Tips for Finding an Internship

In many cases, internships are a now an expected staple for college grads to have on their resumes. Though it may seem like drudgery, internships are a great opportunity to explore possible careers, get much needed on-the-job experience, make valuable contacts, and possibly snag your first job.  For finding (and getting) a great internship in the vast sea of competition, here are some tips:

Use your college’s career center
That’s what it’s there for. Many students overlook the career center as a resource, but their help can be invaluable. Talk to a counselor, tell them what you’re looking for, and look through whatever books and resources they have available. As you describe what you're looking for, they can help you hone in on who to contact, how to contact them, and when to apply.

Talk to alumni and other professionals
Ask your career counselor about the college’s alumni network and reach out to alums with careers that interest you or individuals who live in the area where you’re looking to move after college. Also, don't overlook your parents, family, or friends – talk to anyone who may have an “in” at a company you’re interested in. People are surprisingly willing to help out college students with jobs and internships, so capitalize on their willingness and generosity.

Check company websites
Before hitting up generic search engines, check specific, desired companies’ websites for internship listings. Even if they don’t specify having internships, write a professional inquiry to human resources or a particular division to express your interest. Once you've submitted your inquiry or resume, follow up with a phone call to confirm they received your information.

Get The Job: 5 Great Resume Writing Tips

The job market is more competitive than ever, so your resume has to be ready for battle! Oftentimes, it's the first impression you make on a prospective employer, and is also a great leave behind to keep you top-of-mind. Therefore, it should be crafted with care. Below are five essential things to consider before sending out a resume.

–        Keep It Short. We tend to think longer is better, but when it comes to your resume, that's not the case. Don't pad your resume with useless information, instead, be clear, concise, and to the point, and only list the skills and experience that are applicable to the job you're applying for.

–        Quantify Things. Be sure to use numbers and measurements whenever possible. For example, what sounds better: “Managed employees” or “Managed over 100 employees?” Putting a number to your achievements makes them more concrete to a prospective employer.

–        Prioritize Your Skills. Always list the most important information at the top of your resume. For job descriptions, start off with the most difficult or specialized tasks and then continue to the more generic ones.

–        Customize Your Outline. Creating one generic resume will not do the job for every position you're applying for. Instead, take a few minutes before you send out a  resume out to make certain it is both relevant and job specific.

–        Sell Your Benefits. One of the most effective ways to communicate your skills is to outline how you can increase revenues, increase productivity, or lower expenses. Be sure to include some simple examples of how you accomplished these goals in the past — this bit of info will surely impress your potential future employers.

Dressing for Career Fairs and Jobs Interviews

When preparing for a career fair or job interview, keep in mind the quote “dress for the job you want, not the job you have". Potential employers want to see you dressed as you would be for your first day at the office. This first visual impression is an important one, so make it easy for them to picture you "fitting in" at their office. Since college attire often consists of sweat pants and flip-flops, here are some pointers for entering the business realm:

1. Do some research into the dress code of your desired workplace with the help of your college career center, online research, or possibly through current employees. Then, take it up a notch – you’re aiming to dress the way they would for an important meeting or presentation. This may be an opportunity where you want to ask your parents to go shopping with you, for their advice and (fingers-crossed) financial help.

2. After you get the clothes, take care of them by ironing or dry cleaning, if necessary.  If you nail the style, but have a wrinkled shirt or runs in your stockings, you won't give off a polished, professional first impression.

3. Success can be in the subtle details. Cover up tattoos, remove distracting piercings, and appropriately style your hair. Women should wear minimal make-up and nude stockings with skirts. And, or course, always wear a smile.

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Tips for Creating a First Resume

As you progress through your college career, undoubtedly, at some point you'll need to create a resume. In order to help you craft the very best resume possible that accurately reflects your unique skill set, we've compile some useful tips.

Seek guidance
The first place to check is your college career center. The counselors there are adept at creating concise, successful resumes and can tell you what you should and should not include – a counselor may be even willing to write a first draft with you! If this service isn't offered on your campus, visit job search engines, such as Monster, that provide templates and occasionally offer free feedback on submitted resumes. Keep in mind, there isn’t one perfect template out there, so don’t get too hung up on those details. The goal is create something eye-catching without it getting too busy.  Bullet points work well since you have to condense your employment history and skills on to one page, and make sure to start each description with an action verb, like ‘created,’ ‘led,’ or ‘ran’.

Tailor your resume
Employers prefer one-page resumes that specifically outline skills and experience related to their company's job posting.  If you’re applying to jobs in different industries, you will have to make a resume for each – such as “My Education Experience”, “Food Service Resume", etc. You can further personalize these resumes by adding ‘an objective’ related to the company that ties your experience into the specific job you are seeking.

Edit and re-read
Triple check your resume before sending it out – you don’t want a typo to cost you a job! Additionally, typing programs may spontaneously change formatting and alter your résumé’s appearance – so beyond spelling, make sure your formatting is as you wish too.  It's essential to include (and double check) your contact information and keep it up-to-date, and make sure your email address does not contain unprofessional words or phrases.

Tips for Searching for a Post-College Job

The economy may not be on your side right now, but you can do some things to tip the scales in your favor and win over as many professionals as possible while you're hunting for that elusive first job.

1. Use your college’s career center

Many students overlook the career center, but college is a rare time when people are on your side in the job hunt.  Talk to a counselor, tell them what you’re looking for, and look through whatever books and resources they have available. They often have access to resources that you cannot find in straight-forward online searches.

2. Resume, Cover Letter, etc.

Career centers can also help you get your resume and cover letter in order, train for interviews, and answer any other questions you may have as you begin your job hunt. Start compiling some ideas for your resume before you visit the career center, so you have something to work with when you speak with them.

3. Talk to alumni and other professionals

Ask the career counselor about your college’s alumni network and reach out to alums with similar careers to your goals or individuals who live in the area where you’re looking.  Talk to your parents, family, relatives- anyone who may have an “in” at a company you’re interested in.

4. Check company websites

Before hitting up search engines and getting overwhelmed with results, check specific, desired companies’ websites for job listings. Even if they don’t have the right opportunity for you at the moment, write a professional inquiry and ask to have your resume kept on file.

5. Follow up

After submitting your resume in person or online, always follow up to make sure it was received. Calling HR or the proper department is best, as e-mails are easy to ignore. Have any needed information immediately available and be flexible with setting up interviews.

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