matches college grads with junior level and internship opportunities through existing social networks. Read on for more information and check out their site!


Landing a job out of college is challenging in any economy, and in a down market like today’s it is even more so. However, there are a number of ways you can strengthen your resume while you are still enrolled in school that will make you more marketable in the workforce and help you in your job search.

School and Your Resume


Since your resume is the first thing about you that employers see, it’s important to make a good first impression. The good news is that applying these resume tips while you’re still in school puts you ahead of the crowd, as many students don’t think about their resume until after graduation


Communication Is Key


Communicating with your professors on a regular basis is one of the most important steps to establishing a good relationship. Try to stand out in your classroom as a leader by frequently participating. If you establish a good relationship with your professor, he or she will value your input and be more inclined to give you a letter of recommendation, introduce you to potential employers, or pass on some of their own resume tips down the road. Be the person that a teacher would be proud to recommend by showing motivation and initiative.


Extracurricular and On-Campus Activities 


Employers like to see candidates who have experience. Getting involved in extracurricular activities or groups is a strong way to begin build your resume.


Try joining an on-campus organization. Not only does it give you experience you can put on your resume, it is great for networking. You will get to meet peers who are also looking for experience and employment, and as they get jobs you start building up your contacts in various companies and industries. Stay in touch with the faculty members that coordinate the extracurricular activities, as they can often provide resume help, as well.




Faculty members can also help guide you to internships. Take the time before or after class to speak to your professor or faculty member about internship opportunities. Often times, employers will communicate with faculty members on a regular basis to try to find perspective interns. Internships are not only a great way to build an impressive resume, they also provide a real-world, hands-on experience for college students in their respective field. Employers like to see students who have internship experience, as they don’t require as much time training if they already have experience on the job.


Part-Time Jobs


Another helpful way to improve your resume is by getting a part-time job. Working part-time while you’re still in college shows employers that you have a strong work ethic and a sense of responsibility. It’s helpful to stay in touch and maintain a good relationship with all your employers, whether full- or part-time job, because managers can be a good resource for letters of recommendation.




Scholarships can establish a high level of credibility, as the selection process for scholarships is usually quite intensive. If you have been selected for a scholarship, make sure you add this to your resume. This is also a great conversation starter with potential employers.




Volunteering shows potential employers that you are committed to helping others, not just yourself. Like internships, volunteering has the additional possible benefit of turning into part-time or long-term employment opportunities.


Finding a job right out of college can be daunting. However, if you employ a few resume tips while you’re still going to college, you will have a leg up against the competition when you apply for your first job.



Once you have strengthened your resume by gaining relevant experience it’s time to put it to paper. Working with a professional resume service can be a surefire way to make sure your resume stands out and you represent yourself in the strongest possible way.



FirstJob™ is the only job site of its kind, matching recent college graduates with quality junior-level and internship opportunities through their existing social networks. For employers FirstJob offers a full-cycle recruiting platform that provides sourcing, SaaS, and full service recruitment options to companies looking to hire college educated talent.

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how to choose career mentors

We all have someone we look to for guidance in making choices. In our career choices, it’s a good idea to have a mentor; someone we can trust to give good advice. But how do you determine who is going to be the best mentor for you?

  • Have they followed their own advice? If not, can they explain why? Sometimes, you can learn from their mistakes.
  • Are they doing what you hope to be doing? You may not want to be a writer, but if that writer owns a company and you want to start your own company, then you hope to be doing the same thing, right?
  • How long have they been doing what you hope to be doing?

There’s a lot of advice floating around the internet and the dinner table and everywhere in between. Our challenge is to filter that advice in a way that lets us keep the best advice for our own lives and careers. I think it is good to have enough advice to need to filter it, because it gives me a bigger perspective on the issue. I want to know what different generations and different career paths can teach me.

But we need to choose who we listen to when it comes to making choices about our careers. How to look for the best job, how to write a resume and cover letter, how to do an interview, and how to stay productive and reach the goals we set for ourselves are important choices that merit careful filtering.

I hope you read this blog because you consider me a mentor, but I shouldn’t be your only source of information. That’s why there’s a Job Search Resources page on this site; nobody knows it all. You should be filtering every bit of career advice you hear through the evaluation of who said it, why they say it, and how it has worked for them.

one thing an executive resume cannot do

Sometimes it might seem like an Executive Resume is the kind of resume you need because “Top Level C-Position” is the top rung of the mythical career ladder. The problem with that thinking is the idea that there’s only one career ladder and it is an inexorable march to the one goal of CEO. The Executive Resume is for someone who is:

  • experienced in working within an organization and ready to transition to this type of position
  • interested in things like planning the strategic infrastructure of a Fortune 500 company or negotiating multi-million dollar partnerships
  • seeking positions as President, CEO, COO, CFO, CIO, CTO and other senior/c-level positions

In reality, there are many career ladders, and every rung is an important rung. Being a senior level executive is just one of them. That’s good, when you think about it, because if there were only one type of job, most of us would be pretty unhappy. Your resume is the tool you use to show potential employers how well you can fill the openings in their enterprise, and there are many varieties of job openings. Resumes need to be maintained: as we work, learn and grow, we change. Then the jobs we are suited for will change, too.

