Career Planning Guidebook

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					Journey Into The Real World With The Career Services Center

Career Planning Guidebook

• Resumes and Cover Letters • Acing Your Interviews • Landing an Internship • The Job Offer • Roadmap to Graduate School • and more…

Career Services Center

“Do what you love and love what you’re doing, and you will never work a day in your life.” Unknown



Table of Contents
Welcome Letter Services and Resources Career Development Process/Four-Year Plan Exploring Career Options Internships Networking Informational Interviewing Successful Resumes Components of a Resume Electronic Resumes Resume Dos and Don’ts Action Word List Skills Inventory Sample Resumes Resume Checklist Job Search Correspondence & Company Research Cover Letters & Sample Letters Preparing for Interviews Common Interview Questions Types of Interviews Interview Dos and Don’ts Professional Portfolios The Job Offer Job Search Worksheet Roadmap to Graduate School 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17-18 19-20 21 22-27 28 29-30 31-32 33 34 35 36 37

Denisha Sanders, Ph.D. Director Lori A. Bumgarner, M.Ed. Assistant Director Brenda C. Jacobs Student Services Assistant Chavis University Center, Suite 210 Appointments may be made in person or by calling: (910) 521-6270 Fax: (910) 521-6166 Homepage: Newsletter:

“Thank you for all your help with my job search. I landed a great job shortly after graduation with a growing company in my first interview, and I’m making more than the salary I had hoped for! Thanks again.” graduate, Class of 2001 “Learning how to be professional now will prepare college students for being professional in the future. We are lucky to have Career Services...Now I feel I have the skills and confidence to write a resume that will help shape my future.” - resume workshop attendant “When I discuss resume writing and other career preparation skills with them, many students are very frustrated by conflicting instructions and all the different formats that resumes may take. Taking my students to Career Services for a general workshop on resume writing has been very helpful to both my students and me. The information that can be conveyed in a one-hour session usually provides students with the type of information that is needed to begin writing a professional looking resume. What is important for students to realize is that resume writing is an ongoing process, and that they need to produce a resume that is polished and professional looking, and is in a format that employers can effectively use to evaluate their backgrounds.” - Dr. John Bowman, Professor of Sociology
Services are available and free to all currently enrolled UNCP students and alumni.

Contact information on sample resumes and cover letters has been changed to protect the privacy of contributing writers. Developed by Lori Bumgarner, M.Ed. Special thanks to Dr. Lisa Schaeffer, Dr. Denisha Sanders, Debbie Jacobs, William Flagler, and April Locklear.

Dear UNCP Student: Welcome to the Career Services Center at UNCP. We look forward to working with you as you shape your career plans and prepare for life after college. While your career plan is uniquely personal and is your individual responsibility, we are eager to provide direction, resources, support, and opportunities as you begin this exciting journey. We encourage you to visit the Career Services Center and take that important first step in your journey. The Career Services Center is located in Suite 210 of the James B. Chavis University Center and is open from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Monday through Friday. This career planning guidebook contains useful information about services and resources for all UNCP students and alumni. Use this guide as a reference tool as you begin your career exploration and job search and be sure to let us know how we can help you along the way. Your feedback on ways that we may better serve you will be greatly appreciated. Again, we look forward to working with you in this vital partnership to create rewarding internship experiences, fulfilling career opportunities, and extracurricular activities that reflect your background and interests! Sincerely,

Denisha Sanders, Ph.D. Director Career Services

Lori Bumgarner, M.Ed. Assistant Director Career Services

Make an appointment by contacting the Career Services Center at 521-6270. Workshops are throughout the academic year and on our website.

DISCOVER Get a jump-start on your career planning by utilizing DISCOVER, an online career guidance and information system. This system includes a variety of career assessments and up-to-date databases for occupations and majors. Contact us to set up your username and password. Brave Opportunities Use our online recruitment system to post your resume and search job listings and internship opportunities by setting up an account with Brave Opportunities found on our website. What Can I Do With A Major In…? A convenient website that helps you connect majors with careers. For each major that interests you, choose "Information" to find an outline of common career areas, typical employers, and strategies designed to maximize career opportunities. Choose "Links" to find a list of websites that provide information about listed majors and related careers.

Review an extensive collection of materials including books, videos, handouts, directories, and brochures that cover all aspects of career preparation and graduate school information. The Career Library is located in the CSC, Suite 210 of the James B. Chavis University Center and our online library can be found on our website.

Get advice and information about opportunities to build work experience into your college years. Make an appointment with the Career Services Center for more information.

Visit our website to find general information, our online newsletter Brave Opportunities, a “What Can I Do With My Major?” database, links to helpful websites, and access to most of our online library and career assessment programs. It is located at

Obtain the current Graduate School Guide and other information regarding graduate school admission.

Participate in career development events, job fairs, and on-campus recruitment.

got job?

Attend workshops on a variety of topics including choosing a major, resume writing, interviewing, and job search strategies.

our services for all they’re worth

Focus: Exploring interests and expanding options. Establish good time management and study skills. Join an activity or student organization. Acquire computer skills by familiarizing yourself with word processing and various types of software. Take courses that interest you while fulfilling your academic goals. Visit the Career Services Center to begin researching various majors and careers. Utilize DISCOVER to explore what career is right for you. Seek a summer job to gain valuable experience. Identify your definition of success.

Focus: Gaining career-related work experience. Update your resume and have it critiqued in the Career Services Center. Establish relationships with those professors and supervisors from whom you want recommendations. Continue to build practical experience through internships, related part-time jobs, and student activities. Create a network of contacts. Attend workshops and career fairs. Check with your academic advisor to make sure you are on track with your graduation requirements. Gather information on graduate school if you plan to further your education.

Focus: Narrowing educational and occupational options. Decide on a major. Concentrate on maintaining a competitive GPA. Become a leader in student organizations. Register with the Brave Opportunities online recruitment system. Gather information about internships, co-ops, and study abroad opportunities. Attend a workshop on resume writing skills and take advantage of resume writing services so you can begin building a professionallooking resume. Speak to professionals in your field of interest and set up job shadowing opportunities.

Focus: Developing job search strategies. Update your professional profile on Brave Opportunities. Organize your job search and send out resumes (first semester). Attend workshops on interview preparation. Attend career fairs and sign up for on-campus interviews. Evaluate job offers and make decisions. Apply for graduate school if you plan to further your education. Talk with a career consultant to assist you in making the transition from college to work. Graduate!!!

Does your career plan need a little direction? We’ll give you a kick in the compass!

Investigating Career Alternatives
After you have engaged in self-assessment and identified some career options, the next step is to research career fields that interest you. Some suggestions: Read all you can about careers that appeal to you. Use the Career Services Center resources, Sampson-Livermore Library, and public libraries to identify books, trade magazines, Internet websites, videotapes, and news articles that have related career information. Write to professional and trade organizations for career literature. Names and addresses of relevant organizations can be found on our Online Career Library and in most other libraries. Think about where you want to work – not just the company, but also the environment. Do you want a for-profit or not-for-profit organization, big company or small, manufacturing or service sector, etc.? The same job function in varied settings can be very different. Participate in the field directly. Seek an internship, part-time or summer job, or volunteer experience that will help you gain first-hand knowledge. Observe people in their places of work and write down all that you see. Compare what you see to what you are looking for in a career. Talk with people who are in the field(s) that interests you. This process is called informational interviewing and allows you to ask questions informally about specific jobs. The annual UNCP Career Fair affords students the opportunity to talk with professionals from a wide variety of career fields. Ask: • What is the nature of your work? • What are your duties and responsibilities on a daily, monthly, or annual basis? • What are the entry-level opportunities in this field? • What skills are needed to excel in this field? • What are some courses that would prepare me for entry into this field? • Are there particular personal characteristics desired in people hired for entry-level positions in this field? • How is this field changing? What can I do to prepare for those changes? • What, in particular, gives you satisfaction in this job? What frustrates you? • Does your organization offer internships or summer jobs for college students? • Where can I find more information about this field?

