I don’t know about you, but I’d consider the resume one of the most important steps in the job acquisition process. It’s your first foot into the door of the company; it’s your first “handshake”. On Thursday, January 13, Hire This Grad hosted another #ccalumchat, a twitter chat to bring Champlain students—current and former—together along with the greater community to discuss professional topics such as resumes.
We also got some great advice from Mack Collier, Social Media Consultant, trainer, and founder of #blogchat, who has worked with clients spanning from sole proprietorships to Fortune 100 companies.
Q1: How do you determine what information to include and how to phrase your content?
Some of the popular answers:
· Include relevant and recent information
· Change your list of skills and objectives to match the job position
· Include relevant courses, but also include what you DID in the course
· When listing skills, make sure they’re ones that DIFFERENTIATE you from everyone else that may be applying
· Match the words you use to words used in the job description or ones that would be part of the “company lingo”
· Be conscious of the size of your resume, try to stick to 1 page.
Q2: Is the traditional resume being replaced by alternatives such as video, audio, & social media? Should it?
Overall, your resume should change based on the job you’re applying for. If you’re applying for a social media position, you need to showcase your knowledge of social media—in which case Youtube/video resume, twitter, FB, etc… would be appropriate. If the industry is more traditional, then stick to traditional. But, the general consensus was that the traditional resume isn’t being REPLACED—most employers still want a paper resume. But, that doesn’t mean you can’t add a personal twist such as graphics or a logo, social media links, etc…whatever you feel is appropriate to showcase your strengths. Don’t add graphics, however, as a way to beef up a skimpy resume—Content is still key.
· Keep a traditional resume, and keep it up to date. (@mbenti / Daphne Walker)
· Keep it short, don’t go too crazy if you’re going to do something creative (@mbenti)
· Always bring a hard copy to an interview. (@mbenti)
· Remember that some larger organizations digitally scan resumes to match qualifications so logos/graphics may not be accepted (@rockonalley)
Q3: What is the best way to format your resume? How important are the aesthetics of a resume compared to content?
Your overall resume should be clean, organized, and easy to read. Plain and simple. Remember, employers are getting a bunch of resumes all at once—disorganized, sloppy, hard to read, or grammatically incorrect resumes are an easy way for them to quickly thin out the pile.
But how should you format it? What should go where?
A good question that came up—experience first or academics?
Really think about which one will be the more valuable sell for the job position—which one shows the best that you are the best candidate? And only showcase your academics if it is applicable or noteworthy—if you don’t have anything to show, don’t try and stretch it! Instead, showcase your skills section or whatever qualities are your strongest point.
Some schools, however, are very hands on (such as Champlain!) and offer valuable experience in your field through relevant group projects, internships, etc… be sure to showcase this if it demonstrates your skills! Employers like to see that you have the education AND that you can apply it.
· Line up margins and bullets (@angelicaferris)
· Be consistent in your formatting (@laurz)
· Get many opinions on format to get it perfect (@mbenti)
· Remember to be yourself (@Otenan)
Q4: What are some ways to incorporate our personal brand into your resume?
Your resume is your first impression to your potential employer—You want the employer to gain a sense of who you are through your resume.
· Use a personal logo if you have one, use the look/feel as well as your wording to show who you are/how you want to be perceived; but don’t go too far! A little goes a long way. (@nicholemagoon)
· Include some of your hobbies (@megcril)
· Incorporate your personal brand by the way of your layout and content, the colors you use as well as the lingo (@kristanp17)
· Try including a sentence tagline under your name or a brief testimonial from a former supervisor, professor or client (@mbenti/ Daphne Walker)
· Use a different colored sheet of paper that reflects yourself and your brand image if appropriate (@kirstanp17)
This chat also brought up a bunch of wonderful side questions.
Should you include your LinkedIn account or your Twitter name? or BOTH? (@megcril)
· Definitely include both! (@ejyoung67)
· Be sure to include your email and phone number, and also include a blog/website URL if you have one (@MackCollier)
· Put contact information at the top! (@mbenti)
How important is an objective on a traditional resume when you are running out of space?
There was quite a debate over this topic. Some believed that the objective was no longer needed as the objective would be included in the cover letter. Others believed that the objective should always be clear as it’s the first line that can separate you from the rest of the applicants.
It’s up to you. If space is an issue, it could be a candidate for elimination—summarize your skills instead. If you do use an objective, make sure its focused on the actual job position.
Should your skills section change based on the job you’re applying for? (@otenan)
Yes. Your skills section should change depending on the job position; the skills should reflect the ones required for the job. Also, be sure to use the buzzwords mentioned in the job posting.
How long do you wait until your follow-up with a phone call or second e-mail after applying for a job? (@jeffbartley)
Answers for this varied between a week to a few days, but one thing is sure—ALWAYS follow up. It shows that you are interested in the position and reminds the interviewer of your interview.
Other things that you can try:
· Making a contact through LinkedIn with someone in the HR department and following up with them via LinkedIn (@laurz)
· When you contact the interviewer, mention something you learned in the interview—it adds to your interest and shows that you were paying attention! (@mbenti)
Should references be listed and what is a good number of references to have available for employers? (@tech5 @megcril)
Yes, list references. If you need space on your resume, you can include a separate sheet that lists your references. However, make sure it has the same format/look/feel as your resume—consistence is key!
How many should you have? Atleast 3. You can try a boss/coworker, a teacher, or a personal reference. Remember to ask permission—it’s not only polite, but it enables you to make sure they’ll give you a positive referral AND gives them advanced notice that they might be called. This way, they have ample time to prepare good things to say about you!
The follow up after the interview—do you send a thank-you letter or e-mail?
Although the preference seemed to be for the traditional hand-written thank-you note, bottom line is to send a thank-you SOMETHING. Say thank-you to your interviewers. It’s polite and shows intrest in the position.
· Always send a thank-you note (written or e-mail) immediately. (@rockonalley)
· @Anne_barbano reminded us that the hand-written note leaves an impression, and she used to coach for job interviews!
· Hand written notes are more personalable and valuable (@ninaBrn)
· BE VERY CAREFUL with your penmanship if you have bad handwriting (@laurz)
· Digital is important, but phone skills and written communication are just as important in business (@PMGnicole)
One thought Mack Collier brought up was this:
How important is the school when employers look at resumes?
Of course, your school is important to an extent so you should always include it, but it shouldn’t replace other relevant content.
· Some schools have a good reputation in the area—Champlain is well known in the Burlington area as a good hands on, experience focused school.
· Alums like to hire alums! See if the organization you’re applying at has alums from your school (@rockonalley)
Thank you to EVERYONE that participated in the #ccalumchat, I believe its our best one to date! I look forward to more.
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