Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Resume 101 - Writing Content

Writing the content of your resume is one of the most time consuming steps in the resume-writing process. However, if you work strategically, the process may seem to go a lot faster.

The first piece of advice I have is to start writing from the “skeleton” of the resume. The most difficult part of writing is getting started. If you come up with an outline first, writing the resume will seem much less like a huge task, and more like a simple worksheet to fill out. The sections in your resume may vary between formats (chronological vs. functional) or even between different career fields. A good place to start is with your Contact Info, Objective, Profile, Education Information, and Work Experience (or Relevant Skills). Keep in mind that these titles are not set in stone, they can be renamed and adapted to your liking.

Another tip: start with what you know. Obviously, your personal information will take only minutes to complete, and writing it down will help make visible progress. Likewise, feel free to skip around and fill in the different sections out of order. For example, writing the job titles out before you write the skill bullet points will help you organize your thoughts. (And if you’re working in chronological format, it gives you a nice outline to work in.)

One common tough spot is the bullet point section that describes the skills you learned at a particular job or volunteer activity. There are three keys to remember that will help you help your resume make a good impact on the employer: Quantities, Results, and Responsibilities. If you find yourself simply listing the duties you had, you may wish to revise them with these three things in mind.

For example, maybe your main task at your previous job was answering phones. To make this point more interesting, tell how many, what happened, and what sort of responsibility you had in that situation. You might come up with something more like this: “Responded to around 30 phone calls per day and streamlined the client intake process.” This shows that not only did you answer phones, but you took proactive actions to improve the efficiency of your workplace while managing your time in a stressful and busy environment. Instead of simply seeing that you can answer a phone, the employer sees that you have several transferable skills: communication, time management, customer service, organization, and the ability to function under stress.

And as always, it’s good to have a second pair of eyes look over your resume. Call 206-6508 or stop by the CDC (SAB 50) for a quick critique, and personalized advice on tailoring your resume to your target employer.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Job Radio

One of our awesome Career Outreach Specialists, Craig, ran into this great career resource. I checked it out, and thought you might enjoy it as well. There are a ton of awesome podcast-type presentations about resumes, interviewing, and general career advice. If you're looking for a job, I'd definitely recommend you stop by this site and snoop around!

Here's a link for you:

Thursday, November 20, 2008

C.L. Lindsay: Campus Computing and the Law

On Wednesday, November 12, attorney C.L. Linsday of CO-STAR (Coalition of Student and Academic Rights) spoke to the UIS community about campus computing and the law. Lindsay’s message is not new; in this day and age, who hasn’t heard about internet safety, plagiarism, and illegal downloading? Lindsay even admitted in his interview that “all of this should be common sense.” Yet his unique, lighthearted approach to the topic made it seem to come to life again.

Lindsay illustrated his lecture with scandalous photos depicting action figures getting into exactly the kind of trouble he finds on most college campuses. “Shaggy” and the gang from Scooby Doo showed the dangers of posting what Lindsay later called “dumb pictures” of illegal activities on social networking profiles like Facebook and MySpace. The “creepiest Ken doll ever” portrayed a would-be thief downloading illegal music and videos. And “Frodo” and a few other hobbits were the underage drinkers, because “well, they’re short!”

The sobering reality of C.L. Lindsay’s presentation was the breakdown of actual UIS policy on actions such as underage drinking, drug use, plagiarism and illegal downloading. Though our campus computing policy is “one of the more lenient” that Lindsay has seen, it still leaves very little expectation of privacy. And according to Lindsay, academia is virtually exempt from the 4th amendment “exclusionary rule” of evidence, which covers only government institutions in criminal cases. This means that UIS officials such as Housing and possibly even the campus police could very well use what they find online to incriminate students for anything from a simple policy violation all the way up to a full out expulsion, even if the evidence is not obtained “fairly.”

“Students have a whole different code of ethics when they go online,” Lindsay explained, “but what you do online can affect you later on in the real world.” Recent surveys indicate that a growing number of employers look up candidates on the internet before making a decision about hiring. So before you post your latest party snapshots online, think about how these photos could have a real impact on your career, and ultimately, on your life.

This presentation was sponsored by the Career Development Center, partnering with the UIS Student Government Association, Student Activities Committee, the Office of UIS Alumni Relations, and the ECCE Speaker’s Series program.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

What’s the Best Resume Format for Me?

Chronological, Functional, and Combination are the most common formats to a resume. With all these choices how do you know which one is right for you? To market yourself to the fullest read the following to determine when to use each format!

Chronological: A chronological resume is a traditional resume that begins with listing your most recent experience. This style is most effective for individuals who have quality work and employment. The chronological resume shows past employers and titles that are notable. It draws attention to promotions and other elevation in your work history.

  • Pro: This resume matches your work history to your skills and abilities because the employer is able to see exactly where you got each skill from and how long you have been using it!

  • Con: If you do not have that practical experience, then it will draw attention to that. Your work history may not have relevant experience. Not to worry! A Functional or Combined resume style may be right just right for you!

  • TIP: This resume style works best for those individuals with work experience in the field of the job they are applying for.

