Resume Writing 101

1. Do Not Attempt To Be Fancy with Fonts

You might think that using a unique font in your resume is a good thing. After all, if it stands out from the others and expresses personality, certainly the business will appreciate it? The fact of the matter is this is a trap that people of all ages tend to fall into. Anybody that has been assigned to look through the applicants will be less likely to take a resume seriously if it uses a fancy, hard-to-read font. It will be considered amateurish and unprofessional, leading to the throwing away of the resume before it has even been read. A simple, common font such as Arial or Times New Roman will suffice.

2. Do Not Use Colored Paper

This goes into the same category as using different fonts. Printing out the resume on colored paper, such as neon yellow or red, does not do you any favors. You will not be guaranteed a job just because you took the time to buy and use colorful or even patterned paper. In fact, you will not impress anybody, and the money you spent on the paper will be wasted. This is not to say that businesses do not appreciate character; however, this early in the game you should play it safe.

3. Be Specific

It is important to avoid using vague phrases when you put together a list of your past job duties. If you worked in retail and dealt with clothing, do not simply mention that you sold clothes. Instead, make sure that you mention that you sold clothing for kids, or intimate wear, or uniforms for various sports. Those in charge will appreciate that you took the time to specify, and if you do not get your desired post, you might find that you are in the running for something else instead.

4. Mention Your Skills and Importance

Companies of all walks of life are looking for the best that they can get, and many people know this. If you want your resume to look better than the dozens or even hundreds of others that they might receive, you are going to have to emphasize what you do. Do not simply state that you answered the phone at your previous job; instead, say that you answered inquiries. It is the same thing and you are not lying, but it gives off importance. If you know for a fact that you helped add to customer satisfaction from the inquiries, be sure to mention it. Make sure to mention any extra skills, such as proficiency with using the Internet, as this can also add to your usefulness.

 

Beyond Financial Aid: Tips for Paying for College

College tuition costs are rising every year. As the cost of tuition, books and fees continue to increase, financial aid alone is not enough to pay for an education. Careful planning and research, and a bit of creativity, can help pay the bills and make college affordable again. Here are some tips to help ease the cost of tuition.

Scholarships

Communities, schools and organizations of all types offer scholarships. Review the criteria and apply for everything possible. Employers sometimes offer scholarships for children of employees or for the employees themselves. Certain clubs and community organizations have scholarships for just being a member. There is also assistance available for many types of high demand careers like nursing and teaching. The internet is a great resource for finding listings of available grants and scholarships.

Take an alternative route

Taking classes at a community college for the first two years can save thousands of dollars. Most colleges will transfer credits from a two year school making the transition easy. This path does take cautious planning since taking classes that will not transfer can be a waste of both time and money. Taking advanced placement (AP) classes in high school can also save money. Many colleges will grant credit for AP classes which will save on tuition long term.

Commute in state

Room and board are a large part of the college bill. While living at home is not glamorous, it can save enough money for a down payment on a home after school is done. Local state schools are another great way to save money when combined with commuting. State schools usually have reduced tuition rates for in state residents. Check with individual schools for more details.

Student Loans

When free money is not available, student loans are the next best option. Loans are available through the government and from private lenders. Loans do carry interest rates and will have to be paid back once school is complete. Interest rates may be variable or fixed and often students can defer payment until they find employment after graduation. The government offers loans as part of a financial aid package and there are limitations on the amount that can be borrowed. Private loans are available from banks and credit unions and they can bridge the gaps left by financial aid. Loans are an extremely useful tool for paying for school but they should only be used when necessary to avoid incurring excessive debt.

Work for the money

It is difficult to balance school and work, but it is almost impossible to get through four years of school without at least a part time job. Even working during breaks or the summer can provide enough money for books. Some employers even have tuition reimbursement plans for employees attending school. Those who serve in the armed forces may meet the qualifications for the G.I. Bill to assist with tuition costs. Work-study programs are also part of a financial aid package and while these positions usually do not pay well, they are typically on campus or related to the student’s major in some way. Certain colleges have paid co-op programs as part of the curriculum which allows students to earn money and credit at the same time.

The key to finding sources of funding for school is to start early. Start saving in a 529 plan or a savings account early on so there is money available when the time comes for college. Look for scholarships at least a year in advance as most applications have requirements to fulfill before a deadline. It takes time to find sources of aid and to complete applications. Tap all available resources and be sure to meet deadlines to ease the stress of finding money to pay for a college education.

Landing That First Job

With summer fast approaching, many high school students will be looking for a summer job. Summer jobs can help you to gain work experience, earn money, and learn some skills that can translate into jobs in the future. Landing a first job can be tough and knowing where to start and how to put together a first resume is the initial challenge.

The Resume
What do you put on a resume when you don’t have any work experience? It’s important to think about experiences that could translate into skills for the job. Leadership in extracurricular activities, academic honors, or volunteer work can all translate into skills and experience for a job. Organize your past experience, education, and skills into a resume that highlights your strengths and what you’re looking to gain from a summer job.

