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  • marcsth 1:47 pm on March 18, 2013 Permalink
    Tags: , , , Resumes   

    Cover Letters…Writing about yourself without making it about yourself 

    Cover letters are your official introduction to an employer, whereby you intrigue them enough about your background and experience so that they’re compelled to read your resume and eventually say “we have to interview this person!” Yet, for most folks, writing a cover letter ranges from being an exercise in monotony to downright uncomfortable.  Cover letters for many go against everything they’ve been taught about being humble, while for other folks one page seems like not nearly enough to talk about themselves.

    However, the secret to writing great cover letter letters is keeping the following in mind: It’s About Them, Not You. The best cover letters are those which focus on the organizations needs and illustrate how your skills and experiences match those needs. An important part in ensuring whether your cover letter is focusing less on yourself and more on the employer is a basic one: grammar usage, specifically of the personal pronoun “I”. When a cover letter is filled with “I”, it can (albeit unfairly) leave readers with an impression that a candidate is self-absorbed, arrogant, and only concerned with what the company can do for them. To avoid this common mistake, Greg Simpson of Lee Hecht Harrison advises three simple steps to ensure that you don’t fall into the “I-Trap”:

    1. Gather some representative samples of your job search letters (cover, networking, follow up, etc.) written at various stages of your search.
    2. Look at each document and circle every use of the personal pronoun “I.” Then underline how many times you used “I” to start a sentence. Were the sentences consecutive?
    3. Practice re-writing the letters deleting all but one or two “I’s” and instead using “my,” “mine” or the pronouns we, our, you, and your. Shying away from the use of “I” not only engages readers but also projects confidence in your abilities without the arrogance.

    So the next time you’ve finished cranking out that cover letter, before hitting submit, review it and ask yourself “is this cover letter about me or them?”

  • Jennifer Carignan 4:24 pm on September 15, 2011 Permalink
    Tags: , , guests, , , Resumes   

    Drop-in advising… with guests! 

    If you roam around campus on weekday afternoons, you’ve likely seen Career Center advisors providing drop-in career advising at various popular spots. This is a great way for us to meet you where you are: academic buildings, outside of the Dav and Mud Box, and near TDR. And during the fall semester, to offer students another opportunity to speak with professionals in a variety of careers, my SPA colleague Chris Hughes and I will feature guest advisors during some of our drop-in sessions.

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  • Francine Blume 7:22 pm on August 31, 2011 Permalink
    Tags: , , , , Resumes   

    Class of 2011 doing somewhat better at finding jobs than previous two years 

    According to the Huffington Post, it’s been a little less tough on the national level for the most recent graduates to find jobs than it has been for their older classmates. A lot of the new hiring comes from corporations with big profits hiring students with backgrounds in business. You definitely want to stick with your college education. Unemployment amongst college graduates is only 4.3% compared to a national average of over 9%.

    What are the best ways to make it easier on yourself? Hopefully you have some internships so you at least have some experience on your resume. Next, you want to have a really strong resume and a job search strategy so you know where to look, where to apply, and how to follow up. Networking is key, make sure your LinkedIn profile is current. And don’t wait until the last minute. If you’re graduating in May, you should be mapping out your strategy now. If you graduate in December, you should be actively looking now. Be sure to take advantage of the advising, events, and online resources of the Career Center. Plan to attend the Fall Job and Internship Fair on Wednesday, September 21st.

  • Chris Hughes 7:55 pm on May 17, 2010 Permalink
    Tags: , , , , , , Resumes   

    What Students and Alumni Need to Know About the New Federal Hiring Reforms 

    Last Tuesday, President Obama put forth a memorandum of reforms  designed to greatly simplify the federal hiring process.  These reforms will have a great impact on AU students, recent graduates and alumni seeking positions in the federal government.  Among the reforms are:

    • Cutting the hiring times for federal positions down to an average of 80 days.
    • Total elimination of essay-style questions, better known as KSA’s, from federal applications.   Resumes and cover letters or “simple, plain language applications” would be submitted.
    • Simplifying the federal hiring process  across the board to encourage more qualified candidates to enter public service

    These changes are expected to be in place by November 1. 

    Also, the Federal Career Intern Program (FCIP), not to be confused with the Student Career Experience Program (SCEP) or Student Temporary Employment Program (STEP), will undergo a 90-day review and may be on the chopping block.

    By significantly cutting down the hiring time for federal jobs and eliminating the often-confusing KSA process, these reforms should benefit new federal job seekers by making such a job search less mysterious and more in line with what we see in the private and nonprofit sectors.

