Looking for a job?
Finding a job is never easy. It can take months of hard work and dedication. The following guides are designed to help you improve your chances of securing an interview and landing that dream job.
Generally, your cover letter makes your first impression, so it is a crucial part of your job application package. Before you write your cover letter, sit down and make some notes about what you think are the most valuable skills for the position. Refer to the job posting but also use outside sources. Check similar job postings and research the industry on a macro level. In this effort, one of the best tools at your disposal are your peers. Bounce ideas off them. An objective opinion is always helpful.
Once you have a list of 5-6 top skills, cut it in half. It may be hard to let go of some of those skills, but the cover letter should focus on 3 mains skills. If you go broader than that, you risk losing your reader. You have to consider the audience; it is likely that the reader has a stack of applications on their desk and plenty of those applications will get lost in the shuffle because the reader lost focus.
Next step, Research! Do more than a simple google search of the company. Look on LinkedIn for those in similar positions at the company and/or similar companies. Document their career path, how do you think they got ahead? What did they have that was valued? Check their skills on LinkedIn for more guidance.
Now you’re ready to draft. Don’t forget the following:
- Cover Letter should be one page, with a fair amount of white space.
- Be succinct. Do not ramble, clear and concise language is valued not only because the reader is busy, but also because it shows the reader you know how to write to a given-audience.
- If there is something you feel is crucial to address from your resume, you can do it here.
- Make sure to tailor your letter to the job positing.
- Check spacing and format.
- Check grammar.
- Send it to a friend! Ask them if they see any red flags. Another opinion helps.
- 1st Paragraph
- Get to the point right away, explain who you are and what your applying for.
- One line about your most notable qualifications, very brief. (Experience and Education).
- If you have some connection to the company (ex: referred by an employee or participated in a recruitment event), mention it here.
- 2nd Paragraph
- This is where you make your pitch, why they should hire you and what you bring to the table. Go into your interests and goals.
- Do not simply regurgitate language from the job posting, they will see right through that. Use your own words to explain how you are well-suited.
- Use examples to highlight your skills.
- If you have excelled in relevant courses, you can mentioned them and why they are relevant.
- If you don’t have much experience or notable academic accomplishments, do not try to hide that. Address the issues and refer to your ambition and personal triumphs.
- 3rd Paragraph
- No need to summarize the above information, its not an essay.
- Let them know when you are available for interview.
- Offer to send any additional information they need.
- Let them know how best to contact you
- Thank them for their time and consideration.
The most important part of a resume is not the language or sentence structure, but the format. Any mistake in formatting, no matter how small, can make a reader throw away your application instantly. The format must be consistent all the way through. If you bolded a job title once, then throughout the entire resume, all job titles should be bolded. A quick google search will present a few options for format if you don’t know where to start.
Sometimes the reader will skip right to the resume, so you want it to be clear and easy to read. You do not need to cram every bit of experience into your resume, but you also do not want to have gaps in your resume. If your most relevant experience is from two years ago, then you should document what you have been doing for the past two years.
Don’t forget the following:
- Keep the resume to one page, but if one page is simply not possible, then have two complete pages. Do not have one and a half pages, it looks poorly organized.
- Font size should be 12-point, but you can make it smaller (11-point or 10-point) if it looks more ascetically pleasing.
- All margins should be one inch, but again you may adjust them to fit everything on to one page.
- Header should include:
- Full name
- Full address
- Contact information
It is key to tailor your resume to the specific job application. Very rarely, if ever, should you send the exact same resume to two different companies. After researching the company to draft the cover letter, you should know what the company wants and needs, now show (in bullet points) how your skills, experience and education can help.
Towards the end, you may add activities, memberships, and personal accomplishments. This reminds the reader that there is a person behind the resume and it helps them get a feel for how you will integrate into the company culture. After drafting your resume, try to get some feedback from your peers and if you are enrolled in school, reach out to someone at your Career Development Office. They are experts in resume writing and usually very willing to help.
Millennials are too rarely praised for their ingenuity, innovation and vision. This generation has used social media to communicate and document in ways that previous generations could not even dream of. In that, they have also learned how to leverage their social media skills to further their academic pursuits and professional careers. So, here we will explain how to maximize your social media use to secure a new job.
First and foremost, potential employers will google you the same way you google them. With that in mind, do a sweep. Go through all your social media accounts and delete anything that may hold you back. Use common sense in this regard, and when it doubt, just delete the post.
LinkedIn is still the most appropriate medium to reach out to a colleague or job recruiter. Try not to direct message on Twitter or Instagram. It reflects a lack of professionalism. With that said, make sure your LinkedIn is up to date with your most recent experience and skills. Do not copy and paste your resume to your LinkedIn profile, it shows laziness and a lack of creativity. Lastly, a professional photo is a must. Especially if you are applying for an entry-level position, it shows that you are taking your career seriously.
Good luck in your job search!