Spring Cleaning: Quick Tips For Sprucing Up Your Resume

It’s that time of year again, and as we start to think of ways to refresh and regenerate, what a better place to start than our resumes! Especially if it has been a few months, even a year since you’ve last updated, there are likely many new projects, experiences, and achievements that you will want to include. Your resume is a document that blends both storytelling and marketing into one finely tuned package, so making sure you are using that space wisely is important.

Things to keep in mind while updating:

1). Quantify:  Adding those specific details like the amount of money or percentage of time you saved your employer goes a long way in showing the impact you had while working there. This information is especially crucial to update frequently, because the longer you wait to add in that information, the more challenging it will be (and sometimes impossible to get the exact numbers/data if you no longer work there). You are much more likely to be able to include more specific and accurate information if you update your resume frequently.

2). Consistency: Double check your formatting for consistency throughout, and maybe even have a second or third pair of eyes check this for you (such as a CMC Career Adviser). Little details can easily get thrown out of place, and while it might not seem like a big deal, consistency on your resume shows to an employer that you are detail oriented and that you took the time to proofread. Your resume is your first impression, and you don’t want to appear sloppy in your first impression to anyone.

3). Note Job Descriptions for Key Words: I would recommend having a document where you list common skills, words, and phrases you come across as you search postings for jobs you are interested in. Compare that document to your resume, and see where the gaps and similarities are. For example, you may include “Created marketing materials through using Photoshop to promote _____ campaign” on your resume, but a lot of the postings you are interested in mention looking for list specifics such as “campaign management” “business to business” and “direct marketing.” Perhaps you do have that exact experience in those areas, but the employer won’t be able to know that because your resume wasn’t picked up by their ATS (Automatic Tracking System).

Happy resume updating! Remember that there are great resume visuals and guides available to you on Handshake under the Resources tab.

 

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Explore with an MBA

I have to be honest – I’ve never worked or studied abroad. Neither in undergrad nor while earning my MBA at Kellstadt. Do I regret it? All the time. Have I traveled internationally for fun? Of course. Would it be strange to put these trips on my resume (other than listing “travel” in my Skills and Interests section)? Probably.

I don’t mean to negate or devalue the experiences a person can have backpacking after college or on a family vacation, because I’ve had some amazing ones. But since starting my work in the field of international education, I finally understand the value of studying and/or interning abroad.

I have the privilege of working for an organization that puts an emphasis on research and sharing information. We learn from the experiences of our past students and interns. With this insight, IES Abroad developed a 50-year Alumni Survey, as well as Recent Graduate Survey results which was the basis for an outlook on the career benefits of studying and interning abroad.

Among these benefits, we found that, on average, IES Abroad alumni earn $6,000 more in starting salaries than students who didn’t study abroad. What’s more is that 97% of IES Abroad alumni secured a job within one year of graduation as compared to only 49% of the general college population. While these ‘benefits’ focus on undergraduate students, it’s easy to believe that they would apply to MBAs, as well.

Another thing to consider: when are you going to be able to study abroad again? Pretty much never. While opportunities to work abroad may present themselves in the future, these opportunities will be much easier to come by if you have some form of international experience already on your resume. Even if living abroad full-time is not your goal, multi-national organizations also seek candidates with international experience and cultural sensitivity. Employers want to be confident that, if someone needs to visit the office overseas, you can handle it. According to the RAND Study of HR Managers, “80% of companies report they would be more competitive internationally if they had a more globally competent staff.” Wouldn’t you like to be one of those ‘globally competent’ staff members?

Keep in mind that Kellstadt and DePaul’s Study Abroad Office offer international study programs varying in length and credits so you can find something that fits your course schedule and path to graduation.

About the author:

Kellstadt Alum Shaina Moran  started her career working in outdoor retail as a manager and Marketing Coordinator while earning her Bachelor’s Degree in Art History and MBA in Marketing Management from Kellstadt. In the summer of 2011, she joined the Office of Career Advancement at the University of Chicago as a Program Coordinator for the UChicago Careers in Business (UCIB) program and then the Assistant Director-Marketing for UCIB. In this role, she advised students on internship and full-time job opportunities in marketing among other fields. She also planned weekly large-scale workshops, treks, and site visits and produced marketing communications and collateral for the group. Most recently, Shaina worked as a College Relations Manager and Berlin and Sydney advisor for the IES Internships program at IES Abroad, a Chicago-based and internationally-focused, not-for-profit study abroad provider. Shaina now works as the Marketing Specialist at IES Abroad and is happy to share information about the organization and IES Internships programming.

