Job Search Tools and Techniques:. Creating a Résumé Writing a Cover Letter Interviewing Tips IS Careers. By Paul Lazarony, Ph. D. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Web Address: http://www.csun.edu/~pjl26399. Creating a Résumé. Preparation. Research the job market.
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Job Search Tools and Techniques: • Creating a Résumé • Writing a Cover Letter • Interviewing Tips • IS Careers By Paul Lazarony, Ph. D. Email: email@example.com Web Address: http://www.csun.edu/~pjl26399
Preparation • Research the job market. Use newspapers, the Web, and other resources to learn about jobs, qualifications, and employers. • Analyze your strengths. • What will sell you for the job you want? • Study other résumés as models. • Experiment with formatting.
Heading and Objective • List your name, land address, e-mail address, and telephone number. • Include a career objective for a targeted job.
Education • Name your degree, date of graduation, and institution. • List your major and GPA. • Give information about your studies, but don’t inventory all your courses.
List of Past Jobs • Start with the most recent jobs. Include employer’s name and city, dates of employment (month, year), and most significant title. Salesperson, Kmart, Dayton, Ohio. 4/01 to 5/02. Manager, Fleet Equipment, Kettering, Ohio. 6/02 to present. Tax Return Preparer, Volunteer Income Tax Assistance program (VITA). March, 2002, to present. Sinclair College, Dayton, Ohio.
Summary of Achievements and Skills • Use action verbs to summarize achievements and skills relevant to your targeted job. Prepared state and federal tax returns for individuals with incomes under $25,000. Conducted interviews with over 50 individuals to elicit data regarding taxes. Determined legitimate tax deductions and recorded them accurately.
Evidence of Nontechnical Skills • Give evidence of communication, management, and interpersonal skills. (Employers want more than empty assurances. Try to quantify your skills.) Organized holiday awards program for 1200 attendees and 140 awardees. Praised by top management for enthusiastic teamwork and achievement.
Special Skills, Achievements, Awards • Highlight computer skills. • All employers seek employees proficient in word processing, spreadsheet, and Internet use. • Show that you are well-rounded. • List awards and extracurricular activities, especially if they demonstrate leadership, teamwork, reliability, loyalty, initiative, efficiency, and self-sufficiency.
Other Résumé Tips • Omit references (unless specifically required). • Look for ways to condense your data. • Double-check for parallel phrasing. • Project professionalism and quality. • Avoid personal pronouns. Omit humor. Use 24-pound paper and a quality printer.
Other Résumé Tips • Have a good proofreader critique your résumé. • Proofread! Proofread! Proofread!
What Recruiters Consider Most Important • “The objective. Plus dates when things happened and accomplishments.” • “Information about skills that apply to the job; less about job history and past duties.”
What Recruiters Consider Most Important • “Valid information in an easy-to-read, attractive style.” • “The candidate’s address and phone number. Lots of people put them only in the cover letter.”
What Recruiters Consider Most Important • “Realizing that the employer is looking for ‘red flags’ and making sure there aren’t any. If you have an employment gap, include a clear statement explaining it.” • “Meeting the qualifications for the job.”
What Turns Recruiters Off • “Personal data. That’s a major ‘red flag.’ Also typos, inconsistent punctuation, and huge paragraphs that look like job descriptions.” • “Odd-sized résumés from services saying ‘Presenting the candidacy of . . . .’ I don’t even read them anymore. They’re a major rip-off.” • “Résumés that show no research; not looking at the employer’s needs.”
What Turns Recruiters Off • “Omissions in terms of dates. And misspellings!” • Long cover letters and résumés over two pages.” • “Excess cosmetics, substituting form for content. A résumé should look nice but not go overboard.”
What Turns Recruiters Off • “A photo. I have to remove them because managers must be color and gender blind.” • “Not sending the résumé to the right place.”