“Where the needs of the world and your talents cross, there lies your vocation.” -Aristotle

“WHAT IS AN INTERNSHIP?” An internship is a short-term work or service experience in which a person has intentional pre-established learning goals and is reflecting actively on what he or she is learning throughout the experience. Internships are distinct from jobs obtained primarily for economic reasons. The purpose of an internship is to bridge the gap between what is learned in the classroom and the actual world of work. “WHY SHOULD I PURSUE AN INTERNSHIP?” Internships provide a way to explore a particular field of interest. An internship can give you an idea of what a professional job is like on a dayto-day basis. It can give you an idea about the kinds of things you like to do and whether you would be happy in that type of job. Certain disciplines, such as Business, Social Work, and Criminal Justice, require an internship before you will even be considered for a full-time, permanent job. Internships also provide the opportunity for valuable skill building in such areas as organization, problem solving, and communication. Skills developed during an internship can strengthen your candidacy when you are job-hunting or applying to graduate school. “HOW DO I FIND AN INTERNSHIP?” • Start early! If you are looking for a summer internship, it makes sense to start this process in the fall semester. Attend information workshops, create a resume, and begin to gather information on careers of interest. • Narrow your choices. Learn a little more about careers, jobs, or organizations that may offer internship opportunities. The CSC has information about internships and the Internet is also a great resource. Check out our website for starting points. • Do research on your interests. Review any available information. Talk with alumni, friends, acquaintances, and others who may have helpful information. Gather specific information on targeted organizations from websites, news reports, and guides available in the Career Services Center. Network. This is an important tool for any jobseeker, whether you are looking for internships or full-time jobs. Identify opportunities and deadlines. Identify specific opportunities, gather applications, and make sure you are aware of deadlines. Keep in mind that these deadlines can be months earlier than the internship. Apply for positions. While some internship sites may request an application, virtually all will want to see your resume. Make sure your resume is polished to perfection-remember, you only have one chance to make a first impression.

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“WHAT IF I DON’T SEE ANYTHING I AM INTERESTED IN?” Continue to talk with the CSC staff and your academic advisor. Consult the Career Services Center library for additional resources. Consider creating your own internship. Network with friends and family about careers that interest you, and see if they have any ideas about how you might secure an internship. “WHEN ARE THE DEADLINES FOR APPLICATION?” They vary from program to program. There is no universal deadline! Some internships have deadlines as early as November. Others are as late as April. “CAN I GET PAID FOR MY INTERNSHIP?” It depends on what the sponsor offers. Some internships do not pay because they are with non-profit organizations, or because they have so many applicants that payment is not necessary to attract qualified interns. Students with internship experience have higher GPAs and gain full-time employment sooner than those students without internship experience (Journal of Employment Counseling, 1999). DON’T LEAVE UNCP WITHOUT IT!

Networking is an important component of the job search process, especially since most available jobs go unadvertised. Below are some pointers to help you develop your networking skills and tap into the “hidden job market.”
WHAT IS IT? Networking means going beyond the usual avenues of the job search such as job fairs and want ads; it means contacting people on your own to gain access to information about job opportunities that are not publicly available. HOW DO I DO IT? First, be aware that you are not calling people just to ask about job openings but to learn any kind of information at all which may help you. If the person you contact does not know of a specific opening in your field, ask if he or she knows someone else you can contact who might have this information. If so, write down the name and phone number. Then call and repeat the process. But where do you get names to get started? First, sit down and brainstorm a list of names. This list should include anyone you can think of who can assist you in your job search. These people could be college roommates, professors, relatives, neighbors, friends of friends, etc. Let these people know that you are currently conducting a job search and that you would appreciate any information they may have about job openings. Also, ask them to introduce you to employers they know who are seeking to fill positions in their companies. A second step in the networking process is calling “cold contacts.” Calling cold contacts involves contacting companies that interest you to speak with employers to whom you have not been formerly introduced. When making these contacts, it is a good idea to have written down on a card the things you would like to say and the points you would like to make. Ask the contact if you may send a copy of your resume to him or her. If the contact says yes, make sure you have the correct spelling of his or her name and job title. Send the resume within 24 hours, along with a cover letter that makes reference to your phone conversation. Here is how you might start off a call: “Hi, my name is ______. Professor Maynor of the UNCP School of Business suggested that I call you. I am trying to gather some information about career possibilities in your industry, and I wonder if you could spare a couple of minutes to talk with me.” If your contact is receptive, try to set up a meeting with him or her. If he or she is too busy to talk, try to schedule a phone conversation in the near future. If your contact is totally unreceptive, try to get a name of someone who “might be able to point me in the right direction.” Another way to expand your network of contacts is to get involved in professional associations related to your chosen field. It is important to not just apply to be a member of the association, but to also become actively involved by attending as many meetings as you can and volunteering to help with association events. Most professional associations have discounted membership fees for current college students. In all instances, be cordial, keep your networking conversations brief, and thank each person for his or her time and assistance. Show your appreciation by sending thank you notes to all who have helped you in your job search process. Also, organize your information by keeping records of what was discussed during your networking conversations and with whom. And remember, networking should not end after you have accepted a job. Networking occurs on a continual basis throughout your career. Continue to expand your network by attending conferences and remaining actively involved in professional associations. Following the tips listed above will help you tap into the hidden job market and increase your opportunities for employment.

When most college students hear the words “job interview,” they automatically think of the highpressure and often dreaded part of the job search process. In actuality, there are some interviews designed to spark confidence instead of fear. These interviews are referred to as informational interviews. Informational interviewing is a formal method of research conducted by the candidate long before he or she is the one in the hot seat. It can be one of the most useful and personally rewarding strategies in your career search. Used correctly, informational interviewing can help you: • Gain exposure to a particular work setting. • Learn about a career field of interest to you. • Clarify the day-to-day requirements and expectations of your chosen field. • Learn about an organization of interest to you. • Cultivate a “network” of professionals. • Develop confidence and the skills useful in employment interviewing. At first, the process of informational interviewing may seem intimidating. Some common concerns may be: “Why would anyone want to spend their valuable time talking to me?” While a professional’s time is valuable, you will find that most are willing to take 20-30 minutes to help out someone who is genuinely interested in their field of work. When you arrange a meeting, prepare questions ahead of time so you will not take up any more of that person’s time than you need. If you call for an appointment and the person cannot talk with you, ask whether there is anyone else to whom you might speak. “I’M NOT GOOD AT TALKING TO STRANGERS.” It can be intimidating to call a stranger to ask for an informational interview. Realize, however, that most people in the types of jobs you are exploring will have similar interests to yours and will be glad to share what they know. Once you have made just one contact, the rest get easier. At the end of each informational interview, ask the person for the names of others with whom you might talk. This is another way you can expand your network of contacts. “COULDN’T I FIND THE SAME INFORMATION IN BOOKS OR COMPANY LITERATURE?” Yes and no. Your informational interview contacts may provide information that is straight out of the company literature. However, they will also provide personal insights and opinions that you cannot get from any other source. This type of information is invaluable. The main objective of an informational interview should be to gain information and to make contacts. The person you are interviewing is extending a professional courtesy by sharing information with you. Do not put the interviewee in an awkward position by asking for a job. This is an abuse of the process and not productive. It may turn out that a contact you make through your informational interview will be instrumental in helping you find employment, but it is inappropriate to expect this outcome. A FEW SUGGESTED QUESTIONS TO ASK: • What are your major responsibilities? • How did you happen to choose this line of work? • How did you get your first job in this field? • How did you get where you are today, and, if you had it to do over, would you take the same route? • How open do you think this field is today? • What personal qualities do you feel are needed to succeed in this line of work? • What are the major frustrations in this job? • What advice would you give a student aspiring to this career? Plan to arrive at the informational interview on time and dress professionally. Also, be courteous enough to keep within your agreedupon timeframe. When the interview is over, thank the person for his or her time. Promptly follow up with a thank-you letter. Periodically contact the individual to see how things are going and to keep him or her up-to-date with your job search process.

