Tag Archives | resume

Let’s get one thing clear – the majority of professionals spend at least eight hours at work every weekday. Per year, that’s 1,842 hours. But that’s not the end of it – in their lifetime, professionals spend at least 90,000 hours working!

Needless to say, working a job that you don’t like is a massive waste of time.

Sure, it’s risky to change jobs in the current economy. Plus, your resume may come up against an average of 250 others. Considering that recruiters take as little as 6 seconds to decide whether or not to read a resume, it’s fair to say that the job market is pretty tough these days.

But what’s at stake here is your life. You shouldn’t stick to your old job just because you’re afraid of the competition.

An easy way to face this challenge is to send a resume that works. Read the full guide to making a resume here or start with quick tips from the infographic below. It will seriously improve your chances of getting closer to your dream position.

If you rely on these 5-minute resume tricks, you’re bound to create a resume that makes a great impression on recruiters.

Here’s what you can do right now to improve your resume:

  • Organize your resume so that it’s scannable, and pick a font that enhances readability.
  • Attract recruiters’ attention with a compelling introduction and choose strategic keywords to keep them interested.
  • Structure information in order of importance.
  • Include numbers and statistics that illustrate your expertise.
  • Have someone else proofread your resume to get rid of mistakes or typos. Use Grammarly or Language Tool to correct your resume too.

Your resume and online profiles should present one professional narrative – a story about a person who knows what they want and will do their best to achieve what they want.

With a revamped resume in hand, you’re ready to face recruiters and apply for your dream job.

Need more 5-minute resume tricks? Check out this infographic to polish your resume and land your dream job.

Image by Natalie Severt

Image by Natalie Severt

This article was contributed by guest author Natalie Severt.

You’ve experienced the joy (and indeed relief) of collecting your degree and graduating from university. It’s an achievement of which you should rightly feel proud, although in the bigger picture it’s a means to an end rather than an end in itself. Now that you have that impressive qualification in the bag, it’s time to make the most of it and forge a lasting career – although that’s a whole lot easier said than done.

The unfortunate reality for graduates today is that the job market is extremely competitive, and you’ll need to be very sharp – and even a bit opportunistic – to fend off other applicants for a vacancy. After your graduation, the first step towards securing full-time employment is to have a resume that a recruiter simply cannot ignore. Amazingly, this does not come all that easily to intelligent, highly educated university graduates.

Without an excellent resume, an applicant simply doesn’t stand a chance of being hired, or even being considered for interview. Recruiters have little time to waste, so if they see that a candidate hasn’t even put together an adequate resume, they will simply dump the application and move on. Worse still, recruiters are swamped with the same basic mistakes that constantly appear on job applications – poor spelling, sloppy layout, outrageous claims, and unnecessary information.

Australian company Ayers (www.ayers.com.au) has produced this infographic which advises job seekers on how to write a resume. It pinpoints what needs to be included and, just as importantly, what should not be included at all. If you’ve recently graduated and you’re trying to land your first full-time job, take a few minutes to read the information below.

Image by Colin Cuthbert

Image by Colin Cuthbert

This article was contributed by guest author Colin Cuthbert.

gap-year

By Jack Amick on Flickr

After the four years of hard work, late nights, long essays and meeting deadlines that is college, it’s no wonder that so many people are drawn to taking some time off before jumping into another commitment (careers, grad school etc.). But is a gap year really the best option with regards to your long terms goals? A year is a long time, and if not planned correctly, a gap year after college can end up doing more harm than good. Here are some of the pros and cons of taking a gap year after you turn the tassel and throw your cap into the air:

Pros

1. Time to enhance alternate skills and pursue your passion

A gap year gives you a whole extra year after college to pursue your passion before you jump into a regular routine. This could be the perfect opportunity to further develop an interest you discovered in college. For example, say you realized you were deeply interested in theatre during your four years of college. You could use a gap year to enhance your acting skills, or maybe even research and write a play. Being able to enhance skills separate from those you learn in a classroom environment, that align with your passion, is one of the ways in which a gap year can be most rewarding.

2. Certifications to further build up your CV

A year is time long enough to get a few additional certifications under your belt. These will make you more marketable to potential employers, and could even help you earn a better entry-level salary when starting your career. Online certifications in Microsoft Office, or computer programming are very in demand these days. Other programs such as online medical assisting, emergency first response, CPR and more are very useful to have and could even determine your career.

3. Explorations/Volunteering abroad

One of the most common reasons to take a gap year is to explore the world. Taking a year to travel to different countries, experience various cultures and meet new people can be a very inspiring and amazing experience. It’s one thing to read about different cultures in books and talk about them in a classroom setting. It’s another to be fully immersed within that culture, and truly experience a different reality. In the long term, your experiences traveling or volunteering in countries and “making a difference” so to say, will give you plenty to talk about in interviews and make you stand out as an individual. If the wanderlust bug hit you in college, then this might be a great option should you decide to take a gap year.

