Category Archives: Application Process

How to Build a Stellar Resume

Kari Leibowitz

You probably think that you’ll have your chance to make a great first impression at the interview with a potential employer.  You’ll dress the part, wear your best

business outfit, and practice your handshake.  But your real first impression on any future employer is your résumé.  Without a stand-out résumé, your chances at landing an interview are grim at best.  Use these four tips to achieve résumé genius and advance yourself beyond phase one of the application process.

Put yourself in the mind of the reader.

  • Imagine you’re the recruiter or hiring manager for this job: you have a near-endless stack of résumés to look at and a limited amount of time.  Can’t find the contact information easily?  Next.  Poor grammar and spelling? Next.  Formatting is messy and the font is hard to read? Next.  Don’t give anyone reading your résumé an excuse to put it down and move on to the next one.

Format your résumé smartly.

  • Use a layout that is neat, clean, and aesthetically appealing.  Use a font such as Calibri, Arial, or Verdana: one that is easy to read but not the standard and boring Times New Roman.
  • Make sure your name and contact information is at the top, including e-mail address and phone number.
  • If you’re a recent grad, list your education information first.  Most employers want to see GPA, so if yours is boast-worthy definitely include it.  If your GPA could be better, use your major GPA if it’s higher.
  • If you’ve been in the working world for a few years, put your job experience first and move your education section to the bottom of your résumé.
  • Organize chronologically: put your most recent jobs first, starting with anything that is current.
  • Make sure your résumé is free from any grammar or spelling mistakes, as well as formatting inconsistencies that can make you appear sloppy.

Phrase your experiences to pack a punch.

  • Use action verbs such as ‘created,’ ‘managed,’ ‘generated,’ ‘utilized,’ or ‘instated,’ instead of verbs such as ‘did,’ or ‘was,’ and never use ‘I.’
  • Quantify wherever possible.  For example ‘answered phones’ can become ‘managed communications via telephone for hundreds of clients a week’ – showing a company, with tangible numbers, that you can generate revenue, manage large numbers of tasks, or create materials sets you apart from other applicants.
  • Use accomplishment statements to highlight key achievements, such as creating a new material or approach, increasing revenue or efficiency, solving problems, improving an existing program, or implementing projects.

Target your résumé to keep it relevant and concise.

  • It’s best to keep your résumé to one page, so you can create multiple résumés to highlight certain skills.  For example, if you’re applying for a job at a non-profit, spend more space elaborating on your volunteer work.  If you’re applying for an office position, use more space to talk about your organization and communication skills.
  • Make sure your résumé relates to the job you’re applying for in an obvious way.  If your résumé doesn’t connect directly, use your cover letter to explain how your skills and interests can transfer.

Remember, your résumé is the first thing a potential employer will see, and it serves as a personal brochure for what you’re selling them – you.  Paying close attention to detail and constantly putting in time and effort to update and improve your résumé will help you to land the job of your dreams.


Diversity Initiatives at Pearson

Alejandra Estevez

Before the stressful weeks of finals even began, the uncertainty of what I would be doing over the summer had me in a panic.  I had begun my internship search earlier in the semester, revising my resume, sending out applications, and checking for internship postings on a daily basis.  After a couple of interviews but no call backs, I’ll admit I became a bit less optimistic.  “Staying at home wouldn’t be so bad,” I thought to myself. “I could travel around the city, photographing the sites I’ve been meaning to, hit the gym more often, and maybe even finish all of the unread books I’ve collected on my shelves.”  But I knew that staying at home for the entire summer was not what I really wanted.

cell phoneIt was during an afternoon meeting that I received a call from an unfamiliar number.  As I tried to silence my cell phone, hoping no one would notice the sound coming from bag, I recognized the New York City area code and hoped that it was who I thought it was.  Several days earlier I had had a phone interview for the Diversity and Inclusion intern position with Pearson’s HR department.  The internship seemed a perfect fit: I would be doing work I feel passionate about by helping implement diversity initiatives with Pearson’s fairly new Diversity team.

After my meeting I quickly returned the call, and surely enough, it was a call from Pearson, offering me the internship position.  I accepted without hesitation, thanking Francine repeatedly.  For the rest of the afternoon I couldn’t stop myself from grinning.

Nearly two months later, I am well settled into the Pearson offices here in New York, having gotten the opportunity to meet several Pearson employees as well as the other Financial Times interns in the building.

Although my internship is with Human Resources Department, it is different from a regular internship with Pearson in that Diversity and Inclusion teams are fairly new to many companies, Pearson included.  As part of the Diversity team I research the argument for diversity initiatives in business and assist in planning diversity telecourses throughout the year, such as the Disability Employment Awareness telecourse on disability etiquette.

I’ve loved working for Pearson and its Diversity team this summer because it has taught me to think about diversity in all senses of the word. I’ve learned that it is important to consider contributions and ideas from a wide range perspectives since it allows for better work relationships, as well as new innovations and a better organization overall. It’s great to be part of a company and team that takes diversity into consideration.  By celebrating Pearson’s people and their work through the Diversity Awards, our team seeks to demonstrate how we can have an inclusive work environment for all employees – and that’s something I’m thrilled to be a part of.

Getting to do research and planning with the team for the months ahead, meeting and learning about others outside of my department, and spending time with the great people Human Resources, whether it’s doing work or chatting over lunch, have made my time at Pearson an amazing one so far.

Lucked Out

Marc Phillips

I will come right out and say it – I was an internship addict. I spent countless hours between November 2010 and May 2011 researching, applying to, and following-up with summer 2011 internships. Can we just say that I had an entire Firefox bookmark folder dedicated to internships?