PURPOSE OF A RESUME A resume is a concise summary of your education, experience, and skills. Since it is the first contact a potential employer has with you, it is your introduction. It is a marketing tool that highlights facts about you as they relate to a particular internship or job. The purpose of a resume is NOT to get you the job, but to get you the interview. RESUME FORMAT Most students find the chronological resume best suited to present their qualifications. Also, the majority of employers prefer chronological resumes to other formats such as skills/functional resumes. List, with description, dates and details of each work experience, extracurricular activity, and educational experience separately. Place them in reverse chronological order, starting with the most recent work or schooling (see samples on pages 17 and 18). IDEALS OF THE RESUME • • • • • Resume should be one page. Use quality 8 1/2 x 11 paper, 20 lb. cotton content. Conservative colors are preferred. Statements should be honest, yet use the most supportive terms. Punctuation, grammar, and syntax must be flawless. Use a typeface of at least 10 point in a professional style (i.e. Arial, Times New Roman, etc.).

STYLE OF A RESUME Use simple, concise language and be brief. Use statements with strong verbs (see list of action words provided in this booklet). Choose a conservative style that you like best but is also easy to read and easy to scan or email (avoid using templates). Make sure that your resume reflects uniformity and consistency. TIPS FOR DESCRIBING YOUR WORK EXPERIENCES For help, ask yourself these questions: 1. What was the scope of my responsibility? How many people did I supervise? How much money was I responsible for? 2. What did my duties/projects result in? 3. How did I improve things? 4. How did I help the organization operate more efficiently and productively? A student who spent his summer tearing down a barn wrote a description of his work experience. He was not sure he could make such a task sound good to an employer until he came up with the following: • Worked alone for long hours in extreme heat to deconstruct large barn, calculating best way to disassemble it without causing damage to adjacent structures • Saved $1,500 by reusing board to create additional shelter • Resold usable metal to salvage yard • Properly disposed of other materials that might harm the environment This example shows that taking the time to brainstorm and using the strong action word list can result in something impressive. The Career Services Center has many resume writing resources and services available such as: • books on how to write a resume with samples of various resume formats • workshops that teach the nuts and bolts of writing a resume • one-on-one resume critiques

Provide your full name, full address without abbreviation, telephone number with area code, and e-mail address. A present (school/campus) address and permanent (home) address may be given when appropriate.


This is optional. If you are applying for a specific job or internship, you may want to include an objective that is targeted to the position for which you are applying. Target your objective by stating the job title and company to which you are applying. Keep your objective brief and concise. The highest level of education should be listed first (reverse chronological order), then continue with other schools, degrees, training, etc. Do NOT include high school. Include degree(s) earned (i.e. Bachelor of Arts, Bachelor of Science, etc.), and major/minor/concentration(s), the name, city, and state of the institution(s), and graduation date(s) (month and year only). Related coursework may also be included, as well as courses outside your major that you may wish employers to know. Include your cumulative and/or major GPA here if either is a 3.0 or higher. Academic honors may be listed in this category or in a separate category. Also, if you are paying for more than 50% of your education yourself, indicating this will show employers that you are responsible and dedicated. List full-time and part-time jobs, internships, summer work, self-employment, volunteer experiences, military service, and other work-related experience. List positions in reverse chronological order (most recent listed first). Provide your job title, organization, location (city and state only), and dates of employment. • Next, list your job duties with bullets, and • describe them using strong action words from the list provided in this booklet on page 15. • Also, indicate accomplishments, and • use figures/numbers wherever possible to quantify your experience. Use the skills checklist on page 16 to help you complete this component of your resume. Include computer skills, foreign languages, transferable skills, and other skills in which you are proficient. The above categories are the foundation of your resume. If you have significant accomplishments or experience in any of the following, list them: • Honors and Awards (if not already included in the Education section) • Foreign Travel/Study (especially if you have lived or worked overseas) • Leadership Experience and Extracurricular Activities • Licenses and Certifications • Additional Coursework • Professional Associations • Presentations and Publications Do NOT include your references on your resume. Include them separately on the same type of paper and in the same format/style as your resume. List 3-5 references including professors and previous and/or current supervisors (do not include relatives). Include name, job title, company/organization, work address, work phone number, and email address. Make sure you ask only those people who know your work well and can speak highly of your abilities.





FORMATTING YOUR ELECTRONIC/SCANNABLE RESUME A resume can be scannable and still be attractive. Below are guidelines to follow to optimize scannability: • Letters should not touch each other since scanning systems have difficulty interpreting characters that are melded into one. Italics and bold are fine to use, as long as the letters do not touch. • Choose a non-decorative sans serif font such as Times New Roman or Arial. Keep the font size between 10 and 14 points. • Avoid columns since the optical character recognition (OCR) reads the text from left to right. • Do not use round, hollow bullets since they can be interpreted as the letter “o”. Choose round, solid bullets instead. • Do not use ampersands, percent signs, or foreign characters because they may not translate properly. • Add a space between slashes so that the slash does not touch the letters. • Underlining and horizontal and vertical lines are acceptable, as long as the lines do not touch any of the letters. • If you are sending a hard copy of your resume in addition to your electronic resume, use white paper, do not staple your resume, and do not fold your resume. • Make sure you have used keywords throughout your resume so that they will be found in a database search. KEYWORDS Keywords are one of the most important elements in an electronic resume. They are the words a computer must read in your resume to consider you a qualified candidate for a specific vacancy. In general, keywords are nouns or short phrases that describe the knowledge, skills, abilities, and experience an employer must see before he or she can consider you for the job. Usually, the necessary keywords can be found in the position description. Keywords describing your abilities may include: “Budget Management,” “IBM Word Processing,” “oral and written communication skills,” etc. Keywords describing your experience may include: “fourteen years in banking” or “all functions in corporate finance.” Remember: organizations and people use different words to say the same thing. You need to know the synonyms. If the correct keywords are not used, the computer will immediately weed out the resume. EMAILING YOUR RESUME While there may be times when it is appropriate to send your resume as an attachment, many employers do NOT want applicants to send attachments due to the danger of viruses. Also, you want to avoid copying and pasting an MS Word resume into the body of your email since this causes some formatting features to morph into computer codes making it difficult to read. To send your resume in the body of an email, follow these steps: 1. Convert your file from MS Word to an ASCII/plain text resume. • Open your document, go to Edit > Select All and change the font to Courier 12 pt; go to File > Page Setup and change the left and right margins to 1.5. • Go to File > Save As > Under “Save as Type,” select “Text Only with Line Breaks.” • Select “Yes” at the prompt that warns about features being compatible. • Close and reopen the file, which now has a text (.txt) extension. • Review and clean up your document. 2. Test the file. Open the text file, copy and paste into your email message, and send it to yourself to ensure that the text transfers as intended. 3. When sending, set your email message format to plain text. Copy the text of your ASCII resume and paste it into the message section of your email.

• Do use professional looking resume paper in a subdued color such as white or ivory. Do include contact information such as name, address, phone number, and email address. Do make sure your objective statement is clear, concise, and specific. Do include your GPA only if it is a 3.0 or higher. Do include any academic honors. Do use strong action words to describe your duties in previous work experiences. Also describe your accomplishments and initiatives. Using figures also helps to demonstrate your accomplishments. Do list all skills you possess, including computer skills. Do include any activities you have been actively involved in. Do make sure your references are in the same format as your resume and on the same type of paper. Do make sure you have 3-5 professional references who know you well and can discuss your work. Do use bullets to list information in short concise statements. Do make sure everything is uniform on your resume. Always be consistent in your format. Do make sure that anything listed on your resume can be backed up by you during an interview. • Don’t use paper that is too flashy.



Don’t include personal information such as age, marital status, social security number, etc. Don’t include a picture. Don’t make your objective statement too long, vague, or cliché-ridden. Don’t list your courses on your resume unless you have taken some careerrelated courses outside your major. Don’t use the phrases “Responsible for…” or “Duties include…” when describing your duties in previous work experiences.

