Thursday, July 21, 2016

The Do’s & Don’ts Of Interview Etiquette!

For many people, job interviews are the most stressful part of the job search process.  But they don’t have to be if you prepare and practice! 
Know the do’s and don’ts of interviewing and be ready to address the three basic questions that are at the heart of every interview:

Can you do the job?
Do you want the job?
Will you fit in?

WGU’s Career & Professional Development Center has put together all the resources you need to feel confident and prepared!  Review WGU’s Interviewing resources to help prepare for your next interview!  For a practice interview and personalized assistance, contact your WGU Career & Professional Development Specialist.

Thursday, July 7, 2016

6 Characteristics of Resumes That Get Results

There has been much written on resumes and what is needed to have an effective one. There are six basic characteristics of resumes that get results. Results include securing interviews, informational sessions, invites to visit an organization, lunch meetings, or any kind of direct contact with a prospective employer. Let’s review the 6 characteristics.

1. Well Written & Organized Strategically
Your document must have correct grammar, no spelling errors and organized in a way that will get the reader’s attention immediately. There must also be clear distinctions between the various areas on your resume. We all know that resumes are scanned quickly by employers and recruiters, so it’s imperative to strategically place information in a way that will grab their attention and encourage them to read further.

2. Targeted To Each Position
There is no such thing as a “general” resume that you send to each job that you apply for. With companies utilizing applicant tracking systems to scan resumes for key words and relevant information, you must target your resume for each position. You can accomplish this by first going to the “required qualifications” section within the job description and strategically adding the required information throughout your resume. Don’t just add the information so it can get around the applicant tracking system, but make sure you are qualified for the job. You should not apply for jobs where you don’t possess most of the required qualifications or chances are you won’t receive a call. Be sure to include relevant industry related skills you have as well, preferably at the top of your document under your professional profile, so it’s easy for the reader to spot. It can seem a lot easier to send out a “general” resume, but if you take the time to make sure that your document is targeted to each position, you will see more results.

3. Branded- What Do You Personally Bring To An Organization
Your resume must include your “brand”. When writing your resume, you must start with a clear idea of the skills that you want to highlight to prospective employers. The employer should get a really good understanding of what you will personally bring to their organization after reviewing your resume. Think about the skills you believe that you are really good at and highlight them throughout your resume. This “brand” should be clear everywhere: in person, on your resume, and social media. The goal is for people to associate you with the “brand” that you have created.

4. Include Practical Experience
It’s not enough to just have the required education to obtain employment. Employers want to see practical relevant experience on resumes. Students and alumni sometimes believe that since they have completed their education, they were somehow assured employment in their field of choice. Include internships, apprenticeship programs, personal and freelance experience, related projects, and organizations you are active in that are relevant to the particular job you are applying to. This will show the reader that you are passionate about your field of choice and that you are actively engaged. It also shows that you have real world experience that is valuable to any organization. Check out WGU Career & Professional Development’s resources for Internships & Volunteering.

5. Results Oriented
Resumes are often “task oriented” instead of "results oriented". Under each experience there are usually lists that outline general tasks that any person in that position would normally do. Using words like “responsible for” or “assisted”, don’t tell the reader that you can produce results. Instead choose to display results and accomplishments, this will display to the reader that you are a high achiever as opposed to an employee who does the bare minimum on the job. Bold your accomplishments and achievements so it’s easy for the employer to see it. Show that you can produce positive measurable results and you will be more marketable to an organization.  Use our Accomplishment Statement Worksheet today to create effective results oriented resumes.

6. Get In Front Of Hiring Managers
You can have a well written and organized resume that highlights your skills perfectly, but if it does not get in front of a hiring manager then it serves no purpose. Your resume works in concert with your actions. You must be visible and active in order to get your document reviewed by those responsible for hiring. Networking must become a regular part of your activities even when you are not looking for a job. Contact people in your personal network, join organizations, become active on LinkedIn and social media, and network as much as you can in order to get your document in the hands of the person responsible for hiring.  Build upon your networking skills with WGU Career & Professional Development’s networking resources.

For help with resume writing, be sure to review the resume resources on the WGU Career & Professional Development website. For personalized assistance or resume review, contact your WGU Career & Professional Development Specialist.

Thursday, June 23, 2016

5 Ways to Use LinkedIn for Your Job Search

According to Jobvite’s 2015 Recruiter Nation Survey, only 4% of recruiters DON’T use social media in the recruiting process and 87% of those surveyed use LinkedIn for recruiting.  Why?  LinkedIn is the largest professional network in the world with over 400 million users across the globe including executives from all fortune 500 companies. LinkedIn is an easy way to meet new people, network with others in your field, and promote yourself as a polished professional.

