talking with these different people I also got some advice on what not to put on my resume. The two most important pieces of advice I received was to make sure that I did not have any spelling, grammatical or punctuation errors on my resume and that my resume was not more than one page long. These mistakes could take me one step back in my goal to look professional. Another piece of advice was to make sure that I am using an easy to read format so that the employer could easily follow my experience and skills and relate them back to the job. Finally, they told me to make sure that I am highlighting that I have the required skills and experience for the job. I can do this by taking out experiences that aren’t as relevant and elaborating a little bit more on what was.

A resume is never completed. With every new job and every new experience there is something to add. As time goes on there will be things that are no longer relevant. However, now after going through my resume and making sure that the basic layout is good, I feel a lot better about attaching my resume to the job application and sending it out to future employers.

5Note: It is not recommended to send out massive quantities of your resume unless it is tailored to each specific position.

Career & Leadership Development is a great place to get your resume reviewed no matter what field you are in! Call (262) 472-1471 to make an appointment today!

Friday Favorites – 5 Professional Outfits for Women

For my last Friday Favorites blog post, I decided to feature some of my friends and coworkers in their favorite interview outfit. I’ve added some tips so you can see why they work, and maybe these outfits will inspire you to dress professionally when you have an interview, networking event or your first day of your new job coming up!

Outfits 5

Outfits 4

Outfits 2

Outfits 3

Outfits 1 Photos by UWW Career.

Your Best Professional Self

Recently I’ve noticed that more students are creating LinkedIn accounts. This is good! LinkedIn is a wonderful way to present your best professional self to the world. It works, and actually provides the reader with a more complete picture of you than does your resume.

LinkedIn is a great tool if used effectively, therefore we want to use the LinkedIn functions fully so we can more thoughtfully present who we are to others. Here is some very basic advice to new users that will help you successfully use this wonderful professional networking tool.

Professional / Graduate /Designer

Personalize Your Messages: I receive several requests each week from people asking me to join their network. It seems to me that 99% of those who contact me use one of the standard messages from LinkedIn, such as “I’d like to add you to my professional network”, or the slightly more familiar “Since you are a person I trust, I wanted to invite you to join my network on LinkedIn”. Seriously, you trust me? We just met. I must really come across as a trustworthy individual. When someone personalizes their message, it really stands out, and makes me want to accept that connection immediately. Personalizing your message is a great way to begin the relationship, and it helps you be unique in my mind.

Make Your Profile 100% Complete: Upload your resume; Use a professional profile picture; Complete the skills section, etc. Be honest, be thoughtful and intentional, because this is about how you show up as your best professional self.

Join LinkedIn Groups: Groups are a great way to connect on LinkedIn, and are a way to connect with professionals presently working in your desired field. Some groups have fairly vibrant conversations that can provide you with a perspective about that particular field, the work, or an employer. Groups can also help you identify others to whom you may reach out to in the future, thereby building a solid professional network as you begin your career.

Lastly, Learn About LinkedIn: UW-Whitewater alumnus Wayne Breitbarth wrote a very helpful book titled “The Power Formula for LinkedIn Success.” This book is a must-read in my mind, and can help you learn about the various features that LinkedIn offers, which are extensive. Talk with people who have great profiles, check out others profiles and constantly work to improve and enhance yours. Stay active and keep moving forward with how you use LinkedIn. You’ll reach a critical mass that will begin to pay dividends in the near future.

Photo by thinkpublic.

Evaluating Company Hiring Practices

Occasionally students ask us whether or not we think a specific company offers a legitimate employment opportunity. Most often this occurs after a student has been interviewed, and something about the experience just doesn’t sit right with the student. During these type of conversations I think that the career advisors at UW-Whitewater, such as myself, can assist you best by asking many questions to help you think through the type of employment situation that best fits your professional goals and interests.

For example, some people aren’t bothered by and even excel in employment where all or most of your pay is based upon commission, whereas others will avoid this arrangement at all cost. A reasonable goal, therefore, is to select an employment situation that best meets your expectations for reasonable pay and your personal willingness to take risks.

Dave: Interviewed

With this in mind, here are a few of the issues and questions to remember as you talk with employers:

Is the company representative being forthright with the information they provide regarding your pay as well as other aspects of employment? It’s perfectly fine for a company to base their pay to you on how well you perform. Generally this occurs in sales positions, where sales reps earn a percentage of the sales they make, and we all understand that there is both an inherent risk and reward involved with this sort of arrangement. The important thing is that the information the company hiring representative provides you is clear. There may be a few companies who will want you to make an up-front financial investment to pay for your training or equipment, and if this is the case, this should be transparent as well so you can make an informed decision.

Are you being asked to make an unreasonably quick decision on accepting employment? If you interview and are offered the job on Monday, and they want you to let them know by the end of the day on Tuesday, then I suspect you may feel a bit rushed and uneasy about employment with this company. If you feel pressured to accept before the offer is recinded, then I’d be wary about employment with this company.

Things that make you go ‘hmmmm…’ While it may be acceptable practice in some industries to hold interviews in coffee shops or other public settings, generally speaking most recruiters will find a private, professional setting to conduct their interviews. Similarly, it may be alright to hold interviews at a hotel, but they should reserve a meeting room in which to conduct the interview, not invite you to their room for the interview. You want to use your intuition and ask yourself if the situation “feels right”. Often business is conducted outside of the traditional 9-5 workday, but the vast majority of hiring practices tend to occur within the work day and week.

If the hiring representative asks you questions that don’t feel right, or are illegal, then I’m not sure I’d want to work for that company. Trust your gut on this one, and be informed about the type of questions that you should never be asked during an interview.

Definitely seek out the advice of the staff of Career & Leadership Development whenever you have questions about finding the fit that’s best for you.

Photo by Dave Fayram.

Friday Favorites – Social Media Facts

For this week’s Friday Favorites, I’ve gathered up some of the Career Social Media tweets from this past week and I have five great articles for you, all having to do with something I love — social media outlets!

  • For those of you who love statistics, here are 20 Stunning Social Media Facts, plus an infographic. This is a great overview of social media and how it is growing in today’s society.
 
  • If you’re looking for more fun statistics and facts, this article 48 Significant Social Media Facts, Figures and Statistics, plus 7 infographics, is the place for you! This article goes over seven main social media outlets, which include Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube, Instagram, Pinterest and Google+.
 
  • We all know LinkedIn is probably the most professional social media outlet, yet not a lot of young adults are taking advantage of its resources. How to Reach Out to Recruiters Using LinkedIn is a great article explaining how to do this!
 
  • A lesser known social media outlet, Pinterest, is an interactive, virtual pinboard that lets you save things that you see on the web, but it can also help you get a job! Can Pinterest Help Your Job Search? gives you the ins-and-outs of this fun website and how you can utilize their resources.
 
  • And for the final one, here’s an infographic having to do with personal branding with social media. And if you want  more information about personal branding, be sure to check out last week’s blog post, The Power of Personal Branding.

This infographic was taken from the Hired My Way Blog.