How to Get a Job in Communication
Tips from this semester’s senior seminar class.
Part I. Prepare a proper resume.
a. Spelling and grammar are vital.
Spelling and grammatical errors do not generate an automatic rejection, but they are among the most noted negatives during roundtable resume reviews. I’ve seen multiple errors result in a candidate not being invited for an interview. Proofread your resume. Then have someone other than you proofread it.
b. Remember your audience.
The people reading your resume are potential employers, potential supervisors and potential colleagues. You have to not only appear competent, but also come across as someone they want to work with. Avoid anything that would turn someone off (e.g., College Republicans, PETA, etc.) unless you consider it a vital, public part of who you are or you want to limit yourself to like-minded/open-minded employers.
c. Remember the purpose of your resume.
The major purpose of a resume is to get you an interview. You need to sell yourself to your potential employer. You do not need to detail your life story. Be thorough enough to present a full picture, but at the same time indirectly entice them to desire more information from a personal interview.
d. Don’t exaggerate.
It’s unethical, potentially illegal and it will come back to bite you. Your resume follows you throughout your career, and so will any unjust exaggerations. Be fair to yourself, but don’t go too far.
e. Focus on your strengths.
Before preparing your resume, determine your personal strengths and weaknesses. Emphasize your strengths in your resume. Provide evidence of those strengths. And prepare to defend your weaknesses in an interview.
f. If you are applying for different job types, create different resumes.
If you are looking for a career in writing or public relations, have one resume for writing and one for public relations. They may differ in content, emphasis or simply the order in which you list various items. It allows you to tailor the resume to the potential employer somewhat. Also, it’s good resume writing practice.
g. Pay attention to layout and design.
Bullet points are your friend. Go to http://www.how-to-write-a-resume.org/resume_writing_examples.htm to view several examples of well-designed resumes. Peruse the site for ideas, and then design your own. Remember that design skills will be considered a plus for whatever communication job you seek. Don’t get too wild unless you’re trying to highlight unusual creativity for an unusually creative job or employer. A bright pink resume will get attention, but perhaps not the kind of attention you want. Being different and professional will set you apart from the competition.
h. Put it online.
Get your resume online, ideally with your very own Web domain (i.e., yourname.com). Employers expect your generation to be technologically savvy. Having your own domain name is the “in” thing. Having your resume online helps a lot right now and will be essential in the near future. Pay attention to your “personal brand” on Facebook, Twitter and so forth. Untag yourself from photos you don’t want potential employers to see. Donna Farrugia offers some great advice in this regard at: http://invangelist.wordpress.com/2010/03/24/tcg-411-digital-you-building-and-managing-your-online-reputation/.
Want more? Check out http://www.dailywritingtips.com/resume-writing-tips/ or any of the dozens of resume writing tip sites online.