An Executive Resume cannot help you if your experience and preference is that you explore managing a garden shop to see if you can blend your love of growing things with working beside people and learning business techniques. That’s why Professional Resume Services offers different types of resumes and a consultation with every one: When it comes to your resume, one size does not fit all.


global trends might affect your interview

A recent survey of 1,205 business decision makers in four regions and twelve countries has confirmed what many would say is obvious: video conferencing is here to stay and going to increase in the future. The survey, “Global View: Business Video Conferencing Usage and Trends,” was done by Redshift Research for Polycom, Inc. and is a fascinating look at how technology changes the way we do business. It’s also a reminder that your job will be affected by it in the future.

One finding was that 32% of the U.S. respondents were likely to use video technology for interviewing potential employees. That’s the highest percentage of all the countries represented, with the next largest group being 28% of the Asia-Pacific region. So I’d say that knowing how to get ready for an online interview is a very good idea.

Another factor that may come up in your interview is your view of working with colleagues from other countries and cultures. Quite often, this doesn’t mean globe-trotting; it means video conferencing.

The more familiar you are with the idea, the better a candidate you will be for that position. So Polycom came up with a Guide To Collaborating Across Borders as a result of their survey, and I’m letting you in on the free tool because I want you to be that savvy candidate who knows about the trends where business is heading.

The interesting thing about all this is that no matter what your background or career track is, your job will probably include technology and multicultural experiences in the future. Being ready for it at the interview gives you an advantage.

the importance of a cover letter

A list of “20 Things Every Twentysomething Should Know How To Do” has, among things like “parallel park” and “respond to criticism,” the ability to “write a cover letter” at number 16. This is very interesting, don’t you think?

Here’s their reasoning: “Filling out an application is a pretty simple process but, in all likelihood, the job you really want is going to take more than a list of references and previous employers. Cover letters require some effort, but it can be the difference between “don’t call us, we’ll call you” and “when can you start?””

It’s really simple to see why. A good cover letter is your introduction to the potential employer and is their first impression of you.

So knowing how to write a good cover letter is important:

  • Do some research on what a good cover letter entails. A good place to start is here on this blog.
  • Write some sample cover letters and ask friends to critique them. Ask friends who regularly make comments about misspelled words and grammar mistakes — they see those things. Ask friends who have businesses. Ask your older relatives. Then take those marked up samples and see where you can improve.
  • If you are struggling with this skill, consider investing in a professionally written cover letter for a potentially lucrative job. It is a small investment for a big return. You can use it as a learning experience to improve your writing. Some jobs do not require writing skills once you are hired, but it is a good skill to have anyway.

Even if you are not the one who wrote your own cover letter, the fact that you recognize the importance of a good cover letter shows you value professionalism enough to invest in it.


navigating uncertain times in your job

Every so often, uncertain times come to a large part of the economy. It might be a government shut down, severe weather, or a variety of other calamities can happen that affect your job. Even when uncertainty affects a small part of the economy, if it affects your job, then you need to be prepared to navigate unknown waters.

Here are a few basic points to keep in mind:

  • There will occasionally be uncertain times — look back in history and you can see that financial and political crises happen all the time, all over the world. Even if most of the economy is good, if your job is uncertain, then you have every reason to be concerned enough to do something about it. Job-related stress has symptoms, but it also has resolutions.
  • It is always a good idea to prepare for uncertain times — work on paying off your debt load even if all you can do is pay a little more than the minimum every month. Put some money in savings every payday, and don’t use it unless it is a last resort. Work out your budget so you have a handle on what you are doing with your money. Talk with your family about how you will get through a crisis; it’s like a fire drill that prepares you for emergencies.
  • Don’t waste today’s energy on worrying — do something about what stresses you. Take a walk every day instead of eating a donut for breakfast (not that I object to donuts–believe me, I don’t–but a walk is de-stressing where sugary snacks backfire). Look at your worries and work on what you are in control of. If you can’t control the thing that worries you, how will worry help? Answer: it won’t.
  • Forget about drama and smile at the people in your life — we are in the boat together. It makes the journey so much easier when we treat one another with kindness. The people you work with, the people you live with, and the people you interact with as you go through your day are all on the same ocean, and we all do better when we are smiling.

workplace stress and health

We are at the beginning of the flu season and you know the drill: wash your hands frequently, cough into your elbow, clean surfaces, get a flu shot…stay healthy. In the workplace, illness affects more than the one feeling sick because you are faced with staying home or spreading germs. It’s a tough call, because we are surrounded by invisible invaders bringing illness all the time.