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Don’t list personal interests that are unrelated to your objective statement. Don’t include any activities you were not actively involved in. Don’t include your references on your resume. Don’t ask relatives to serve as references. Don’t write in sentence or paragraph form and don’t use personal pronouns. Don’t use templates to format your resume Don’t send out your resume with any errors or misspellings on it. This is the ultimate DON’T!



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Action Verbs abstracted accelerated achieved acquired acted activated adapted addressed administered advertised advised advocated aided allocated analyzed anticipated applied appraised approved arranged ascertained assembled assessed assisted attained audited augmented authored briefed budgeted calculated charted classified coached collaborated collected compared compiled completed composed computed conceived conducted conserved consolidated constructed consulted contracted contributed controlled converted cooperated coordinated correlated counseled created critiqued cultivated dealt debated decided defined delegated delivered designed detected determined developed devised diagnosed directed discovered displayed dissected distributed documented drafted earned edited eliminated enabled endured enforced enlightened enlisted ensured established estimated evaluated examined exceeded excelled executed expanded expedited experienced explained explored expressed extracted facilitated fashioned financed followed forged formulated fostered founded gained gathered generated governed guided handled headed identified illustrated imagined implemented improved inaugurated increased indexed influenced initiated inspected installed instituted instructed integrated interpreted intervened interviewed introduced invented inventoried investigated judged launched learned lectured led located maintained managed mapped mastered maximized measured mediated mentored met minimized modeled moderated modified monitored motivated negotiated observed obtained offered operated ordered organized originated overcame oversaw participated perfected performed persuaded pinpointed pioneered planned practiced predicted prepared prescribed presented presided prioritized processed produced programmed projected promoted proposed protected proved provided publicized published purchased queried questioned raised ranked rationalized reasoned received recorded recruited reduced referred reinforced related rendered reorganized repaired reported represented researched responded restructured revamped reviewed revised routed scanned scheduled screened served serviced set goals shaped simplified sketched skilled sold solved sorted spearheaded specialized spoke strategized streamlined strengthened structured studied substantiated succeeded summarized supervised supported surveyed symbolized synchronized synthesized systematized tabulated taught tested theorized trained translated updated upgraded utilized validated visualized worked wrote Adaptive Skill Words active adaptable adaptive adept analytical assertive committed cooperative creative dedicated dependable determined diligent diplomatic disciplined discreet effective efficient energetic enterprising enthusiastic exceptional experienced fair firm honest independent innovative instrumental keen logical loyal mature methodical objective open minded organized personable poised positive practical productive receptive reliable resilient resourceful self-confident self-reliant sharp sincere strong successful tactful tenacious

The list below will help you in fleshing out the skills section of your resume. You have many skills in addition to computer skills, more than you may realize. Check off those skills you are proficient in to include in your resume.
___ Accounting/Finance ___ Acting ___ Acting as a Liaison ___ Advising Others ___ Analyzing Information ___ Art ___ Budgeting ___ Case Management ___ Communication (Oral & Written) ___ Conducting Experiments ___ Counseling ___ Customer Service ___ Editing ___ Events Planning ___ Events Promotion ___ Foreign Languages (List by skill levels: Reading; Working Knowledge; Proficiency) ______________________________________ ______________________________________ ___ Fundraising ___ Generating Ideas ___ Group Facilitation ___ Handling Complaints ___ Implementing Ideas ___ International Experience ___ Interviewing for Information ___ Layout/Design ___ Leadership Skills ___ Legislative Lobbying ___ Management (people/projects/money/resources) ___ Manufacturing Experience ___ Market Research/Compiling Statistics ___ Mediation ___ Meeting Facilitation ___ Motivating Others ___ Music ___ Negotiation ___ Organizational Skills ___ Persuading Others ___ Presentation Skills ___ Problem Solving ___ Proofreading ___ Program Planning/Evaluation ___ Record Keeping ___ Rehabilitating Others ___ Research/Evaluation ___ Retail ___ Sales/Marketing ___ Supervising Others ___ Scientific Laboratory Skills: _____________ ___ Teaching (skill/concept to others) ___ Technical Writing ___ Time Management ___ Training ___ Volunteer Recruitment & Training ___ Working in a Team ___ Writing Articles/Reports COMPUTER SKILLS Using a Computer: ___ IBM ___ Macintosh ___ Mainframe ___ Other(s) Using Software: ___ Windows ___ Word Processing (specify programs): ______________________________________ ___ Desktop Publishing (specify programs): ______________________________________ ___ Databases (specify programs): ______________________________________ ___ Other ______________________________

Top Ten Skills and Traits Employers Seek in Candidates
1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9. 10. Communication Skills (written & verbal) Honesty/Integrity Teamwork Skills Strong Work Ethic Analytical Skills Flexibility/Adaptability Interpersonal Skills Motivation/Initiative Computer Skills Detail-oriented

Source: Job Outlook 2006, National Association of Colleges and Employers

000 Xxxxxxx Avenue Apt 000-0 Lumberton, NC 28358 • 910-000-0000 •

William N. Flagler, Jr.
Experience May 2002 - August 2002 Dan Blue U.S. Senate Committee Raleigh, NC Director of Community Outreach and Development Scheduled various campaign related meetings with high profile community leaders. In charge of background research and staffing events, which included extensive travel and successfully seeking donations of up to $1,000 dollars to the campaign. May 2000 - August 2000 Newton Instrument Company Butner, NC Logistics Personnel Ensured that large orders were accurately filled, kept track of large inventory on computer tracking system. May 1997 - August 2000 No Boundaries Management Durham, NC Assistant Regional Manager Counted money for day and for reconciliation, regulated hours of five employees, created schedules, administered disciplinary action and loss prevention. August 1997 - December 1997 Regional Center for Economic Development Pembroke, NC Intern - The Regional Center for Economic, Community, and Professional Development Located small business owners to determine need of loans after a major natural disaster. Performed various tasks to aid in the development and research of ways to economically enhance the community and region. Skills Proficient in Microsoft Office 2000 WPM – 60 with 80% accuracy Produced, wrote, and starred in television production Financial planning Associations University of North Carolina Association of Student Governments: Member, 2000-2002 Student Government Association: Vice President, 2001-2002; managed a $100,000 budget Student Government Association: Senator, 2000-2001 African American Student Organization: Program Director, 1999-2002 Future Business Leaders of America: Member, 1995; Vice President, 1996; and President, 1998 The Academy of Business and Finance: President, 1997-1998 Education The University of North Carolina at Pembroke - May 2002 Bachelor of Arts - Political Science/Pre Law Major GPA 3.5 Related coursework: American Foreign Policy, American Government, Comparative Politics, Constitutional Law, Public Administration, Criminal Procedure, American Presidency and Judicial Process and Behavior Theories and Methods Interviewing Internet proficient Fundraising Communication

April Williams Locklear (910)-000-0000 000 Xxxxxxxxx Road Maxton, NC 28364 PROFESSIONAL OBJECTIVE EDUCATION EXPERIENCE The Lumber River Council of Governments Youth Opportunity Program Specialist Bachelor of Science in Psychology; minor in Elementary Education K-6 grade, December, 2002 The University of North Carolina at Pembroke, Pembroke, NC Data Entry Personnel, Carolina Mammography Registry, Pembroke, NC , June 2002 to present • Perform data entry for system set-up • Schedule and coordinate upcoming events for Registry • Revise current and error files • Serve as spokesperson at multiple events (i.e. Lumbee Homecoming and Pembroke Day 2002) Resident Program Coordinator,Westgate Terrace Community Center, Red Springs, NC, December 2000 to September 2002 • Arranged afternoon activities • Coordinated monthly trips and fundraising events • Counseled and motivated several different youth groups • Aided in school work and social problems • Organized monthly lesson plans • Recorded performance and cooperation of residents Bookkeeper, The Medicine Shoppe, Red Springs, NC, June 1999 to August 2000 • Budgeted profits • Recorded payroll for entire staff • Authorized purchases • Balanced expenses SKILLS Budgeting Fundraising Counseling Generating Ideas Customer Service Events Planning Motivating Others Record Keeping Research Computer Skills: Windows, Databases (CMRD System)