Cons

1. Lack of a steady income

Chances are your gap year wouldn’t entail you working full time. This means you won’t have a steady income – or any source of income at all. Getting started with your career after graduation is more likely to yield an income, with the potential to increase as time goes on.

2. Potential to waste time

Having a year at your disposal is a long time, meaning there is lots of time that can be wasted. Gap years taken on a whim without prior planning can work out, but only in rare situations. To make the most of your gap year, it should be planned in advance, so that most of your time isn’t wasted in trying to plan something that will only materialize at the end of the year. Another factor is laziness. Knowing you have a whole year ahead could make you lazy at the start, and cause you to put things off. If you are the type of person that easily gets lazy, be aware that before you know it, the year will be over and you will find you will have accomplished much less than you wanted. Ultimately, this will just look like a giant waste of time on your CV, and be detrimental to your future goals.

3. Expenses

Gap years can be expensive. Depending on the type of gap year you choose, you may have to budget for hefty expenses. For instance, traveling involves paying for plane tickets, accommodation and food. Similarly, getting a certification or taking a course to improve your skills is rarely ever free. Budgeting is paramount so that your gap year doesn’t end up leaving you high and dry.

All in all, a gap year can be a wonderful experience. All it needs is some advance planning and being aware of the potential obstacles you may face along the way. If you take this into consideration, you are more likely to have a fulfilling and purposeful gap year after college.

This article was contributed by guest author Akshata Mehta.

Image by TheSeafarer, Flickr

Image by TheSeafarer, Flickr

You have no job experience. You’re in school 30 hours a week, nearly 40 weeks a year. You feel like all other time is spent studying, working on assignments, and drinking coffee to stay awake. You’re conscious of your future, and the online community talks about how everyone “needs” to be on LinkedIn. You know it’s useless to set up a profile with nothing on it. So how can you create one that will actually add value for recruiters or industry professionals?

Great question. Starting with the 10 tips below will make a world of difference to your professional online brand:

  1. Post a professional profile picture

  2. The group photo from that party last summer may be your most photogenic shot yet. The one with your dog licking your face is cute too. And you look drop-dead gorgeous in the photo where you wore that low-cut dress. Here’s a tip: save those for Facebook. LinkedIn should be used for making industry connections and trying to further (or even begin) your career. It’s in your best interest to use a professional picture. Choose a clear headshot with only you in the photo, and a solid or lighter background. Remember that most recruiters will be viewing a thumbnail of your photo, so it’s your face you want visible, not your dog’s tongue.

  3. Add a relevant headline

  4. If you have a part-time job, add that as your headline. If you’re on the job hunt, don’t be afraid to call yourself a student, but also use phrases like “aspiring professional” (make it specific to your industry). Show recruiters that you’re interested in the industry and ready to start your career.

  5. Use keywords

  6. Keywords within your headline and the rest of your profile will help recruiters or industry professionals find your profile in a search. Do some research on popular terms in your preferred industry and make sure to talk about them within your profile, but only use the terms that are relevant to you. Keep your profile honest.

  7. Don’t ignore the summary section

  8. This isn’t one of the sections where you can select a description from a drop down list. You’ll need to use some brain power here and describe your qualities to a potential recruiter. What is it about you that will make a recruiter want to know more in an interview? This is a good place to highlight those keywords, and to show how you’re different from other potential candidates.

  9. Don’t be afraid to show your personality

  10. Is LinkedIn a professional platform? Yes. But remember that recruiters want to see you have a personality. There are ways to make your profile professional, but relaxed. If you have hobbies, mention them. Stay away from slang and exclamation marks, but there’s no need to be overly stiff either. Find a balance that shows who you are.

  11. Include your volunteer experience – and extracurriculars

  12. When you don’t have work experience, recruiters will be drawn to your volunteer experience. Even if you do have work experience, some recruiters place a great deal of value on your extracurriculars. If you can show initiative and success in places where you aren’t being paid, they’ll start to imagine what you could do for them with a salary.

  13. Ask for recommendations

  14. No one likes asking people to say something positive about them, but once you get that first recommendation, your self-confidence will skyrocket. Those recommendations will also mean a great deal to recruiters. Now, don’t go looking for recommendations from people who barely know you; the whole idea is to add value to your profile. Ask people you’ve volunteered with/for, who you’ve been part of a committee with, or who can vouch for your work ethic.

  15. Join groups for your industry of interest – and be active in them

  16. LinkedIn is brimming with hundreds (if not thousands) of groups for every industry. If you’re looking towards working in one or two specific industries, find groups that interest you and join them. Read up on what professionals are discussing within the group, and offer your insights when you can. This will show up on your connections’ feeds, and if you’re adding value to the conversation, people will be aware of it.

