Category Archives: Job Search

Marketing Your Resume to Employers

Hiring managers get flooded with resumes for job openings. How can you ensure your resume will be looked at? Take some advice from hiring managers:

  • Do the basics.
  • Proofread for spelling, grammar, and tone. (Ask friends to proofread, too.)
  • Use a simple, easy-to-read typeface.
  • Follow instructions in the job posting. If the employer asks for information—such as references or writing samples—provide it.
  • If you’re applying by e-mail, your cover letter should be contained in the e-mail. If you’re applying online and there’s no space indicated for a cover letter, put your cover letter in the comments section.
  • Don’t let the informality of e-mail and text correspondence seep into your communications—whether e-mailed, online, or written—with potential employers.
  • Organize your resume for the employer—Organize your resume information in a logical fashion. Keep descriptions clear and to the point. As possible, tailor your resume to the job and employer, emphasizing skills, experiences, abilities, and qualifications that match the job description.
  • Customize your response—Address the hiring manager directly, if possible, and include the name of the company and the position for which it is hiring in your cover letter/e-mail response.
  • Make it easy for the hiring manager—Use your name and the word “resume” in the e-mail subject line so it’s easy to identify.
  • Focus on the skills and abilities you can bring to the employer, not what you want from the job—In your cover letter, answer the questions: What can you do to make the hiring manager’s life easier? What can you do to help the company? This is your opportunity to market yourself and stand out from the other candidates. Your resume should support that.
  • Be professional—Use a professional-sounding e-mail address or voice mail/answering machine message.

Courtesy of the National Association of Colleges and Employers.

What to Do if You Don’t Have a Job at Graduation

Keep going! Be persistent in your job search. Get up every day as if you’re going to work, and spend time identifying and researching employers. Contact employers and schedule appointments. Make your job search your job!

Register. Sign up on job-search engines. Stay current and active on business networks like LinkedIn or social media sites like Facebook where you can find company profiles.

Work your network. Contact alumni in your field. Remind your contacts that you’re still looking for a job. Make new contacts by joining professional groups in your area.

Call on the career center. Even though you’ve graduated, your college’s career center is ready to help. Use all the online resources the career center offers.

Take a temp job. Temporary work will give you a way to pay your bills, and will help build the skills and experience that employers want. Plus, temp work will give you more contacts for your network, and may lead to a full-time job. Some organizations use temp positions as a stepping stone into full-time employment.

Get your foot in the door. Some employers offer internships to recent graduates. You may find part-time positions at a company for which you want to work. This could be effective, especially in an organization that hires from within. If you do a great job, you become an excellent candidate for a full-time position.

Look for ways to build new skills. Volunteer opportunities, like temp work, will open your network to new people and new opportunities. It can also help you develop new skills that will make you a more appealing job candidate.

Courtesy of the National Association of Colleges and Employers.

Jobs and Internships Database for NOVA Students and Alumni

Trying to find an internship?  Looking for a job?  Whether you are near a computer or on the go, a great place to begin your search is by accessing the Jobs and Internships Database for NOVA students and alumni.

The following are some benefits of using the system.

  • Search for jobs and internships.  Take a look at many local positions available now.
  • Build a new resume with the Resume Builder feature.
  • Upload your resume and make it searchable to employers.
  • Check out over 1,000 career articles written by industry professionals.
  • View career videos and listen to over 25 career advice podcasts on topics including resume basics,  interviewing, and personal branding.
  • Browse and sign-up for upcoming workshops, programs, and events at NOVA and in the surrounding area.

Don’t delay – follow the steps below to begin using the system.

  1. Access the Jobs and Internships Database
  2. Select Students or Alumni
  3. Follow on screen instructions

 

Social Media In Your Job Search

Social media is a great way to stay in touch with friends and relatives, but it also can be a useful tool in your job search. Employers are using social media sites like LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube to both promote their organizations and connect with potential job candidates.

While social media can help you research employers (critical to your job-search success), be sure to use it more actively—as a way to connect with potential employers. By following a few basic tips, you can use social media to get in front of hiring managers.

Get Noticed

There are a few key points to keep in mind when using social media as a job-search tool.

Create a Profile That Gives a Positive Impression of You Think of it as your online resume: What do you want it to say about you? Hiring managers can get a stronger sense of who you are, and if you’re a potentially good fit for their company, through your profile.

