Career Preparation: Resume, Interviews, Networking & More!

Develop yourself into the ideal candidate

The wealth of information and experiences available while in college is unlike any other time in your life. Take full advantage so you can hit the ground running when you start you career.

21st Century Scholars will be able to fulfill College Scholar Success Program requirements with many of these opportunities.

Workshops & Events

Job fairs, trainings, networking opportunities and more can help prepare you for your future career. The Career Services staff  plans and presents workshops in-person and online. Handshake is another resource to connect with external events and workshops hosted on other IU campuses that you can attend! Handshake is also where you can find jobs and internships.

How to create a great resume

Employers typically look at a resume for just 30 seconds (!!!) when screening candidates, so it's important to build a resume that shows you're the right person for the job. 

  • Schedule an appointment with a career coach to get advice on how to fine-tune your resume and cover letter. Bring a draft version so we can offer content and formatting suggestions. While we won't write your resume for you, our personal attention will help you create a resume that works.
  • Check out our interactive resume guide.
  • Watch our resume workshop video below for an overview of what makes an effective resume and how to write a cover letter.
IU East Resume Workshop

Description of the video:

So some of you already know me, but my name's Kara Bellew and I'm the Career Services Specialist here at IU East. And this is the Resume Review. So this is a workshop for students that need to start from scratch and create their resume, or they just need to revamp and update their current resume. So we'll go through each section of a typical resume and talk about what is important to know in each. So let's get started. In most cases, the rumors that you've heard about resumes are true. You actually do want your resume to be one page. So this is assuming that you don't have a significant amount of professional experience that's relevant to the position that you're seeking. The reason for this is pretty simple, employers and hiring managers don't have a significant amount of time to browse a bunch of applications. So the less information that you can give them to sift through, the better you're going to be. And this is also the reason that it's important to pick and choose what you include and each resume based on the position that you're seeking. But we'll talk about that a little bit more later. It's my personal preference and those of a lot of people that work with resumes to dislike or have contempt for templates, for resume templates. My suggestion is to just use a good old-fashioned work document or whatever your preference is as far as that goes. Templates might initially make things easier, but they're really difficult to manipulate and they don't allow you to take full advantage of the space on the page. Which brings me to my next point, which is to narrow your margins. In Microsoft Office Word, it's really easy to narrow your margins. And this will allow you to utilize the whole page and take advantage of all of it. Since you only have that one page to work with. In my eyes, there's hardly anything worse aesthetically than to look at a resume and see a bunch of blank space. That's something that you don't want. Another thing that you don't want is colored fonts. For the most part, they're a thing of the past, unless you're going for a different type of resume, a creative resume. And these are mostly used in artistic or very creative positions there to be used very specifically. So let's chat a little bit about your contact information. Most people don't give it much thought. They just add their name, their address, their email. Done right. But I'd like to encourage you to utilize your contact information to take your professionalism to the next level. You should consider using your contact information as a header like in Microsoft Word, and allow it to start on your cover page and go through to your reference page. As employers print your documents. They'll never confuse it with other candidates documents because it'll have your name right at the top. And as I mentioned before, it's just a way to step it up, so to speak professionally. Consider including your Linked in contact information. You always want to include want that to be the focal point when or when hiring managers are sifting through different resumes. So make that a little bit larger than the other information. And you want to include your phone number and your email address as well. Physical address. Most resumes have the place in which the candidate is living right, their physical address. It won't hurt you if you're applying and you already live in that same geographic area. But if you're applying in let's say, California and you live in the Midwest, you might want to take your physical address off of your resume. It's not needed and you don't have to have it. In a perfect world, it wouldn't matter either way, right? But sometimes closer candidates are more desirable to hiring managers for a variety of reasons. So if you lives, live close and you can leave it, that's fine. But if you live a little bit further, you might want to consider taking it off of your resume completely. So education. You for a moment, you might have noticed that we completely skips the objective statement. And you can actually skip the objective statement too. Their old school, they make your resume look dated and they're just not necessary. The next section is, as I mentioned, the education section. And you can see my preferred way to kind of format that section in this example. But everyone has their own preference. And if you have