Keeping Your Career in Permanent Beta

We most likely think the ‘beta test phase’ may aptly apply to a new apple product, but Reid Hoffman and Ben Casnocha in “The Startup of You” coined the term ‘permanent beta’ in relation to career development. How does that apply to one’s career we may think, but what Reid and Ben are trying to acknowledge is that everyone has bugs, and there’s always opportunity for new development within yourself.  Just like modern technology, we must also adapt and evolve.  Permanent beta is a lifelong commitment to continuous personal and professional growth.  Sounds easy, right?

Maybe not as simple as they describe it.  Change is hard and uncomfortable sometimes, so how do we apply this mindset of permanent beta to our careers?

  • Be flexible.

In case you haven’t noticed, the world is constantly evolving and changing and with that, so are you.  To succeed professionally in today’s world, you need to be ready to shift course based on the changing demands of the job market or economic landscape.  “You need to draw up plans, but be nimble enough to stray from those plans when appropriate” says Reid and Ben.  Make a plan to develop skills and experiences that are broadly useful to other jobs, because you never know when they may of use to you in the future.

  • Connect.

Network, network, network!  I’m already losing your attention, right?  Networking can many times be thought of as a dirty word that immediately makes us cringe, but I want you to replace the word networking with building strategic connections.  According to US News, 70% of people land jobs through strategic connections (remember, we swapped out networking), so how do we go about finding these strategic connections?  That’s easy: tap into your alumni associations (ASK), LinkedIn, DePaul events, professional associations, professors, classmates, friends, and the list goes on.  Still not sure?  Contact the CMC, they know people.

  • Do.

Reid and Ben admit: “Any entrepreneur will tell you that practical knowledge is best developed by doing, not just thinking or planning”.   Get out there and do.  As an MBA student or alumni you have a plethora of resources at your disposal – reach out to a current or past professor to get involved with a project that interests you and challenges your current knowledge and skill set, volunteer for a nonprofit organization that could use some help with their finances/brand marketing/etc., or talk to your boss about taking on a new assignment that may challenge your status quo.  Don’t focus all of your time and energy contemplating what’s next, make it happen now.

When we put it that way, it doesn’t sound so bad.  Continue to challenge yourself and seek professional growth in any of the means I described above, and don’t forget to seek help when you need it (that’s what the CMC is for).  Just always try to keep this in mind, “Winning careers, like winning start-ups, are in permanent beta: always a work in progress”.

Source: “Permanent beta: Why your career is a work in progress” by Reid Hoffman and Ben Casnocha, Special to CNN. http://www.cnn.com/2012/05/09/opinion/career-permanent-beta-hoffman-casnocha/

Hello, how are you?

Writing a generic LinkedIn invitation is the equivalent of replying “K” to a text message. It has become common practice for people to want to grow their LinkedIn connections when seeking a new opportunity but it doesn’t do you any favors by sending generic or default invite messages.

This article highlights the different angles you can use to customize your message for people you might have never met to those who are already in your personal network.

Employer feedback has been persistent that they won’t accept “generic” invitations and prefer a more targeted approach signaling that you have put some effort in reaching out to them. LinkedIn serves another tool to reach out to someone if you haven’t received a response from an email or phone call. It’s another avenue to make the connection and to showcase your interest in connecting.

If you have more questions on tailoring your message please contact the cmc@depaul.edu and set up an appointment with a career specialist.

