There are two key ways to help get your credentials seen by an employer: create a killer resume and forge relevant contacts. Below are a few tips on both.
Your resume is only an introduction. It should highlight key accomplishments but not comprise everything you’ve ever done. It should be digestible, not dense. Edit it relentlessly. Visually, leave ample breathing room so it’s scannable; a recruiter will likely spend only seconds looking at your resume, so it needs to be clear, concise and quickly-consumable.
- Include a short statement or objective at the top of your resume. This should be a summary of what you can offer an employer — not what you want from the employer.
- Show results, don’t just list responsibilities. Quantify your accomplishments with specific metrics: numbers, percentages, increased followers, awards won, etc.
- Don’t use the phrase “responsible for.” Instead, lead with a compelling verb such as, “created,” “implemented,” “increased,” etc.
- Judiciously integrate a few words from the job description into your resume. You don’t want your resume to sound buzzword-y, but it should align with an employer’s needs. Plus, oftentimes resumes are processed electronically and you want yours to make it through these filters.
- It’s okay to include a line at the bottom of your resume about your personal interests. I want to hire competent candidates, but I want them to be interesting and curious, too.
- Keep it to one page.
It’s a connected world — use UR’s alumni as career connections by reaching out on LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook and other social networking platforms to seek out relevant contacts. Search, search, search.
- The UR alumni network is a good place to start because you will have something in common with anyone you contact.
- LinkedIn is a goldmine of contacts and companies. Maintain an up-to-date profile, as recruiters use the site regularly. Look for a free premium trial, which allows you to send messages to other members. I secured two interviews this year by sending LinkedIn messages to people that I didn’t know.
- When blindly contacting someone (via any medium), always explain who you are, how you received his or her contact information, and be clear about why you are emailing them/what you are seeking as a next step. Whether you want to treat someone to coffee to learn more about their company, ask for an informational interview, have a phone call to learn more about open positions, get your resume passed along internally, or find out contact information for a hiring manager, make sure it’s easy and obvious for your contact to help you. Be polite, clear and respectful of people’s busy schedules.
- When reaching out to people, use a subject line that quickly highlights who you are and why you are contacting him or her (e.g. “Former ___ intern seeks entry-level ____ position.”). If you share something in common with a contact (e.g. you both went to UR), include that detail in the subject.
- Always email your resume as a PDF attachment, titled “resume_firstname_lastname.” Additionally, include a succinct note in the body of the email.
- It’s never too early to build relationships. Stay in touch with people you meet throughout your time at Richmond: professors, internship advisors, fellow interns, managers, alumni, etc. You’ll be surprised by how enduring these relationships can be and by how small and connected of a world it is.
Best of luck!
Kaitlin Yapchaian, an ’04 graduate, is an interactive producer in NYC. She is currently freelancing for Google Creative Lab and has previously worked at Vogue as well as on the Nike account at the advertising agency R/GA. Kaitlin is also a member of the UR Career Services Advisory Council.
You can start today by visiting careerservices.richmond.edu to learn how you can connect with UR alumni!