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“If the job sounds too good to be true, it is.” and “If they are vague on the position, they will be vague on the pay.”- How to find a great job and create an awesome resume to land the interview

24 Oct

Now that we have covered surviving the first few months of freshman year, let’s focus on the opposite end of the college spectrum: finding a job. Although, this post is not just for college graduates; this information will help recent grads and some currently unemployed. Websites like MONSTER.COM and CAREERBUILDER.COM just allow companies to post all they want, which means some could be scams, but still some could be legitimate jobs. You have to research fully before spending your time applying and interviewing at the posted companies. Newspapers are relatively safer when job hunting, since there is a monetary fee to post an ad, yet these should be further researched as well.

As a soon to be grad, and marketing major, I am unfortunately the target of most of the scams. These scams are looking for “Recent Grads” “No Experience Necessary” “We believe in rotational programs starting with sales” or just general “Sales Positions”. These positions usually entail cold calling or door to door sales. Don’t get me wrong, sometimes legitimate jobs involve cold calling or door to door sales, but they will be for well known companies and they will tell you upfront, that is what you will be doing. The idea of rotational programs are fantastic, the best employees are the ones that understand how the whole operation works. However, these scam programs start you in commission sales and hope you quit before they have to actually pay you a salary for the other ‘rotations’ in the company.

Now, unfortunately, I can’t just tell you to stay away from companies X, Y and Z. These large companies have hundreds of smaller companies with normal sounding names recruiting for them. The one that I came in contact with was Cydcor. I was searching for a marketing job in the South Jersey/Philly area.  I found five companies I liked, so of course I Googled them. ***Make sure you go to the second page of the results. If that just seems foreign to you (I never go to the 2nd page) re-Google the business with the word “scam”*** I did not do this, so I received a call for an interview with East Coast Business Concepts and scheduled for a week later. I excitedly told my mom and of course she had to check it out herself. She went beyond page 1 of Google and saw that some people we not happy there. I then checked it out and immediately found two posts; Sully’s Blog and Ripoff Report, be sure to scroll down in the comments on Sully’s there is a list of about 50 affiliates. They were affiliates of Cydcor. It turns out these companies go door to door selling Verizon FiOS, for example, and will not reimburse you for gas and over saturates the market so selling is very difficult. The pyramid scheme comes into play when they want you to start your own company with them and recruit your own sales force, but you will not get all the money, only what trickles down. Obviously, when I read this, my excitement for my interview was gone. So I then Googled the other companies+scam and found that three of the five I found were part of Cydcor and there were plenty of other “mother” companies in other parts of the US, doing the same thing on the sites I looked at. Since these sites are basically posting for sales jobs, they are targeting marketing graduates, as well as those who are unemployed seeking a job.

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Now that you know what jobs to stay away from and how to investigate them; how are you going to land that fantastic job when you find it? You could find a pin like me on Pinterest (found this the night before I posted) or read my lovely advice I spent hours compiling. Currently, I am still job searching (hopefully not for too much longer), but here are my myths and realities for writing resumes. Can you guess them correctly?

1. Don’t obviously use words from the company website or job posting.

2. Your resume can only be one page, that’s as far as employers look.

3. Your resume is your first impression; make them feel like they know you through the paper.

4. When job searching, send your resume to every company you can possibly think of.

5. You need to write an objective at the beginning of your resume.

6. Separate your work experience into relevant and other.

7. Add all the clubs and activities you were part of to fluff your resume, especially if you have not had many “real jobs”.

8. A resume should be professional and no personal information should be stated.

9. To make your resume stand out, use funky font and a cool layout.

10.People still read cover letters so you should spend the time to write one.

11. Looking over the web site is all the preparation you need to do for an interview.

Okay did you write down your answers? Just kidding, I think we are all beyond that by now. Here are the results.

1. MYTH! Those words are called “buzz words” for a reason.  Using their key words shows you took the time to read the posting thoroughly or even looked through their website before applying. Recruiters and Human Resource personnel have been taught to look for these words; these words are what they want their employees to possess. Now obviously, don’t go crazy and try to copy the posting or website word for word because that is just tacky.