Career Management Tips for the Holiday Season

holiday

Whether you are a DePaul alumnus or your classes just ended for the quarter, career development is an ongoing process. Here are some helpful tips for you to stay in tune with your career goals over the holiday season:

  • Create a Networking Action Plan – Research contacts of interest in your target markets and utilize DePaul’s resources to grow your network.
  • Personal Branding – Update your LinkedIn, Twitter, or other professional networking sites.
  • Share Your Network with Others – This is the time for giving, so align your friends and family with existing connections that may be helpful to their own network. For Kellstadt Alumni, become a mentor and share your expertise by joining DePaul’s Alumni Sharing Knowledge Mentor Program (ASK).
  • Catch up on Twitter Chats that occurred throughout the Fall quarter (Search #KGSBcareerchat)

As I’m sure the holiday season will keep everyone plenty busy, here is a sneak peek of what to look forward to from the CMC in 2016:

  • Career Education Workshops
  • Meet and Greets with companies representing a multitude of industries and Kellstadt exclusive Career Fairs
  • International Student Focused: Career Strategy walk-in hours, International Student Forum and weekly career newsletter

This is just a glimpse into the many opportunities CMC will be offering, so make sure to continue to regularly check the calendar of events on Handshake (https://depaul.joinhandshake.com) and follow us on twitter (@DePaulMBACareer) so you don’t miss out!

Common Cover Letter Mistakes

Fall is well underway, which means its recruiting season for the KGSB! In order to be prepared to apply for your dream job (and get an offer), it’s important to have a well written cover letter to support your application. To review, a cover letter can add value to your application by allowing one to connect the dots from previous experiences to the skills needed in the position.  To do so successfully, let’s review three common mistakes made by students when writing a cover letter:

  • Opening paragraph common mistake: Not addressing why you’re interested in the position. Too often do I review cover letters that neglect to explain why the student is interested in this position with said company. Think of it this way, if you’re an accounting student, you could apply for accounting positions at a Big Four firm, a small local business, a school, you name it. However, what is it that makes you want to be an accountant for this specific company/institution? By researching the employer and listing what it is that really drew you to this opportunity, you will sound more genuinely interested and appear more attractive. Remember, it’s about the employer. They want to know why you want to work for them, so give them your answer!
  • Middle paragraph common mistake: Re-writing your resume. In my opinion, this is one of the easiest mistakes to make when writing a cover letter for the first time. With that being said, it is also the worst ones to make! Don’t get me wrong, it is important to narrate your past accomplishments and transferrable skills. Employers will want to know what skills you bring to the table to better understand the value you could add to their team. However, this ‘value’ piece is usually what is missed. After explaining the skills you have, be sure to connect it back to the position.  Make is easy for employers to see that you have the skills they’re looking for!
  • Closing paragraph common mistake: Making the focus about you instead of the company. This can be a tough pill to swallow, but employers are looking for people that will make them better- not candidates that will become better professionals by working for them. For example, by using phrases such as, ‘this position will allow me to build my skill set’, or ‘this company would help me grow as a professional’, the focus is then on your own personal growth. These types of phrases can be re-worded to showcase the impact that you would bring to the company instead, which will make your cover letter much more powerful. Try and put yourself in the place of the employer. If you were hiring a candidate, which type of phrase would sound more appealing to you as the reader?

For more information on writing and constructing a cover letter, please check out the Kellstadt MBA/MS Career Strategy Guide on Handshake.

This blog post was written my Kathleen McDonald, graduate intern in the CMC who provides support to our International students.

Stand Out From the Crowd – Prepare for Career Fairs

Over this next month, there will be 180 employers recruiting DePaul talent across 5 days of career fairs (check handshake for dates/times and registered employers of fairs: https://depaul.joinhandshake.com).

As a career specialist, I often get asked “how do I differentiate myself from other students?”  There is no “simple” answer to this question.  Everyone is unique and offer different skillsets and talents.  However, I do recommend preparation PRIOR to attending the career fair.  You want to develop a strong elevator pitch and research companies/positions before you even set foot in the fair.  By researching the companies, you can develop great questions for the recruiters that will demonstrate your knowledge and passion to be part of their organization.  To expand on elevator pitch and research support provided from the Kellstadt CMC, please visit the MBA/MS Career Strategy Guide available on Handshake in the Resource Library.  One final recommendation, follow up with those that you meet at the fair.  Create a personalized email and send it to your fair contacts no later than 48 hours from the meeting.

The attached handout gives some quick tips on what to do before, during and after the career fair.  Good luck!

Tips for Working a Career Fair.2015