Resumes & Interviews

interview

Resumes

Creating a strong, concise resume is very important. A good resume will market your experiences and skills to the employer, and get you noticed for an interview. Tailor each resume specifically for the job you’re applying for by including only your experiences and education relevant to that position.

A few key tips before getting started on your resume:

  • Keep your resume to one page (especially if you have less than 2 years in targeted field)
  • Do not use personal pronouns (e.g., I, you, she, he)
  • Start all phrases with action verbs (e.g., Managed, Developed, Led, Analyzed, etc.)
  • Choose a common font (e.g., Arial, Times Roman) and use a 10 pt, 11 pt, or 12 pt font size with 1″ margins
  • Use a clean and organized layout for quick review by the employer

The 2 main sections of your resume should be “Education” and “Experience”

Education

3 important pieces of information to include:

  • Degree title, and perhaps minor (e.g., BA Psychology, Spanish minor)
  • Institution and location (e.g., Biola University, La Mirada, CA)
  • Graduation or expected graduation date (e.g., May 2016)

Do not include any high school information. Include your GPA only if it above 3.5, or if your industry requires it. You can also include additional information such as foreign study or relevant coursework.

Experience

Include jobs, internships, and volunteer positions that are relevant to the position you’re applying for. The important aspect here is to communicate measurable impact you made in previous positions that relate to the position you’re applying for.

3 important pieces of information to include:

  • Position title and date range (e.g., Marketing Intern, May-Aug 2013)
  • Name and location of employer (e.g., Paramount Pictures, Los Angeles, CA)
  • Description of the work you accomplished and the skills used in the position (3-5 bullet points, or more bullets if past/current position is especially relevant to position you’re applying for)

Other Information

Heading

At the top of your resume, include your name a few font sizes larger than the rest of your resume. List your address, either Biola or home. Also include your cell phone number and a professional email address. Example:

Jane Smith

6585 Lincoln Ave, Unit 43
La Mirada, CA 90638
562.905.8945 | jane.smith@gmail.com

Specialized Skills

It may be important to include relevant specialized skills such as foreign language, computer/software, or any other industry-specific technical skill on your resume.

Awards and Honors

If you received an academic award that would be valuable on your resume, then include it in your education section. If the award was associated with a job, mention it in a bullet point for that position.

Objective

Objective is optional, and we suggest omitting it unless you keep it very simple. In other words, you can mention the specific job and organization you are applying (e.g., Customer Service Representative at Apple). But if you write more than that, you risk being disqualified from consideration based on the employer concluding that they may not be able to satisfy your objective.

Sample Resumes

Here are a few…

Many job seekers struggle with remembering job accomplishments. LinkedIn.com and Indeed.com are excellent sources to consult for this purpose. Type in the name of a position (e.g., Resident Assistant) and borrow terminology and phraseology of how others describe this work on LinkedIn and Indeed.

To schedule an appointment to review your resume with a counselor, please fill out the following form:

Cover Letters

Purpose

    1. Make a good case for the match between you and the position you are applying
    2. Show how you are unique in your ability to add value to the organization
    3. Focus on your qualifications for the position
    4. Provide an example of your writing abilities
    5. Convey interest in the position and an eagerness to be considered

Tailor each letter for the position you are applying. Letters give the employer an opportunity to observe your attentiveness to detail, spelling, grammar and the overall quality of your written communication.

Format

    1. Date
    2. Addressee’s name & address
    3. Greeting (e.g., Dear Ms Jones)
    4. Paragraph 1: Why them? 2-3 things about job or company that interest you based on research
    5. Paragraph 2: Why you? 2-3 experiences related to interests mentioned in paragraph 1
    6. Paragraph 3: Next steps (e.g., I’ll contact you in a couple of weeks to inquire about a meeting)
    7. Closing (e.g., Sincerely, Bob Smith)

Letter Body

Paragraphs 1, 2 and 3 comprise the letter body and should form a tight argument for why you should be interviewed for a given position. Paragraph 1 could involve several hours of researching an organization or job to pinpoint 2-3 things you are most interested in AND possess experience in. Paragraph 2 highlights 2-3 experiences where you have demonstrated commendable performance in something related to the 2-3 things mentioned in Paragraph 1. The goal here is to instill confidence that you possess the right experience to succeed in the targeted job. Paragraph 3 is an opportunity to let them know you are planning to follow up with them, showing you are a proactive person rather than passive.

Interviews

Know the Questions

When preparing for an interview it is important to know what is expected of you. A great way to be ready for anything is to practice answering some of the most popular interview questions. We have gathered the top 50 interview questions that you may come across. Below we have a link to the questions as well as some explanation of appropriate answers.

A few common questions:

    1. Tell us about yourself.
    2. Why did you leave your last job?
    3. What experience do you have in this field?
    4. Why are you interested in working at our specific organization?

For more questions and suggested answers visit here: Top 50 Interview Questions

Know the Company

One of the best things you can do before a job interview is to study the company you are interviewing with. By researching the company and the job opening you will get a better understanding of how you could fit in the position. It is important to know the industry the company operates in and the type of work you will potentially be doing. Research the company’s history, their past projects, and current employees. If you know the name of the person interviewing you then research their work history as well. The company website or LinkedIn are good sources for this. The more informed you are the better prepared you will be and the more interested you will appear.

Potential questions to ask your interviewer:

    1. How was your experience working on Past Project?
    2. What can the right candidate do to help the company progress in ways A, B, or C?
    3. I loved Past Project. What future objectives does the company have in that direction?

Know How to Dress

What you wear to an interview is crucial because the interviewer’s first judgment of you will be based on physical appearance. You generally want to overdress than underdress, but it depends on the type of company you are applying for. It’s important to learn the dress code and work environment of every job you interview for. Nevertheless we suggest dressing professionally for every interview, regardless of the work environment. In general, a candidate dressed in a suit and tie will make a much better impression than someone dressed more casually. View dress code tips to learn what to wear for an interview at professional, casual and startup companies.

Last Minute Tips

One of the most important parts of the interviewing process is your comfort level. Here are some tips:

    1. Stay calm – keep relaxed and be yourself
    2. Generate questions for the interviewer – about the company, position, hiring process
    3. Don’t be shy – be friendly, engaged, give thoughtful & concise answers, act like you want to be hired

Interview Prep Videos

1×1 Assistance

You’re encouraged to visit with one of our Peer Advisors for tips on building a resume and interviewing. Online chat and walk-in hours are available. Peer Advisors may recommend you visit with a Career Counselor for more in depth assistance based on your situation. You can also call us at 562.903.4875 or submit this form to make an appointment. We look forward to serving you!