Finding Jobs
An important step when starting any job hunt is to ask around, ask family members, neighbors, teachers, and friends if they know of anyone looking to fill openings during the summer months. You can also look at websites like CareerBuilder and Craigslist for potential openings in your community. You may also want to ask your guidance counselor, many counseling offices will have information available about summer jobs and be able to help with your resume too. If there are companies where you are particularly interested in working, call or email to find out about any potential openings, showing initiative may be what sets you apart in the process.

The Interview
Showing up for your first interview can be a nerve-wracking process. It’s important to remember that if you’ve landed an interview, chances are you are a serious candidate and the company is devoting time and resources to finding out more about you. Dress professionally and be courteous when you arrive for your interview. This is a chance to show them why you are right for the job and to find out more about the position itself. Be ready to answer questions and also to ask questions when given the opportunity. Bring along another copy of your resume to give to your interviewer and a pad of paper and a pen to take down any information. Follow up your interview with a thank you note.

Landing a first job isn’t an easy process, but getting the job search skills down pat will help you to fill out your resume, make important connections, and find jobs for the summer and in the future.

Managing your online identity

Managing your online identity can be critical to your education and career. There are many websites that can influence your online identity and taking control of this part of your life can be an important step to building a desirable public profile. The first step to shaping your online identity is to search for your name online. Take note of what comes up first and read through the first few pages that are generated by your search.

Social networking sites can be a great opportunity to shape your public profile. LinkedIn is considered to be the most professional of all social networking websites and allows you to post a comprehensive resume online. Keeping your resume up to date can be important in building your professional online identity. LinkedIn allows you to identify your location, career field, and current company. You can also document your education, skills, and past work experience. As you link to other peoples’ profiles on LinkedIn, you will have the opportunity to ask colleagues and friends for recommendations. These recommendations will appear on your profile and can be accessed easily by potential graduate schools and employers.

Social networking websites such as Facebook and MySpace can play an important role in your public profile. It is important to get familiar with your privacy settings and know what information is available to various groups of people. You will also want to closely monitor what other people post on your profile, including comments, photos, or videos. Regularly check and delete anything that you do not want included in your public profile. Photos that are public should always be professional and send a positive message to potential employers. Your Twitter account can also affect your online identity. It is important to monitor your privacy settings and control who has access to your information. Be careful about who you allow to access your profile on all of these websites, particularly when it comes to colleagues, supervisors, or professors.

If you want to fully control your online presence and your domain name is available, you may consider purchasing it for a small annual cost. You can redirect the website to an online profile or use it to create a professional online presence. This prevents the name from being used by someone else and will often appear early in search results. You will also want to check to see if any blogs, past or current, can be located by searching your name online. These should either be strictly professional in nature, deleted, or kept protected by privacy settings.

The influx of information from social networking websites can be used to your benefit during a job search or application process. LinkedIn may allow you to view friends or friends who work in your field and may provide important contacts in the future. Facebook or Twitter can be used to ask friends for job leads. By using social networking to your advantage and carefully monitoring your public image, you can take control of your online identity.

How To Find the Perfect Summer Job for the Recent High School Grad

Finishing high school is a big achievement, but working right after graduation can ease a student’s path into college, give them valuable experience, pad their resumes, and even earn money. Finding the perfect summer job right after graduating high school can be easier than you think if you keep the following principles in mind.

If you’re looking for work right out of high school, don’t think that you don’t need a resume. List your high school accomplishments beyond your GPA, such as extracurricular activities and participation in sports. Including any volunteer work you might have done or membership in organizations like Girl Scouts or Boy Scouts will add some flair to your resume as well.

Recent high school grads should accept the fact that they might have to work a job that doesn’t offer excellent or even any pay at all. Even without the conditions of the current economy, many businesses are reluctant to offer pay to young workers. However, new high school grads should understand that many job opportunities will offer excellent opportunities for experience and networking, which are invaluable.

However, it’s quite possible to find a paid job. This can range from things like work in restaurants or stores to more specialized things. If possible, try and aim to find a job that relates to your interests, particularly toward a potential college major or area of business that you want to be involved in. You can even contact a local college and ask them for recommendations for paid jobs, as many colleges have information available for a similar age group.

Also, it doesn’t hurt to rule out jobs that involve unique experiences and a lot of fun, such as working as a camp counselor. Even if this doesn’t pertain to what your future job or academic aspirations might be, working with children for a summer is an enlightening experience that will look great on a resume and provide an excellent talking point for interviews.

It’s important to remember that no matter what type of summer job you end up finding, you should take it seriously. Word can get around fairly quickly if you don’t complete your tasks or constantly show up late, so thinking that you can ditch one job for another easily isn’t a very practical outlook.

If you interview for any type of job, be yourself and remain personable, but keep a mature demeanor that will let your employer know that hiring you or signing you on will benefit them. In many cases it might not come down to the qualifications, but who the potential employer thought was most responsible.

Job opportunities also have the tendency to pop up randomly, so if you get involved right after graduation in volunteering locally, you might find yourself propositioned for a job opportunity. Therefore, you should always remember that volunteering will add to your resume in the future, so if you can’t find that perfect summer job you’ll keep yourself occupied while doing something positive for yourself and others.


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