Aug 18

College students and new graduates often feel they have nothing to include on a resume when conducting job search and for using with job applications. College students’ work experience is often seemingly unrelated to their job targets, and aside from that, the only information left to include is education. However, while this may seem like the case, it simply isn’t so!

Transferable Skills

One method of approaching a college student or new graduate resume is to focus on transferable skills. These skills are applicable to different situations. The ability to communicate well, for example, is a skill that is useful in any industry or position. Other transferable skills may include the ability to work well with numbers, sales skills, or an ability to solve problems by looking at the big picture. These are only a few examples.

How do you list transferable skills? There are a number of ways to include transferable skills in your resume, job application, and cover letter. The following are some tips for various sections of the resume.

The Summary or Profile

Objective statements are out. Profiles are in. Open with a brief introductory paragraph describing your most “sellable” points. Briefly list transferable skills here, or present them in a keyword summary list. This is exactly as it sounds: a list of keywords. Use those that show your transferable skills.


Depending on your college major, you likely had to write papers, complete projects, or both. What were the outcomes of these? Did you conduct comprehensive research on a subject? Design an engineering plan? Were these published or put into use in the “real world”? Use as much of your educational experience to your advantage. You can also include a summary of coursework, which often demonstrates transferable skills that are used in the educational setting and in the world of business.

Employment History

Many college students have a work history unrelated to their targeted field. If this is true for you, take heart. You can include many transferable skills on your college or new graduate resume. At the most basic, you likely gained professional skills such as dependability, working with others, collaborating on projects, communicating with clients or customers, and much more. Your work history may not be as unrelated as it first seems.

Additional Information

Any volunteer work or memberships may lead to transferable skills. Just as your employment history helps you learn transferable skills, so too does volunteer work. It also demonstrates a commitment to helping others. If you’ve fulfilled any roles in a professional organization, this too can show transferable (and sometimes directly related) skills.

When you take the time to thoroughly review your experience, education, and other related activities, you will discover a number of transferable skills. Use these to your advantage! Your resume, college application, job application, or cover letter will be much stronger for it.

Apr 11

Your day is now complete. You’ve been to the Job Fair; you visited all the booths and handed out dozens of résumés. Now what? Time to build a follow up plan. Here are some ideas:

  • Get organized. Take some time to review your conversations, look through literature that you picked up, and make notes for each company, recruiter and opportunity. If you are missing contact information for someone you met, do some internet research to find it.
  • Apply online. Many people feel that a recruiter may be brushing them off by asking the candidate to “go to the website” but they are not! Hiring companies are subject to many regulations regarding tracking job applicants, and to be considered a candidate, you need to be recorded in their system. Get that online application submitted!
  • Send a thank-you note. Personal preference varies on whether email or hand written is better. Email is quicker, but it’s pretty cool (and unusual) to get a hand written note. Thank the recruiter for their time and try to mention something specific to your conversation that will help them remember you. Emphasize your interest in the company and position. Based on your conversation at the Job Fair, ask about follow up, and if appropriate, ask for an interview!
  • Stay in touch. Again, use your judgment based on the information that you learned from the recruiter. Do they have an immediate need? Will the process take several weeks? Follow up by email at the appropriate interval to stay top of mind as a motivated, proactive candidate.
Jan 08

Barry Layne, leading career authority known as America’s Career Maker, releases an in house study on the top 15 reasons job seekers were knocked out of consideration during their 2007 job interviews.

  • Poor personal appearance
  • Over aggressive
  • Inability to express self
  • Lack of a career purpose
  • Too passive
  • Lack of confidence
  • Evasive
  • Condemnation of past employer
  • Poor eye contact
  • Limp handshake
  • Late to interview
  • Ask about money too soon
  • Cynical
  • Complaining
  • Failure to express appreciation for interviewer’s time.

Barry Layne says, in a job interview, the interviewer is primarily interested in assessing three points about you: your competence, compatibility and your affordability. Hiring decisions are based not only on the interviewer’s rational analysis of your abilities, accomplishments and potential, but also upon the way he or she feels about you. Barry Layne concludes that the interviewer’s emotions play a very strong role in the hiring decision.Equally important is the manner in which you demonstrate your approach to problems. One way in which an interviewer will try to determine your attitude and problem-solving style is by asking questions of a sensitive or difficult nature.

Barry Layne finds in most cases, such questions are asked not to make one feel uncomfortable but to get information and to assess the compatibility with the hiring organization.

Barry Layne advises career management consulting firms throughout the US and Canada. Career management firms are not employment agencys. Their job is to guide clients through a process of career development; which often results in a promotion or new position. For more information contact 800-547-5112.

Oct 30

Well, you did it—congratulations, they’ve just offered you a job!

