Conducting a job search is a process that many can find time consuming and overwhelming. It is essential to remember that searching for a job requires your active participation.
The Career Development Center offers online resources that outline how to prepare for a job interview, how to network and how to handle salary and job negotiations; as well as in-person preparation with drop-in counseling and individual career counseling appointments. Get #onestepcloser to a job today!
The resume is an essential tool in the job search process. The resume is a document that conveys how your education, work experience, involvement in organizations and other qualifications match those identified in the job description. The intent of the resume is to obtain a job interview. The Career Development Center offers a free online tool for CSULB students and alumni to assist with the process of developing your resume called Resume Builder. Resume Builder will allow you to easily create resumes and cover letters in Word, Rich Text, Plain Text, and HTML - resulting in your own professional website. You are also encouraged to attend Resume Writing workshops offered throughout the academic year by the Career Development Center.
There are many different types and styles of resumes. The two most commonly used resumes are the chronological and combination-functional. This does not mean that other types are not useful or effective.
A CV is a more detailed version of a resume highlighting your qualifications and relevant experience. CV's are often required when applying for academic (in higher education such as a faculty position) or science/research positions or graduate and professional schools. A CV may be several pages long.
Action verbs should be used throughout your resume to sell yourself and promote your accomplishments. Action words give energy to your resume. SELL, DON'T JUST TELL!! The Career Development Center has provided a list of sample action verbs for your resume.
Use the Resume Worksheet to jot down information about yourself; print out a copy of the information, bring it to the Career Development Center and have it reviewed by a professional staff member.
You can also review Sample Resumes and Curriculum Vitae to get ideas on how to create your own personal resume.
OptimalResume is a comprehensive, web-based tool that helps job seekers create and manage resumes. With Optimal Resume, you can create chronological, functional, or combination resumes. It is easy to use with convenient resume previewing, forward/backward navigation, drag and drop reordering of sections, and the ability to delete and add sections at any time. Resumes are automatically generated in several formats, including Rich Text, Plain Text, PDF, and HTML, and users can edit, download, rename, or delete resumes at any time. You can create and manage an unlimited number of resumes in your account, and the software includes spell checking, action words, and format assistance. A state-of-the-art Resume Stylist provides a variety of format styles from which to choose.
The cover letter is your introduction to a prospective employer. Create a brief and purposeful cover letter by using clear and direct sentences. Use the job posting announcement to tailor your cover letter to the specific position for which you are applying. The heart of your cover letter is the middle paragraph describing how your qualifications are a good match for the employer's requirements.
Introduce yourself and name the position for which you are applying and how you learned of the opening or organization. If an individual made you aware of the opening, be sure to use their name and affiliation. Example: "Dr. Jane Kwan at CSULB suggested I forward my resume in response to your posting for a Research Assistant."
An interview typically results from an effective presentation of your resume. The resume provides a snapshot of how your qualifications match those identified in the job announcement. It is now up to you to take advantage of this opportunity. Interviewing Techniques workshops are offered by the Career Development Center throughout the academic year.
InterviewStream is an on-line tool you can use to practice interviewing at your convenience using a webcam. Select questions you would like to practice responding to or use one of the general question sets provided. View videos on interviewing tips from experts. Save and review your interview with a career counselor. To access InterviewStream, go to the “SHORTCUTS” menu on your CareerLINK homepage.
It is important for you to learn as much as you can about the position. Focus your questions on the position and the company. Remember, the interview is an opportunity to exchange information - the company wants to learn more about you and you want to learn more about the position and the organization in order to make a more informed decision; so it's important for you to ask relevant questions. Although salary is important to know; it is strongly recommended that you not bring up salary until you receive the job offer.
The initial interview may come in the form of a telephone interview. You should prepare and conduct yourself for the telephone interview in the same manner as the in-person interview. However, there are some additional considerations to keep in mind.
A great deal of emphasis is placed on verbal communication in preparation for an interview. However, equally important are the nonverbal elements of communicating. Appearance and body language are essential components of interviewing. The following are nonverbal behaviors that you should be aware of when preparing for and during your interview:
An invitation for a secondary interview indicates that the company is interested in you. Your interview will probably be with the supervisor and others in the department that has the job opening. As with your first interview, continue to communicate your qualifications and skills and what you can do for the company.
Interviewers conduct a behavioral interview or ask some behavioral questions to learn how you have performed in the past. This is based on the premise that the best way to predict future behavior is to look at past behavior in similar situations. Organizations determine the skills, competencies, or attributes that are most important to that organization's success. Then, recruiters and hiring managers are trained to ask candidates questions that will enable them to assess whether the candidate has those characteristics needed for success.
One of the keys to interviewing success is practice. Although you do not want to over-rehearse and memorize your answers, neither do you want come across as surprised by a question or its format. The key is to be prepared for the types of questions you might be asked and to have a mental outline to follow in responding to the questions. One helpful method is the STAR approach to formulating your response to behavioral questions.
