Finding that first job
Looking for a job is incredibly stressful, but there are plenty of helpful resources if you know where to look. For example, a company called Manager Tools has posted a series of free podcasts with help on everything from resumes to handshakes. Below are some useful tips that come straight from the mouths of hiring managers. You can listen to them on your headphones while doing other things!
- Resumes for graduates (38 minutes) – This podcast gives specific advice for writing resumes if you’re a recent graduate. Here are some highlights:
- The biggest mistake people make is to list their responsibilities as bullets. Bullets should be reserved for accomplishments; otherwise, someone who was fired could write exactly the same thing!
- Bulleted accomplishments should follow the “verb, result, method” formula (see Resume accomplishments podcast below for more details).
- Include volunteer work since you may not have a ton of paid work experience at this point in your career.
- Emphasize roles with increasing responsibility, even if it was at the local ice cream stand.
- Preparing a resume (48 minutes) – This podcast provides even more advice about resumes but is geared toward applicants with more work experience. Here are some highlights and a sample resume:
- One page long. PERIOD PERIOD PERIOD. The second page won’t get read.
- White space is overrated.
- Do not pay anyone to help you. What they will charge you for is their document preparation time, which you don’t need if you can type and follow instructions.
- Use a plain, 10 point font. Times New Roman is good, most common serif fonts are probably okay.
- Name, address, phone and non-work email centered and bold at the top.
- The rest of the resume is dedicated to your job history, presented in reverse chronological order.
- Each job listing includes month and year of employment, title, company, and location.
- Then, 2-4 sentences of prose responsibilities. These are the things that anyone doing this job would be required to do. “Responsible for the budgeting and coordination of a $3 Million quality improvement program.” “Responsible for motivating 15 call center representatives to achieve quality, quantity, and sales goals.” This is to show what job you had.
- Then, bullets listing your accomplishments. ONLY accomplishments as bullets. This is to easily show how well you did in the job.
- Resume accomplishments (Part I) (28 min) – This podcast provides more specific information about how to write up your accomplishments using the “verb, result, method” formula. See also this list of resume action verbs to get you started.
- Building a network (48 minutes) – Remember the 3 rules: (1) build volume indiscriminately, (2) give, give, give (not take, take, take), (3) stay in touch. Also, there are 3 types of networks everyone should have: task, career, social.
- Using LinkedIn (35 min) – “An essential career tool.” Learn the basics for how to get set up and use it effectively to build your network.
- Searching for jobs online (28 min) – It’s recommended that you use 8 job boards (2 per category) and post your resume. Here are the categories: general boards (e.g., http://www.monster.com/), industry-specific (e.g., http://www.apa.org/careers/psyccareers/), aggregators (http://www.indeed.com/), location-specific (e.g., http://www.nhjobs.com/).
- Cover letters (24 minutes) – How to write a personalized cover letter for each job in under 15 minutes. Remember that the 3 parts are (1) state the job you’re applying for, (2) explain why you’re right for this job, and (3) when you’ll be following up.
- Interviewing (48 minutes) – Learn how to connect the resume to the interview. Then learn how to handle the interview weakness question (25 minutes).
- More – The above list only scratches the surface of the available podcasts. If you have more time, search the other topics to find additional useful tidbits.
Most importantly, stay confident! I realize that this is easier said than done, so take a few tips from this extraordinary talk by Dr. Amy Cuddy about how power posing can help you “fake it to become it.”