Apr 27

You’ve sent your resume; you’ve had your interview. Don’t just sit and wait. Take one more step to ensure you make a great impression on a potential employer. A short, succinct thank-you letter could be the deciding factor in whether or not you get the job.

A thank-you letter will show your appreciation, demonstrate your continued interest in the position, help establish rapport and underscore your competitive edge. Keep it short – just a few small paragraphs.

Begin by thanking the interviewer for his or her time in a personable way. For instance, you might say the following:

“I appreciate your taking the time to meet with me on April 24, and enjoyed our discussion about the Project Coordinator position and your long-range goals for the project team.”

Next, sell your skills one more time. Using what you learned in the interview, relate your qualifications to the position’s requirements in bullet points. Use high-impact words and keep each bullet brief.

Finally, explain that you are happy to provide additional references or meet again for another interview if necessary. Send your letter immediately after your interview, to ensure that the interviewer receives it within the next couple of days, while your name and face are still fresh in his or her memory.

Apr 25

The decision of whether to include your GPA on your resume depends on a number of factors, including your field, your other qualifications, and your GPA itself. In technical fields, employers place a higher importance on the GPA than in other fields, so when you leave it off, employers might assume it is low.

If you are a graduate student or hold a graduate degree, employers will likely assume your GPA was high or else you would not have been admitted into your graduate program in the first place.

Many students have a higher in-major GPA than overall GPA, so if your overall GPA is rather low, including only your in-major GPA is a good option.

So what number is too low? There is no magic answer. Some resume experts contend that you should never include a GPA that is below 3.0. However, every individual’s situation is different.

For example, if you worked full-time while attending school or held leadership positions, these experiences will help balance out a lower GPA in the mind of employers, and you will be looked on more favorably than a candidate who had a perfect 4.0 but no work experience, volunteer experience, or extra-curricular activities.

Apr 20

Unpaid experience, such as volunteer work, co-ops or internships can be very important additions to your resume, especially if you have little or no work experience. Generally, you’ll want to include a separate section on the resume for each.

For example, for volunteer work you might use the header, “Volunteer Activities,” “Volunteer Experience,” or “Community Service.” If your volunteer involvement has been extensive, include detail about your responsibilities. When volunteer work is just as important as your paid work, or if it is even more relevant to your job objective than is your work history, consider including it with your work history. You’ll want to be sure to note that it was volunteer work, however, e.g. “Newsletter Editor (Volunteer).”

The same applies to co-op experience. Try to provide as much detail as possible, as long as it is relevant to the type of work you are seeking. Employers look for such qualities as leadership, teamwork, decision-making skills, commitment and communication skills, so if you can demonstrate any of these with descriptions of your volunteer work or co-op experience, you’ll have a better chance of attracting the attention of potential employers.

Apr 19

If you are a recent college graduate seeking an entry-level position in your chosen field, the best place on your resume for your education information is at the top of the first page, just underneath your job objective.

List institutions where you have completed, or will soon complete, some level of education. Place them in reverse chronological order. Unless your highest level of education is high school, and you are a recent high school graduate, do not include your high school.

Clearly indicate the type of degree you earned, along with its standard abbreviations – this helps in case you are posting your resume online. If employers search for a specific degree by initials only, yours won’t be missed. Also list any majors, concentrations, emphases, or minors applicable to your degree or diploma. If your grade point average is at least 3.0 on a 4.0 scale, list is as well.

Here’s an example:

MASTER OF BUSINESS ADMINISTRATION (MBA) – Expected 2007
Concentration: Global Supply Chain Management
University of Southern Wisconsin
GPA: 3.5/4.0

BACHELOR OF SCIENCE IN BUSINESS ADMINISTRATION (BSBA) – 2005
Emphasis: Finance
Northern Wisconsin University
GPA: 3.6/4.0