yours and you want to stick with that, I'm sure it's probably okay, but I would advise you not to include your GPA unless it's relatively high. It's not mandatory and you don't have to include it. So know that that's perfectly acceptable if you choose not to. So to the left, you might see some other items that can be included under coursework. There's relevant coursework. You only want to use this section header in cases where you're applying for a job outside of your major, but you took some classes that are relevant to that job. So if you're a psychology major and you're just listing relevant classes that are assumed to be taken as a psychology major, you're wasting space on your resume. Now if you're a psychology major, applying to a job at a museum, and you took several History courses. This might be a case where you want to include a relevant coursework section. There's the Dean's List in the Chancellor's list, which you're welcome to include, and certifications that are relevant to the position that you're seeking or that show a transferable skill you want to include. And we already kind of went over the GPA thing. For college attended, other colleges attended. This could be added, but it isn't always necessary. For example, some students only took a few classes at another university or received an Associates Degree. in the same thing that you end up getting your bachelor's degree in. In that case, it might not be worth it to give up the space on your resume to include the other university. Professional experiences is the next section. And professional experiences, is the places you've been employed and what you did while you were there. It could also be internships and maybe some volunteer work. There are a lot of things that could fall under professional experience if you chose to put it there. Many students will label this section as work history, but I prefer professional experience as that is truly what it is. For most of my students, bulleted action statements are most dreaded, labor-intensive, brain busting part of creating a resume. Because they require you to know what skills you're gaining from your experiences. And most people, especially students, greatly underestimate those skills. So I created a simple acronym to assist with action statement development, just the ABCs of action statements. And it starts with an Action verb and then you move on to Business. So you state the task or the situation that you want employers to know about that you did what you did there. Then you follow it up with a Conclusion that explains the result or impact of your work. So start with an action word. You don't have to be a walking thesaurus in order to nail this part, you just Google it. "Action words" for resumes, and you'll have endless resources at your fingertips. So next you state what you did. So like I said before, what duty or task or situation do you want employers to know about? What skill are you trying to relay? Did you clean equipment and communicate with others? Did you take on a leadership task as needed? Last, and it can in some cases make your statement stronger, if you follow up with what you did and why it was beneficial. For example, at the top of this experience section under barista, you could say that a statement was complete, after clean and maintain equipment. But telling why this was done helps the reader understand its importance. So you don't want to do this with each and every statement, but once in a while, it can really make your statement stronger. If this section feels a little overwhelming, you don't have to worry about that. We have a lot of supplemental resources and we would love to help you get over your fear of action statements and kind of perfect your professional experience section. And I will love to help you and share the resources with you. So we're moving on to the last section of a resume, or the last sections, I should say. These sections are not a one size all are not a one size fits. >> All right. >> So I can't tell you how many times I receive resumes from students. And they have sections that are from a template that are blank because they don't have any of that particular experience and they think they're breaking one of the sacred resume rules of exchange it for something else. >> If you don't have any relevant developed projects. One just random example of sections then because that's what the template says, that you should be using swamp. >> But for something else that you do have, you can use anything that you want. You can remove anything that you want. >> On this slide, you can see one of my preferred formatting options for these sections, along with several different section headers to the left hand side. >> Feel free to pick and choose from those or to Google and use your very own. >> And like I said, not a one size fits all. >> So for a moment, let's talk about the Skills section. If you've already created a resume from a template, you inevitably have a random list of skills somewhere on your resume. >> It probably include something like teamwork, computer skills, customer service, or something of that nature. >> And that's all well and good. >> But my suggestion is to incorporate these skills into your action statements. >> Where did you utilize teamwork, what equipment did you use? >> And where? Can you tell me how you utilized customer service? >> Wipe out the Skills section by turning it into action statements that actually tell the reader where you gain the skills rather than just talking or having them take them for your work, right? >> Just assuming that you're telling the truth about the skills that you do have, your resume art. >> So since we're done going through section by section where going to chat for a minute about how to make your resume relevant to the position that you're seeking. >> So all