FAQs: Resumes

By: Paying

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!

Of Possible Interest:
Resume & Cover Letter – all our blog posts on the topic
Internships; Ace the Job Search – our Pinterest boards filled with articles & resources

Read Paying’s other posts

Photo Source: Unsplash | Lukas Blazek

Applying for Internships as a Sophomore

By: Amanda

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!

Image: graph paper with pencils and markers on the edges.
Text: applying for internships as a sophomore

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.

Of Possible Interest:
Internships – all our blog posts on the topic
It’s Never Too Early to Intern
Multiple Internship Advantage

Read Amanda’s other posts

Photo Source: Unsplash | Kelly Sikkema

The Basics of Illegal Interviewing

By: McKenzie

Research from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) indicates from ages 18-48 the average US citizen will hold 11.7 jobs in their lifetime and a trend seen in recent years, as the BLS studies younger candidates, has found there to be an increase in the number of jobs held from 18 onward. This means the average person will likely experience at a minimum of 11 interviews before they retire.

Jar with colored pens and blank notebook open on a desk. Text: The basics of illegal interviewing.

What is illegal interviewing? 
The term illegal interviewing may inspire images of a shady business deal and other ominous activities but in reality, it is actually rather subtle. Illegal interviewing is when employers ask their prospective employee’s questions which they are not legally allowed to in an interview.

What can’t employers ask me?
Employers can’t ask you questions regarding your age, ethnicity/race, gender/sex, country of national origin/birthplace, religion, disability, marital/family state, and pregnancy.

Why is it important I know about illegal interviewing?
Illegal interviewing can be a way to eliminate you as a candidate for a position—whether intentional or not. You should be aware of it because you if you are the most qualified for employment in the position applied for then you shouldn’t be excluded from the opportunity.

Who should I tell?
If you are up to it, you should start by speaking with the person and say, “I am not comfortable with that question,” and explain to them why it is not appropriate. Doing this could help candidates in the future who may not feel comfortable speaking up. If you don’t feel like you can bring it up to the interviewer then you can bring it up to their HR (Human Resources). Some companies will want to follow-up with you about your experience, that would be another time to bring up any inappropriate questions that may have been asked.

Of Possible Interest: 
Job Questions that are Illegal – The Balance Careers
Interviewing – UMD Career Handbook
Key to Interviewing – our Pinterest board filled with articles & resources

Read McKenzie’s other posts

Photo Source: Unsplash | Jessica Lewis

Tips From Job Fair Recruiters

By: Kirsi

Typically I attend a job fair in a tizzy to find a summer internship. With a summer position already locked down, I was able to navigate the job fair in a calmer manner and get a unique perspective. At UMD’s E-Fest Job & Internship Fair, I asked recruiters from various engineering and tech companies for advice for students attending job fairs. They shared wisdom about communicating with recruiters and how to polish your resume.

layered pieces of white paper with the large text of "Tips from job fair recruiters"

Recruiter Communication Tips from Employers

Maintain good posture. Body language makes a difference.

Know why you are interested in the company. Do your research. Avoid canned compliments such as, “I’ve heard good things about you.”

Approach the employers like you are having a conversation rather than giving a speech.

Let your interests and personality shine. We look for the whole person.

Talk with companies even if you are not sure if they have any openings for your major. You may be surprised about what they need and what you can offer them.

Prepare an elevator speech. Give your name, major, what position you are looking for, and why you are interested in the organization.

Several students walking around dressed professionally

Resume Tips from Employers

Layout your resume in an organized chronological manner. Make your major clear on your resume.

Present your resume confidently when you introduce yourself. Don’t hide it!

Share your experiences effectively without being too wordy.

Show what clubs you got involved in on your resume. It helps to demonstrate that you have initiative and hands-on experience.

Of Possible Interest:

Read Kirsi’s other posts

Graphic Source: Unsplash | Brandi Redd
Photo Source: UMD Career & Internship Services

Intern Like a Dog

By: Kirsi

Without context, I asked my little sister what I should write about. She said “dogs.”

Here are five internship lessons dogs can teach us:

Sled Dog team

1) Good dogs can lead and follow.

Your internship will require you to be a leader and a follower.

As a follower, you will be expected to be a sponge that absorbs new information. You will ask questions and reflect on your experience. Being a good listener will help you understand your assignments, the company culture, and team goals.