The University of North Carolina at Pembroke • Career Services Center Chavis University Center, Suite 210 • (910) 521-6270 • •

If you want to post your resume on our online recruitment system, it must be reviewed and approved by a Career Center consultant. The following checklist will help you develop a good resume. Please make sure you follow this checklist carefully BEFORE your appointment. Omissions and errors will delay the approval of your resume, so try to complete it correctly the first time. If you have questions about this checklist, please contact us. For more information and examples of resume formats, visit our Career Resource Library. SUGGESTED RESUME FORMAT Contact Information Name. Use a font size larger than the largest font in the resume so it stands out. The rest of your contact information can be in the smaller font size. Your current mailing address. Home phone number. (Be sure to have an answering machine with a professional message.) E-mail address. Many employers make contact through e-mail, and you need to appear to be computer literate. If needed, change your user name to make it more professional. URL of your web site. That is if you have one and only if the content is appropriate for employer viewing. Remove any automatic hyperlinks on your e-mail address and URL. Objective Keep your objective short and concise by simply stating the industry and/or job title and the company name (for example, “Seeking position as assistant account manager with IBM”). Eliminate personal pronouns such as “I” and “my” from your objective. Education List degrees in reverse chronological order (most recent listed first). Spell out degrees (i.e. “Bachelor of Science in [your major]”, not “BS”). Emphasize your degree by placing it before your university and in bold. UNCP should read: “The University of North Carolina at Pembroke.” Include the city and state after the institution name (there is no need to include the zip code). List the month and year of your graduation. Do not put “expected” or “projected” graduation (i.e. if you are graduating in May 2005, put “May 2005”). Include GPA if it is a 3.0 or above, and use “GPA” (not “G.P.A.”). Round the number off (i.e. 3.25, not 3.249). Do not include your high school information on your resume. If you financed your education, say so. For example, “Maintained a 3.5 GPA while working fulltime to pay 75% of tuition.” Experience List your experience, starting with the most recent position (reverse chronological order). Include full and part-time jobs, paid or unpaid internships or practica, and volunteer work, especially if it is related to your desired job. List your job title in bold before the company/organization name for emphasis. Include city and state only for employer location, not the complete address. Include the month and year of employment, not exact dates. Do not include unnecessary information such as supervisor’s name, salary, type of job, etc. List job descriptions/duties with bullets instead of writing them in paragraph form. Use strong action words to describe what you did in your past jobs (avoid passive phrases such as “responsible for” and “duties included”). Use appropriate verb tense. Use present tense action words to describe present employment experience and past tense action words to describe past employment experience.

Include numbers to quantify experience where possible. For example, # of employees supervised, $ amount of budget managed, # of workshops taught or projects coordinated, $ amount saved by your ingenuity. Focus on what you accomplished and how you were valuable to past employers, not on your responsibilities. For example, instead of “Responsibilities included implementation of policies and procedures, training of new employees, interfacing with subordinates and vendors,” try “Worked with staff and vendors to increase product turnover by 15% and sales by 23%. Trained 14 new employees, 5 of whom were rapidly promoted.” Skills Include computer skills and name the software programs in which you are proficient. Include transferable skills (see Skills Checklist). Include language skills if applicable. (Non-native English speakers should not include English since this is assumed.) OPTIONAL CATEGORIES Include some of the following categories in addition to those listed above as applicable experience: Honors/Awards Extracurricular Activities Volunteer Work or Community Service Certifications/Licenses Course Projects Research Publications Presentations GENERAL GUIDELINES A resume is a marketing tool, not a complete job history. Include only the items that will help you get the job you want. Leave off anything that won't. Your resume should be one to two full pages in length. Your document should look balanced, be pleasing to the eye, and be easy to read. Your resume format (bolding, italics, etc.) must be consistent throughout your document. The body text should not be too small (no less than 10 pt.) or too large (no more than 12 pt.). Do not use personal pronouns like “me” and “I.” (Example: Instead of "I supervised…" simply say "Supervised…"). Use consistent and proper punctuation. Do not include a list of professional references. This should be a separate document in the same format as your resume. Include a statement at the bottom of your resume that refers to the availability of your references or a professional portfolio for review. Run a spell check and proofread carefully.


Always include a cover letter when you mail, fax, or e-mail your resume to an employer. Sending letters to organizations introduces you to employers, captures their attention, arouses their interest, and hopefully persuades them to consider you for an interview. Types of Job Search Letters: • Networking/Informational Interview (cover letter) • Application (cover letter) • Inquiry (cover letter) • Thank-you to follow interview • Accepting a job offer • Declining a job offer Preparing Correspondence: • Type it neatly on resume quality 8 ½” x 11” paper. Keep it clean and free of obvious error corrections. Make sure the type font and paper matches your resume and reference list. NOTE: It is acceptable to send your job search correspondence by email. Please remember to use spell check. The same rules about flawlessness apply. • Whenever possible, address your letters to a specific person, by name and title, rather than by “personnel director” or “personnel department.” If you do not have the person’s name, call the company before writing the letter—it will be worth the cost of the phone call! In a letter of application or inquiry, tell how you learned of the employer and why you are interested in the organization. Let the letter reflect your individuality, but do not appear familiar, cute, humorous, or overconfident. You are writing to a professional about a subject that is serious to both of you. Remember to close by suggesting an action plan. Ask for a response or “close of sale”; request an interview, if appropriate. Indicate that you will follow up and let the employer know when to expect to hear from you.




The Career Services Center staff is available to offer suggestions and to critique letters as well as resumes.

To tailor your resume and cover letter to a particular position and especially to prepare effectively for an interview, you need to know as much as possible about the company or organization. Employers perceive “researching the company” as a critical factor in their evaluation of applicants because it reflects interest, enthusiasm, and careful consideration. In the interview, it shows that you understand the purpose of this process, and it establishes a common base of knowledge from which questions can be asked.

Try to locate the following items of basic information about the company: • age • size • services or products • number of employees • clients/customers • sales • competitors within the industry as a whole • assets and earnings • growth pattern • new products or projects • reputation • number of locations • divisions and subsidiaries • foreign operations • location To locate the above information about a company, check out the following websites: and

Your Street Address City, State, Zip Code Date

Name Title Organization Street Address City, State, Zip Dear Mr./Ms. Xxxxx: PARAGRAPH 1: The opening paragraph should state why you are writing to this person and/or organization. Networking for information: How did you find this person’s name and why are you contacting him or her (i.e. interest in the organization or the geographic location)? Tell the person some pertinent information about yourself. If someone referred you to the employer such as a career consultant, a former employer, or an aunt, this is also the best place to mention that person’s name and to point out that he or she suggested that you write. Mention why you are interested in the position, the organization, or this industry. Inquiring for potential open positions: Same as networking but refer to specific job functions, if not titles. Application: Name the position for which you are applying and tell the employer how you became aware of it. Offer at least one sincere compliment (from your previous research) about what the organization is doing well. PARAGRAPH 2: Networking: Provide evidence of your career-mindedness. State what previous research you have done and how you would like this person to help you. Inquiry/Application: Indicate what you can do for the employer; BRAG tactfully. If you are a recent graduate, explain how your academic background and other experiences make you a qualified candidate for the position. If you have qualifications that are not noted on your resume, this is your opportunity to discuss them. Point out the reasons that you are a good candidate for this position. PARAGRAPH 3: Refer the reader to the enclosed resume or application, which summarizes your qualifications, training, and experience. You may also make the employer aware that your references and portfolio/writing samples are available upon request. State what you will do next (such as calling to see if an interview can be arranged at the employer’s convenience) or what you would like the recipient of the letter to do next. An assertive statement explaining what you plan to do and what you hope the employer will do is harder to ignore than a vague request for consideration. Sincerely, (written signature) Your Name Typed Enclosures (This indicates that your resume or additional material is enclosed.)