Here are 5 ways you can use LinkedIn to reach your career goals:

1. Create an effective profile: Thoroughly complete all of your profile, add a professional photo, include important skills, and get recommendations!  Check out the LinkedIn Profile Checklist on our website to create your strong and professional profile.

2. Find and connect with alumni: Use the LinkedIn Alumni tool to get information about where your fellow alums work, what they do, and where they live. Reach out to alums with jobs you’re interested in and get ideas on organizations to target.  Review the blog Networking: Leverage LinkedIn's Alumni Tool for more information.

3. Join Groups: LinkedIn Groups are virtual meeting rooms where people with similar interests can post and hold conversations around topics they want to share or learn more about.  Join groups related to your industry, show off your expertise around a subject, reach out to individuals within a group, and grow relationships with like-minded people. Don’t forget to join your alma maters’ groups and alumni groups like WGU’s Alumni & Students Group! Learn how to find and join groups here.

4. Research Companies, Employees, and Jobs: Search for a company on LinkedIn to conduct research, view job opportunities under the company’s Career tab, and see if you’re connected to anyone who works or has worked there.  Research the career paths of people at that organization, find related companies, and see what recent topic trends are in the company’s updates.  Also use the Jobs section of LinkedIn to keyword search jobs in any region.  Read LinkedIn in 30 Minutes’ tips on How to Use LinkedIn to Research Companies.

5. Stay Active: Frequently share status updates, upload photos, or publish a post from your home tab to keep your LinkedIn network engaged and your name fresh in their minds!  This strategy improves your LinkedIn profile’s visibility in search engine results and showcases your knowledge, passion, and goals related to your field of work.  Just remember to keep the content professional and carefully edit grammar and spelling.   Read LinkedIn’s helpful article on Sharing an Update vs. Publishing a Post.

For help with LinkedIn, be sure to review the LinkedIn Resources on the WGU Career & Professional Development website. For personalized assistance, contact your WGU Career & Professional Development Specialist.

Give it a try, make it a habit, and creatively expand your job search today with LinkedIn!  

Thursday, May 19, 2016

Four Important Things You Need to Know About Thank-You Notes

The job search is a blur of information exchange: e-mailed resumes, online applications, interviews via video conferences. Don’t let the fast pace fool you. Common sense and courtesy still apply, including taking the time to say thank you.

Could your thank-you letter make or break a job offer? Consider this: If your application and interview are equal to that of another candidate, the person sending the thank-you letter gets the recruiter’s attention one more time.

Like cover letters, thank-you letters are concise and personalized. The key is making a connection to the person and reiterating an idea discussed during the interview.

  1. Send a thank-you e-mail or letter within 24 hours of your interview. Consider the company culture. Because recruiters travel extensively, e-mail may be the best route. A follow-up business letter sent through the post office is a nice touch.
  2. Take time to take notes. Immediately following each interview, write down the information discussed while it’s still fresh in your mind. If you are meeting with multiple people, find time to note each specific conversation. When you write your thank-you note(s), use this information to remind the interviewer of an idea or discussion that came up during your interview.
  3. Who receives a thank-you note? Anyone who interviews you gets a note. The notes may only vary by a sentence or two—make sure you reference specific conversations.
  4. Ask each interviewer for his or her business card. You’ll walk away with important information. You’ll have the recruiter’s full name, spelled correctly, e-mail address, street address, and other contact information.

Sample Thank-You Letter

Ms. Nina McVay
Recruiter – XYZ Financial Services
500 5th Avenue
Charlotte, NC 28066

Dear Ms. McVay,

Thank you very much for speaking with me yesterday about the financial planner position currently available at MAR Financial. Our conversation confirmed my interest in this position.

As we discussed during the interview, a successful financial planner must possess a solid understanding of the industry as well as strong communication skills to discuss options with clients. The internship I completed with NMO Bank this past summer afforded me the opportunity to develop the skills and knowledge I can bring to XYZ Financial Services. The insight you provided about XYZ Financial’s focus on customer service helped me understand your company’s commitment to its clients. This is the type of company I hope to work for.

Please let me know if I can provide further information. In the meantime, I look forward to hearing from you.


Ashley Ingalls

by Kelli Robinson
Courtesy of the National Association of Colleges and Employers.

For more interview tips or individual career assistance, contact WGU Career & Professional Development.