During the springtime – internship application season – I would refresh and my college’s employment database twice a day. Sometimes I was lucky, other times, I was not: every Monday there would be a new batch of promising internships to apply for, but many times I would only find scam or recycled job posts.

Last night I was feeling nostalgic about sending out cover letters and resumes – bizarre, I know – but I counted how many applications I sent out. The number was 55. I submitted at least 55 sets of documents, not even counting some internships I applied to out of desperation in an online fill-in-the-blank fashion. Pearson was always my first choice, but just like with college applications, it’s never smart to apply only to one place. I applied to other publishing companies, advertising agencies, and marketing firms, all of which varied in size since I am still trying to find the environment I’m most comfortable in.

I suppose much of my anxiety stemmed from not hearing back from Pearson until the end of April and early May. I knew Pearson was special – it had a highly-regarded internship program unlike some other companies I applied to, and I really wanted to work there, but by April all of my friends received their summer internship offers or had their fathers call in favors. I am an incredibly determined person, so the thought of not getting an internship on my own merit made me angry. “I’m more qualified for a job than he is,” I said. As you can guess, I went through my bitter phase. Those who were setup with an internship emphasized the importance of networking, but we all know there’s a difference between networking and “Dad making a few calls.”

I would describe Pearson’s interview process as rigorous – I had seven interviews before being hired. At the time, I saw it as more of a hindrance, but now I completely understand; Pearson only hires the most qualified interns. Each interview helps Human Resources narrow the applicant pool and hire the best interns for each department. My co-interns are student leaders, honors students, budding writers, and all-around diligent workers. The chemistry we share is due in part to similar campus experiences.

Me at lunch

Me at lunch

Most interns eat lunch everyday on the patio. You would be hard-pressed to find us not laughing or talking about food. Yes, we all love food, and some of us bring in lunch treats for everyone. (We’re secretly still high schoolers!)

So, a few months later, I am now typing this from my own office at Pearson. I am a paid intern, and my commute is between 15 and 20 minutes by car. The office has half-days on Fridays during the summer months. Every week, we have intern-specific meetings about sales, marketing, media, editorials, and overall management. Best of all, my co-workers in the Health Sciences and Careers division treat me with dignity. I’m not “the intern,” but rather an employee who is given independent projects ranging from social media engagement to interviewing college professors. I am able to take credit for my work, and will be referenced for my contributions long after the internship ends. I hope to make the most of my time at Pearson and help affect positive change in my department. I want to be remembered as the intern who created an effective social media strategy for Pearson’s Brady Books. I want to reach out to students and educators alike, forge a relationship, and facilitate a conversation.

Pre-Internship Jitters

Kari Leibowitz

My internship with Pearson started, officially, on June 24, 2011, at 9:00 AM in the offices of Upper Saddle River, NJ.  Unofficially, it started months ago, as I began to lose sleep over finding the perfect summer internship – one that paid, was in a field I found interesting, and was close to my home at the Jersey Shore.  What do I want to be when I grow up?  No idea.  But there are two things I’ve always loved: people and books.  I frantically scoured the websites of publishing companies looking for internship programs.

 Then, like a sign from the heavens, I noticed that my university’s career center was hosting Melanie Tantingco, College Relations Specialist for Pearson.  I rushed over to listen to the presentation in a room that had too many students and too few chairs.  Apparently Pearson was very popular, but the only thing I knew about the company was that it made the books I’d been trying to cram into my head for the past two years.

Then, Melanie played the video.  The backwards/forwards assumptions/truths of our generation video (see below).  I was hooked.  Pearson totally got me.  Suddenly, I couldn’t imagine working anywhere else.  Here was a company making a difference in the world, a company that I could really believe in, a company that would make me feel like I was doing a little bit of good by helping educate the world in my own small way.

Next came the application – sweating over making my résumé look perfect and my cover letter flawless.  Getting an e-mail asking for a phone interview and agonizing because if I didn’t answer that e-mail RIGHT AWAY to say I was available to interview ANY TIME certainly someone else would snatch up my coveted internship.

 I left the phone interview feeling uncertain, having spent the whole conversation unfoundedly paranoid that my phone would die or that a random frat boy on campus would some how penetrate the zone of quiet I had created for the interview and yell something obscene.  Yet I made it through the interview unscathed and without incident, and two weeks later the job was mine.  I breathed a gigantic sigh of relief at the knowledge I wouldn’t spend the whole summer at home cleaning out closets or wasting away in front of the TV.

 Then there was the wardrobe issue.  My closet is decidedly college student:

Modeling my new blazer

sorority t-shirts and low-cut dresses.  I raced to the outlets (thank you, Jersey) and bought a pair of dress slacks and two blazers in the hopes of converting some of my floral-print dresses to grown-up work outfits.  Armed with these big-girl clothes, I was as ready as I’d ever be.

The pressure on college students to land the right internship, excel, and get the perfect job can be overwhelming.  I think my supervisor, Kathy, who is so sweet, would have a heart attack if she knew half the anxiety I encountered preparing for this internship.  But I’ve spent over a week at Pearson now, and all that anxiety seems far behind me.  Everyone is welcoming and gentle, and no one has sat me down (yet) to tell me that I’m not fooling anybody with these blazers and I better learn to walk in heels if I want to really look professional.  The pre-internship jitters I had were checked at the door the first time I met Kathy, and now I realize I put myself through the anxiety of finding the ‘perfect’ internship so that once I got here I would feel right at home.  Welcome to Pearson.