Welcome Back!!! Today we are super excited to bring you our newest series and one that we will continue to feature because it’s so damn important! We want to bring the best of the best into the ‘a.dose.of’ community to help us all navigate the chaotic waters of life and give all of us simple, trusted & honest advice on a variety of topics. And from this, our ‘a.dose.of’ Boss Crush Series was born! We are seriously crushing on these women who are killing it in their fields of study, giving us insider information and all of their secrets to success…without the bullshit. We have a serious lineup of women with great educational pedigrees, experience and a willingness to pay it forward. So, we hope you get as excited as we are! We’ve been described as ‘the blog for smart women’, and we don’t want to disappoint.
The Burning Question: New Job Search & Preparing Your Resume
We’ve always seen great articles and profiles on leaders in a particular industry or someone who achieved success and the format is usually the same: I went to college, got a job and I’m a billionaire. Well, that’s amazing. But how the f**k did you do it??? Where did you start? What did you put on your resume to get your foot in the door? Was it really your first job out of college with minimal to no experience? Not only that, what happens if you off-ramped to have kids or got divorced and now you want or need to go back to work? What are the VERY first steps to get our careers started or to get them back on track with re-employment???
Rachel Rundo, Recruiting & Employment Coordinator at Kent State University
Bio: Rachel received her Bachelor’s of Psychology from Miami University in Oxford, Ohio. She began her career in Human Resources by cutting her teeth at an HR Consulting firm in the Philadelphia area. Since starting in the HR department at Kent State University more than ten years ago, she has held various positions and is currently the Recruiting & Employment Coordinator.
The Interview & Insider Information
a.d.o: With your years of expert experience in HR and Higher Education, your dedication to your career & not to mention your overall cool vibe, we are so happy to have you as our VERY FIRST ‘Boss’ in our ‘Boss Crush’ Interview Series. As you know, we want the ‘no-nonsense’ insider information from the best of the best, so we are grateful for you being here at ‘a.dose.of’.
Today we are navigating Subject #1: The New Job Search/Preparing A Resume.
We’re a few months into the new year and with that often comes a desire for change. For those looking forward to graduation in a few months and their first jobs out of school, for those looking to re-enter or on-ramp after time away, or for those just looking to change careers, what are the BASIC FIRST STEPS in the ‘New Job Search’ process? (Where should we be searching? Online?, LinkedIn? Should we be posting our resumes places?)
Rachel: Before you begin your search, ask yourself a few key questions, as it will help direct your job search, including:
- Why are you looking for in a new opportunity? Better salary? Bored with your current role? Environment not meeting your needs?
- What do you love (and hate) about your current position?
- Is there a specific company or industry that interests you?
- Are you willing to relocate? If so, why?
- Do you have a specific salary requirement?
- What does your ideal company culture look like?
Questions like these will help to prepare you as you dive into the job search process (which can be extremely overwhelming).
EXPERT TIP for Fresh Grads: DO NOT feel pressure to know what you want to do with your life at age 22! For many of us, we are still trying to figure it out at age 32, 42, 52, etc.
EXPERT TIP FOR EVERYONE: The average person changes CAREERS 7 times in a lifetime (not ‘jobs’- I’m talking MAJOR career changes).
So, experiment working in a variety of positions across industries…for both large and small companies, and don’t be afraid to completely change your career path! It’s totally cool!
Rachel: Regarding job boards…YES! Definitely search job boards & look for industry specific job boards, such as higheredjobs.com (CLICK HERE)– then, just sign up for email notifications. (You’ll receive a notification when a job is posted in your preferred industry/city/position type)
I’m a fan of LinkedIn (CLICK HERE)– it can be an extremely effective way to network with professionals. Don’t hesitate to reach out to others who are working for a company that is of interest to you or doing your dream job or are simply your personal connections…as you never know who they may be connected to! (I ended up getting a job at a consulting firm through a ‘friend of a friend’ connection that I made)
EXPERT TIP: Clean up your LinkedIn profile & make sure it highlights your strengths & accomplishments!
Rachel: NETWORK! It doesn’t need to be awkward, If you aren’t comfortable picking up the phone and reaching out, start with sending an email. Keep your message brief. Introduce yourself! State the purpose of your email. Ask to be connected to the HR/Talent Acquisition department. Ask for a general informational interview. (DO NOT simply say, “Can you get me an interview for __________ position?”)
- Do your research– know exactly who you are reaching out to (correct spelling of name/title/etc). Remember that most often it’s a numbers game…the more networking you do, the greater your chances of landing an interview.
- Join local networking! Think local Alumni Associations, ‘industry specific’ networking groups, ‘young professionals’ groups, sport & social groups, etc.
As far as job boards go, I’d recommend keeping a spread sheet which indicates all of the positions that you’ve applied to and the application submit date, so you can follow-up accordingly.
EXPERT TIP: DO NOT stalk HR…if you call me every single day to check the status of a position, I will be annoyed. You don’t want to come off as desperate.
a.d.o: We need to polish up the resume, right? Should we go the ‘Elle Woods’ route and make it pink AND scented? Kidding. But what visual format or template should we use? When do we use a resume versus a CV? What categories do we need to include? (Education, work experience, etc?)
