In my last post, I shared several tips and tricks to help you with the formatting of your resume. Today, I’ll be sharing tips and tricks related to the content of your resume.
Section Titles & Objective In my other blog post, FAQ’s: Resumes, I briefly mentioned how you can separate experiences. Experience doesn’t just have to be from work or volunteer, it can be anything such as student organizations, leadership positions, and more. If your activity experiences are more relevant than work and volunteer experiences, put more emphasis on those instead! Section titles can be anything from: related, sales, leadership, writing, general, additional, and more! Your resume is yours, so customize it to work in your favor.
Related Verbiage Go read my previous blog post where I went in depth with this tip to help you all understand and see how this is done!
Academics If you went through and added all relevant experiences but still don’t have enough to showcase your interest and skills in that objective/field, think about the work you have done for school. This can be upper division courses, projects, and research papers. Remember, resumes aren’t just about work (although it is important), it’s about you! Don’t leave things out because you weren’t paid for them.
Hopefully through all these tips and tricks you were able to learn more on how to refine and customize your resume to your liking as well as the employers. Feel free to stop in (SCC 22) to chat with the peer educators or pro staff about any of this or other related questions. Good luck!
As a business student who is in the stage of actively job seeking, using LinkedIn seems like an everyday occurrence for me at this point. After having conversations with friends and colleagues about how I use the website as a student, I wanted to share some of my personal favorite tips I have acquired over the years.
When to connect with people There are several occasions when it would be beneficial to connect with someone on LinkedIn. Different examples consist of after a Job Fair, after meeting at a Tabling Event, post Informational Interview, as well as connecting with your Professors. When you do connect with someone who either has a professional career or is a Professor of yours, I challenge you to send a personalized note when connecting with them, which can only be done when sending an invitation on your computer.
What type of message to send When sending a message on LinkedIn, the type of message you send depends on if you’re currently connected or if its a new connection you’re adding. If you’re sending a message to someone you want to connect with, it’s important to note that you’re limited on the number of characters you can send. Typically, when I send out a message to recruiters after a job fair or someone to conduct an informational interview the message starts out like this:
Message after a Job Fair:
It was so nice to meet a fellow Bulldog at the job fair on Friday. I loved getting to learn more about the position and how you have the capability of working on your own projects and meet with clients of fortune 500 companies. Thank you so much for answering all of the questions I had. Looking forward to keeping in touch.
And because of the character limit it typically gets cut down to something like this:
It was so nice to meet a fellow Bulldog at the job fair on Friday. Thank you for answering all of the questions I had. Looking forward to keeping in touch!
Message to a Recruiter for a position you’re interested in:
My name is Heidi and I’m currently a senior studying at the University of Minnesota Duluth. I’m interested in relocating to Nashville once I graduate in May and I’m extremely interested in working for The Creative Group. I was hoping I could learn more from you or point me in the right direction of who I could talk with for an internal position.
My name is Heidi and I’m currently a senior at UMD. I’m extremely interested in working for The Creative Group in Nashville. I was hoping I could learn more from you or if you could point me in the right direction of whom to speak with about an internal position.
Perks of LinkedIn Premium Having a Premium account isn’t essentially necessary to have if you’re not actively seeking employment. I personally chose to save my free month of premium until second semester of my Senior year when I knew I was ready to get serious about applying to jobs. Different perks I have learned about after having my Premium account are:
Having access to insights for a job you’re looking to apply to. As long as there are 10 applicants, you can see how your skills compare against other candidates, the seniority level of different applicants, as well as different companies and schools they’ve hired from.
If there is a recruiter attached to the job you’re applying to, after hitting the bottom to “apply” through LinkedIn, your profile gets shared with that recruiter which is a great way to get a set of eyes on your profile fast!
To follow that, when you apply to a position through LinkedIn, you get notified when you application was viewed and when it was last seen. This can be a helpful tool when deciding if you need to reach out to recruiters if you’re concerned about not hearing back.
Use Your Connection’s Connections Before you think you’d be creepy for doing this, remember the purpose of LinkedIn is to network! You can go to a Professor’s page or previous colleague and view their connections. It’s helpful too to narrow it down if you’re looking for a job at a certain company or a city you’re interested in relocating to. There is a LinkedIn feature where you can request that your connection introduces you or you can reach out over email and explain your situation.
As a Peer Educator, I see many different types of resume styles written by all kinds of students with various majors. In my short time in the office so far, I’ve learned some tips and tricks while training and also working with others that apply to many students. Today, I’m starting with a few simple formatting changes that will help give your resume a clean and professional look!
