This week on Informania, Deb the Librarian interviews Diane Kozak, Director of the Career Services Center at UAA. Diane talked about the different types of resumes (chronological, factual, or a combination of both). Diane shared good advice about resumes, cover letters, interviews and job search etiquette. Following are a few tips:
When developing a resume, volunteer, internships, and fast food work experiences count! If you have worked at a fast food restaurant, you likely have the ability to work in a fast-paced environment and may have significant experience with customer service. It is all in how you word your experience. The Career Services Center can help with this! You have to have a resume created for them to review, but are glad to help you rephrase statements to help your experience to shine.
Word your experience (honestly) to match the job description. Diane has created four versions of her resume to speak to different industries or types of positions.
Start developing your resume early in your college career. Why wait until your senior year? If you begin your resume as a freshman, you will be able to see what added experiences you need or want to develop by the time you graduate and are ready to go to work in your desired industry.
Your cover letter should not include work experience not covered in your resume. Remember, your resume is the experience story you are sharing with your potential future employers. The cover letter will highlight relevant experience, but not replace the resume. Diane said some employers may not even look at a cover letter. The length of cover letters range from a half of a page to two pages. Include the job you are applying for in the introduction, highlight a few reasons you are the best candidate, and thank the committee for this opportunity.
When you interview, meet the employer with the confidence that says, “I really want this job and I am the best candidate for it!” You need to be the best salesperson you can be for yourself. I, personally, like to picture that positive outcome before the interview, or event, even to the point of feeling what it would be like to have that success. Stay positive, and attentive during the interview. The Career Services Center can help you practice interviews, record and critique interviews, and help you think through answers to interview questions like, “Tell me about a time you had to deal with a conflict at work. How did you resolve it?”
After the interview, send a thank you letter! It is good to send a thank you email message, but great etiquette to send a thank you card in the mail as a follow-up to an interview and thank you email message. Yes, I mean a Thank You card sent through snail mail! A bland, simple Thank You card is sufficient. You don’t want to show too much personality (with a frilly or decorated card), until you get the position.
Any talk before, during or after the interview meetings all count as part of the interview. Are you going out to lunch with other employees from the business? Be on your best behavior here as well! Job candidate conversations and behaviors that occur during formal and informal (lunch or dinner) scenarios will leave an impression with job search committee members who are tasked with reviewing the candidates. Many times, it is more important for an employer to hire a teachable person with the personality and attitude that fits well with other employees than it is to hire the person with the most experience.
If you didn’t get the position this time, it is okay to ask why. Not all employers can tell why a candidate didn’t get the position, but it is okay to ask! Perhaps sending an email that asks, “How can I improve my ability to get a job like this in the future?” Career Services Center employees have developed good relationships with Alaskan employers, and will, on occasion, get feedback about the credentials of students who have applied for jobs. Checking in for guidance on how to improve your skills and strategies as a job candidate is worthwhile!
How do you find out about jobs in your field?
Career Services Center has a database of local, national, and international jobs. Other resources Diane mentioned include the Department of Labor, craigslist, and industry associations and trade publications. It is expensive to post job announcements in certain publications, so craigslist is as viable an option as others to attract employees.