As a leader, you may be expected to lead a group of people or simply be self-motivated. The best interns ask for themselves “what can I do next?”, “how can I do better?”, and “how can I do more?”

White dog eating a treat

2) Good dogs are trainable.

Your internship will require you absorb training and apply it immediately.

Your first week at the internship might be overwhelming. There will be a lot of new information to take in and master.

black dog in harness being walked

3) Good dogs are reliable.

Your internship will require you to be timely.

Getting to work on time, completing projects by the deadline, and attending necessary meetings characterize you as reliable.

Be punctual, present, and productive.

brown & white dog close up of face

4) Good dogs cheer people up.

Keeping a positive attitude brightens the work environment.

A smile, thank you, or a kind gesture can make a staff, boss, or coworker’s day.

Positivity can communicate your appreciation for your opportunity.

brown dog running in woods

5) Good dogs are full of energy.

Internships take a lot of social, mental, and physical energy. To stay sharp during your internship requires plentiful sleep, nourishment, and hydration. Don’t sacrifice energy at work for late nights on the town, gaming, or Netflixing.

Hoping you have a doggone good internship!

Of Possible Interest: 

Read Kirsi’s other posts

Photo sources: Priscilla Du Preez, Annie Spratt, Matt Odell, Leo Rivas

Quick Tips for Writing Your Resume

By: Tony

Now is the time of year when we all start quietly (or not so quietly) start panicking. Projects and papers are becoming due, final exams are on the horizon, and all the stress is starting to pile on. You know there’s something else you’re forgetting, but you’re not exactly sure what it is… Oh yeah, you still need to get a job/internship lined up! Just what you need, even more stress! Hopefully, these tips on improving your resume will make the job hunting process to a little more smoothly.

What is a resume?
A resume is a document stating your qualifications for a certain position.  If your application is a request for employment, then your resume is a crucial part of your support for why you should be employed. You want the resume to be comprehensive, but concise.

Quick tips for writing your resume

Content

  • Bare bones of a resume
    • Name, Contact Information, Objective, Education, Experience
  • Objective
    • Each iteration of your resume should reflect the exact purpose that it is for, whether it be for a job fair or an application. It can be a quick statement of the purpose of the resume (ex. A full-time position at [Organization] as a(n) [position title]).
  • Education
    • Name of school, where is it, degree name, year of graduation, major, minor, and GPA if greater than 3.0/4.0.
    • Once you have entered your junior year of undergrad, you will want to remove your high school information from your resume.
    • Education-related sections you can also include: Relevant Coursework, Honors, Research.
  • Experience
    • Like the education section, everything should be listed in reverse chronological order.
    • Include experiences that are relevant to the purpose.
      • The less applicable they are to the purpose, the more likely they should be removed or only take a minimal amount of space on the resume.
    • Volunteering experience is just as valuable as paid and academic experience. It matters what you did, not if you got paid for it or not.
    • Categorize your experience based on the purpose (Computer Science Experience, Engineering Experience, Healthcare Experience, etc.).
    • Each position should include 3-5 bullet points detailing what you did in that position.
      • Each bullet point should talk about a single aspect of your position.
      • Each bullet point should demonstrate how you already have the skills and qualities necessary for what you are seeking.
      • Each bullet point should start with an active verb.
  • Additional Sections
    • You do not need to include a statement saying that you have references available upon request.
    • Clubs and activities are nice if they are relevant or you need to fill the page.

Formatting

  • Page Layout
    • 1” margins on the side; 0.5-1” margins on the top and bottom
    • 10-12 point font; name should be about 2 points larger than the rest of the text.
    • Section headings can be bold and all-caps.
    • No lines. They can be confused as page breaks by some scanners and tracking systems. Use lines of white space instead to separate sections.
    • Stay away from templates. Adjusting the formatting can be troublesome in the long run. Plus, if we can spot a template from a mile away, imagine how easy it is for an employer.
    • Sections should flow from most important to least important.
      • The objective is always first, and education almost always follows.
  • Education
    • Schools should be listed in reverse chronological order, with the school you currently attend or have most recently graduated from being first.
    • Name of degree, major, minor, and GPA all in bold.
  • Experience
    • Like the education section, everything should be listed in reverse chronological order.
    • Name of position, organization/company, location, timespan you were there. 

