Before the summer fully begins and you actively review employment search engine sites, attend networking events, or, even visit the Career Services Department, take a few minutes to evaluate your résumé and what it says about you to potential employers.
As a previous employer, I have reviewed pages of résumés that were submitted by job seekers seeking to highlight their best qualifications for an advertised position, however, many of the résumés included a long list of job duties and never really caught my eye, or, answered the question, “Why should I hire this candidate?”
To assist you in getting the attention of potential employers, consider the following 4 strategies to map out your skills and experiences, using the SWOT Analysis.
Begin by identifying a position in which you are interested in applying. Review the posting so that you can customize your document to meet the needs of the employer. Start with the qualifications listed for the position, then list your qualities. Consider including your years or months of experience, educational training and credentials, related work, academic internship and volunteer experiences. Then finally, identify classroom projects related to the position.
Once you have made a list of your merits related to the position, be sure to include them in your Summary of Qualifications on your résumé and throughout the body of your résumé. Lastly, highlight in your résumé under each of your employment, academic internship, relevant volunteer experiences, and/ or classroom projects, 3 to 5 accomplishments. Examples may include: Number of staff you supervised and what you led them on daily; how you increased productivity using percentages; how you saved the company money and resources using dollar amounts; and all other quantitative measures taken by you to enhance service on behalf of the company.
For every position that you are interested in applying, access the O*NET Online (https://www.onetonline.org/) resource to view a summary report of the position. This tool can assist you in identifying key responsibilities that you have performed, however, may have forgotten to mention on your résumé. The summary report also provides “key words” in which employers are seeking in your résumé. Without the use of key words in your document, potential employers may overlook you as a viable candidate.
Using the same resource, you can identify the technology skills listed for the position, allowing you an opportunity to identify technology skills that you may not have a proficiency. You may want to reflect upon other areas to develop, such as your soft skills: Following directions, speaking well, working well with others, being a good listener, courteous and friendly, reliable, and a problem-solver.
Lastly, you may want to ask how do others view you? What is your professional reputation? Consider feedback from your professors, instructors, and previous employers regarding your work ethic, performance, and attitude.
In your spare time, identify ways in which you can grow and learn more about the current trends of your field. Speak with the Career Services Department, professors, or, look on the Internet to identify networking events in the area. Join professional associations and attend meetings; become active with the associations and volunteer. Find channels to create conversations with professionals in your field. Additionally, shift the impact of the areas that you identified as weaknesses by turning them into learning and growth opportunities. Lastly, include on your résumé professional associations, leadership positions held within the association, and accomplishments.
In this area, you may want to revisit your strengths and the O*NET Online (https://www.onetonline.org/) resource to review the summary report’s section on Wages & Employment Trends. During your review, identify whether your job of interest has projected growth and job openings, or, a decline in the industry. Discover if the decline in the industry may be caused by technology advancements, the economy, or other external factors.
To discover more ways to better market your résumé and get prepared for the job market, please visit the Career Services & Alumni Relations Department. We will be glad to review your documents and provide you with employment resources.