job seekers have a hint into the minds of hiring managers, but few choose to fully unlock and utilize that. Hence, you've heard me talk about how each resume should be tailored to the position that you're seeking. >> But you might be wondering how to do that. >> One way is to use the job description. >> This is your cheatsheet, to exactly what skills the employers will be looking for when they scan your resume and decide whether to put it into the no pile or the pile where they review later, right? >> Or maybe the PS file. Lucky. >> So scan the job description carefully and pull up the skills that are mentioned that you actually have and then make sure they're included in your resume. >> Make it easy for employers to find them. The example that I have on this slide is specific to nurses, but this should be use regardless of what type of position that you're seeking. If the position calls for excellent critical thinking skills, you should make a list of different tasks you did at a previous position that used credible thinking and give it its own bullet bullshit action. >> Save it. >> You can even spell out for resume readers by saying something like utilized critical thinking skills by creating a system to organize boxes in the storage. >> Cause it, or however you used critical thinking skills. >> So spell it out for the reader, right? >> Make it easy for them to find the skills that they're searching for. So now you might see the problem for jobseekers that are just using one main resume to send and apply for a lot of different positions. >> They're making it hard for hiring managers to make a connection between the skills that they have and the skills that they're looking for, do that extra work for them. >> This resume, called a functional resume, is more of an option for a very specific purpose. >> So with this resume, you focus on all the skills that you have and not where you acquired the skills. >> It would only be used if you wanted hiring managers to focus on your skills and competencies rather than the dates are how you acquire the experience. If you have gaps in your employment, this actually might be the right resume for you. >> As you can see, it breaks different skills into their own sections rather than separating them by position as you want. >> More information on a functional resume can help you with that. >> Just for a moment, I want to speak directly to anyone that has any athletic experience. >> Many of the athletes that I work with just kind of brush their athletic experience aside. >> They don't use it to showcase their skill set when it comes to that resume. >> So you can include athletic experience as its very own section header. >> Enlisted much in the way you would a job or an internship, include bulleted action statements. >> That's important. >> Some of the skills you'll want to bring out or time management, work ethic, teamwork, perseverance, and punctuality, to name a few skills, are very valuable to employers, so please take the time to include them on your resume. >> Alright, we're done. Let's resume for a minute. >> And now we're going to talk about cover letters. >> So there are a lot of different formats for cover letters. >> Obviously, your contact information will be at the top if you use the header hint that I talked about earlier. >> But I think the key thing here is that this is an opportunity for you to highlight the skills that you have and how they apply to the job you're seeking. >> For example, if your skill is organization and you know that it will be valuable for, let's say an administrative position that you're applying for. >> Then say something like, I'm extremely organize and pride myself on never missing a deadline. >> This organization will allow me to accomplish all administrative tasks at hand in a timely manner. >> Of course, it doesn't need to say that exactly, but this person talks about what the skill was, how they use it, and how it's going to help them accomplish the task in the organization in which they're applied to. >> So cover letter should never be more than one pay huge. And ideally it wouldn't even be close to that. >> Less is actually more here. >> Get your point across without giving them so much to read. They skip over the good stuff. >> Close the letter by giving a plan for follow up. >> Either please feel free to contact me for an interview or outcomes. >> Also contact you at such and such a time to schedule and enter you or however forward you want to be. >> Just close the letter up by saying something of that nature. >> Last slide he made it. >> We can't forget about Reference Pages though. >> So this should not be on your actual resume, nor should it say references available upon request on your resume. >> This is a whole separate page that you're welcome to attach when you submit your resume to an organization, but it's not required unless they ask for references. >> Typically, you'll use three or four different people that are unrelated to you and you'll provide their contact information. Do not list people on your reference page that you haven't asked if you can use as a reference people you might want to assay, you certainly reference include professors. >> Even if you are an online student, you can still ask your professors past or present supervisors, internship supervisors, coaches, coworkers, or anyone else that can vouch for your work ethic and your ability to get things done. >> People you don't want to ask include anyone related to you, as I mentioned before, or anyone that can't make a statement about your classroom or job-related performance, please feel free to submit your resume to the career services office after you've gotten it together so that we can review. >> It is absolutely never a bad thing to have someone else look at your resume regardless of how great you think it is.