  17. Proofread

  18. One of the biggest keys to professionalism is ensuring your profile is error-free. Check for spelling and grammar. If you’re unsure, Google it. Get someone to review it for you. Your profile is, essentially, your online resume – put as much care into it as you would with your hard copy.

  19. Be proactive

  20. Do all job postings seem to require 3-5 years of industry experience? You might be looking in the wrong place. LinkedIn has recently become more student-friendly; they even have a student-specific job section full of internships, co-ops, and entry-level positions. Don’t make recruiters come to you – be proactive and start the job hunt on your own.

Follow LinkedIn’s student-focused Twitter account for more advice on optimizing your LinkedIn profile: @LinkedInU.

Good luck with your profile! Tweet us @StudentsDotOrg when you have yours set up and we’d be happy to offer feedback.

Image by Gangplank HQ, flickr

Image by Gangplank HQ, flickr

In school, you’ll see plenty of opportunities to apply for jobs – full time, part time, internships, co-ops – even an application to attend a conference or be a club executive may require a resume. Use the beginning of the school year to freshen up your documents so if something does come up, you’re not rushing to complete them. Here are a number of tips we’ve compiled from @wisebread‘s weekly #wbchat – this one on modern tips for resumes.

  1. Eliminate the Objective
  2. This one will come as a surprise to those of us (myself included) stuck in our standard resume format ways. Look at the objective on your resume. Chances are it says something along the lines of “To use my skills to help your company succeed.” If everyone applying for the position has the same cookie cutter sentence, it won’t help any of you. Remove the redundancy and use that space for more important information. Perhaps, add in a section with your unique skill set.

    objective

  3. It’s Okay to Brag, But Be Honest
  4. Your resume is one of the only places where it’s deemed acceptable to brag about yourself. This is your time to shine. List all the qualities that will tell an employer why you’re amazing at what you do. That being said, keep them accurate and honest. Don’t exaggerate; if you get to the interview stage, you’ll spend more time trying to cover up your little white lies than talking about the job. If there is a gap between jobs in your resume, explain what you did during that time. Chances are you weren’t on the couch day after day (we’d hope) – were you volunteering? Writing/blogging? Travelling? Be sure to include these – they might be just as interesting as another job to your interviewer.

  5. Eliminate the Fluff
  6. Bragging about yourself is great, but no one wants to read a five-page resume. Cut out anything you’ve added as filler. Keep it simple and concise. If you can get your resume down to one page (without eliminating important information), do it. Instead of writing about your job description, include accomplishments and numbers wherever you can – here’s an example:

    Written as a Job DescriptionWritten as an Accomplishment
    Responsible for promoting the conference to peersPromoted the conference to peers, resulting in a 25% increase in attendance

    quantify

  7. Tailor Your Resume
  8. How many resumes do you have? Is it necessary to have more than one? It depends on the job you’re applying for. If you’re applying to anything and everything, yes, you may need different resumes for each industry. The majority of people have one; but as standard as a resume might seem, it should always be tailored to the industry and the job you’re applying for. Highlight different skill sets and add descriptions that may apply to the specific job. Consider creating a LinkedIn profile; it can be updated more easily than a resume and you won’t forget new job responsibilities when the time comes to refresh your documents. Remember though that a LinkedIn profile is not a replacement for a resume.

    tailor

  9. Proofread, Proofread, and then Proofread Again
  10. A number of hiring managers have mentioned that if a resume has a spelling mistake on it, it immediately goes into the trash. As harsh as this may seem, the logic makes sense – if you don’t have the time or care to proof your resume – a document that could essentially start a new career for you – how do they know you won’t be as careless with the work you’re given at their company? Always proofread your resume. Send it to a peer to make sure that not only are there no mistakes, but that the content is applicable to the job you’re applying for.

    relevancy

  11. Stand Out, But Keep it Professional
  12. Everyone wants their resume to stand out. But is printing it on pink paper with a spritz of perfume (Legally Blonde style) really the way to do it? Always look at the type of company you’re applying to first. If you’re applying to a law or accounting firm, you’re best to use a standard black and white format. If you’re applying to an ad agency or web design firm, you can probably afford to be more creative. If you’re not sure, play it on the safe side.

    format

  13. Critique It As If You Were the Hiring Manager
  14. Our last piece of advice, and a very important one, is to take a step back. Read it with a different mindset. If you were a big shot hiring manager and you could pick anyone to work for you, would reading that resume sell you? Would you be excited for an interview with this student? If not, try to figure out what would entice a hiring manager to talk to you. Do you need more facts and figures? Do you need to talk more about your accomplishments? Ask family or friends if there’s a better way to word your skills.

    hiringmanager

    If you need more assistance, check out your school’s career centre. The counsellors will be more than happy to review your resume with you and provide suggestions for improvement. Once your resume is finalized, you’ll need to start your interview prep. Here are some tips to get you started!