UNCP Box # 55555 Pembroke, NC 28372 October 1, 2006

Name Title Organization Street Address City, State, Zip Dear Mr./Ms. Xxxxx: I found your name in the Office of Alumni Relations. As a senior at UNC Pembroke, I am majoring in English with a minor in political science. Currently, I am taking a writing course entitled “Writing for the Media.” Through this class, I have discovered a talent and an interest in the field of mass communications. I have already researched this industry in the Career Services Center and would like to gather further information from someone in the field. As a professional, you have insights and advice not provided by reference materials that would assist me in beginning my job search. Your thoughts on the following topics would assist me a great deal: resume tips for highlighting my public relations experiences, entrylevel job search strategies, and required skills that employers seek. I will call you the week of October 15 to see if we can arrange a brief time when you and I can speak. My resume is enclosed for your review. I appreciate your consideration of my request for advice, and I look forward to speaking with you in the near future. In the meantime, if you would like to contact me for any reason, please call me at (910) 521-0000 or email me at Sincerely, (written signature) Jane Doe Enclosure

UNCP Box # 55555 Pembroke, NC 28372 September 20, 2006

Name Title Organization Street Address City, State, Zip Dear Mr./Ms. Xxxxx: During a recent conversation with Mrs. Barbara Jones, a member of your marketing department and an alumna of UNC Pembroke, I learned of your management-training program. I am interested in this program because of my desire to pursue a career in retail management and my plans to relocate to the Atlanta, Georgia area after graduation. I will receive my Bachelor of Arts in English this May. My interest in business started with Junior Achievement while in high school and developed further through a variety of sales and retail positions during college. My internship with a Belk store convinced me to pursue a career in retail. When I researched the top retailers in Atlanta, [company name] emerged as having a strong market position, an excellent training program, and a reputation for strong customer service. In short, you provide the kind of professional retail environment that I seek. To demonstrate my strong interest in your management training program, I am enclosing my resume for your consideration. I know from customer and supervisor feedback that I have the interpersonal skills and motivation needed to build a successful career in retail management. I would appreciate the opportunity to discuss with you my experiences and qualifications for the management-training program. I will call you during the week of October 1st to discuss employment possibilities. In the meantime, if you need to contact me, my number is (910) 521-5555 and my email address is I look forward to talking with you. Sincerely, (written signature) Jennifer Johnson Enclosure

UNCP Box # 55555 Pembroke, NC 28372 November 3, 2006

Name Title Organization Street Address City, State, Zip Dear Mr./Ms. Xxxxx: I read with interest your vacancy for the position of Policy Analyst, which was advertised with the Career Services Center at UNC Pembroke. As my resume indicates, I have the requisite skills that are outlined for this position. My background in social science is well suited to the Policy Analyst position. I am particularly enthusiastic about this opportunity with [insert company name] because of the diversity of its clients from government and industry to academia and non-profits throughout the United States and abroad. My major in psychology has provided me with training in survey design and data collection. My practical experiences as the treasurer for the Psychology Club have developed my budget management skills. Additionally, I interned last summer with Klein and Associates, an advertising agency, which honed my project administration skills because I provided support to the account management department. This fast-paced department was responsible for getting ads made on time and on budget according to their clients’ needs. According to my supervisor at Klein and Associates, they experienced the largest increase in clients in the agency’s 10-year history during this past summer. With my educational background and work experience, I would make an immediate contribution to the [insert company name] team. I would appreciate the opportunity to interview on campus next month for this position. Thank you for your consideration and I look forward to hearing from you. Sincerely, (written signature) John Smith Enclosure

Name Title Organization Street Address City, State, Zip Dear Mr./Ms. Xxxxx: It was a pleasure meeting with you on Wednesday, February 21st at the on-campus interview held at UNCP. I enjoyed learning more about XYZ Computer Systems and the Customer Support Representative position in particular. I was impressed by XYZ’s drive to be the most responsive provider of information processing equipment and services in the industry. I know my educational background as a psychology major has given me knowledge and insight into human relations. My work experience as Assistant Manager at Outback has honed my interpersonal skills in dealing with customers tactfully and in changing their attitudes while retaining their business. As you requested at my interview, I am enclosing an official copy of my transcript. If you have any additional questions about my background or qualifications, please do not hesitate to call. I would welcome the opportunity to interview at your corporate headquarters. I look forward to hearing from you. Regards, (written signature) Donna Jones Enclosure UNCP Box # 55555 Pembroke, NC 28372 February 22, 2007

FIRST PARAGRAPH: Thank the employer for the interview and/or express appreciation for the courtesy and consideration extended to you. State the job for which you were interviewed, date of interview, and where it was conducted. SECOND PARAGRAPH: Reaffirm your interest in the position and company. Briefly summarize and highlight your skills and ability to uniquely perform the job as described in the interview. FINAL PARAGRAPH: Close with a suggestion for further action. Indicate that you will be available for additional interviews at the employer’s convenience. Show a willingness to submit any additional information or clarifying data to add to your application.

Your Address Date

Individual’s Name Employer’s Address Dear _____________: I am very pleased to accept your offer (state offer) as outlined in your letter of (date). (Include all details of offer – location, starting salary, starting date.) (Mention enclosures – application, resume, employee forms, or other information – and any related commentary.) I look forward to meeting the challenges of the job, and I shall make every attempt to fulfill your expectations. Cordially, (written signature) Your Name Typed Enclosures

Your Address Date Individual’s Name Employer’s Address Dear __________: After considerable thought, I have decided not to accept your offer of employment as outlined in your (date) letter. This has been a very difficult decision for me. However, I feel I have made the correct decision for this point in my career. Thank you for your time, effort, and consideration. Your confidence in me is sincerely appreciated. Regards, (written signature) Your name typed

The interview is your one true opportunity to convince a potential employer that YOU are the right person for the job. You will want to do everything possible to make a good impression in this meeting. Aside from professional appearance, there are two major areas on which you will want to concentrate: • Know Yourself – to discuss your career goals, skills, strengths, accomplishments, interests, etc. • Know the Employer – to discuss its products, services, organizational structure, etc. You will want to continually look for concrete examples that illustrate how your background, skills, and interests match the company’s needs. BEFORE THE INTERVIEW: • Attend an interview skills workshop sponsored by the Career Services Center. • RESEARCH, RESEARCH, RESEARCH!! Research the company (see page 21 for a list of items to research). Doing some thorough research on a company will always be to your benefit in an interview. It impresses the recruiter and shows that you have a genuine interest in the job, it helps you respond intelligently to the recruiter’s questions, it helps you form thoughtful questions to ask the recruiter, and it helps you make an informed decision about a job offer. • Practice your interview skills. Anticipate likely interview questions (a list of common interview questions is found on page 30). Write out your responses to each question the way you would respond to them in the interview; or better yet, role-play an interview with a friend or a Career Services Center staff member who can give you constructive feedback. Create a list of your specific skills and qualities that you wish to communicate during the interview. We strongly recommend that you sign up for a mock interview in the Career Services Center. DURING THE INTERVIEW: • Sell to their need. • Listen to the interviewer. Adapt to the interviewer’s style and try to ascertain why particular questions are being asked before responding. If needed, ask for clarification. • Be aware of your body language. Offer a firm handshake in greeting and at the close of the interview. Maintain good eye contact. Avoid nervous mannerisms, such as touching your hair or face, fidgeting, or moving your hands and feet constantly. Avoid folding or crossing your arms and holding things in front of your body. Use a strong, confident tone of voice. • Be positive and show confidence. Speak positively and confidently regarding your past work and educational experiences, as well as past employers. Emphasize what you have learned from past experiences and how you solved problems in response to challenges. Watch out for negative words that may creep into your explanations or even words that distract from a positive statement, such as “pretty good,” “maybe,” “I feel,” “I think,” “sort of,” etc. Avoid the use of slang and sentence fillers such as “you know,” “um,” and “like.” • Express interest. Point out to the interviewer the particular reasons why you are interested in the organization. • Convey your qualifications. Know at least three good reasons why you are an outstanding candidate and weave them into the interview. • Tell (brief) stories. Use examples. Do not just say, “I’m a good manager.” Give an example of how you handled a situation that illustrates good management skills. • Have questions ready when the interviewer asks, “Now, do you have any questions?” Ask questions that would elicit information to help you decide if this company and this position offer what you are seeking in a career (for examples, see page 30). AFTER THE INTERVIEW: • Get feedback. Interviewing can improve with practice. By analyzing your interview with the Career Services Center, you can improve upon your poise, confidence, and effectiveness in the interview. • Review your notes about your interview and send a thank you letter within 24 hours.

