Job Search Resources
Resume Writing | Resume Theory 101 | Resume Builder Software | Cover Letter | Job Search Tips | Networking & Business Etiquette | Interview Tips | Polish Your Interview | Interview Skills Workshops |Articles of Interest |
Looking for a job? Need help developing your resume and wondering where to start? The key to any successful job search is to start early, do your research, and be prepared. You never know when an employment opportunity will present itself. It could be during a casual meeting or during something more formal. Whatever the scenario, start putting your information together now!
Whether you plan on landing a job on your own or through the opportunities on campus, having the 'right stuff ' is integral to your success. Be prepared, know yourself and what you want to do, then do your research, understand what the specific employer has to offer and what you can do for them.
Resume Writing Tips
As a current MBA student and/or alumni of the Edwards School of Business, you are welcome to attend any of our drop in sessions From Monday to Thursday (see the weekly Careers email for specific times each day) or make an appointment with Edwards Career Services to discuss your resume/cover letters etc. Edwards staff do keep office hours at the Nasser Centre.
A resume is a snapshot of you on paper. How it looks, what it says, and the first impression it makes is a critical part of the hiring process. The resume alone will not get you the job, but if it does what it is supposed to do...highlighting your key skills relevant to the employer's needs and making a positive impression, then it should set the tone for your next meeting, the interview!For your contact information, only include your name, (Do not list your street address and postal code), your city and province, your telephone and/or cell number and an e-mail address. Make sure to use a professional e-mail address like your university e-mail account. Stay away from examples like: 'firstname.lastname@example.org'.
- Use 8x11 quality white paper. Stay away from coloured paper and coloured text. Print using a laser-quality printer
- Include your name and page number on subsequent pages of your resume. Don't use the same header as your first page on subsequent pages (ie. your full contact information)
- Focus on quality vs. quantity. There is no set number of pages but two is most common
- Include the skill sets used in performing the duties. Highlight your accomplishments
- Use quantitative indicators! Employers like to see results. Ie. ...saved the company 10% by...
- Use action verbs to describe activities
- Stay away from using "I' in your resume. It is already about you!
- Ensure someone other than the 'spell checker' looks over your resume.
Check out our OptimalResume software for specific examples
Resume Theory '101'
There are three philosophies you should consider when preparing a resume for someone to review. Employers will form an impression on a resume immediately upon seeing it for the first time. Remember that an employer's time is precious and they will not spend a lot of time looking at a resume the first time over.
- For example, if an employer is reviewing applications for an advertised position, he or she is going to quickly scan over the application pool looking for the key skill sets/qualifications they are looking for. If they cannot find this information quickly, they may move on to someone else's application who has made an effort to draw out those key qualifications.
The first page has high priority. To make an immediate impression, you must present the most relevant points first. If you don't, you may not captivate the reader.
- Put points/sections in order of relevance to that reader/position. Do not list things because they 'fit' the page
- Tailor your skill sets to the requirements of the job especially on the first page and, if applicable, throughout the rest of your resume. This may mean that the resume content and/or look may change to meet the needs of each of the companies/jobs that you apply to
- Until you have sufficient relevant experience, your education should be put on page one. How would an employer know what you graduated/majored in if they cannot clearly see it on page one?
- Your contact information should also be on page one
- Not only is the first page the priority page, the first section, the first topic within the section, the first bullet and the first word in that bullet. ALL play an important role in getting the reader's attention!
How you present the information on page one depends on your background, what you have to offer, and who your target audience is. These are the factors that dictate what goes where.
The left side of your resume is more important than the right. We are taught to read left to right, therefore, presenting relevant, eye catching topic/subject etc. information on the left side is key to getting the reader's eyes to move right to read into the subject more in depth.
As an analogy, think of a dictionary or a Table of Contents section, we scan down the left to find the word or topic and then move in to find out more information.
- For example, many resumes list their dates of employment, schooling, etc. on the left-hand side of the resume. Instead, try listing a work experience topic, the company name, or job title to draw the reader in to read further.
Ask yourself what would the reader want to see first? Once you figure that out, go with it.
It is all about balance and flow. Utilize indenting, title case, and strategic bolding to provide balance and flow to your document.
- Your name and the headings should be the only things 'all caps' on your resume. If you use all caps for headings, company names, degrees, whatever, you lose continuity. If these are the only things 'all caps' a reader can easily spot them throughout the document
- Use bolding strategically to draw the reader's eye to something unique
- Do not left justify all your text, or leave vast white spaces on the left. Rather, balance the information using indentation
- Use solid bullets verses dashes to identify statements
- Stay away from Italics as it takes away from a 'sharp' focused look
These are just a few concepts to consider when putting your resume together. For a more in-depth look into all aspects of writing a resume, check out our OptimalResume software
Welcome to Edwards' Resume Builder and Interview Preparation software. Part of our mission is to provide you with the information and tools to market yourself effectively. OptimalResume™ is such a tool, designed to prepare you to engage employers with professional-quality documents and successful interviewing skills. Start Now!
