Category Archives: Kari Leibowitz

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.


A Passion for Pearson

Kari Leibowitz

My first two lunch & learn sessions for Pearson interns (read: free food) highlighted one of the company’s best assets: employees who love their jobs.  Even though the speakers came from two different departments and spoke about entirely different subjects, they both talked about their work with a contagious excitement and an intense passion.  The enthusiasm for their careers and for Pearson itself was palpable in the conference room, and while the day to day activities of Brandy and David are totally different, love for their jobs unites them as Pearson employees.

I liked Brandy Dawson right away – she’s exactly the kind of fun and happy adult who makes me think, “I want to be like that when I grow up.”  She’s petite, has dark hair, and radiates an energy that wakes up the whole room.  I supposed it’s this energy that makes her so good at her job.  As Pearson Education’s Vice President and Director of Marketing, Brandy is in charge of the big-picture of Pearson’s marketing, so it’s lucky that she has a personality large enough to handle it.

David Alick is a former science teacher, which came across loud and clear in his

David Alick

David Alick

presentation.  Interns answering his questions elicited shouts of “Yes! Right answer!” and during our learning activity David responded to questions of “Can we do it this way?” with an enigmatic “Well that’s an interesting idea…”  David is reminiscent of the fun uncle you call when you find an awesome new website or have a computer problem.  As Pearson’s Senior Digital Media Editor, David oversees some of Pearson’s most interesting products in Higher Education – like video games that supplement textbook material.

Both Brandy and David had somewhat unusual beginnings at Pearson.  Brandy is a history major who spent time selling yellow page ads to business.  She recalled how her stomach would sink every time she used her charm and intelligence to sell a larger ad to someone whose company truly didn’t need one.  After switching to on-campus sales of Pearson textbooks, she felt that instead of peddling a product, she was now solving problems for professors and students alike, and she’s been at Pearson ever since.  David was a high school science teacher frustrated with an education system that focused more on students’ test scores than actual learning.  With no foreseeable way to change the school system as a teacher, David came to Pearson to make educational technologies that would help students learn for the long-term instead of for a grade.

Challenges exist for both Brandy and David.  Brandy described the difficult conversations she has with authors and editors when one product appears to get a larger portion of the marketing budget than another.  David talked about the obstacles to getting professors who don’t use anything but Powerpoint in the classroom to adopt digital media as a learning tool.

Despite these complications, Brandy and David have been at Pearson for years and show no signs of leaving. Maybe that’s because they have an intense belief in what they do, and they come to work brimming with excitement at the thought of making a difference in modern education.  Brandy described her job as “motivating and exciting” the people who work with her in order to market Pearson’s products in new and innovative ways, while David said his job is to “make the professor look like a rock star in front of the class.”  You can tell that rather than dreading Monday mornings, these two are genuinely happy to be at work, which makes me really happy to be an intern here, because the part that comes after the internship is finding the dreaded job, and if I get to intern at a place where the people around me are loving what they do, maybe some day I, too, can find a career with Pearson that I love.

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.