Be Aware of the Keywords You Include in Your Profile This is particularly true for sites focused on professional networking, such as LinkedIn. Many employers do keyword searches to find profiles that contain the skill sets they’re seeking in potential hires.

Don’t Include Photos, Comments, or Information You Wouldn’t Want a Potential Employer to See

Don’t Mix Personal With Professional The social media you use in your job search has to present you as a potential employee—not as a friend. Follow the rules for writing a resume.

Make Sure Your Profile Is Error-Free You wouldn’t offer up a resume rife with misspellings, would you?

Choose Appropriate Contact Information Your e-mail address or Twitter handle should be professional—a simple variation on your name, perhaps—rather than suggestive or offensive.

Connect Many organizations have embraced social media as an extension of their hiring practices, and provide information that you can use to research the organization and connect with hiring managers and recruiters.

    • Check your college/university’s social media groups: Many times, employers join such groups.
    • Check social media groups that are focused around your field of interest or career.
    • Search for the social media pages, profiles, and videos of organizations that interest you. Many organizations post job descriptions, information about salaries, and more.
    • Ask questions. Even something as broad as “Is anyone hiring in [industry]?” may bring responses, and asking questions about a specific organization—“What’s it like to work at Company X?” can give you insight into the organization and its culture.

Stay Connected Keep in touch with recruiters or other decision makers you may interact with in cyberspace.

There may not be an available opportunity at their organization right now, but that could change, and you want to be considered when it does.

Finally, in addition to maintaining your network, use social media tobuild your network. Don’t just establish a social media presence—work it. Reach out. Interact. You will get out of social media what you put into it.

Courtesy of the National Association of Colleges and Employers

Job and Internship Database for NOVA Students and Alumni

Trying to find an internship?  Looking for a job?  Whether you are near a computer or on the go, a great place to begin your search is by accessing the Jobs and Internships Database for NOVA students and alumni.

The following are some benefits of using the system.

  • Search for jobs and internships.  Take a look at many local positions available now.
  • Build a new resume with the Resume Builder feature.
  • Upload your resume and make it searchable to employers.
  • Check out over 1,000 career articles written by industry professionals.
  • View career videos and listen to podcasts on topics including resume basics,  interviewing, and personal branding.
  • Browse and sign-up for upcoming workshops, programs, and events at NOVA and in the surrounding area.

Don’t delay – follow the steps below to begin using the system.

  1. Access the Jobs and Internships Database
  2. Select Students or Alumni
  3. Follow on screen instructions

 

DARING TO DECLINE: KNOWING WHEN TO SAY NO TO A JOB OFFER

by Samantha McGurgan

Congratulations—you got the offer! This is cause for a celebration! Except…why are you experiencing the sinking feeling of dread? You may feel obligated to accept the offer because you already invested so much time and effort in getting to this point, and starting over takes So. Much. Work. You might be thinking:

Is it ok if I say no? 
Who says no in this economy?
How do I even determine if it’s not right for me?

As someone who has said no to few offers over the years, I understand how uncomfortable and scary it is to say no to a perfectly good offer on paper. And I can also attest to the fact that I have never regretted saying no to job that didn’t feel right, and only have regretted saying yes. Here are a few questions to ponder through this decision-making process:

1.) How does your body feel? Stop analyzing, over-thinking, second-guessing, and Googling for the answer. Check in with your body: what is your gut telling you? Listen to it. Unapologetically. It’s never wrong. It’s normal to have a bit of nerves when facing a new challenge or embarking on new territory. But there’s a difference between distress (unhealthy) and eustress (healthy). Get to know how your body reacts to negative and positive stress by reflecting on the last time you experienced something of each type—how did it feel? How do those two experiences compare?

For me, I feel depleted, tired, and unconsciously withdraw when experiencing distress. I clench my teeth. Deep down I know it’s not right, but I run over it repeatedly in my mind trying to find a way to make it work. My husband says: You just got an offer—why aren’t we celebrating?

Conversely, I feel charged up, energetic, and motivated when faced with the possibility of a new and exciting challenge (aka a job I actually want). I feel inspired. I literally jump for joy after getting the call that I’ve been selected as the top candidate. I feel like everything was worth it after all.

Bottom line: If the offer doesn’t make you feel good, this is a warning sign. It’s worth it to wait for the job that won’t make you want to quit after three months.

2.) Are you running toward the finish line or being chased by wolves? Both of these instances involve quick, forward momentum. The difference lies within the motivation. My first question is always: Do you want the job or are you afraid that it’s your only option?