Still need help?
If you still need clarification on anything related to your resume, please do not hesitate to reach out for help. Career & Internship Services is located in the Wedge (SCC 22) and is open 8:00-4:30 Monday through Friday. During those hours, there is always at least one Peer Educator, such as myself, who would be more than happy to answer your questions.

Of Possible Interest: 

Read Tony’s other posts

Photo Source: Unsplash | Kelly Sikkema

5 Tips for Preparing for a Job Fair

By: Kimberly

In February of 2017, I attended my first ever job fair. This fair had over 300 employers attending and hundreds of other potential applicants attending for the same reason as myself. My initial impression of attending this job fair was both overwhelming and extremely nerve-racking. But I didn’t have time to be worried about that, I had to prepare myself if I wanted to make a good first impression. If you’re wondering how I made it through the day, below are a few tips and tricks that successfully guided me!

#1 Attend Workshops
I can’t stress this enough, attend the workshops that are provided for you at no cost. You’d be surprised by what you will learn in these workshops. If it helps, bring a friend or two to tag along as well. These workshops will give you an opportunity to practice a handshake or two and give you critiques on your elevator speech before you make your appearance at the job fair. Typically, there is a wide range of workshops that are offered throughout the month of job fair season and or throughout the semester. Attending more than one can be very beneficial because each workshop focuses on different areas. Having developed the skills and experiences at these workshops can come in handy when you need them the most. If workshops aren’t your thing, you can meet with a career counselor one-on-one to cover this material.

#2 Review, Review, Review Your Resume
10 out of 10 of you are going to need a resume prepared prior to the job fair. It doesn’t necessarily guarantee you an internship or position, but it does show that you came prepared to obtain one. Avoid bringing an old resume that is outdated or hasn’t been edited. You don’t want to scramble around last minute trying to edit it because it’s not fun and very unprofessional. There are great resources like your Career and Internship Services office, on-campus for you to get your resume reviewed and polished just in time for the job fair. Don’t hesitate to go because they’re probably expecting you and more than willing to help review your resume with you. They’re also going to be the place you stop at afterward when you’ve secured an application or interview. Therefore, update your resume and make the stop.

5 tips for job fair preparation

#3 Plan Your Outfit
Your first impression is initially predetermined with how you dressed up for the job fair. With that said, look at your wardrobe at least a week or two in advance! It’s better to plan and prepare an outfit for the job fair because sometimes we might not find that shirt we “thought we had” or you accidentally misplaced one of your shoes. If you are unaware of what is an appropriate outfit for a job fair, ask the sales representative or a friend with experience and attend a workshop that discusses appropriate attire. Taking these additional steps to prepare will give you enough time to make a trip to the mall to grab what you need. You can also check out our Pinterest boards for ideas.

#4 Know Your Potential Employers
The majority, if not all employers really appreciate it when you’ve taken the time to learn about their company or organization. You might wonder, how will they know? Well, recruiters can determine that by your conversation. Therefore, take some time out of your day and designate it to researching information about organizations you plan on visiting. They certainly don’t expect you to memorize everything about them, but you should have an understanding of who they are. This also can help you generate some great questions in advance to ask recruiters because newsflash: they love questions! It shows your engagement and the interests you have. In addition to getting recruiters to know your work ethic, you also want to show that you want to know theirs too. On the flip side, this can also prepare your responses when recruiters ask you questions. It may not be as intense as an interview but having prepared thoughts never hurts anyone.

#5 Build Connections
Building connections at the job fair can be intimidating when you have hundreds of other students and individuals attending with the same purpose as you. It can be even more intimidating when you are more dressed up than usual and have to prepare what you’ll say in advance. Sometimes, it’s so intimidating that you eventually start to forget how to enjoy these conversations while connecting with others. Hence, it is helpful to take a deep breath and realize that this experience can be fun at the same time. Making a connection with others at the fair may consist of enjoyable conversations. Your conversations don’t have to feel limited or restrained. Bringing up a common interest or a story to connect with the recruiter can generate some great conversation topics. Lastly, don’t forget to embrace the moment and realize how you’ve already taken prior steps to prepare yourself for this moment.

Of Possible Interest: 

Read Kimberly’s other posts

Photo Source: Unsplash | Garrhet Sampson