Poor Résumé: “Before” Version RÉSUMÉ OF JENNIE JENKINS 3320 Lafayette Street, #12 San Leandro, CA 94561 (415) 781-5592 OBJECTIVE: An entry-level position where my proven communication, accounting, and administrative skills could be utilized in a path leading to advancement into management eventually. DEGREE from San Francisco State University. Broadcast Communication Arts. Bachelor of Arts. 3.2 major. EXPERIENCE Apprentice KPFA - 94.1 in Berkeley, CA. Duties included scheduling studios. Also recruited staff. Some paperwork. Often given responsibility to act as production manager. 10/02 to present.
Poor Résumé: “Before” Version Pacifica House Position for financial manager. Duties included payroll and benefits for employees of shelter. Was responsible for books, also for cash transactions. Took care of some donations. Expected to help raise funds. I prepared all payroll reports. Also petty cash. Chaotic environment, under funded. Spring, 2002 Worked for one spring with Renaissance Rainbow, which is a perfor- mance arts troupe operating out of San Francisco. My duties included scheduling interviews with print and broadcast journalists. Was responsible for volunteers and publicity. Other temporary positions Manpower, Inc. San Francisco. Worked at many different places as temp. 1998-2000. Dorhring Company. File clerk, receptionist, general duties. Other places. Good Earth Restaurant - server - 1997-1998.
Poor Résumé: “Before” Version Personal Self-starter, can finish jobs without supervision. Marital status: single Birth: 6/15/79 Health: Excellent Hobbies: Knitting, singing, like to read First Baptist Gospel Choir Awards: Spirit Award, Oak High School Dean’s List, college, 2 semesters
Improved Résumé: “After” Version Jennifer Marie Jenkens 3320 Lafayette Street, #12 San Leandro, CA 94561 (415) 781-5592 Objective: Administrative position involving • Payroll • Accounting • Employee Benefits • Customer Service SUMMARY OF QUALIFICATIONS • Two years’ experience in responsible administrative and accounting positions • Disciplined self-starter; able to work without supervision • Proficient with PCs including Word, Excel, and the Internet • Can be counted on to follow through on every detail, until a task is completed • B.A. degree, San Francisco State University RELEVANT EXPERIENCE 10/02 to Apprentice, Radio Production, KPFA - 94.1, Berkeley, CA present • As production manager, schedule studios, recruit support staff • Process scripts, permissions, and logs involved in weekly productions
Improved Résumé: “After” Version 2001 to Financial Manager, The Pacifica House (shelter), San Francisco, CA 2002 • Used computer to manage payroll and employee benefits for a staff of 26 • Completed all projects on time, despite chronically chaotic environment • Managed agency’s cash flow, involving funder reimbursements, in-kind donations, and fund-raising • Processed all accounts payable and receivable, monthly, and quarterly statistical reports for local, state, and federal funding agencies. Oversaw petty cash • Designed a flow sheet to track success of a $25,000 fund-raising project Spring Publicity coordinator, Renaissance Rainbow (performance arts troupe), 2000 San Francisco, CA • Scheduled all media interviews, supervised volunteers • Coordinated publicity mailings for African-American Performance Arts Festival
Improved Résumé: “After” Version 1998 to Temp positions, Manpower Temporary Services, San Francisco, CA 2000 • Developed customer service skills as telephone interviewer for Dohring Company • Maintained files, routed incoming telephone calls, input employee progress journals, prepared interoffice memos, recorded accounts payable checks, keyboarded accounts payable correspondence, learned e-mail systems in various assignments EDUCATION B.A. in Broadcast Communication, San Francisco State University, 2001 GPA in major: 3.2 Dean’s list, 2 semesters
Preparing a Computer-Friendly Résumé • Emphasize keywords. • Include words (usually nouns) that specifically describe the position you want and the skills required. • Avoid unusual typefaces, italics, and underlining. • Applicant-tracking software has trouble reading anything fancy.
Preparing a Computer-Friendly Résumé • Use a familiar font and 10- to 14-point type. • Software programs may misread uncommon type fonts or any letters that touch. • Use smooth white paper, black ink, and quality printing. • Be sure your name is alone on the first line on the page.
Preparing a Computer-Friendly Résumé • Provide plenty of white space. • Avoid double columns. • Don’t fold or staple your résumé. • Use abbreviations carefully. • Minimize unfamiliar abbreviations. • Maximize well-known abbreviations in your field.