COMBINE DESCRIPTIONS There are many job description lines I’ve seen that could be combined. Here is an example:
Original Example: Sales Associate, Walgreens, Duluth, MN October 2018 – January 2019 • Picked up phone calls • Helped ring up customers • Walked on the floor to answer questions if asked
Updated Example: Sales Associate, Walgreens, Duluth, MN October 2018 – January 2019 • Assisted many customers through phone calls, checkout, and on floor assistance
As you can see, you saved up 2 lines already without having to delete anything! If you went through and combined more descriptions, you could have more space for other information that you feel is more relevant to the positions you’re applying to.
CONSISTENT AND SMALLER SPACING For this section, there are three things that should be at the top of your list to consider tweaking in order to save space: margins/bullet points, font size, and unrelated information. There isn’t much to explain for this besides actually showing you all how it’s done.
Margins/Bullet Points The top and bottom margins can be between 0.5” to 1.0” while the left and right should remain at 1.0” due to printing reasonings. That can be done through using the margins on Microsoft Word or the page setup on Google Doc.
Another thing related to the margins is the spacing between paragraphs. When using the spacing settings, always make sure to “Remove Spacing After Paragraphs.” If you don’t see that option, make sure the “Spacing After & Before Paragraphs” is set to “ZERO (0).”
Similar to the margins, the bullet point spacing allows you to save a bit of space without removing information. After you create your whole resume, you can use the “Ruler” to move it around. If you don’t have a ruler, here is how you could find it in Word:
In the above images, the little arrow marks can be moved around to what you want and change how the bullets will look. The top arrow moves just the bullet point, the bottom arrow moves just the text, and the rectangle under the bottom arrow moves the text and bullet point together. You won’t see a dramatic change but it could help you save a few lines if a word rolls over and takes up its own line.
Font Size This is something very simple! Your name can be from 12-14 pt font and you can have the rest of your resume be anywhere from 10-12 pt font so always double check it!
Unrelated Information Unrelated information can be anywhere from old high school information to skills. You might think, “Aren’t those all relevant?” In a sense, yes, but only to a certain extent.
If you are a junior or higher, remove high school information and add in more recent and relevant activities.
Soft skills (ex: Positivity, leadership, adaptability, etc) could be shown through your job description lines and doesn’t need its own section.
Using the Whole Page “Using the whole page” is another way of balancing your content throughout the whole space: top to bottom, left to the center to the right. It’s not necessarily a bad way of formatting, but if you want to save space, example two would be your go-to. Here are examples of the same content that uses the space differently:
These two examples have the same content, nothing is changed at all besides the way it is formatted. Look at how much space you could save!
Stay tuned for more resume tips and tricks related to content!
So you’ve begun the job search process. First, congratulations on making it this far! It’s exciting being able to think of all the possibilities of where you could end up next, but can be daunting for some not knowing where to start or what to even be thinking about in the job search process. I recently spent some time at the Library learning about resources available to us as a UMD students and I’m here to share what I found.
Reference USA Ever feel like a company’s About Me page just isn’t enough? Reference USA can be a great tool for learning more about an industry by searching specific companies you’re interested in. This site will give you the scoop of demographics of a business, their current management, and business size history by sales volume as well as employees. This can be useful information for you to understand if a specific company is experiencing growth and can be a way for you to frame your interview questions.
Occupational Outlook Handbook This resource is a great starting point for understanding what type of salary you can expect in the industry you’ll be going into. You can select different occupational groups and from there select the specific occupation you’re pursuing. After that, information is broken down into what that job does, the typical work environment, pay, job outlook, and similar occupations. What I think is the coolest part of this site is the “important qualities” information which can be found underneath the “how to become one” tab. For example, I’m looking at an Advertising Sales Agent role which highlights having communication skills, initiative, organization, and self-confidence, all of which I would strategically highlight how I have these skills if I were to go into an interview for this position.
Learning Express Library Is passing an entry exam for an occupation/job or the GRE on your mind? This site is going to be your go to spot for all resources for preparing for all different tests you can imagine and actual practice exams. Different tests range from nursing, real estate, social work, EMT services, and law enforcement. Along with assessments, the Learning Express Library also offers different ways for you to build your skills with writing, speaking, and grammar which are all crucial when it comes to building your resume and communicating your skills and accomplishments in a job interview.
Interview Books Congratulations on being at this step in the process! It’s exciting to finally being able to get your face in front of a company and highlight all of your hard work and what you’ve been doing as a student. If you’re new to this or just looking to brush up your skills, the library has TONS of books to help set you up for success to stand out in the process. Follow this link to browse different titles for all your interview needs.
Don’t be afraid to reach out to a resource librarian to answer any of your questions or further assist you in finding resources for the direction you’re going!