Rachel: To answer the Resume versus CV question:
- Resume- the standard/most common supporting document that is used when applying for a job (especially for an entry level job); it should include a brief summary of your experience, tailored to the position that you are applying to.
- CV- mostly used for higher level research based positions & Faculty positions or in instances where you would want to provide an extensive list of your publications/speaking engagements/research projects/awards & recognitions, etc.
(DISCLOSURE: there are so many opinions about the “correct” way to format a resume.)
Here is My Opinion on Formatting a Resume:
- Be clear and concise (don’t ramble or embellish).
- If I have to guess at what you’ve been up to for the past 5 years, I’m throwing your resume in the trash. Don’t leave me guessing!
- Show some personality! (But keep it professional)
- Don’t be boring! While I love to see a resume in an organized format, don’t be afraid to play around with colors/fonts/boarders
- Highlight your main duties & responsibilities within your employment history…but I do not need to know every single job duty that you’ve ever done or a task that you did ONE TIME– keep it as more of an overall summary of your key contributions.
- I’d say that if you have been working for at least 10-15 years then you can stick to a 2 page resume…but if you’ve only held 1 professional position since graduating in 2015, there is NO NEED for your resume to be more than 1 page. Use good judgement.
- IMPORTANT TO INCLUDE: A Qualifications Summary, Professional Experience, Education, Skills & Abilities.
EXPERT TIP: Tailor your resume to the position that you are applying to. Pay attention to KEYWORDS (words from the Job Posting)– as many job boards have an automatic screening feature that will screen out applicants that do not submit materials that include many of the same words as the job posting.
a.d.o: The substance of the resume or CV is the most important, right? How far back should we go in listing work history or education? Is it necessary to list hobbies & test scores?
Rachel: My rule– go back at least 10 years, or as far back as your work history goes…but only if it makes sense. STICK TO RELEVANT EXPERIENCE! I don’t need you to list all of the random part-time positions that you held in high school.
Example #1: If you are applying to a Wellness position or for a position at a company that is within the Healthcare/Wellness industry, then I’d be OK with you mentioning yoga as a hobby. Ask yourself ‘does the information on my resume relate to the job that I’m applying for?’For the most part, I probably don’t need to know that in your spare time you love to walk your dog and bake cookies.
Example #2: If the position requires a minimum of a Master’s Degree- you should highlight your Master’s Degree information (along with your Bachelor’s Degree)…but I really don’t care that you graduated High School in 1975 (with a GPA of 4.0!).
a.d.o: What should we do about references? Who should it be? (What if we have a boss who won’t give us one?)
Rachel: So, it depends on the company’s reference check policy & procedure, but my opinion is that you should include the contact information for 3-4 professional references. Think current or former co-workers, current or former supervisors, industry colleagues, former professors or mentors…anyone who can speak to your experience/skills/strengths/work ethic. If a current or former supervisor is not willing to serve as a reference, I’d want to know the reason. As a recruiter, I’d be digging deeper.
a.d.o: Say we have a short work history because we are recent graduates, had a life change or are ‘on-ramping’ after having kids. How should we address those situations in our resume?
Rachel: Short answer- BE HONEST! As I previously mentioned, don’t keep me guessing. If I see a major gap in your resume, with zero explanation, it’s a red flag.
- Talk about clubs or groups that you were a member of. Did you hold any leadership positions?
- What about internships? They are important!
- Was there any research or projects that you conducted that are related to your career goals?
EXPERT TIP FOR RECENT GRADS: Highlight what you can! I’m looking for any insight as to how you spent your college years. (This may be a good time for you to clean up your Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and any other social media accounts!)
a.d.o: You’ve probably seen tons of mistakes on resumes. What are the biggest landmines to avoid? What will get us tossed out of the pile of applicants?
Rachel: I see mistakes on applications/resumes/cover letters EVERY SINGLE DAY. It blows my mind. It seems like a no-brainer to me. PLEASE pay attention to spelling/grammar/punctuation/tense. It’s very rare that I would interview a candidate who has several mistakes on his/her application materials. In my opinion, mistakes= you lack attention to detail AND shows me that you are not interested in the position (at least not enough to take time to proofread your materials).
a.d.o: Do we need a cover letter? Why or why not? (If yes, then what should it say???)
Rachel: Yes! I always say include a cover letter- even if it is an “optional” document in the application process.
- Be creative!
- This is your opportunity to tell me something that I cannot gather from your resume.
- Talk about the specific job and/or company that you are applying to...why are you applying? What do you have to offer?
- Don’t submit a generic cover letter. I can 100% tell if you simply googled “sample cover letter”, swapped out the job title and company name and attached it to your application.
- Stick to 1 page or less. If your cover letter goes on and on, I’ll most likely stop reading it.
Now that we know all of the secrets from HR, lets polish up those resumes and get moving! Be on the lookout for more great HR insider information when we bring Rachel Rundo back for another Boss Crush installment. And feel free to reach out to Rachel via her social media links above! Good Luck!
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