Cover letters are business letters and should be tailored to EACH job you are applying for. Resumes should always be accompanied by a cover letter as it is the introduction to your resume and highlights why you should be considered for the position.
- Use the same quality paper and font as you used for your resume
- Left justify the letter with no indents
- Address the cover letter to a specific person (including their title and mailing address). Remember to also include your full contact information at the top of the letter
- Use a 'RE' heading just above the first paragraph to highlight the position sought
- Address the cover letter to a specific person. Stay away from "To whom it may concern"
- Cover letters are never more than one page long
The first paragraph is your priority paragraph. What you write here encourages the reader to read further, or it could possibly tell the reader "Here we go again, another generic cover letter to look at!"
- Never use a generic cover letter and fill in the blanks. Employers will see through that very quickly!
- Try to stay away from starting each sentence with 'I'
- Attempt to highlight at least three specific skills/experiences that are relevant to the position and how your experience will benefit the position applied for
- Never just talk about you; 'I did this' or 'I have these skills' without taking it to the next step. Do take those thoughts and relate how they fit into the position!
You must tailor each cover letter to the specific reader! Employers can tell a generic cover letter with 'fill in the blank' zones verses a focused, well-presented cover letter unique to what they are looking for in an applicant.
A good rule of thumb is: With the cover letter you just wrote, can you substitute another company's name, job title etc. and still feel the cover letter makes enough sense to be sent to that other employer?
If you have written a cover letter that targets specific skills relevant to that position and show how those skills can benefit the position and/or their organization, substituting a new employer's name etc., should make the content unfocused and irrelevant.
Edwards' OptimalResume software also has a Cover Letter module that provides examples of different types of cover letter formats.
Welcome to Edwards' Cover Letter Builder software. Part of our mission is to provide you with the information and tools to market yourself effectively. The Cover Letter builder from OptimalResume™ is such a tool, designed to prepare you to engage employers with professional-quality cover letters. Start Now!Back to top
Two of the most intriguing questions to challenge you in an interview:
- Why should I hire you?
Intriguing yes, because whether it is asked of you or not, you should be prepared to answer it. Employers may ask the question directly, or they may offer you a moment at the end of the interview to ask questions or add something to the interview. That is the time to respond with why you are the right candidate for the job. Your confidence must show as you answer, but not to the point of being over confident. Why are YOU the right fit for their organization and position? Highlight the key skills you want to showcase!
- What are you doing to become a business professional?
This question is not as easy as it looks. The answer is not "I am getting a business degree ". What is your passion for business? What else are you doing in your day-to-day life that showcases your interest in business? Do you participate in out-of-class business events? Do you actively follow the stock market, perhaps you have a business you are developing or running. There are many examples to choose from. What this question does is to allow you to showcase your talent, your passion and interest in this field inside and outside the classroom!
Each fall, Edwards Career Services hosts an Interview Skills Employer Panel. This is your opportunity to learn what goes on in the hiring process and will give you a chance to ask hiring professionals about preparing for and succeeding in an employment interview. Held annually in September of each year
Check out our Interview Prep software from OptimalResume™. Edwards' Interview Prep software allows you to practice answering interview questions 24/7. You can choose the types of questions you want asked or select one of the preset question formats for each discipline. If you have a webcam, you can even record your answers and play them back too! Start Now!
Nervous about your next job interview? Don't stress out. Practice with Interview Prep! Get Started Now!
Interview Prep helps prepare you for even the toughest of interviews with real-to-life, multi-media interview scenarios developed by seasoned employment professionals. All you need is access to a computer with or without a web cam and a microphone. No special software is needed.
When you start a new Interview Prep session from the Skills Center, the first step is to configure your interview. Select the length of the interview, anywhere from 5 to 20 questions. Pick a recording format, either audio and video, audio only, or no recording. Then you can select the type of interview you want to practice.
Networking and Business Etiquitte
Edwards Career Services presents a networking and business etiquette session in the fall and early January. Watch our weekly 'careers' emails or follow us on Facebook to get the most up-to-date information on our next session.Articles & Resources of Interest
- Career Options - Relevant magazine articles targeted at university students
- Job Choices - Information on resumes, advice on interviews, and tips on how to market yourself to employers and more.
- Ask The Headhunter - Informative insider's edge on job search and hiring
- MBA Highway - A career blog, resource, and community exclusively for MBA students and MBA professionals across all industries, functional areas, and career stages.
- CareerHub - Free advice from career experts
- 6FigureJobs - Job postings from leading Fortune 1000 companies and executive search firms
- MBAs Without Borders - Matches skilled, experienced MBA graduates with international volunteer assignments