There are currently more job openings in the United States than people who are unemployed. The culture of scarcity that has been drilled into us since the Great Recession doesn’t reflect the reality of the job market. Given that you are qualified for the role you are seeking, wait for the job that will provide a sustainable opportunity for career growth, rather than accept the first one that comes along (if it’s not truly what you want).

Many of my graduating seniors who are in the midst of their first job plan on accepting a position as a safety net with the intent to keep looking for a better option. I ask them to think deeply about what is lacking in the opportunity, decline the offer, and seek one that is a better fit.

This doesn’t mean don’t accept an entry-level position. This means don’t settle for something okay when you could have something even better if you’d only waited another month or two. Or six. And don’t accept an offer with the intention to bail when something better comes up.

Bottom line: You’re going to find a job. Trust in that. And aim high. Do you really want to go through the interview process any time soon anyway? If you’re already planning to quit before a year or two, decline the offer.

3.) What do you want your life to look like?

If you’re like me, you’ve found yourself lying awake at night asking the Internet for a glimmer of hope or a strategy to make a non-ideal offer work with my life.

Ok Google: Is there a way to spend a two-hour commute that won’t make me angry and hateful?

I’m exaggerating, but the answer is no. For me. Because I have a family, and I know the excitement of a new role would quickly wear off after spending 12 hours each day away from home. Other people I’ve spoken to don’t mind their commute at all because they love their job so much. The question to ponder is, how will this job affect the rest of my life and therefore my happiness? How does this position relate to my ultimate goal? There are going to be sacrifices. Let’s make the sacrifices worthwhile.

Bottom line: The more you know yourself and your goals, the better you can discern if the position is right within the context of your life as a whole.

Samantha McGurgan is a career counselor at California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo, and college success adjunct at Cuesta College. Her greatest moments of joy involve expanding the career horizons of first generation students and supporting military-connected students in their transition to civilian careers. She holds an M.A. in education, with a specialization in counseling and guidance in student affairs from Cal Poly SLO, and a B.S. in human ecology from The Ohio State University.

Courtesy of the National Association of Colleges and Employers.

How to Sell Yourself at the Career Fair

A career fair is a great place to gather information about potential employers and make contacts that can lead to your first job. Here’s some advice on how to make the most of your time.

5 Things to Take to the Career Fair

  1. Information about the organizations attending. Gather information as you would for a job interview on organizations you’re interested in talking to. To maximize the brief time you have with each employer, you need to know how your skills and interests match their needs. And don’t just concentrate on the “big names.” There are often great opportunities with smaller companies or those with which you are not familiar.
  2. A 30-second “sales pitch.” Share basic information about yourself and your career interests like this: “Hello, I’m Carrie Jones. I’m a senior here at Wonderful University and I’m majoring in English. I’m very interested in a marketing career. As you can see on my resume, I just completed an internship in the Marketing Division of the ABC Company in Peoria. I’ve taken some courses in business marketing. I’m very interested in talking with you about marketing opportunities with your organization.”
  3. Copies of your resume (10 t0 15, depending on the size of the event). Be sure it represents your knowledge, skills, and abilities effectively. It needs to look professional—easy to read format on plain white or cream colored paper—and be free of typos. If you are looking at several career options, you may want to have two or more targeted resumes with different career objectives!
  4. A smile, a strong handshake, and a positive attitude. First impressions are important. Approach an employer, smile, and offer your hand when you introduce yourself.
  5. Energy! Career fairs require you to be on your feet moving from table to table for an hour or so. Each time you meet someone, be at your best!

5 Things Not to Do at the Career Fair

  1. Don’t “wing it” with employers. Do your homework! Research the companies just as you would for an interview. Focus on why you want to work for the organization and what you can do for them.
  2. Don’t cruise the booths with a group of friends. Interact with the recruiters on your own. Make your own positive impression!
  3. Don’t carry your backpack, large purse, or other paraphernalia with you. Carry your resume in a professional-looking portfolio or a small briefcase. It will keep your resume neat and handy, and gives you a place to file business cards of recruiters that you meet. Stow your coat, backpack, or other gear in a coatroom.
  4. Don’t come dressed casually. A career fair is a professional activity—perhaps your first contact with a future employer.
  5. Don’t come during the last half hour of the event. Many employers come a long distance to attend the fair and may need to leave early. If you come late, you may miss the organizations you wanted to contact!

