Each year I receive numerous questions from returning students on how to add an internship to an already full-page resume.  Students struggle with what to delete in order to fit the job description and accomplishments from their internship onto the page.  How do they decide what to delete in order to add more information?  Can they have a two-page resume? 

If you only have a certain amount of space to demonstrate your value to a potential employer, you need to identify what information MUST be on your resume and not focus so much on what to delete.  Too often, especially early in our careers, we work to add as much information as possible to our resumes to fill the page.  Then, once we start getting substance to our portfolios we struggle with that to delete.  Your goal is to have a resume that promotes the value you will offer potential employers.   Can one have a two-page resume as an undergrad or graduate student?  While some people will say some graduate students can certainly have a two-page resume, most still say keep it to one page.   Regardless of the length, the purpose of a resume remains to be a document that grabs the attention of the reader to promote knowledge, skills and abilities. 

After completing an internship, you should see that this experience is what needs to be on your resume as opposed to bullet points from previous jobs.  You will start to distinguish between your work history and professional experience.  Jobs that allow you the opportunity to demonstrate your ability and value towards your future career goals will take the place of jobs in which you answered the phone for a parent’s company or other part time jobs. 

Each time you add something to your resume, decide whether this experience is better suited to market your ability in the future or just state what you did in the past.  Your high school experiences helped you get into a great college or university; your college experiences help you land a great entry-level position.

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Albert Einstein defines insanity as doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. If this is the case, then insanity is rampant amongst job seekers today.

Are you frustrated that no one is responding to the dozens of resumes you are submitting online? Do you find yourself discouraged at attending career fairs only to be told to apply online and then nothing happen? Not only is this unsuccessful practice a form of insanity, but the frustration will lead you to insanity as well.

Get off of this hamster wheel. The job search process is frustrating enough. There is too much in life you can’t control, so focus what you can control. If something is not working in regards to your job search strategy, then change it. Here are a few quick tips to increase an effective job search process.

  1. Talk with a career coach: Career Coaches have the experience. These experts know the job search process across industry and functional area of business. They know the pulse of business today and work to guide job seekers towards the goal of finding employment. Visit www.careerealism.com for a solid list of professional career coaches.
  2. NETWORK: I can just imagine all of the eye rolls are reading my recommendation to network. Simply put, networking is the key to finding employment. Remember that applying for positions online is only a piece of the process. It is not THE process. Too many job seekers spend their time only applying online. If this is your approach, you are missing the most important step which is to connect with real human beings. Humans hire; systems track candidates.
  3. 3. Build a solid and professional online presence. Your LinkedIn profile should be a comprehensive marketing story of your past successes and future abilities. You should have a strong presence on Twitter making sure you are following industry professionals and employers of interest. Use Hashtags to search for conferences in your field in which you cannot attend. Get involved and be seen. To learn the very best tips on social networking, please read Miriam Salpeter’s book “Social Networking for Career Success”.

I recently read that job seekers should stop focusing on pushing our resumes for a successful job search and instead draw people to you. The former is how you put yourself on that job search hamster wheel. You will keep running in place without getting anywhere near your goal. Get off the hamster wheel and stop the insanity in your job search and career management. Stop doing the same thing and expect different results.

 So much to do; so little time.  For better or worse, the definition of internships have changed overtime.  The number of companies that hire fulltime candidates from the intern pool has skyrocketed in the past few years.  The stakes are much higher for internship candidates to obtain an offer from an employer of choice. Internships have long been considered the 10 – 12 week interview; however, students are feeling the pressure to out shine their co-interns even more than before.     

Here are three things to do during your internship that are sure to make a lasting impression and set you on a positive course towards success. 

  1. Find a mentor:  Build a working relationship with someone within the organization who can offer candid and sage advice throughout your internship.  This person should not be your boss or a fellow intern. Find someone in the company who is well respected and connected.  Be interested in learning ways to be more effective. 
  2. Connect with your supervisor:  Your supervisor can be your best of champions or your worst of enemies when it comes to securing fulltime employment from an internship.  You want your supervisor to find you invaluable.  Be a great communicator, always have a positive attitude, and far exceed the department’s expectations if you want to increase your chances of receiving a fulltime offer.
  3. Welcome and seek feedback:  One major difference between school and work is the timing and delivery of feedback.  As students, you are used to getting feedback after every homework assignment, every quiz and every exam. Some organizations only offer formal feedback during annual reviews or internship exit interviews.  Try to briefly meet with your supervisor every week or so to discuss your performance, and make a concerted effort to correct or polish the areas where improvement is recommended.