Networking is for everyone

Whether you're a people person or a lone wolf, there is a networking opportunity available for you. If you're not sure where to start, schedule an appointment with a career coach to find out how to get started.

  • Attend a networking workshop (watch for announcements in 'What's Up' emails and for events on the IU East calendar).
  • Meet with a career coach to learn how you can make connections with community members or IU alumni working in your field.
  • Volunteer or work with organizations that engage leaders in the community.
  • Create a stand-out LinkedIn profile (watch the video below for an overview, then meet with a career coach to review your profile), and review your other social media accounts from the perspective of potential employers. 
LinkedIn: Career Preparation Workshop

Description of the video:

Hey, IU East students! This is Kara from Career Services. If you know me, you know that I'm a fan of educating students on the importance of networking. Well, lucky for you and for me, isolating at home doesn't mean you're no longer able to network with professionals. 

One exceptional way to continue to make professional connections and search for positions from the comfort of your own bedroom is LinkedIn. According to LinkedIn's Marketing Solutions blog, 61 million LinkedIn users or senior level influencers, and 40 million are in decision-making positions. So if you're thinking you won't be able to connect with anyone that could potentially help your career or help you land a job. Think again.

One important aspect to making a good impression is having a decent profile. So to help you, I've created a very short presentation with six simple steps to improving your LinkedIn.

Your profile picture. Having no picture is really not an option these days. Linkedin reports that LinkedIn profiles with head shots have 21 times more views and nine times more connection requests. That is a lot more opportunity to connect. 

Now there's a difference between regular social media profile pics and LinkedIn profile pics. You want to look like you're dressed in line with the position that you're seeking. So go ahead and throw on a blazer, throw on a tie. It's certainly not going to hurt you at all. 

Your LinkedIn connections don't need to see how cute your boyfriend is or how adorable kitten is or any family picks, it's just you looking professional. Definitely, absolutely, positively no party pics, no flashy accessories. Remember, you want to present your best professional self here. 

Use your Headline. One of the most frequent problems that I see with IU East students' LinkedIn profiles is that they don't properly use their headline. I venture to say around 98% of campus headlines just say "student at IU East". And that's just the default if you don't put a headline and at all, and it's certainly not going to get you noticed. Instead, use all 120 characters and add the experience that you have or that you're searching for. And include hard skills and keywords that will make you more searchable and memorable. 

Similar to a Google search bar, LinkedIn will scan your profile to look for keywords and determine your value to certain recruiters. This makes it important to litter your profile with industry specific terms, aka the language of your field of study. So if you're not sure what the language is because you're just now breaking into that field, try doing a little research on the profiles of some more seasoned professionals that are working within your field already and have been for a while. Hint hint, littering your resume with keywords will also help you get through manual recruiter scans and Applicant Tracking Systems when applying for jobs the traditional way.

This is really not the time to be modest. If your GPA is reflection of your hard work or if you're involved in student organizations, honors and awards, research, this is the place to record it.

Show your work. This is an opportunity to not only tell your connections what you've been doing, but to show them what you've been doing. This definitely takes it a step further than a traditional resume where they just have to take your word for it. You can actually upload projects, presentations, blogs, videos, design portfolios, and research papers so recruiters can get an idea of your skill set, abilities and interests. Don't miss out on utilizing this feature. It might be the best part. 

Collect recommendations. You've already been working on your professional network whether you were doing it intentionally or not. You've made connections with IU East professors and staff, high school teachers, managers and supervisors at your job, and likely many others. Ask those connections to write a recommendation of your skills and show the world what you have to offer a future employer. Request the recommendation right from your profile page by clicking the Request a Recommendation link. Then you will just type the name of the LinkedIn connection you want to ask, and LinkedIn will send the email request. It's really that simple, so don't be shy, just ask. 

So that's all I have for you. That's my six simple steps. Now, create or update your LinkedIn and get to connecting.

Level up your interview skills

Interviewing can be an intimidating experience, but our career coaches can help you feel prepared. Meet with a career coach to: 

  • get a list of common interview questions (and how not to answer!), 
  • get tips on how to make a good first impression, 
  • and even have a mock interview so you can fine-tune your skills.

Schedule an appointment

Dress to impress: Looking great can help you ace the interview! Visit the Professional Clothing Closet to get FREE clothes for IU East Students. Stop by the Career Office, WZ 131 for access.