5 Things to Take Home From the Career Fair

  1. Business cards from the recruiters you have met. Use the cards to write follow-up notes to those organizations in which you are most interested.
  2. Notes about contacts you made. Write down important details about particular organizations, including names of people who may not have had business cards. Take a few minutes after you leave each table to jot down these notes!
  3. Information about organizations you have contacted. Most recruiters will have information for you to pick up, including company brochures, computer diskettes or CD’s, position descriptions, and other data. You won’t have time to deal with these at the fair!
  4. A better sense of your career options. If you have used the event correctly, you will have made contact with several organizations that hire people with your skills and interests. In thinking about their needs and your background, evaluate whether each company might be a match for you.
  5. Self-confidence in interacting with employer representatives. A career fair gives you the opportunity to practice your interview skills in a less formidable environment than a formal interview. Use this experience to practice talking about what you have done, what you know, and what your interests are.

Courtesy of the National Association of Colleges and Employers.

Free Online Internship and Job Search Tool

Trying to find an internship?  Looking for a job?  Whether you are near a computer or on the go, a great place to begin your search is by accessing College Central Network (CCN) – NOVA’s online job board system.

The following are some benefits of using the system.

  • Search for jobs and other opportunities posted exclusively to NOVA.  Take a look at many local positions available now.
  • Search for jobs on CCN’s Jobs Central® national job board.  The job board contains over 500,000 opportunities from unique sources.
  • Check out CCN’s Intern Central® national internship board to search for internships.
  • Build a new resume with the Resume Builder feature.
  • Upload your resume and make it searchable to employers.
  • Check out over 1,000 career articles written by industry professionals.
  • View career videos and listen to over 25 career advice podcasts on topics including resume basics,  interviewing, and personal branding.
  • Browse and sign-up for upcoming workshops, programs, and events at NOVA and in the surrounding area.

Don’t delay – follow the steps below to begin using the system.

  1. Access College Central Network
  2. Select Students
  3. Follow on screen instructions

Contact Career and Experiential Learning Services if you are unable to access the system.

What to Do if You Don’t Have a Job at Graduation

Keep going! Be persistent in your job search. Get up every day as if you’re going to work, and spend time identifying and researching employers. Contact employers and schedule appointments. Make your job search your job!

Register. Sign up on job-search engines. Stay current and active on business networks like LinkedIn or social media sites like Facebook where you can find company profiles.

Work your network. Contact alumni in your field. Remind your contacts that you’re still looking for a job. Make new contacts by joining professional groups in your area.

Call on the career center. Even though you’ve graduated, your college’s career center is ready to help. Use all the online resources the career center offers.

Take a temp job. Temporary work will give you a way to pay your bills, and will help build the skills and experience that employers want. Plus, temp work will give you more contacts for your network, and may lead to a full-time job. Some organizations use temp positions as a stepping stone into full-time employment.

Get your foot in the door. Some employers offer internships to recent graduates. You may find part-time positions at a company for which you want to work. This could be effective, especially in an organization that hires from within. If you do a great job, you become an excellent candidate for a full-time position.

Look for ways to build new skills. Volunteer opportunities, like temp work, will open your network to new people and new opportunities. It can also help you develop new skills that will make you a more appealing job candidate.

Courtesy of the National Association of Colleges and Employers.

Jobs and Internship Database for NOVA Students and Alumni

Yellow road warning sign , New Job Ahead , 3d render

Trying to find an internship?  Looking for a job?  Whether you are near a computer or on the go, a great place to begin your search is by accessing the Jobs and Internships Database for NOVA students and alumni.

The following are some benefits of using the system.

  • Search for jobs and internships.  Take a look at many local positions available now.
  • Build a new resume with the Resume Builder feature.
  • Upload your resume and make it searchable to employers.
  • Check out over 1,000 career articles written by industry professionals.
  • View career videos and listen to over 25 career advice podcasts on topics including resume basics,  interviewing, and personal branding.
  • Browse and sign-up for upcoming workshops, programs, and events at NOVA and in the surrounding area.

Don’t delay – follow the steps below to begin using the system.

  1. Access the Jobs and Internships Database
  2. Select Students or Alumni
  3. Follow on screen instructions

Contact NOVA Online Counselor, Christy Jensen (chjensen@nvcc.edu) if you have any problems accessing the system.