Posts tagged #college recruiting

Job Search Toolkit: Résumés - Your Story on Paper (Part 5)

Finally, the "Experience' section.  I wanted to go through each section of the resume in detail before this one to give appropriate attention and importance to the entire document.  Most people focus on their experience, filling in the other parts as an afterthought.  I've placed resumes in the "no" pile long before I reach the experience section due to poor formatting or typos.  Each and every square centimeter on a resume is critical; it can make or break your career opportunities.

After making it through the top portion of a resume, I take 2- 3 seconds to skim their experience.  I’m looking for quantifiable accomplishments and results.  In the hiring process, the best indicator of future performance is past behavior, so I want to understand how the person performed in the past.  Did they achieve goals?  Did they save $10,000, increase revenue by 5%, or improve cycle time  by 20%?  Oftentimes, people write down a task list or a job description in their experience section, as if describing their previous job duties qualifies them for a future role.  I throw these resumes out.  I do not care about what you did in your previous job(s), what I care about is if you did your previous jobs(s) well.

The other important thing to remember is that this one piece of paper is serving as your first impression.  The reader might not get the opportunity to meet you first, so your charming personality or great elevator speech cannot help you.  Your resume must be able to stand on its own and represent you as a professional.  

It’s a bit like preparing for a first date.  You both want to make a great impression, so you dress up, go somewhere nice, make sure your car is clean, open the door, etc.  One year later, date night probably looks a little different, right?  If your resume is your best impression and it isn’t the most fantastic description of you, maybe it isn’t even good, what does that say about you and how you would perform after you get a little comfortable?

There is a lot to cover when it comes to experience, so today I’m going to focus on the most important: accomplishment statements.  Here are two examples; one using the job description methodology and one using accomplishment statements.  Which one jumps out to you?

Example #1: Job Description

Marketing Analyst

  • Supported Director, Marketing with all deliverables for Tide laundry detergent and presented findings regularly

  • Created brand campaign based on market research findings

  • Completed market research, including focus groups, one-on-one interviews, and live demonstrations, for Tide laundry detergent

Example #2: Accomplishments

Marketing Analyst

  • Conducted market research for the Tide brand, including six focus groups, 15 consumer shadowing experiences, and purchasing analytics on over 100 million data points

  • Used market research findings to craft a new brand campaign, resulting in a 4% same store sales increase in revenue and a 10% increase in volume compared to a goal of increasing same store sales by 3% and volume by 8%

  • Presented brand campaign deliverables to the Director of Marketing for final approval prior to execution.  Director of Marketing made an exception and invited me to present the brand campaign at the Marketing Executives meeting due to the quality of the materials

 

The example shows two different ways to describe the exact same situation.  Example #1 is the most common, and will typically land you in the “no” pile.  What did this person do that was outstanding?  Example #2 is less common and moves to the top of the “yes” pile.  They get an immediate phone call to see if they are as good over the phone as they are on paper.  Their experience is impressive, and indicates that they will continue to perform this way in the future.

So how do you become a #2?  Take time to brainstorm your accomplishments, whether at work, internships, or campus clubs.  What stands out as exceptional?  Can you quantify it so others understand the magnitude of why it is exceptional?  It takes an investment of time up front to develop meaningful examples, but once you start, coming up with accomplishments is easy.  Take your examples and then try to put them in the order of a story so someone could read through and understand it.  Make sure to have others proofread it.  Put your best food forward, and always be honest.

 

Job Search Toolkit: Résumés - Your Story on Paper (Part 3)

Fall.  It's my favorite time of the year.  The crisp cool air, memories of going back to school, and the feeling of being extra-motivated for the year ahead.  Now, I love going back to campus to recruit students.  The only memories I do not cherish are the years I was also job or internship-searching in the fall - it's much easier being on the other side of the interviewing table!  

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In  light of this time of year, today I want to start going through résumés step-by-step, starting with the header. Every piece of a résumé is important, and as the first thing the reader sees, your header must capture their attention and make them want to keep reading. 

So, what should you include in the header?

Your full name.

Your mailing address.

Your email address.

Your phone number.

Sounds simple, right?  It should be simple, but I've placed people in the "no" pile simply due to their header.  Here is why...

An unprofessional email address.  Be safe and use your name as your email address, with a gmail or yahoo - type account that will not expire after graduation.  Never place your work email address on your résumé.

Formatting errors within their header.  I've seen multiple fonts, center and left justification, and countless other formatting inconsistencies in headers.  If something so simple has errors, I have no interest in reading the rest of the document.

An objective statement about "seeking a challenging position in finance" or "an internship that leverages my analytical skills".  Objective statements are the worst uses of space on a résumé.  If you are applying to jobs, what is your objective other than to gain employment in that field?  What purpose does it serve to list it on your résumé?  The objective statement is a present-day shortcut to the well-crafted cover letter, which is a must to set yourself apart in the job market.

Your header can be as simple as the following:

Easy, right?  Let your accomplishments and the professionalism of your résumé differentiate you, not crazy fonts or unique formatting that requires the reader to search for information.


There are nuances to each part of a resume, even the header.  I've included guidance on frequently asked questions.

Résumé Header FAQs

Where does the header belong?

I prefer to see a header center-justified at the top of the page, with the name on the top line and in a noticeably larger font than the rest of the information.  This makes it easy to remember your name and tie it to your information.

What name should I use if I changed my last name (e.g. due to marriage, divorce, etc)?

Your name is a key piece of your brand.  If you have legally changed last names and are using a different last name than what is commonly known, I recommend using your new last name, followed by née [former last name] all in parenthesis.  "Née" means "formerly" in French and is common terminology to indicate a last name change.  For me, this looks like: KaLeena S. Thomas (née Weaver)

If I am in college, should I use my college address or my home address?

It depends.  From a simplicity standpoint, using one mailing address is easier for the reader to navigate and it keeps the top of your résumé from being too "busy".  Companies use your mailing address infrequently, usually only to send you an "official" offer letter (most are emailed) and to set up new hire paperwork.  

If you are applying to smaller companies in different areas of the country while in college, seeing a non-local address may deter them as they may not typically fly candidates in to interview.  In this case, if your permanent address is a local address for that organization, use both your permanent and current address.  This will indicate that you are familiar with the area, intend to move back after graduation, and available to travel (likely on your own dime) for an interview.  If you want to move somewhere else specifically and can move immediately, it's oftentimes easier to move first and then find a local job.  It frees you up to interview any time without a commute and solidifies your interest in and willingness to move for an opportunity.

Should I use my university email address?

No, unless you are positive your university will keep this email address "active" permanently and you want to manage this inbox into the future.  Many universities will disable accounts a year after graduation, meaning those with your university email will get a bounce back rather than reaching you.  Why risk missing out on an opportunity?  Set up a free email using a configuration of your name (see example above) and route everything through this email.

Posted on September 19, 2015 and filed under Job Search Toolkit, Resume.