Functional: In the functional resume style skills and qualifications are categorized by function. These are the most effective in stressing skills established through a non-work experience (volunteer, class, etc.). A functional resume is easier to navigate around overlapping work and allows you to use experiences that have been gained in the classroom; after all we do spend a significant amount of time there and are learning a great deal! A functional resume is used when applying for a position in which you have no direct experience.

  • Pro:This style highlights all your skills you have to offer an employer even if it was gained through a non-relevant experience. Oh the wonders of transferable skills!

  • Con: This does not tell the employer what skills were gained from each of the specific positions held. However, if you have one or two positions that pertain to the field you are entering and would still like to highlight those great skills you have from other places check out the Combination resume!

  • TIP: Students commonly use this resume style because of the skills and information learned through school and the number of part-time jobs. Many of the positions held may not relate to your field of choice but you will be surprised the skills that can transfer over! Remember those volunteer opportunities and the number of skills and abilities taken away from them!

Combination: The combination resume merges the two prior formats, catering to your skills. It is used when the employer needs your work history and related skills. This format is good when your most recent work is not your most relevant.

  • Pro: It still allows you to include certain positions in full detail while still including the skills from class, volunteer, or other unrelated positions.

  • Con: An employer may not know exactly where the skills were gained from, but after all the resume is to get you the interview where you can answer any questions they may have!
  • Tip: When you have held jobs that are not related to the position or field but you had one great internship that is related to the position a combination resume would be great. You are able to give details about the internship and still include all the skills from your past jobs and experiences.

Need help?

Stop by the Career Development Center. Our walk-in hours are 11-1 Tuesday-Friday. If this window doesn’t work for you simply call 206-6508 and set up an appointment!

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Disney Internship Applications: The Inside Scoop

If you're a UIS student living on campus, you've no doubt seen the various advertisements for the Disney College Internship Program. There are flyers, posters, table tents, pamphlets, flyers with the little rip-off tabs, and even some really cool brochures. If you've read any of them, you know that Disney offers a fabulous paid internship in sunny Florida with awesome housing and great opportunities for advancement within the company. You know already that they'll be here on campus on Tuesday, Nov. 18th at Noon. But you probably haven't heard of too many people who have actually gone through the whole application process.

Lucky for you, I got a chance to sit down with Jackie Holl, a Senior English major at UIS who's been there, done that. Here's what she said, in a nice interview format for you.

Q: So how did you find out about the Disney Internship Program?
A: Well, I had a friend who actually did the internship before, and she really liked it. Plus, there are always so many flyers from the Career Development Center around campus. I was curious, so I went to one of their on-campus presentations last year.

Q: What's the application process like?
A: It's actually really simple. The whole thing is online, so all you have to do is fill it out and bring it to the presentation with you. They'll even interview you right afterwards, so it makes the whole process really easy.

Q: How fast does it take for them to get back to you?
A: When I applied last year, I got my acceptance letter back within two weeks! It was super fast.

Q: What if you can't attend the presentation?
A: They have an online option for the presentation as well, but you should try to go to the in person one if you can. If you go to the online one, they'll interview you by phone sometime afterwards.

Q: Do you get to choose which job you get?
A: The application includes a list of possible roles, and you're supposed to prioritize which ones you want. If you have your heart set on a certain one, it's best to single it out and ask about it in the interview to show your interest. That way, you can have a better chance of getting the position you want.

Q: What types of jobs do they have?
A: They really have all sorts of jobs related to running a theme park. You can be placed in anything from janitorial work, ticket collecting, gift shops, restaurants, lifeguards, customer services, housekeeping, or you could even audition to be one of the Disney characters! I've heard the auditions are pretty tough, though.

Q: So do you have to go to Florida?
A: They have internship opportunities in Florida and California, but yes, it is a on-site internship.

Q: What sort of time commitment does the internship require?
A: Well, since you'd be moving out to Florida, Disney wants you to be really committed to the program. You'll work full time too, so it's a little hard to take much time off. Usually, you apply a semester in advance for either the Spring semester or the Fall semester. They do offer the option of a Summer semester, but only if you're already signed up for Spring or Fall.

Q: What are the housing options?
A: Disney actually provides really nice, cheap housing. They have it set up so that the rent comes right out of your paycheck too, so you don't have any bills to pay at all.

Q: What are you most looking forward to about this internship?
A: I'm really excited to leave the cold Illinois weather and go to Florida! Plus, I'm going to get great professional experience while having fun and meeting lots of awesome new people. You even get free admission to the parks in your time off, and if you have friends come to visit, they can get into the park, too!

Q: What opportunities do you have after you complete the internship?
A: Disney really prefers to hire internally, so after you complete the college internship, you've got a much better chance of being accepted into their professional internship program. After that, lots of interns are offered full time jobs with the company.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Disney College Internships

Now is the time of year to start considering interning, and lucky for you, companies are beginning to recruit interns as well. And what better than a company like Disney which recruits UIS students every year? With Disney, you have the opportunity to have a paid internship at Disneyland. In addition you will be able to earn college credit and enjoy a Disney theme park. It is an opportunity to work in an excellent company within the entertainment industry.

Come to the Disney’s presentation on their college internship program on:

Tuesday November 18th
12:00 PM
PAC Conference Room G
Apply Online & Bring Application to Presentation