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.

Sep 11

The best fonts to use in a print version of a professional resume are classic fonts such as Times, Times New Roman, Arial, Bookman or Georgia. The reasons for this are threefold: First, each of these fonts is commonly used in books, newspapers, magazines and other print periodicals.  Because of this, peoples’ eyes are accustomed to reading them. Though an interviewer might not be slowed down a great deal by having to read a resume printed in an unfamiliar or exotic font, the fact remains that it does take longer to read documents printed in unfamiliar type.

Secondly, by using a font associated with books and newspapers, you are sending a subliminal signal to the reader that int information being conveyed is important and newsworthy.  It’s a signal that say, “Listen up! This is important!”

The third reason for selecting one of these fonts is that they are traditionally used in business communications and therefore automatically make you appear more businesslike and professional.

The one exception to the above rule is if your resume will be for a position in art, advertising or closely related occupational fields.  In that case, the design of the resume takes on more importance, and more elaborate or creative fonts are acceptable.

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Sep 06

Unless your college days included performing extensive research work, you should limit your college resume to one page. Headhunters and HR managers both receive so very many resumes from recent college grads these days that they want to be able to grasp the salient points of each without having to wade through mounds of irrelevant detail.

Extensive research work, of course, is important to include because it is close to real world work than your college studies.  But unless you have it, you can list your education, pertinent background facts and your relevant job experience on one sheet of paper.

Even if you began working in your family’s business at age 12, you don’t need to include every single summer and holiday job you’ve ever had. You can give potential employers an overview of the character and job skills you acquired in your early work life without giving a separate paragraph to each one.

Make it easy for potential employers to read your resume and you are far more likely to be called in for an interview.

Sep 05

If you’re writing your resume, the temptation to do things that will make you “stand out from the crowd” can be overwhelming. We’ve all read of instances in which someone attributed getting hired for his or her dream job of a resume unlike any other.

However, the best thing every job seeker can do to improve the odds of being called in for an interview, which is the next step to landing that dream job, is to adhere to those tried and true resume writing rules that have helped millions of people get the jobs they wanted, which means using traditionally-styled chronological or skills formats employers are accustomed to reading.

Another common resume mistake is not having another pair of eyes proofread your resume before you start using it.  Even if you’re certain that you’ve presented your education, training and work experience in the best possible format, you may still have overlooked typos because your eyes have become accustomed to seeing them.

And don’t make the common mistake of constructing long, wordy sentences that leave readers scratching their heads trying to connect the noun and the verb.  You really don’t even need complete sentences in your resume; concise, understandable phrases communicate your message much more effectively.

Remember, you never have a second chance to make a first impression. The first impression you make on the potential employers to whom you send your resume will determine whether or not they call you in for an interview.

Sep 04

Did you see the movie “Legally Blond”, that 2001 comedy starring Reese Witherspoon in which she played a young woman who tries desperately to become accepted as a serious law student at Harvard despite the fact that she looks and acts like a real bimbo.

There’s a great scene in which our heroine is sending out resumes written on pink paper and scented with perfume.

The scene is cute, by doing this in real life will bring you anything but cute results. Some things should NOT be changed. Among these are wedding invitations, which should be printed in traditional form on high-quality invitation paper stock instead of sent by email, handwritten thank you notes instead of purchased thank you cards to which you simply sign your name.

Resumes fall into this same category. Resumes, whether written in chronological or functional format, should always, always, ALWAYS be clearly printed on white, ivory or light cream paper no lighter than 25 pound bond.

Putting your resume on colored paper may be cute in a movie, but doing so will bomb in real life!

Sep 03

Legal internship resumes are different from resumes written to find a job in non-legal fields.  For starters, a legal internship resume should not list a job objective since the objective is self evident.

What should be included in a legal internship resume? 

In addition to your contact information, your legal internship resume would include your education, honors and activities and experience. As a general rule, if you’ve graduated law school within the past two years, put your education at the top of your resume. The exception to this would be if you graduated from a law school not highly ranked or rated.

