careers, resume, Uncategorized

Looking for a Summer Job

I know how it feels to be a university or college student with debt piling up.  Money is tight. Your friends keep inviting you to things but you’re too broke to attend, the endless list of “a want not a need” items that you can not afford to buy, and the constant scrapping of change to buy yourself a coffee so you can make it through one more class.

But now spring is here and you are eagerly looking at job postings trying to find a summer job that will not only provide lots of hours but will also offer a high wage. Here’s the thing, these high paying full-time jobs may not be the best option for you. Yes they will help your wallet with some spending money and maybe pay off a little debt and yes these things are important, but the time you put in to work during these early years is better spent beefing up your resume.  Building a solid resume early in your career will provide huge benefits once you are out of school and begin looking for a full time position.  You can do this by applying for jobs or internships that best suits your future career plans and not what will provide temporary riches.  The pay may be low but it will benefit you so much more in the long run.

Here are a few ways you can find that summer job or internship that suits your career goals.

Look Online 

This is an obvious one but should still be mentioned, a quick and efficient way to find something for the summer is to look online at current job postings.  Companies will often post these student positions on their company websites or job search sites.  Apply for these just as you would any other job.  But the trick here is to stay focused.  Try to be attentive to the positions that will help build your resume.

Network

Networking is key to achieving many career goals.  In some cases, the connections you make when you first start out in your career will literally follow you through to retirement.  So how can you network successfully? One way is to join groups and professional associations.  There are many organizations that you can join as a student which can keep you connected and up to date on the latest news and events in your industry, including networking events and job availability.  For example, if you are studying to be a dietitian, in Canada there is an association called Dietitians of Canada.  This association has an option for students to register at a much lower cost but still reap most of the benefits.  Simply being a member looks good on a resume, let alone all the benefits that come with joining the group.

Another way to network is to become familiar with your instructors.  Not only can they potentially be a great reference for you, but often they hold contacts to key people in different companies or organizations that may be looking for recommendations for students to fill summer positions or internships.  Every once in a while take the time to talk to your instructor after class.  Ask questions about the lecture or share your thoughts.  Also, it seems obvious, but work hard on your grades.  As a daughter of a university professor I can honestly tell you that professors, teachers or instructors, will often remember those who do well in their class and turn in high quality work.

Use online networking sites such as LinkedIn to form connections.  Although traditional networking events are still the ideal way to form professional relationships, a little time online can be leveraged to great effect.

Career Fairs

Attending career or job fairs can be hugely beneficial for job hunting whether it be for a temporary summer position or a permanent position.  This is a great way to make an in-person connection.  Meeting someone face to face builds trust and respect much quicker than connecting online.  It offers the chance to present yourself to multiple key representatives from potential employers in a short period of time. These representatives will often play integral roles throughout the hiring process. Connecting with these people will  help to establish a personal connection which will round off  your resume and cover letter.  Mention your meeting in the cover letter or call them by name.  Simply reminding the recruiter of your face-to-face meeting will likely put you above other applicants.

Contact Potential Employers Directly

Call or email different companies or organizations within your industry and ask if they are offering any student internships.  Taking the time to reach out not only gives you the information you are looking for but it also connects you directly to an individual who may be a potential contact for the future.

Volunteer

Volunteering with an organization whose values are aligned with your career goals will not only look great on a resume, but it may also put you “in the know”. You will probably hear of potential summer internships before the public.  Of course, if they know you and appreciate your work ethic, you will likely come to mind when a job or internship becomes available.

Finding a summer gig is not hard, but looking for the one that will benefit you the most in the long run can be a challenge.  Hit the ground running, stay focused on your end goal and it will become easier as you move along through your career.

For tips and information on how to write a resume with limited work history or a volunteer position as your only relevant experience take a look at this previous blog post or contact us for help.

 

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careers, resume, Uncategorized

How long should a resume be?

A lot of people believe that in order to be noticed by a recruiter or hiring manager they need a resume that is eye-catching and limited to one page.  But the reality is most hiring managers would rather read a multi-page resume that is well-organized and easy to follow then a one page resume that is scattered and jammed full of information.  A recent study showed that recruiters are 2.3 times more likely to prefer two page resumes over one page resumes regardless of the level of the position.  It demonstrated that two page documents provided extra information which helped the recruiters make their decisions, even when it came to entry-level positions, though to a lesser degree.

So what does this mean for you?  Does every resume need to be two pages?

The answer is no.  Although the average resume can provide enough information within two pages, your resume should be as long as you need it to be to show how you are qualified for the job.  For example, if you are new to the job market and have minimal experience to list on your resume, then you will probably be applying for lower level or entry type positions and will likely only have enough information to fill a one page resume.  Trying to fill two pages with unrelated extracurricular activities and interests will only frustrate a recruiter. An example of a time in which a three to four page resume would be more suited to the position is if a candidate is applying for a senior level management or executive position.  In this case the individual will likely hold many years of professional experience that are important to include in the document for the potential employer.

To further demonstrate the point that a one page resume is not always the best option watch this short video in which a recruiter at Sherret Inc. discusses some key ideas to keep in mind when compiling information for your resume.

It is important to note while on this topic that as a job hunter you should be cautious when using online templates to write a resume.  Although there are many stunning and attractive templates that can be found online, there are some that can cause you to focus on the wrong aspects of the document.  These templates tend to be one page resumes and can lead a job hunter to believe that the key to getting a job is to get noticed with a “pretty” and “eye-catching” resume and therefore often fail to focus on the actual content of the resume.