Preparing a Computer-Friendly Résumé • Include all your addresses and telephone numbers. • Be prepared to send your résumé in ASCII. • Conversion to ASCII removes special formatting. • Conversion to ASCII makes your résumé immediately readable by all computer programs.
Writing a Cover Letter • Opening • Address the letter to an individual by name. • For advertised jobs, name the source; include job title, date, and publication. • If someone referred you, name that person. • Tell how your qualifications fit the job specifications, show knowledge of the reader’s business, or describe how your special talents will be assets to the company.
Writing a Cover Letter • Body • Demonstrate how your background and training fit the job requirements. • Summarize your principal assets from education, experience, and special skills. • Avoid repeating specific data from your résumé. • Refer to your résumé.
Writing a Cover Letter • Closing • Ask for an interview. Consider hooking the request to a statement reviewing your strongest points. • Make it easy to respond. Tell when you can be reached (during office hours). Some recruiters prefer that you call them.
Interviewing Tips • Before the Interview • Investigate the organization. • Learn about the position. • Plan to sell yourself. • Prepare answers to possible questions. • Prepare success stories. • Dress appropriately. • Arrive early.
Interviewing Tips • During the Interview • Establish the relationship. • Act confident but be natural. • Don’t criticize. • Stay focused on your strengths. • Find out about the job early in the interview. • Prepare for salary questions.
Interviewing Tips • During the Interview • Be ready for inappropriate questions. • Ask your own questions. • Conclude positively.
Interviewing Tips • Make notes on the interview. • Write a thank-you letter.
IS Careers • Outlook for IS Careers • Learning about IS job requirements • How to find IS jobs • How to research a company before an interview
Outlook for Careers in IS Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2004-05 Edition http://www.bls.gov/oco/print/oco2003.htm Careers in Computer Technology are 5 of the top 20 occupations projected to grow the fastest from now until 2012.
Learning About IS Job Requirements • Salary.com: http://www.salary.com • Very good list of IT job titles and descriptions • Includes education and experience requirements • Salaries listed are based on HR salary surveys, and therefore real pay scales.
How to find IS jobs • CSUN Career Center: http://www.csun.edu/~hfcar009/ • Monster.com: http://www.monster.com • HotJobs: http://hotjobs.yahoo.com/ • Career Builder: http://www.careerbuilder.com/
How to find IS jobs • Don’t underestimate the power of you own personal network. • Make everyone you know aware of the fact you are looking for an IS job. • Many jobs are filled through personal networking and are never advertised.
How to research a company before an interview • Learning about the company and its industry are key to a successful interview. • If you can talk thoughtfully about the company and its competition you will impress the interviewer! • CSUN Librarian Karen Anderson: http://library.csun.edu/kanderson/
Online Resources • Job Search: • CSUN Career Center: http://www.csun.edu/~hfcar009/ • Monster.com: http://www.monster.com • HotJobs: http://hotjobs.yahoo.com/ • Career Builder: http://www.careerbuilder.com/ • Resume and Cover Letters: • JobSearch Express: http://www.westwords.com/guffey/job.html • JobStar: http://www.jobsmart.org • Sample Interview Questions: • Top 12 Interview Questions: http://www.csun.edu/~pjl26399/interview.pdf • Salary Calculator: • Salary.com: http://swz.salary.com/ • Company Information: • CSUN Librarian Karen Anderson: http://library.csun.edu/kanderson/
Good Career Resource Books: • Bolles, R. N., “What Color IS Your Parachute 2003: A Practical Manual for Job-Hunters and Career-Changers”, Ten Speed Press, 2003. • Medley, H. A., “Sweaty Palms: The Neglected Art of Being Interviewed”, Ten Speed Press, 1993. • Sher, B., “I Could Do Anything If I Only Knew What IT Was: How to Discover What You Really Want and How to Get It”, Delacorte Press, 1994. • Sinetar, M., “Do What You Love, the Money Will Follow: Discovering Your Right Livelihood”, DTP, 1990.