Summer can be a great season of growth, but there can also be great pressure on students to nail down the perfect plan. Some students dream of crossing adventures off their bucket list and seizing the break from school as a chance to take time for their personal life. Others are hoping to develop professionally through some career-related experience or an internship. For some, summer is also a time to get back on track financially and develop new skills or take some classes towards their major.
The first step to nailing down your summer plans is to know yourself and what you want/need to get out of this summer. While I don’t mean to stress you out (right now let’s just make it through the semester!), some plans won’t come together overnight. Putting in a little work now to the extent you are able can really save you a lot of stress down the road. For this post, I’m going to be addressing those who are looking for a job or internship and providing just a few tips I have to help ease the burden of what can be an overwhelming task.
One of the earliest things you need to do is determine your priorities. These will look different for everyone, so consider what type of field you’re aiming for, the amount of hours you’d like to work, and the geographic area you’d like to live in. Also reflect on which factors hold the most importance to you. Maybe you’re considering multiple fields but you are limited to a small geographic area. Or perhaps you are open to how many hours you work and whether or not the experience is paid but you are set on a specific field. Setting these priorities will help limit and guide your search.
Now that you know what you’re looking for, it’s time to start looking; the question is where? There are countless options for discovering job opportunities, but I want to highlight a few you might not have thought of.
The first option I like to recommend is GoldPASS powered by Handshake. This is a vetted job board available to University of Minnesota students. Other general online job boards might not provide the kind of postings you’re looking for if you’re searching for a very specific field or location.
A few other options to consider:
This nonprofit job board provided by the Minnesota Council of Nonprofits includes full time, part time, paid and unpaid internship, and volunteer positions across the state.
Don’t be afraid to reach out to people in your network to see if they know of any opportunities. It can be a little nerve-wracking—I know this is something that makes me feel a little hesitant—but after all, this is the point of having a network. Contact past employers, family members, mentors, peers, etc. You might be surprised by which connection leads to a position. This can be done in person, via email, through LinkedIn, or over other platforms; it’s just essential you communicate appropriately and respectfully. One benefit of finding opportunities through your network is your contact will be able to give you a better idea of company culture, environment, and your fit within the organization than a simple Internet search.
If job posting sites aren’t yielding the results you’d hoped for, do some research on your own of companies you think you’d like to work for. Dig a little deeper and see if there are any career opportunities posted through their website. You will likely find a contact you could reach out to as to whether or not they’d be willing to take you on. This calls for a letter of inquiry; if you need guidance crafting one, look here.
Contact people within your major or department of interest. There might even be an employer relations or internship coordinator within your program who is connected with numerous organizations looking to hire students. Maybe there’s a professor who conducts research in an area you’re particularly interested in. Initiate a conversation, because chances are, this professor has some connections in the industry. Another option might be working for a professor directly, which can open the door to many fruitful contacts in the future.
The biggest tip I’d like to leave you with is keep your mind open. You might follow along these steps: reflecting on your goals, determining your priorities, and conducting your search, and it may seem like all you run into are closed doors. If and when that happens, I encourage you to widen your perspective a bit. While it’s important to know your limits, it can be healthy to take on a position that didn’t seem perfect at first. Sometimes those positions are the ones that help you grow and provide the most guidance for your future career. Wherever you end up, give it your best effort and be open to the lessons that are sure to follow.
As a peer educator, we ask many questions to help students brainstorm ideas and descriptions to add onto their resumes but we also get a lot of questions asked too. Here are a few of the most common questions along with some tips & tricks:
What’s an objective statement? An objective statement helps the employer quickly understand what the resume is for. It’s a short statement that can be very simple. Here’s an example: “An internship in the Chemical Engineering field.” It gets to the point and clearly explains what you are looking for from them. The content on your resume should relate back to your objective.
Do I keep my high school information on there? What if it shows some of my involvement and skills? If you are a Junior or older, high school information should be removed (unless highly relevant to the position). Try to focus on what you have done while in college as it is more recent and more relevant. If you have space then feel free to add the information you want from high school, but if you’re going over one page, it’s okay to take it out.
What can I add onto my resume? Any type of experiences you would want to showcase: work, volunteer, travel, organizations, etc. Many believe your resume should only be work and volunteering but that is not the case at all. Yes, it is important to have those two experiences but to show what you do outside of ‘work’ allows employers to have a better understanding of you outside the workplace. If you’ve studied abroad it shows how you are willing to go and study another culture which portrays your communication skills with a different group of people in a new setting. You can add almost anything on your resume as long as you feel that it’s relevant and will help you stand out.
How do I fit everything on one page without deleting anything? First, check the formatting: Is it single spaced? Can you make the font size smaller? Have you changed the margin sizes?