Although the average person would probably find that a two page document is sufficient in demonstrating how they fit a potential position this is not necessarily the best option for everyone.  Applicants need to demonstrate how they fit a position without frustrating the person reading the resume with a lot of unnecessary information. As stated in previous blog posts, if the recruiter needs to hunt for the required information, they are more likely to toss your resume aside. So take your time and ensure that you have done the best you can to market yourself to the employer.

 

careers, resume, Uncategorized

Do I need a cover letter?

“But why do I need a cover letter? No one will even read it!”

This is a common statement I hear these days. According to a recent jobvite survey only 26% of recruiters actually read cover letters. So therefore, the above statement appears to be true. Well I am here to tell you that it is, in fact, not true. Here is why.

In most cases, when a recruiter is involved, he or she is not the only one who will be reviewing your information during the application process. It is the recruiters job to weed through the mass amount of resumes and provide a short list to the hiring manager who will make the final decision on who will be offered an interview. This manager will likely be more interested in reading your cover letter.

Another important thing to remember is that a cover letter, whether it is read or not, demonstrates your drive and enthusiasm. Providing a letter will only increase your chances of obtaining an interview. You want to show the person reading your resume that you are willing to go above and beyond.

There are only two scenarios that I believe you should leave out a cover letter. First, when the job posting states that a cover letter is not wanted. Second, when the company’s website does not provide the opportunity to attach a cover letter.

Although many recruiters do not read cover letters many still expect to see one accompanied with a resume. A study by Career Builder found that 49% of Human Resource Managers still want a cover letter to be included in an application. Of course as an applicant it is frustrating to think you spend all that time on a document that may or may not be looked at but in the end that extra effort will still put you high on the list of potential successful applicants.

resume

Resumes based on education and no work experience

Graduating from university or a post-secondary institution can be one of the most exciting moments in a person’s life.  The possibilities seem endless.  However once you start putting your resume out into the world, you may find the doors are not flying open as you had expected.  So how does a person with education in a particular field but little to no experience get noticed.

Here is an example of a resume for an individual who has graduated with a Human Resource Management Diploma but has not had the opportunity to work directly in the field.  The section at the top of the document highlights the key features of this individuals education.  It demonstrates her ability to take what she has learned while in school and transfer it into the workplace.  The next section is her education.  It was placed close to the top of her resume to highlight her completed program as this is the main experience she has in Human Resources.

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This next example takes the same situation but adds some volunteer experience.  Here our applicant decided to add to her resume by completing some volunteer experience in her field.  In this resume the volunteer experience is placed under the professional experience section instead of under a separate volunteer experience section. This is because, in this situation, the applicants volunteer experience is more relevant to the positions she would be applying for then her actual work experience. (For more information on how to list work experience on your resume click here) The other thing to note is that the education section is listed at the end of the resume.  In this example the recruiter will likely note the applicants experience and will then scan the rest of the resume for the education section.  So in this case, where her education is located on her resume is not relevant.

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It can be difficult to start off or transition into a field in which you have limited experience.  How you market yourself on your resume is key to getting noticed by potential employers.  If you are struggling with your resume or would like to see more examples of resumes please contact us.

Uncategorized

Should You Include Your Address on Your Resume

I am asked often if it is important to include a home address on a resume.  The answer is that it should be decided based on the job you are applying for, on a case by case basis.  Here are a few things to consider in making the decision.

Conservative managers may be concerned:

Some hiring managers will not consider applicants who do not provide an address as a traditional resume typically lists your home address.  Managers who have been hiring for many years may assume this is something that should be included because this was once common practice.  To these conservative managers your resume may seem incomplete, and they may wonder if you are trying to hide something or just lacking attention to detail.

It may affect whether an employer even looks at your resume:

Employers may be concerned about your commute if you live a lengthy distance from the location of the job.  They may feel that this will affect your commitment to the position or the amount of time you might stay with the company.  A long commute may cause stress to an individual causing an employee to leave a job.  Unfortunately, in this situation, before they read the rest of your resume they will simply toss it aside.

If you are applying for a position that is in a different city listing your address may cause the employer to refuse your resume.  However, if you leave your address off of your resume but all of your employment history shows that you have worked in another city then the employer may also exclude your resume.  In this case, if you are willing or are planning on moving to another city it is important to state this either in your cover letter or resume in order to be noticed.  Adding a line such as “relocating to Vancouver, BC” can instantly put you in the pile of potential candidates.

Local residency is a requirement of the job.

For some jobs being a local resident is a requirement and in these cases an address will be expected on your resume.  For example, most government and civil service jobs require a permanent address to be listed on your resume.  If the job posting lists a specific location it is important that you include this in order to be considered for the position.  If the recruiter needs to hunt for the required information they will likely not be interested in contacting you.

The job positing may be fraudulent.

A job positing on a third party site may be fraudulent.  Do a quick web search of the company, this can sometimes help determine if the posting is a scam.  If possible, read reviews by former employees on review sites.  After doing your research, if you decide the company is a legitimate business and fraud is not a concern, never include identifying information such as your age, date of birth, marital status, social insurance number, or driver’s license number.  This information is not relevant when you are applying for a job.

Most communications regarding open positions are now done online.  Therefore, in most cases, leaving your address off your resume should not affect your chances of receiving a call for an interview.  If they decide to hire you, they will ask for your physical address at that time. In any case, when deciding what information to include on your resume, whether it’s your address, work experience, goals, etc., it is important to keep in mind that your ultimate goal is to get hired.  You want to make it easy for the employer to see how you qualify for the job.