Category Archives: Personal Branding

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.


Privacy in a Public Domain

Michael Barbara

The movie “The Social Network” shed a lot of light on the intentions of The Social NetworkFacebook: taking the entire social experience of college and putting it online. Mark Zuckerberg knew that college students wanted to be able relive that crazy party that they attended over the weekend at any given time, and Facebook was a tool to let you do just that.  Better yet, since Facebook was originally restricted to Harvard-only students, you could do this within the privacy of your personal ‘social network.’ However, the exclusivity that Facebook once thrived on is no more – this is becoming more evident as the internet company has grown into a global powerhouse. What we, as college students, often don’t realize is the wide variety of people that have created accounts – it’s no longer only our peers who are on Facebook. With over 750 million active users there are many potential employers that now have a public window to our once private world.

At our weekly intern meeting, Eric Severson, Pearson’s Senior VP of East Coast Sales for Higher Education, warned us of the repercussions that our online life can have. He put it the best when he said that, “Employees are an investment.”

Eric Severson

Eric Severson

We often don’t realize the associated costs, in both time and money, in hiring a new employee.  When investing in something that can have consequences for years to come, and can cost a lot of money, employers are going to take all factors into consideration – including the way a potential employee presents him or herself to the world via social media.

One may argue (as one of my co-interns did) that it isn’t really fair for employers to look at these private pages. And to that I put forth the question: does it really matter? Aren’t most of us brought up hearing the expression “Life isn’t fair”? Once we get to the critical point of hiring and firing people I believe that we should also take into consideration every resource at our disposal to determine the character of a potential employee, and this is exactly what our employers will be doing by looking at our Facebook profiles.

I caution current and future college students: EVERYTHING you do these days is put under a microscope. Would you really want to lose out on a great opportunity just because there is a picture of you playing a drinking game? I didn’t think so. I strongly encourage every intern, and college student, to take the time to your review your Facebook pages, Twitter posts, and even MySpace photos (if you still have one). Make sure there is nothing that would make an employer throw your application in the garbage. You never know – what you portray on Facebook could drastically change the outcome of your life.