  • Minna Scherlinder Morse 7:05 pm on May 3, 2010 Permalink
    Tags: , , , , , , , , Resumes, ,   

    Great Advice (from AU Alumna and Others) in U.S. News & World Report 

    A recent issue of the U.S. News & World Report focuses on the job search, best careers, challenges for recent grads, etc., and the magazine’s online site boasts a plethora of useful career advice for job seekers and for navigating the working world, in essays, articles, videos, and other forms. The newest edition of the magazine also boasts a new Reporter/Producer in Rebecca Kern, BA SOC ’09, who was recently promoted to this full-time job from a post-grad paid internship, and whose byline appears on substantive articles in the Jobs edition. Way to go, Rebecca!

  • Sue Gordon 2:59 pm on December 21, 2009 Permalink
    Tags: , , , , Resumes, Temporary   

    Still job searching? Don't dismiss temp work! 

    Economists tell us that in any economic recovery, employers use temporary workers before committing to permanent hires.   According to the NY Times, this is even more true in this recovery as temp work continues to grow– up four months in a row.  What is different  in this economy is the increase in temporary workers is lasting longer than in the past, as employers continue to hesitate to commit to a permanent hire.   So, if you are a job seeker who’s avoided temping, don’t dismiss it, and consider the following benefits.

    Temping allows you to:

    • Develop new and enhance existing skills- sometimes in surprising ways
    • Build your resume
    • Be employed while looking for that perfect permanent job- always a plus
    • Broaden your contacts and your network- key to a successful job search
    • Potentially be converted from a temporary to a permanent employee
    • Earn a little spending (or rent) money!
    • Get off the couch and impress prospective employers that you are taking initiative

    Do you have a great story about a temp job that turned into something more?   Share it by commenting here or emailing gordon@american.edu.

  • Geoff Silverstein 3:56 pm on December 17, 2009 Permalink
    Tags: Creative, Design, , Infographics, Resumes, Visual Resumes   

    Building a Better Resume 

    Creating a resume that stands out in a tall pile of applicants isn’t easy. Fast Company highlights a couple resumes that lift their content to a whole a new, visual level.

    Visual Resume

    We all know it: Polish that resume all you want, but it’s gonna be “read” for 10 seconds, tops. So it makes a lot of sense to ditch the resume altogether, and create a chart instead.

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  • Sue Gordon 4:00 pm on November 25, 2009 Permalink
    Tags: , , , , Resumes,   

    Do You Know How To Land A Job Interview? 

    Blindly submitting resumes and cover letters is NOT sufficient to land job interviews!  Check out this brief video and learn some great tips on how you can ramp up your job search strategy.    How to Land a Job Interview, featuring Maggie Mistal , Career Coach, Martha Stewart Living Radio.

  • Francine Blume 7:46 pm on October 23, 2009 Permalink
    Tags: , Resumes   

    When You're 1 in 500, What Really Happens to Your Resume? 

    You’ll be tempted topile of sheets just skim the NY Times article, $13 an Hour? 500 Sign Up, 1 Wins a Job, but read it through. It isn’t just a gee it’s hard to get a job piece. There are some real insights into what really happens in a real place when recruiters are trying to really get through 500 resumes.

    For instance, the recruiter didn’t have much time to get through the piles, so she started with the first ones to come in, tossed the obviously overqualified folks, phone screened those who looked good, and stopped when she had enough decent possibilities. Late-comers were just out of luck. 61 of 210 were passed on, and the rest weren’t even considered or loaded into the company’s system for lack of time.

    But even after that, an unemployed young woman saw a friend’s status update on Facebook saying that she had applied for this job, and the young woman then went to the website to apply. Even though she wasn’t in that pile of 61, the resume got uploaded into the company’s system. She was invited to interview and impressed them with her suit, consistent answers, and ability to come in for a second interview with just one hour’s notice.

    So . . . get your resumes in fast, get them in electronically if you can, don’t expect much if you’re over qualified, and be ready to impress at the interview. The basic advice is still the most important!

    Photo by Johann “nojhan” Dréo.

  • Sue Gordon 8:05 pm on October 8, 2009 Permalink
    Tags: , Events, , Graduation, , , , Next Steps, Resumes, ,   

    Seniors: Wake Up 

    Prepare for What Comes Next

    Prepare for What Comes Next

    There is no time like the present.

    When your post-graduate plans are at stake, this couldn’t be more true.  Did you know that successful job applicants allow several months  to prepare and hunt down their position? If you plan to find gainful employment upon graduation,  now is time to start your search.  Even if you are hoping to go to graduate school, now is the time to be “getting your ducks in a row” and applying.

    Fear not, whether you are applying to grad school or looking for a job, the process doesn’t have to be a painful endeavor.

    (More …)

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