Strange as it may sound, you need to evaluate that job offer carefully to make certain that it’s one you want to accept. Here are a few things you need to consider:

The job itself:  Will you be proud to say that you work for this company? Does the work you will be doing interest you, and does doing it fit well with your long range career goals?

Your supervisor: Do you think you can work well with the person who to whom you will be reporting? You’ll need to feel comfortable, and you should only work for people who are prepared to help you grow in your job and your career.

The money: This includes benefits as well as salary. Is the offer for a figure you can live with—and on? What’s the potential for raises?

The company culture:  Find out as much as you can about the people with whom you’ll be working before you accept the position. Do their personalities and work styles mesh with yours? If not, is there a way around the potential conflicts?

In addition to the above, you must also consider the number of hours per week the job will require, including commuting time, and the potential for moving up within the organization. Only after you have considered all these factors should you accept the position.

Sep 12

Preparing for your first post graduate job interview calls for making certain that you are mentally and physically ready for any challenge you may experience.  If challenge sounds like too strong a word, consider this: the job world is tough these days.  Even when interviewers themselves are the model of proper business decorum, they will inevitably ask tough questions in oder to assess your strengths and weaknesses.

Role playing with a friend who is familiar with the kind of job you want can be tremendously helpful.  Explain that since this is your first post grad interview, you’d like to hone your interviewee skills by doing a mock interview.  Have your friend play the role of interviewer, and ask him or her to ask the toughest questions that come to mind.  Once you’ve done this for a bit, you should feel more competent and relaxed than before.

Get your clothes ready the day before.  This may sound obvious, but many a job applicant has assumed that the clothes they planned to wear wouldn’t need attention.  Make sure that clothes are clean and pressed.  Check to make certain that there are no loose seams or buttons.  Shine your shoes, clean out your purse, decide which accessories you will use.  Hang your completed interview outfit toward the front of your closet so that when the morrow dawns, you can simply step out of the shower, don your clothes and go on your way confident that you look your very best.

Jul 30

Over the past 10 years, companies have come to rely almost exclusively on behavioral interviewing.

Now, virtually every job applicant with a basic understanding of the interview process should understand that the most critical interview questions will concern past behavior. The premise underlying behavioral interviewing is that past behavior is the best predictor of future behavior.

Preparing for your behavioral interview isn’t difficult: A myriad books, articles, and computer programs have Continue reading »

Jun 29

What is the proper post interview protocol and how can you use this valuable time to your benefit as a job applicant?

Is there a time frame for sending a follow up letter and calling the interviewer or should you just wait it out?

First of all, when you go on a job interview make sure to inquire at the end of the interview about when the interviewer expects to make a decision about filling the position and take note of that time period in your mind. Send a letter the day after your interview, while your name and face are still fresh in the interviewer’s mind. Use your letter to reiterate your conversation and add pertinent details about your accomplishments you may not have discussed at the interview. In essence, your follow up letter is another opportunity to sell yourself. Continue reading »

Jun 27

Handshakes and Body LanguageWhen you go on an important job interview, you have to watch your body language as carefully as you reviewed your resume. To land the position you really want, make sure your actions say as much to your prospective employer as your words.

First of all, maintaining confident eye contact is imperative. You should look directly at your interviewer to show your level of interest and attention to the conversation. However, you should occasionally look away briefly so you are not staring and sending a message of dominance. Continue reading »

Jun 21

Getting ready for an all-important interview can make you nervous. You have a crisp copy of your resume and references printed and ready to go. Now your mind turns to the interview… One of the best ways of calm nerves and boosting chances of being hired is dressing for success.

What exactly does that mean? It means going to your interview dressed in clothes you would wear to work at the job for which you are interviewing. It means making certain that those clothes are clean, pressed, and appropriately coordinated and accessorized, and that you yourself are immaculately groomed. Continue reading »

Jun 18

Getting that first interview after graduation is an exciting and sometimes daunting experience. Being considered for that first professional experience is a coming of age experience, and needs to be taken very seriously.

First Interview for the New GraduateFirst remember that your resume has already done its primary job in acquiring the interview for you and presenting a positive first impression. It is now up to you to sell yourself. Do this be being prepared. Make sure that you have some knowledge of the company. Check out their website on the Internet, or go to the library and ask a research librarian to help you find out a little bit about the history of the company. Practice responding to a few commonly asked questions in front of a mirror, or go through mock interviews with friends or family members to get over the initial nervousness that is common.

Also remember to dress for success. Conservative clothes, neat haircut or hairstyle, neutral colors, only moderate makeup for women, and ensure that no tattoos or piercings show if you have any. Be five minutes early for the interview, and then try to relax. You need to be yourself and remember that you are also making sure that the company is right for you. Have a good conversation, and end it by presenting your references, offering a firm handshake, and stating that you are available should the hiring manager have any other questions.