Situation or Task you faced
Describe the situation that you were in or the task that you needed to accomplish. You must describe a specific event or situation, not a generalized description of what you have done in the past. Be sure to give enough detail for the interviewer to understand. This situation can be from a previous job, from a volunteer experience, or any relevant event.
Action you took
Describe the action you took and be sure to keep the focus on you. Even if you are discussing a group project or effort, describe what you did -- not the efforts of the team. Don't tell what you might do, tell what you did.
Results you achieved
What happened? How did the event end? What did you accomplish? What did you learn?
Become a good story teller and use the STAR technique to respond to the question while avoiding a rambling response.
Once you've described your situation, actions, and results, you can expect the interviewers to ask you for more details and to probe your responses so that they can better understand the strength of your qualifications.
It can be challenging to prepare for behavioral interviews because of the unlimited variety of questions you may get. You can be better equipped to respond to this type of question if you understand the skills, competencies, and attributes an employer is seeking in new hires. You may be able to identify these by thoroughly researching the company, reading job postings carefully, and talking with current employees. Some employers are very clear about what they seek in candidates and you can expect that there will be behavioral questions to determine if you have those characteristics.
Tell me about a time when you were on a team and one of the team members wasn't carrying his or her weight.
Our class was broken into teams and each team had to build a canoe out of concrete. One of our team members wasn't showing up for our lab sessions or doing his assignments. I finally met with him in private, explained the frustration of the rest of the team and asked if there was anything I could do to help. He told me he was preoccupied with another class that he wasn't passing, so I put him in touch with someone who could help him with the other course. He not only was able to spend more time on our project, but he was also grateful to me for helping him out. We finished our project on time and got a "B" on it.
Before you begin interviewing, think about these questions and possible responses and discuss them with a career advisor. Conduct mock interviews and be sure you are able to communicate clear, unrehearsed answers to interviewers.
Always send a thank you letter after an interview, ideally within 24 hours. It is an opportunity to reinforce your interest in the position and demonstrate your professionalism. It can be your key to getting a job offer.
The format of your letter depends on the company's style and its formality.
A typed, business letter is always correct and allows you to provide additional information in follow up to the interview.
If time is of the essence, you may send your thank you letter in the form of an email, with the same level of formality.
If you choose to handwrite a thank you note, choose simple, business note cards rather than social stationery you might use to write a thank you to your aunt for a birthday gift.
If as a result of the interview or other factors you are no longer interested in the job, it is still appropriate and good professional practice to send a thank you letter. However, in this case the letter should also indicate that you are withdrawing your application for this position.
Write a thank you to each individual and personalize each one.
Your City, State, Zip Code
Your Phone Number
City, State, Zip Code
Dear Mr./Ms. Last Name:
I want you to know how much I appreciate the opportunity to interview with you yesterday and meet the other members of A2Z's Marketing team. The position of Marketing Coordinator seems to be a very good match for my skills, interests and experience. The creativity and energy of everyone in the department is evident in your recent campaigns and confirmed for me that A2Z is exactly the kind of firm where I'd like to work.
In addition to my own enthusiasm, I will bring to the position my strong writing skills, excellent organization skills, and the ability to remain calm under pressure. My writing background will help me to work with writers on staff and provide me with an understanding of the messaging aspects of our work.
I appreciate the need for strong coordinating skills in such a high volume department. I am known for my attention to detail and, as one of my supervisors put it, am good at "bringing order out of chaos". I may not have mentioned it in my interview, but I did spend two months helping organize a state senator's campaign office after her administrative assistant had to take an emergency leave.
I appreciate the time and interest thus far. I continue to be very interested in the Marketing Coordinator position with A2Z. If I can provide you with any additional information or samples of my work, please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org or 123.456.7890. I look forward to hearing from you about this position.
Your Typed Name
When evaluating and if necessary, negotiating your job offer, there are factors, other than just salary, that you should consider. You may be asking yourself "What am I worth?" Should I negotiate my salary? It is strongly recommended that you wait until after you have been offered the position before you negotiate your salary and job offer. When a company makes an offer, oftentimes they have considered salary based on market data, your education, experience, and other information you may have shared during the interview. Although salary is important, it should not be the only consideration in this decision-making process. It is essential, however, that you research salary information long before going into the interview so that you have some idea as to where the salary figures fall in the typical salary range for respective positions.
Here are some factors for you to consider. Keep in mind that the salary is not the only aspect you must consider.
Students are encouraged to research salary information. A few online resources have been listed for your convenience.
While you have been through the interview process do you really understand what will be expected of you on the job? If you're not sure now is the time to visit with your prospective employer and clarify any questions you may have. Being assertive about this early on will pay dividends down the road. What might sound like a great opportunity could turn out to be less so if you don't know exactly what the position entails.