Be an asset to the team, and make the employer grow to say, “We cannot afford to not hire this excellent candidate.”  Go beyond your job description.   Always seek ways to deliver quality results and build lasting professional relationships along the way.

Where’s the Beef?

March 28, 2011

Do you remember this series of commercials from Wendy’s in the 80’s?  The little old lady is standing next to her friends and they are staring at this massive bun, only to open it and find a little bitty beef patty.  What a disappointment!

Managing your brand is just like this.  You have to have a great package (hb bun), but the key is to also have a big juicy pattie in the middle. We don’t want to open the bun and find that there is no content, nothing to sink our teeth into, nothing to water in our mouths.  We want the real deal, flavors, thick meaty patties with all the fixins.

Job Seekers: It is great to be polished on the outside, but you have to know and understand the value of what is on the inside.  If I unravel that bow, I want to see something substantial in that gift.  Know yourself and what you have to offer.  It is great to be humble, but you still have to know what you have to offer. Know your skills.  If you don’t know your skills, ask people close to you what you are good at and see what they say. Take some professional or personality assessments to help provide the terminology to use to describe yourself.

And stop comparing yourself to other burgers. How could Wendy’s, Whataburger, and Burger King make it in the shadow of McDonalds’ success?  By not comparing, by being different, by differentiating themselves, but knowing what they have to offer and to whom they want to offer their product.

So I encourage you to not only package your professional image well, but really focus on what you have to offer a prospective employer.  Google a list of skills and circle the ones you think you are good at.  Then think of tangible examples of how you have demonstrated those skills within your professional or academic work.

And don’t forget…Always show me the beef!

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For your viewing pleasure: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ug75diEyiA0

In the job search, there are a multitude of factors that can contribute to one’s struggle in securing employment.  Instinctively, the first culprit blamed for the problem is the resume. If you not getting job offers, ask yourself where the breakdown is happening.  Be careful not to immediately blame the resume. 

If you are getting interviews, then your problem is most likely not your resume.  You got the interview, so your resume must be doing its job.  If you are not getting call backs after interviews, then I am going out on a limb here and your interviewing skills could be to blame.  If that is the case, then you are in need of a challenging mock interview.  Just because you have the knowledge, skills and ability to do a job won’t matter to an employer if you can interview effectively. 

There are many other possibilities as to why you might not be securing job offers which proves you have to identify the root of the issue.  Your problem could, in fact, be your resume, but it can also be your interviewing skills, your behavior while waiting for your interview (never be rude to a receptionist), your thank you note, your follow-up manner (always be gracious), along with many others.  A good solution is to find a career coach—someone who will work with you in breaking down the job search process to find where your weaknesses lie and work with you to strengthen your approach and job search competencies.

Not Go-Getter…GO-GIVER

March 23, 2011

In every encounter and every situation, think about ways you can help. And think of it in terms that do not directly benefit you. I read a book a while ago called The Go Giver by Bob Burg and John David Mann.  This book was given to me as a gift from one of my mentors.  It is a short read, but it delivered such a profound message about how we should stop working for ourselves and begin working for the benefit of others.  In fact, this book delivers a method to begin doing just that.  I highly recommend this book to anyone and everyone, not just job seekers.

As a result of reading this book, I was able to reflect on my approach with my students, clients, family, and friends.  I have now given this book as a gift to many professionals and friends to aid in the development of their own professionalism and business perspective. Remember: it is through service to others that we find fulfillment and happiness.

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It’s that time of year in the life of collegiate intern recruiting.  In our current economy and latest trends in the job search, students in both undergraduate and graduate programs around the world are either interviewing for internships, seeking prospects or receiving offers.  As with every year, however, offers are not all received on the same day nor are decisions are all due from intern candidates on the same day. 

The topic of concern on the minds of our intern seekers hopefully transitions from receiving offers to making a decision.  Intern seekers all of a sudden become concerned with making a hasty decision in the event something better comes along.  Hedging their bets becomes the name of the game.  However, handing over one’s integrity in the game of the job search can get a person eliminated from competition immediately.  No one wants that to happen.  Remember that you are the only person who can give away your integrity. 

Simply put:  make a decision and live with it.  The grass is always greener.  For every decision you make, you also make a sacrifice.  If you receive an offer and decline hoping something better will come along, you run the risk of not receiving another offer.  If you accept an offer, you run the risk of a better offer coming down the pike.  For every decision you make, you also make a sacrifice.