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Get A Job : Part 1

1 April 2004 15 views One Comment

This month, we debut our new web site, http://www.financialaidnews.com, where we’ll centralize all our newsletters, past and present.

A special note to all our valued subscribers: The Student Loan Network is moving! Thanks to your patronage and word of mouth, we’re moving offices to accommodate our growing staff. If you currently make use of any of our services, please take note of our new address!

Featured Sponsor: Monster.com

This month, we feature Monster.com. If you’re an employer or a prospective employee, use Monster.com to make that next great hiring choice.

Featured Article: A Resume that Delivers Results

Part 1 of a 2 Part Series on Finding Jobs

As American students are well aware, one of the key talking points in this year’s Presidential election is jobs, or more specifically the seeming dearth of them available to graduates. You probably don’t want to wait for an election to improve the chances of finding a job after graduation, so this month’s feature article is how to craft a good resume. Be sure to read our February 2004 financial aid news for more job hunting information.

Former R2 Services recruiter and Edvisors Network CTO Christopher Penn weighs in on how he’s helped land jobs for 100% of the friends and family that have asked him for help in the last few years.

As I said in the February newsletter, job hunting is very much a numbers game, despite what books about parachutes tell you. That said, if your resume isn’t polished and top notch, it won’t matter how many you send out. Here are some tips for a good resume.

First and foremost, your resume should immediately answer the question ‘What’s in it for me’ for every prospective employer. They should have their internal job description in one hand and your resume in the other, and if you’re qualified for the job, there should be no question in their minds that you’re exactly the person they need to call. How do you convey that? When I was recruiting, we made a point of emphasizing skills, experience, and accomplishments first, then education and certifications. What can you do? How well can you do it? Will you solve the problem that the employer has?

  1. Even things that seem like modest accomplishments to you may be significant to an employer. One thing that I find helps to “sell” a resume is factual data. Instead of merely listing “Sold auto parts at store for summer work”, tell me about your accomplishments in a way that’s more concrete. “Sold 12% more auto parts during summer job than any other associate at store” tells me that you’re an achiever, a can-do person. Even if you were just flipping burgers, were you more productive than other employees, did you help the business further its needs?
  2. Create a section at the top of your resume that offers a fast, bulleted list of what you’re capable of. Think of it as the teaser for the rest of the resume. It should be clean, crisp, short, and immediately understandable.
  3. As you iterate through your previous experiences, try to stick to a bulleted list, since it’s faster and easier to read. Remember that hiring managers and assistants are still overwhelmed by torrents of resumes. You want to make it as easy as possible for them to glean relevant information from your resume, and that means bullet points. You’ll elaborate more in your interview.
  4. Write a sales-oriented cover letter to be dispatched with your resume. Your cover letter should be more than “Please give me a job” put in polite prose. Your cover letter is a sales tool, and as such should ask questions and provide minor “yes” response opportunities throughout. Your cover letter should be targeted to the industries you’ll be applying to, and should also contribute mightily to answering the question “What’s in it for me, the employer?” See our samples below.
  5. Run a spelling checker over EVERYTHING you have created. Do this several times. Nothing turns off a prospective hiring manager faster than poor spelling. Then get some business associates to review it. Note that I didn’t say friends and family! Get people in business, preferably who have had to hire people in the past, to review your documentation thus far. You want it to be seen by people who have an idea of how difficult it is to hire someone, so they can tell you what stands out – and what doesn’t.
  6. Get a web site. It doesn’t matter if it’s a free site or a site you pay for, though having JackKincaid.com is easier to remember for employers than home.geocities.com/jackandcoke2000/ and making things as easy as possible for a prospective employer is the name of the game. Use your personal web site to showcase what you’re capable of, and to offer conclusive proof that you are perfectly literate with a computer and the Internet, necessary skills in the professional workforce for a large number of jobs. Your site should offer your resume in four formats: Microsoft Word, Plain Text, HTML, and Adobe Acrobat PDF.
  7. Consider making business cards with your personal web site’s URL and contact information on it. It’s awkward to wander around life with piles of resumes in a satchel, hoping you’ll come upon someone to give them to. Keep your personal hiring cards with you, and distribute them as appropriate! You never know when you’ll meet someone who may be in a position to help you find a job.

Nothing teaches like example. Here are some samples of work I’ve done for a past client, the before and after. Note that everything is truthful and honest – I took the time to get to know them and what they’d done, and merely added hard facts to an otherwise unglamorous hiring package. There’s absolutely no need to lie at all; quite the contrary – you want to make the truth about how great you are even more clear, even more obvious!

Before

After

Sample Resume Sample Resume
Sample Cover Letter Sample Cover Letter

Scholarship Notes

This month, we go for the big money, scholarships of high dollar awards.

As always, we remind you that this is a very, very, very small fraction of the scholarships available to students everywhere. We encourage you, if you want to get the maximum amount of free money for college, to enlist the services of our scholarship experts. We’ve sorted through over 2 million scholarships worth $14 billion.

Search for College Scholarships

Scholarship: Siemens Westinghouse Competition – up to $100,000

The a href=”http://www.siemens-foundation.org/en/competition.htm” title=”Siemens Westinghouse Competition” target=”_blank” rel=”nofollow”>Siemens Westinghouse Competition is comprised of an individual competition and a team competition. The individual competition is open to high school seniors who will graduate no later than September 1, 2004. The team competition consists of two to three members from any level in high school. Individual and team entries will receive separate awards. You must submit a research project in science, mathematics, engineering, technology, or any combinations of these disciplines.

Scholarship: Collegiate Inventors Competition – up to $25,000

The Collegiate Inventors Competition is open to students who have been enrolled full time in a college or university over the past 12 months. You must submit an original idea, process or technology that will be judged on originality and inventiveness, as well as on its potential value to society (socially, environmentally, and economically), and on its range or scope of use. Up to four students may work together as a team. However, only one prize will be awarded per entry.

Scholarship: Evalee C. Schwarz Charitable Trust – up to $15,000

The Evalee C. Schwarz Charitable Trust for Education provides interest-free loans to undergraduate and graduate students who demonstrate exceptional academic performance and financial need. You must be a U.S. citizen, qualify for financial need in the form of government grants and be enrolled in a school in the state in which you reside. You must also have an outstanding combination of standardized test scores (ranking in the top 10% nationally) and class to be eligible for this award. Students who are seeking a law degree are not eligible.

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One Response to “Get A Job : Part 1”

  1. Get a Job : Part 2 < Newsletter | Financial Aid News says on May 26, 2011 at 3:19 pm:

    [...] is just around the corner, and if you read last month’s newsletter, you’ve now got a killer resume ready to go. Where do you send it? How do you find the job [...]

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