“Tell me about yourself.” This is an invitation for you to sell yourself to the interviewer. This is NOT the time to give your life history or any personal information. Recruiters are wanting to hear about your “professional” self, so develop a brief “commercial” about yourself by presenting a few of your strong points. Include some of your skills and accomplishments, your interest in the industry, and why you want to work for the company. “What is your greatest strength?” State your greatest strength and make sure to support your claim with past achievements. Always follow up with a specific example to show how you have developed and/or demonstrated your strength. Make sure to pay attention to the question. If you are asked for only one strength, then provide only one instead of a long list. Answering the question the way it is asked shows good listening skills. “What is your greatest weakness?” Be careful with this question, because applicants are screened on the basis of their weaknesses or lack of them. The interviewer is concerned about any red flags that might signal your inability to perform the job or to be managed. Some options: • Use a minor part of the job at hand where you lack knowledge, and explain how you would learn with experience. • Use a weakness from your past, and show how you overcame it or compensated for it. Answer the question honestly, but always follow your weakness up with a positive. Avoid the old trick of using a weakness that can be seen as a positive characteristic because interviewers will see through this approach. They have heard the “I’m a perfectionist” answer so many times that it has become a cliché. “What are your long-term goals?” The interviewer is trying to gather several bits of information with this question, such as your: • maturity, foresight, and realistic outlook; • • • degree of preparation in career planning; knowledge of yourself, the occupation, and the company; and, commitment to the profession.

“What do you know about us?” and “Why are you interested in working for us?” To answer this question, you must have done your research on the organization. Interviewers ask this question because they expect for you to have at least checked out their website. Their test to see what you know about the company is their way of determining if you are genuinely interested in them. Reply with this organization’s attributes as you see them. Your knowledge of the organization and how you and your goals fit into the business can be expressed here. “Why should we hire you?” Once again, the interviewer is asking you to sell yourself. Your answer should be short and to the point, highlighting areas from your background that relate to the company’s current needs or problems. Recap the interviewer’s description of the job, meeting it point by point with your skills. “Do you have any questions for us?” Make sure you ALWAYS have questions of your own prepared for the interviewer. This shows genuine interest in the job, and the information you gain from your own questions will help you determine if this is the job you really want. Interviewing is a two-way street! Ask questions that would elicit information to help you decide if this company and this position offer what you are seeking in a career (for examples, refer to the next page). This is NOT the time, however, to ask questions about salary or vacation/holidays.

Ready for the Real World? Learn the Road Rules for Your Journey Into the Real World with the Career Services Center!

• • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • What do you see yourself doing five years from now? How do you plan to achieve your career goals? What are the most important rewards you expect in your career? Why did you choose the career for which you are preparing? How would you describe yourself? How do you think a professor or supervisor who knows you well would describe you? What motivates you to put forth your greatest effort? How has your college experience prepared you for a career? What qualifications do you have that make you think that you will be successful? How do you determine or evaluate success? In what ways do you think you can make a contribution to our company? What qualities should a successful manager possess? Describe the relationship that should exist between a supervisor and a subordinate. What two or three accomplishments have given you the most satisfaction? Why? Describe your most rewarding college experience. What college subjects did you like best/least? Why? Do you think that your grades are a good indication of your academic achievement? What have you learned from participation in extra-curricular activities? What was the last book you read, other than the books for your classes? In what kind of work environment are you most comfortable? How do you work under pressure? In what part-time or summer jobs have you been most interested? Why? What two or three things are most important to you in a job? What major problem have you encountered and how did you deal with it? What have you learned from your mistakes? Are you willing to travel or relocate? Are you willing to spend at least six months as a trainee?

• • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • What are plans for future growth/expansion? Has the organization had any layoffs/cutbacks in the last five years? What makes your firm different from its competitors? Why do you enjoy working for your firm? How is the current department organized? What future challenges face this department? Why is this position open? Why did the previous person in this position leave? To whom does this position report? With what other key individuals/groups does this position interface? What are the key ongoing responsibilities? What would be one of the first projects for which I would be responsible? What are the opportunities for advancement? How frequently is this position evaluated? Assuming good performance, how long might I expect to be in this position? What training and development are provided to the employee? What opportunities are available for professional development? Does this company support other formal education? I want this job. Would you consider hiring me on a 30-day trial period to prove that I could do the job?

There are three basic types of telephone interviews: • You call an employer to inquire about employment, and he or she does a quick interview on the spot. • A pre-set time and date are mutually arranged. • Based on previous contact such as a resume submission, you are called without warning. Prepare yourself for a telephone interview. • Put these items near the telephone: copies of materials you have sent out (i.e. resume, cover letter, writing samples), information you have received from the company, a “cheat sheet” of research information on companies you have contacted, a list of your specific experiences and skills that you wish to communicate, a list of your questions about the company and the position, and pen and paper for notes. • For a pre-set interview, request the names and titles of the people with whom you will be speaking and wear appropriate interviewing attire. It will assist you in assuming “interview mode.” • Have a clock to keep track of the time. Most screening interviews last 30 minutes. • Control background noise such as stereo, TV, roommates, etc. • Disable call waiting temporarily. • Smile as you speak. It makes your voice more pleasant and upbeat. Put a mirror in front of you so you can monitor your facial expressions. • Record a professional message on your voice mail/answering machine! good match and fit is developing. Do not accept an invitation for a visit unless you are seriously interested. This practice is not only unethical; it may also deprive someone else of a needed opportunity. Preliminary Arrangements Before the on-site interview, request that the invitation be confirmed in writing. In addition, get the following information: • The name, address, and phone number of the individual coordinating the visit. • The position(s) for which you are being considered. • Travel arrangements, including transportation and hotel accommodations, if necessary. • Accurate directions to the site and estimated travel time. (Take a map with you!) • A clear understanding of the firm’s reimbursement policies and procedures. (See below) Typical Day Site visits may range from two hours to one and one-half days, and may include group and individual interviews, a tour of the facility, and breakfast, lunch, or dinner with a company representative. One of the most important interviews will be with your prospective supervisor. In addition, you will usually meet and be interviewed by several people representing a cross-section of the company and department. Remember that, even when participating in social functions, such as lunch, you are being evaluated. In addition, remember you are there to evaluate them as well. Do not forget to get all of your questions answered before you leave. Expenses Because of the variances in company policies and practices, you should determine before you go on the visit how travel expenses will be handled. Be certain you understand whether you will receive an advance, will receive an immediate payment at a later date, or will be required to cover expenses yourself. Legitimate expenses are directly related to your interview and are those that are necessary to get you there and back, covering the basics of transportation, food, and lodging. Keep all receipts for all expenses incurred. If you are visiting more than one organization on a single

A candidate being seriously considered by a prospective employer is usually invited to visit the organization for further interviews. The purpose of the site visit is to provide you with an opportunity to meet other staff and to conduct additional interviews to help determine where a

trip, your expenses must be prorated. Follow-up A letter to the appropriate person in the organization expressing your appreciation for the site visit is necessary and is considered good job-search etiquette. This should be done within 24 hours of the interview. Tips for Success • Remember that everyone is evaluating you. Always present a professional image; never let your guard down. • Take extra copies of your resume and reference list. • Avoid alcoholic beverages during the lunch interview. • Get a good night’s sleep before the interview.
Adapted from the UVa School of Engineering & Applied Sciences “1990 Career Planning & Placement Handbook.”