If graduation was longer than two years ago, list your experience first, unless you haven’t gotten any yet, in which case your education remains at the top.

When describing your education, list your law school studies first, then your college education and finally your high school degree. If you’re still in law school, be sure to include the date when you expect to graduate.

It’s usually easiest to include school honors and activities under the appropriate education heading. For example, if you graduated college with honors, list that fact along with your other college information. Honors are frequently explained by their titles, but if you’ve received honors that aren’t easy to understand by their designation, explain them. Be sure to include and positions of leadership that you have held.

List work experience in reverse chronological order and concentrate on legal experience including law clerking and intern positions. Though you can include positions held while in college or after college, keep descriptions short to keep your resume focused on legal experience.

Aug 30

Put yourself in the position of the HR manager in a company for which you really want to work now that you have your degree. What is that manager looking for in your resume, which (let’s face it) doesn’t have a great deal of job experience because you’ve just gotten out of school.

Well, this hypothetical HR manager is going to look for things that indicate your character traits.  Are you reliable? Do you do what you say you’re going to do? How seriously have you taken your college career?

These are just a few of the many messages your GPA sends to potential employers. These messages are going to make or break your initial job efforts, which is why keeping your GPA as high as you possible can is the best thing you can do in order to get the job you want when you graduate.

A high GPA tells potential employers that you are a self-disciplined individual who understands the value of work, and that’s just about the most important message any job candidate can send!

Aug 28

Going back to school is such a hectic undertaking, isn’t it?  There’s all the excitement about the new school year, all the classes and learning you’ve been looking forward to, the underlying nervousness that accompanies any new undertaking and the confusion about what to take and what to leave at home.

Generally speaking, take only those items you know you will need: Your clothes, computer, cell phone, personal stereo, whatever reference books you know you’re going to need, and, of course,  your car.

Things to leave at home include all those stuffed animals/college pennants/rock star posters decorating your bedroom, as well as any items of furniture of which you’re especially fond.

Though the last may not make sense, you need to remember that your college dorm room or the off-campus room in a house you share with other students, isn’t home. It’s much better to look forward to seeing your favorites on vacation than it is to take them with you!

Aug 27

It’s perfectly understandable that new job seekers make mistakes in the cover letters they write to go along with their resumes. Understandable, but unacceptable nonetheless.

If you want to put your best foot forward in the cover letter you send along with your resume, be sure NOT to make these mistakes:

Not remembering to enclose your résumé and any other materials to which your cover letter refers.

Making typos. Typographical errors send a message of “I didn’t care enough about this to run my spell checking program” so make certain that you edit your work very carefully.

Forgetting to change the name and address of the company from the last company you sent it to before you print out your cover letter.

Applying for one position but mentioning another position in the body of your cover letter, unless it is already mutually understood that the position for which you are applying is a “jumping off” post for another position later on.

Trying to impress the potential employers with your knowledge of their company when you have only the most basic idea of what it is the company does.

Keep your cover letter short, sweet, accurate and to the point and it will serve you well!

Inappropriate tone. Always use a positive manner. Make sure the letter strengthens your candidacy. It might help if you had someone else read the letter as well.

Unrelated Career Goals. Personalize each letter for the employer. Show a genuine interest in the position. Remember that the employer is interested in what you can do for the company. Every part of the letter should support the purpose for which you are writing. If you are applying for a position as a sales representative, include only the experience you have that pertains to that position.

Emphasizing a lack of experience. Do not call attention to your shortcomings in a letter. You should only emphasize your strengths. Focus on your skills, experience, and ability.

Misrepresentation. Never, ever misrepresent your experience or skills in either your cover letter or résumé. If it is discovered, it is grounds for immediate dismissal. If you have achieved something, say so, but do not exaggerate to the point of misrepresenting the facts.