Next, check the content: Can you merge descriptions together? Are there repeating descriptions for multiple experiences? Do you have something that isn’t too relevant and would not harm your resume if it was taken off?
One thing we recommend is to have a master resume where you keep EVERYTHING. Every experience, every line you would want to write about an experience, and so on. You can pull your content from your master resume onto a “polished” resume that is actually used for a job fair or applying for positions.
How will I get a job in the ________ field if I haven’t had any experience related to it yet? My #1 tip for this is to use the verbiage the field would use. What does that mean exactly? Well, here’s an example for someone looking for a full-time position in the medical field to help you better visualize it:
Original Version: Kitchen Staff, Olive Garden, Duluth, MN March 2018 – Present • Cleaned floors and tables • Trained to be safe and help others • Prepped ingredients for chef
Updated Version: Kitchen Staff, Olive Garden, Duluth, MN March 2018 – Present • Provided a clean, safe environment to ensure the health and safety of employees and customers by sanitizing equipment and checking food temperatures • Practiced first-aid and emergency skills in case of an accident • Learned food safety regulations in order to safely prepare ingredients
As you can see, the descriptions are the same but in the updated version it includes words that could be applied to the medical field even if the position does not relate as well.
Why can’t we have line breaks going across the page? Many, not all, employers are using scanners to help sort and organize resumes electronically. If there is a line break it could be read as a page break, causing your resume to be separated. To be safe, we recommend not to have lines even if they may look nice. White space also acts as a “line” separating sections.
How do I separate my experiences and know what and what not to keep? This is ultimately up to you! By having an objective section, you are able to have a “Related Experience” section as well as an “Additional Experience” section in case it may not relate but would show your skills. I’d recommend adding as much as you can and if you run out of space, slowly start removing the less relevant information.
There are still many questions that can’t be answered all in one blog post so if you still have remaining questions, stop by our office (SCC 22) anytime from 8 – 4:30PM, Mondays – Fridays. Our Career Handbook also has helpful directions, examples, and advice on how to write a resume. Stay tuned for my next blog post where I go more in-depth with the tips & tricks I mentioned here!
Going into my freshman year of college, I held the belief many other college students have: It is a waste of time for sophomores to apply for internships, as juniors and seniors mainly get them all. This idea quickly changed when a family friend reached out to me and encouraged me to apply for a Sales and Marketing internship with CUNA Mutual Group in Madison, Wisconsin. In our initial phone call about the internship, I expressed my concerns to him about me being only a sophomore and he said to me “it’s not always what you know, it is how quick you can learn and the characteristics you bring to the table.” This was a defining moment for me and essentially when my perspective on this topic changed. I encourage all sophomores to eliminate their self-destructive beliefs and start applying for summer internships. After all, the time is now!
There are multiple steps to applying for internships as a sophomore and the first is to recognize the value an internship will bring you. Internships can help you to understand what type of business you want to work for when you graduate. Essentially, the worst case scenario is that you decide that the industry is not for you, and you then have a better understanding of yourself. As a sophomore, if a summer internship goes well, you may even be asked to come back a second summer and then if it goes really well, offered full-time employment. A summer internship helps one to gain additional skills and a larger professional network.
Now that the value of an internship as a sophomore has been established, the second aspect of applying for a summer internship is to find companies suitable for you. There are two ways to do this. First, evaluate your close professional network. Make a list of whom you know and potential connections you have to businesses of interest. Reach out to professionals who you know and gather information on the types of internships their company offers. A personalized letter, email, or LinkedIn message can go a long way. After looking at your close professional network, take inventory of companies in both the location and industry you hope to work. Do research on Glassdoor, LinkedIn, and GoldPASS powered by Handshake to see if these companies are open to hiring younger students, or if they are selectively hiring older students.
And finally, as you are actually applying to these internships, make sure to assess your skills. A common misconception among students is that they do not have the skills necessary to do an internship. From personal experience, I have found this far from the truth. Throughout high school, I worked as a bank teller. Although this may not specifically relate to marketing, it taught me a handful of lessons about communication in the business world, promoting products, and organization. I would argue that being a waitress is one of the most entrepreneurial jobs one could have. Thomas Friedman, New York Times author, backs this up by stating in his speech Globalization in Higher Education, that good waitresses are in a constant state of entrepreneurship because the best waitress often makes the most in tips. Skills critical for internships such as teamwork, communication, planning, organizing, and problem-solving are all skills that are often obtained in entry-level part-time jobs. All in all, stop selling yourself short on your experiences and make a list of the lessons you learned and the qualities you have, I think you will find out you have a lot more skills than you think.
My initial thoughts have been flipped upside down since I started school at UMD. With some research and self-introspection, I believe any sophomore or even freshman can and should secure a summer internship.