Stories From The Arch

Image of a person who is confused and has their face resting against their hand.

#CtoC17 Over? Now What!?!

After last week’s tips, you went to the job fair and approached employers with great eye contact, confidence, and a firm handshake. You probably picked up a bunch of pamphlets and business cards. So many names and so little time. Even though you printed out copies of your resume, perhaps you had some left over that you didn’t hand out. Like I said, most employers these days want online copies of your resume. So now what?

It’s time to follow-up and edit, edit, edit!

After connecting with a potential employer, you will absolutely need to follow up with them.
Hopefully, you wrote down company names and people-information, as the best way to do this is via email, unless otherwise specified. Whether you were given direct contact information or you need to search up contact information online, sending a follow-up email is an almost crucial step in the job searching process. Think of it as a mini-cover letter. The best emails are kept sweet, concise and professional.

Below is a template to help you on your follow-up-email-A-game:

Image of an email template to an employer post Connect to Careers. The text in the To section is "THEIR NAME/EMAIL". The text in the Subject section is "YOUR NAME - C2C FOLLOWUP". The email reads "Good morning/Hello *Employer Name*, (If you don't know a Name, write to "HR" or "to whom it may concern") I hope this email reaches you in optimal health and happiness. My name is *Introduce Self*. i am a *Student Title/Degree/Working Position*. Yesterday *When you met*, I had the absolute pleasure of meeting you at the *Where you met/How you heard of them* in downtown Hamilton. *Compliment the employer/company* I admire/am fascinated by your involvement and dedication in starting your own recruitment company. *State what you are looking for* As I can see myself following in your footsteps, I would be delighted to set up an informational interview with you/looking for a co-op/job opportunity in *State field of work and why you would make an excellent candidate for the company/recruiter* Attached id a copy of my resume. Thank you kindly/Thank you for your time and consideration, *Personal Sign Off, Name, Occupation* Mariam Khalil 4th Year Honors Social Psychology, McMaster Student Success, Leadership Development, and Mindfulness Blogger **Attach Resume and Send Away! :D"

Oh no!

It says “Attach Resume” doesn’t it…?

It can be an intimidating process to fix-up a resume. Trust me, I can’t count the amount of times I have had to edit and re-edit my resume throughout my undergrad! It can be a looonnnnggggg process, but it doesn’t have to be a difficult one.

At least not, if you follow these resume-mastering tips!

There are a couple of resume “keys” (as I like to call them) present within the job industry. Often, these tips are not TAUGHT to us students. In fact, we usually need to go out of our ways to find them or talk to employers and get legitimate resume feedback.
Luckily for you guys, after 3 years of extensive job-related research, a career internship prep course at Mac, and TONS of resources from our very own Student Success Centre, I’ve compiled the “water cooler gossip” of resume prep!

1st SCREENING
*Did you know* Most companies today use Applicant Tracking Systems to filter which resumes a recruiter views by searching your resume for keywords to determine how relevant your resume is to a job.

(BIG hint: Cater your resume to the posting – look for keywords and use them!)
In person, however, the average time a hiring manager looks at your resume is…

(Drum roll please…)
7 seconds!
Shocking, I know. That is NOT a lot of time. You may be wondering “What on earth do I write?!”

1. The first thing they look for is your name, so make sure it is BIG and CENTERED.
2. Second thing is your MOST RECENT education. Make sure your whole resume is ordered in REVERSE chronological order (From Most Recent, to least: 2017, 2014, 2002)
3. An eye scan test showed that the next places employees see are your CURRENT work experience (Job Title only) and your former two previous experiences as well as the dates (how long you worked – length of time at the job)

Image of an eye scan test of employers looking at resumes.
Notice here, that your right side is barely looked at!*

4. Next, is formatting. Making sure everything is CONSISTENT (positioning). Use headers. Have a 2-page limit. Font size between 11-14pt. Keep font design to a minimum (Professional fonts only please! Ex. Times New Roman, Arial, Tahoma, etc.)

*Did you know* Employers typically have 3 piles when sifting through mountains of resumes.
“Trash” “In for a 2nd look” “By Referral”

Can you guess which on is the “trash” pile?

Image of three piles of resumes, The Yes pile has the least amount of resumes. The Maybe pile has a few more resumes than the Yes pile. The Trash pile has the most amount of resumes.Uh-Oh. Now we reaaallllyyy need to stand out…

But, have no fear! Numbers 1-5? Check!

Congratulations! You’ve passed the first screening!!! Keep on reading though.

Image of a stick figure that is happy and with waving arms.

2ND SCREENING
5. Spelling & Grammar Mistakes? The general rule is 3 strikes- and youuuu’rrrrrreee ouuuuuuttttt! So be careful – MS word’s spell checker is usually not enough. Get others to EDIT your work as well as checking it over yourself for a final revision!
6. NO job descriptions!

Bulleted Statements of Achievements should focus on RESULTS and ACCOMPLISHMENTS.
To do this, focus on creating bullet points that
a. Begin with a strong ACTION VERB in the past tense: Incredible list found here . You can also check out the Student Success Centre’s list here.
b. Quantify the experience. Instead of “Rescued a lot of puppies” use “Rescued 10 puppies” OR “Increased puppy rescues by 20%”
c. Mention a specific achievement for the company (your impact is implied, not expressly stated)
Basic format: “Rescued 10 puppies… ensuring puppy safety, setting new record (benefit) for the company”

Now go back, and make sure EACH bulleted statement of achievement under EACH heading fits this model.

*Did you know* Recruiters look VERTICALLY down your resume, so the MORE POWERFUL your action verbs, the better! (Really take advantage of that list I’ve linked above, and check outthis article on WEAK VS. STRONG ACTION VERBS to really help you stand out!

****^^ If there’s one key thing you should take away from this post, it’s that article above ^^****

7. No matter what your high school teachers told you to do, omit “objectives” and leave out “references upon request” – Employers do not want to see this; it is implied. If you really want, put in a “highlighted achievements” section at the top of your resume instead, where you can showcase your core SKILLS and CERTIFICATIONS and whatever makes you stand out.

Use the space to showcase yourself as much as possible!

8. Your interests section is there to assess your “cultural fit” and land you an interview. Your interests are not there to make you sound interesting. Only include ones that would make you a better candidate for the job and are relevant to the employers’ needs.

9. Companies are increasingly focusing on soft skills. You can have all the technical experience possible, but with no displayed soft skills, you are unlikely to get the job! (Communication, Leadership, and Teamwork skills are the highest requested!)

10. The job market is TOUGH. You NEED to market yourself! Most importantly, be HONEST, but don’t be afraid to brag. This is a paper that speaks for you! Be a shark. You may have the skills to get the job, but the resume is your gateway to the interview.

Now that you’re all set, good luck Marauders!

Keep pushing through,
– Mariam (:

Picture of the new Water Cooler Gossip blogger, Mariam. Linked.

About the Author

Mariam Khalil blogged for the Student Success Centre from 2016 to 2017.

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