2. MYTH! No one wants to read a ten page resume, but cramming everything on a .5 inch margin page doesn’t look good either; I’ve done it, it looks bad. If you do not have much to put on a resume, just add an extra space between parts and use solid 1 inch margins. If you have too much information on your resume there are two options; cut out your least recent jobs or activities (if they don’t really strengthen your resume) or change your margins to .75 inch and bold your headlines instead of adding extra space between them. Keeping it one page makes printing and handing to people easier, but if you need to go to a second page… organize your “most relevant to the job” items at the beginning of your resume, so if they don’t go to the second page you get your most important aspects across.

3. REALITY! This is a 2D version of you that you need to make feel real 3D, or at least 2.5D. This is your first impression with your employer and

you want to make it count. If you don’t make an impression, you go in the trash, and no one likes to be in the trash…except Oscar.

4. MYTH! Sending your resume to 20+ companies in one sitting it ridiculous. You want to personalize each resume and application you send. Let the business think you specifically want to work for them; that they were not just part of your mass mailing campaign. The WORST thing you can do is forget to change your cover letter or objective and send to the wrong company.

5. I believe yes, this is a REALITY, but the jury is out on this one still. The objective in your resume is like a super mini cover letter. You can change it for each job you apply to and can put those BUZZWORDS in it. It just gives a little extra personalization to your resume.

6. REALITY! If this is your first real job or you are switching industries you should separate your work experiences. That first job I had at 14 in a market is not relevant to my marketing career; however, it does show that I have been working since I was legally able. If you are changing career industries, your most recent job may not be the most relevant; so re-organize your job history to promote you the best for the job.

7. MYTH! Only put what strengthens your resume, such as leadership in a club or activity. Being a member of the soccer team or the knitting club doesn’t really make you any better of a candidate for a ‘real world’ job. Now if you were the president of a club, you could put that down and talk about your responsibilities. Bottom line is: keep clubs and activities out unless they directly relate to the job you are applying for.

8. MYTH! As stated in #3 this is your first impression you need to make them feel like they know you, and like you, before you even meet face to face. Don’t go overboard talking about your pets or fave food, but tell them something that no one else can. For example, you started your own business, even though it only lasted a couple months; you helped with some program up at your school; anything that will set you apart and is relevant to the job.

9. MYTH! This fits with #8 as well, but there is a line between obnoxious and standing out. Unlike Elle Woods in Legally Blonde (I cant believe I am actually referencing that movie…) spraying some perfume on a pink resume is not going to fly. Pick a common, legible font type and use black ink. Let the words do the talking. You should however, print them on heavier paper (it’s actually called resume paper) if giving a physical copy to a prospective employer.

10. REALITY! Cover letters still matter, just about every previous topic falls into this part. The cover letter is your personal correspondence with the company, it is how you say “I fit in your company because of X, Y and Z and I can bring A, B and C to the company and I am just awesome because…” Obviously, not in those words, but this is where you can really talk yourself up and try to connect with the recruiter or HR employee. You format it just like a business letter, if you don’t know how to write a formal business letter just Google it, they have great templates.

11. MYTH! Their website is a great place to start, but Google them! Also, if you know who you will interviewing with try to find them on LinkedIn or Facebook; you know they will be doing the same thing to you (make your profile private if you haven’t already, but if you don’t post scandalous things then you have nothing to worry about). Looking up your interviewer gives you some small talk topics to go to as well as maybe a common interest to thread into conversation. Interviews are all about making that personal connection so they remember you when it comes time to making the ‘final cut’.

In terms of interviews, just be yourself, I have found that works the best. The interviews I have gone on may not have immediately turned into jobs, but they liked me and kept me on file for future openings. Remember, you have already made yourself up to be the “perfect” prospective employee in your resume, now let yourself come out so you can really make a personal connection and be remembered as a genuine person. Dress for the job you want; the worst thing is to walk into an interview and feel under or over dressed. Men, collared shirt and dress pants at least, probably go for the whole suit look for most corporate jobs. Women, dress pants and a non- revealing top, heels or solid neutral flats, jacket optional. By looking at their website you should be able to get a good idea of the dress code. If you get the job they will tell you what the daily office dress code is so there will be no more guessing.

Good Luck on your job searches, use your best judgement and be yourself!