Stress is known to weaken our ability to fight those invaders. I am a huge believer in this. The minute I feel overworked or overwhelmed, my throat starts hurting. Since we spend most of our time at work, stress in the workplace can be a huge factor in whether or not we get sick. Keeping the stress down will help us stay healthy. Question is, how do we do that?

  • You can only control what you are able to choose. You might not have a choice about where your desk is, but you do have a choice about keeping it clean. Air quality is usually beyond your control, but you might be able to have a plant that helps purify it, and you certainly can take walks outside. Grouchy co-workers might dump on you, but you could use that to look for ways to make things better.
  • Decide now what the holidays will look like, and be realistic about what you do and why you do it. Don’t plan for “perfection.” Plan for flexible family time and let the mishaps become stories you will laugh about next year. What holiday work commitments will be expected? Do you know how to handle gift giving in the corporate world? It might seem early to talk about it, but you will have less stress if you know what to do.

Remember that stress is not bad in small doses. It’s like exercise for your soul in a lot of ways. The problems come when stress is accumulated upon stress and doesn’t stop. Figuring out how to keep that stress an occasional workout will keep YOU healthy and at work.

1 reason why a thank you letter is still a good idea

Did you have to write thank you letters at Christmas and birthdays when you were a kid? Did you groan and moan piteously while your mom stood over you, threatening dire things if Grandma didn’t get that note in the next few months? Do I do this to my own children, too? Of course! Most of us have had to write a note thanking someone for a gift or a service they appreciate, and if you have been the recipient of a thank you letter on paper, you know the feeling you have about that writer. It is impressive in today’s email world, and most people don’t do it. It’s the right thing to do.

In the hiring world, there are many faces seen and forgotten as applicants crowd into the arena vying for a job. One of the most impressive ways to do an interview follow up for maximum success is the old-fashioned thank you letter. On paper. To hold in your hand and look at again.

In one simple act, that of observing a professional courtesy, you have given the interviewer a reason to remember you positively. I am assuming the thank you letter is one that meets professional standards, is well-written, concise, and mentions specific favorable points in the interview. It will be a tangible reminder of your assets for the position if it reflects your good points and comes in the week following the interview.

There is a place for an email thank you letter, and your research on the company will help you determine its appropriateness. Most of the time, though, the “real thing” is going to be the best thing. If you do decide the email thank you letter is preferred, all the rules about professionalism apply! This is no place for typos or formatting errors, so make sure your final impression is an excellent impression when following up that job interview.

This is part of the package when writing your resume, the final piece of the cover letter-resume-thank you letter trifecta. Don’t ignore it!



the reason why your cover letter has to change

Your cover letter should change every time you submit your resume to a new position. This is because your cover letter is an introduction to you, the first thing the reader of that resume sees, and a generic form letter will not give a good impression. It may even cause them to pass over the resume because they did not see you put any effort into the cover letter.

Think of it like this: what would you think of someone who introduced themselves to you using the same script they used on everybody else? Some things are worth repeating, like your name, but other things may not apply, and if that new acquaintance seems more into rattling off their accomplishments than starting a conversation about mutual interests, then you might smile politely and move on as quickly as possible.

In the same way, when you need an introduction, it should be personalized to the setting. Your cover letter can be tweaked if you have invested in one that has been professionally written, but it should always reflect the job you are applying for and the company who is seeking to fill the position. If you can have the name of the person reading the resumes, even better!

This reality is one reason a cover letter is offered in our A La Carte Services. You don’t necessarily need to rewrite your resume for every application, but it really is a good idea to put as much individualization into your cover letter as is appropriate. Just like a friendly introduction that makes you want to talk, a good cover letter makes them want to read your resume and bring you in for an interview.

is a diy resume a good idea?

We live in a time when you can find all kinds of Do-It-Yourself advice for pretty much anything you could pay someone to do for you. Sometimes, it actually is a good idea to do something yourself, but the trick is to be honest about it. If you are thinking of writing your own resume, here are some points to consider:

  • Are you confident that your writing skills are professional level?
  • Do you have the word processing software and the ability to utilize it for a professional resume?
  • Do you have specific jobs you are applying for so your resume and cover letter will show your suitability for the position?
  • Do you have a good grasp of what employers are looking for in a resume?

If you can say “yes” to those questions, then of course I would say, “yes, it is a good idea to write your own resume.” But if you can’t, you may want to do some more thinking about it. The Job Search Resources page and blog posts on writing resumes are two places to start expanding your frame of reference.

For example, if you do not have a specific job you are applying for, the distribution and networking of a professional resume service will be beyond your capability unless you have done extensive networking already. You may decide it is worth investing in the service even if you are a professional writer because you aren’t sure what employers are looking for. It’s really your call.

People write their own resumes all the time, and some of those resumes are good enough to get them the job.  If you want to be one of the DIY resume writers, take advantage of the free resources here and do the best job you can on your resume. Good luck!


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