Welcome back to another edition of the Senior Series.
Last week, we reviewed the updated job search strategies that will help you find job opportunities that are viable within this changing world. Now that you have a sense of how to find opportunities, your next step is to ensure you have up to date application materials.
The application materials required for most job applications are resumes and cover letters. We have organized several resources for you based on 3 stages of the writing process: drafting, fine-tuning, and final review. This can feel like a daunting task, but know that the Career Center can help you perfect your documents and provide the support you need.
Take some time to peruse the resources included in this message. Have you scheduled a block of time to re-visit the information and resources later this week? Writing a resume or cover letter isn’t a quick task, but breaking it up into smaller chunks and stages will ensure that you get it done in a timely fashion.
Senior Series Topics & Dates:
- 4/6: Adapting: Prepare for a job search during the “new normal”
- 4/13: Searching: Stay visible and connected while job searching
- 4/20: Drafting: Work on your resume and cover letter
- 4/27: Interviewing: Tips for virtual interviews
- 5/4: Deciding: Negotiating your salary
Your best bet to get started on a new or updated resume is to consult our Resume module in Blackboard. If you haven’t logged in before, visit uvm.edu/career/blackboard for instructions on enrolling.
If you’ve already had a chance to review the module, you may want to check out these videos from Candid Career. This is an online resource packed with videos on every career-related topic you can think of. We’ve picked out a few that might be the most helpful to you in the resume writing process.
We also found a few articles that might be helpful to read over, include a step by step guide to getting starting in creating a new resume.
- How to write an effective resume from The Balance Careers
- Your step-by-step guide to making the perfect resume (with examples!) from The Muse
Once you’ve got a solid draft in place, it’s time to start working on fine-tuning your document. Maybe you have an existing resume from past applications, or you’ve got the ball rolling on a new draft. Either way, we’ve pulled together a few articles and videos to help you polish what you’ve got!
A common question we get from students is, “what should I put on my resume?” An equally important question is, “what should I leave off of my resume?” If you are looking to fine-tune your resume, here are a few resume red flags provided by professionals in fields from education to engineering.
Red flag free? Great! Now it is time to really focus on revisions and proofreading. This article provides a strategy for helping resume writers sharpen their word choice by using keywords and strong action verbs. Use this to sharpen the words on your resume so you will stand out to recruiters and digital resume screening tools.
A Final Look
You’ve revised your resume several times. A friend, family member, or another member of your personal network has taken a look at it. You’ve proofread it again. Now what?
Consider requesting an online document review, or even a 30 minute counseling appointment. A career counselor will review your work and provide written or verbal feedback. You can talk through challenge areas, and receive tips for maximizing your presence on the page. While we are happy to meet with students at all stages of the writing process, coming to the Career Center with your nearly complete draft is a great way to finalize your document for submission. Our online document reviews have a 1-3 day turnaround, and we are now able to offer next-day appointment scheduling. To request an online document review, log in to Blackboard, click “Prepare” and then “Resume” – the final step of the module is where you can submit your document for review.
In addition to submitting your document for review by the Career Center, consider reaching out to an alum on UVM Connect to ask for input. Three members of the UVM Alumni Association regional board have offered their support in looking at your documents: Ian Davis ’10, G’16, Director of Finance, Vermont Department of Economic Development; Sarah Madey ’09, Senior Brand Manager – Global Marketing at Hasbro, Inc. in Boston, and Aimee Marti ‘91, VP Branding and Corporate Social Responsibility at Aspenti Health. Try sending one of them a message to ask for a quick chat about your resume – or use the filtering features in UVM Connect to find other alumni who have volunteered to help and work in your industry of choice.
Just like your resume, we also recommend starting off with our Cover Letter module in Blackboard as you prepare to write a new draft. This will take you through the basic steps of getting a new cover letter written.
We also have two documents to help you think about your story and how to present it on the page. Our Cover Letter Basics reviews the purpose of a cover letter and provides some tips for success. The Cover Letter Worksheet takes you through the step by step process of reflecting on your skills and experiences and customizing your cover letter for each position you apply to.
Once you’ve got a solid cover letter draft, it’s time to start honing your document. We’ve pulled together three Candid Career videos focused on cover letters from the perspective of an employer.
- Cover letters are where you tell your story
- Show off what you bring to the table and prove that you have done your research
- Convey your enthusiasm and communication skills
Use this advice from employers to tailor your document for each position you apply to. And, like with your resume, consider reaching out to an alum on UVM Connect to ask them to take a look at your cover letter. Bring your specific questions – what kind of feedback are you looking for? Many alums are ready and waiting to help you!
A Final Look
Congratulations – you’re almost there! Before you send your cover letter out for job applications, it might be helpful to have a Peer Mentor or Career Counselor share their perspective through an online document review in Blackboard or a virtual appointment (which you can schedule via Handshake). Just like for your resume, you can submit a document for review by logging in to Blackboard, clicking “Prepare” and then “Cover Letter” – the submission field will appear in the last page of the module.