Think your resume is dead? Think again.
Let me know your thoughts in the comments section.
We’ve reached the mid-point of March and it’s inching closer to the end of another academic year. For some, it’s even the end of your collegiate careers. I’ve had the pleasure of talking with a number of students about their resumes. The next step is using that resume to help get you either an internship or a job.
A good cover letter and resume will get you an interview, but when you are in the room, what do you do? I was chatting with a colleague the other day and we were discussing this very topic. The interview can either make or break you with a potential employer. I’ve been on few interviews and here are five nuggets of advice as you get ready for your own.
1) Be prepared to discuss your weakness- No one is perfect. Don’t be afraid to admit that you need to work on your pitching to the media or even developing strategic plans.
2) Sell yourself- This is the opportunity to be proud of your past accomplishments. Don’t be cocky, but tell the interviewer why you’d be a good fit for their firm or organization.
3) Do not ramble- The answers to questions shouldn’t be the length of the State of the Union address. If you go over two minutes and thirty seconds, it’s too long. Be descriptive, but concise.
4) Do not ask about vacation- The worst thing you can do is say, “How much time do we get off from work?” That isn’t exactly the way you want to sell yourself. An employer will already start to think that you don’t want to really work.
5) Be innovative- Impress your future boss. If you are applying for a job that requires you to work around technology, why not put your portfolio on an iPad and show your skills? It also may not hurt to make sure your blog is on there, too.
Keep in mind that once you get that interview, they want to like you. Don’t give the interviewer a reason not to.
What other interview techniques do you find helpful? Let me know in the comments section!
I’m thrilled to welcome Samantha Ogborn as my first guest blogger. She is an incredibly talented woman who is a senior at the University of Missouri. She will be finishing up her Bachelor’s in Journalism with an emphasis in Strategic Communication this May. She is the author of the blog, appropriately named, SamanthaOgborn.com. I asked Samantha to offer up this blog on searching for that first job.
Every student graduating in May has said at least once that job hunting is a job in itself. You know what? I completely agree. It’s unbelievably time-consuming, stressful, and leaves victims seemingly pessimistic. But I promise, it does NOT have to be agonizing, by any means. Actually, by voluntarily expanding your horizons, you might very well find yourself digging through a dozen of potential opportunities you never knew existed.
It’s all about learning how to think unconventionally.
The other day I was hanging with my friend who happened to be searching for job openings online. I recommended one of my favorite sites, Indeed.com, for her search. After she got to their homepage, she saw that they asked for what kind of job. Since she’s looking to go into PR, she typed “PR”. Then, she typed in her location. Tons of job postings popped up, and after clicking through a few pages, she complained “I’ve already seen all of these jobs.”
Let’s establish something: I don’t really care what major you are. You could be communications, PR, advertising, whatever - it doesn’t even matter. What matters most to employers is your skill set. What can you bring to the table? Are you annoyingly organized? What about your ability to speak in public? And about press releases – they’re not just for PR anymore.
Realize that your skills apply to a wide spectrum of jobs.
So what if the title doesn’t feature “account executive”? Don’t even try to argue your way out of that one. If the skills match, apply. Why wouldn’t you? Staying proactive in your job search doesn’t mean only applying to jobs that fall under your major. To make it in this economy, you have to think differently.
Realize that your next job could be anything in any industry. You might find yourself working for a sports team, or for a yoga studio. One of my friends wound up working at a music entertainment company last summer and had a blast. Don’t just assume that an agency setting is the only way to go when you graduate. Now this doesn’t necessarily mean that you might not thrive in that environment, but agencies aren’t the only places who are hiring.
By now, you should already know what you’re good at. If you still need some ideas, read a job description. Find some things that really resonate with who you are and what you can bring to the table. Are they looking for someone who can work effectively in a team setting? If you feel like that’s you, then make sure they know that by illustrating this on your resume. Use past experience to specifically show that you rocked it as team player. Lying would truly screw you over in the end, and wouldn’t you like to set yourself up for a job that you’re going to knock out of the ballpark? Your resume is the vehicle for the interview – so tailor it to that job as best you can, using your experience. Having the same cookie cutter resume for every job you apply for just isn’t going to cut it anymore if you want to stand out.
Also, when conducting “dreaded” job searches, remember to think out of the box. Don’t type in your major. Type in something more. Try 5 different words. Looking to go into PR? Type in spokesperson, or word-of-mouth. You’ll be pleasantly surprised at the magnitude of fresh results.