More and more organizations are using this style of interviewing in their hiring processes. Behavioral interviewing is becoming so popular because the most accurate predictor of future performances is past performance in a similar situation. Employers predetermine which skills are necessary for the job they are seeking to fill and then ask pointed questions to determine if the candidate possesses these skills. In the interview, your response needs to be specific and detailed. Tell your interviewer about a particular past situation that relates to the question, not a general one. Tell him or her the situation briefly, what actions you took specifically, and the positive result or outcome. This is a four-step process: STAR Situation/Task Action Result/Outcome Careful preparation is the key to an effective behavioral interview. Your interview preparation should include identifying examples of situations where you have demonstrated the behaviors for a given company. Use examples of past internships, classes, activities, team involvements, community service, work experience, and personal achievements. Make sure your story has a beginning, a middle and an end, and be sure the outcome or result

reflects positively on you even if the result itself was not favorable. Examples of Behavioral Interview Questions: • Give an example of a time in which you had to be relatively quick in coming to a decision. • Tell me about a time when you had to go above and beyond the call of duty in order to get a job done. • Tell me about a time when you had to lead others to follow a course of action. Why was this necessary? How did you do it? What was the result? • Think of a time when your course load was heavier than usual. What was the situation? How did you get all of your work done? • What was the most difficult task you had to learn on your internship? • By providing examples, convince me that you can adapt to a wide variety of people, situations, and environments. • Give me an example of a time when you were able to successfully communicate with another person, even when that individual may not have personally liked you (or vice versa). • Describe an innovative idea that you produced which led to a significant contribution to the success of an activity or project. • Have you ever had the responsibility of persuading someone to do something he or she did not want to do? What was the situation? What did you say? What was the result? • Give me an example of how you manage your time. What factors do you consider? How do you track your progress? • Tell me about the toughest group you had to work with. What made the group tough? What did you do? • Sometimes we can identify a small problem and fix it before it becomes a major problem. Can you give me an example of when you were able to identify small problems before they became big?

DO… • be early by at least 15 minutes. This allows for traffic or other small setbacks. It also gives you time to stop off in the restroom to double check your appearance and calm your nerves. • be friendly to receptionists. Oftentimes employers will ask their trusted support staff what their first impressions of you were, so make sure you treat them as well as you would the interviewer. • follow the lead of the employer to identify relevant topics for discussion. • bring extra copies of your resume for additional members of the search committee. • take notes, but be sure to maintain eye contact. DON’T… • chew gum or smoke. • ramble or use slang in your responses. Express thoughts clearly and concisely, citing examples from your past experiences. • bring up salary until they do. • be negative. Make sure to always answer in a positive tone with responses that reflect favorably on you. • forget to have questions of your own to ask. MOST COMMON INTERVIEW MISTAKES
The most common reasons given by employers for NOT offering a job to a new graduate: • Poor personal appearance. • Overbearing know-it-all. • Inability to express self clearly; poor voice, diction, grammar. • Lack of planning for career; no focus or long-term goals. • Lack of confidence and poise. • Lack of interest, enthusiasm, and energy. • Poor scholastic record – just got by. • Unwilling to start at the bottom – expects too much too soon. • Failure to express appreciation for interviewer’s time. • Fails to look interviewer in the eye. • Limp, fishy handshake. • Loafs during summers instead of gaining meaningful work experience. • Indefinite response to questions. • Sloppy resume. • Merely shopping around for a job. • Little sense of humor. • Inability to listen. • No knowledge of the organization. • Asks no questions about the job. • Only wants a job for a short time. • No interest in company or industry. • Unwillingness to go where we need to send the individual. • Late to interview without good reason. • Lack of tact. • Lack of maturity. • Lack of courtesy. • Negative attitude toward past employers.

"What's money? A man is [a] success if he gets up in the morning and goes to bed at night and in between does what he wants to do." Bob Dylan

WHAT IS A PORTFOLIO? A portfolio is a professional collection of tangible items that demonstrate a person’s skills, abilities, achievements, and contributions in past educational and work experiences. The concept of a portfolio is not new. For years, people in career fields such as art and photography have used portfolios to illustrate their talents to potential employers. However, only recently have college students from other major fields started to utilize this tool to market their talents and skills. ADVANTAGES OF A PORTFOLIO A portfolio is an important step of the job search process because it helps you: • prepare for interviews. • convince others of your skills, abilities, and qualities. • communicate clearly your career focus and goals. • showcase your skills. • demonstrate the results of your work. • stand out among other candidates. CREATING A PORTFOLIO Step One – Self Assessment. You have to know what skills, abilities, and past experiences you possess in order to determine what you have to offer an employer. The employer will want to know in the interview what you can do for the company. Step Two – Decide What to Include. Collect samples of past projects and assignments that illustrate your capabilities. Find pieces of work, evidence of involvement, or letters of commendation to include in your portfolio as examples of your past success. Step Three – Design and Arrange. Purchase a 3-ring binder in a neutral color and plenty of sheet protectors. Choose an organizational method that makes items easily accessible. Use tab pages or headers to categorize your materials. You can organize your portfolio in one of two ways: chronologically or by skills sets. Step Four – Review Your Portfolio. Know your portfolio inside and out so you can quickly find items to show during the job interview. ITEMS TO INCLUDE • Resume • List of references • Summary of career goals • Skills, abilities, and marketable qualities • Samples of your work (reports, group projects, brochures/flyers, etc.) • Letters of recommendation • Awards and honors • Conferences and workshops attended • Transcripts, degrees, licenses, and certifications • Military records and awards • Anything that illustrates your ability to achieve and make a contribution PRESENTING YOUR PORTFOLIO IN AN INTERVIEW Introduce your portfolio before you even walk into the interview by including the following phrase at the end of your resume: Professional portfolio available for review. Also, when you call to confirm your interview, simply indicate that you will bring it with you to the interview. Do not take your portfolio to an interview and just sit there with it on your lap. As stated earlier, employers want responses to include examples. Use your portfolio to show visual and tangible examples. When preparing for commonly asked interview questions, think about how you can answer the question with a sample of work. “Show and tell” about that sample to answer the interview question. Remember, you can organize your portfolio in any way you wish and you can include anything you want that reflects your abilities. It is recommended that, once you have created your portfolio, you keep it updated by adding in new projects and samples of your work while removing outdated material. If you would like the Career Services Center staff to critique your portfolio, call and make an appointment.

"It's important to be a self-starter. Nobody is going to wind you up in the morning and give you a pep talk and push you out. You have to have a firm faith and belief in yourself." -- Lou Holtz

This is what the interview process is all about. This is the reward for the hours spent preparing for and excelling in the interview. Now you have an important decision to make. Do you accept the offer or reject it? No matter what you decide, a decision is required, and the decision demands that you take prompt action. If you are having difficulty making this decision, please make an appointment with the Career Services Center. If you elect to accept the offer of employment, make sure you understand all the details of the offer. It is advisable to get the offer in writing. Be certain: • To evaluate the salary offer for your location. How does it compare with the cost of living in that location? • The initial assignment and salary meet with your satisfaction. • The starting date is clearly understood. • The location of the assignment meets your approval. • The opportunity offers future growth potential. If the job offer meets these criteria, write a letter accepting the offer (see page 27). Once you have accepted an offer of employment, write a letter rejecting any other offers you may have (see page 27). Do this with great care. You may wish to consider employment with this employer in the future, so be tactful. Sometimes an extension of time is needed to consider more than one offer. When this happens, do not be afraid to ask for an extension. Many employers will give you a few more days if you really need it. Once you have accepted an offer, stop interviewing! It is unprofessional and unethical to keep interviewing with other employers to see if something better comes along. It is the student’s responsibility to inform the Career Services Center on acceptance of a position. This information is used for statistical purposes only.

Congratulations to all December and May grads!

Company Position Resume Call Phone Interview On-site Interview Offer Rejection Thank You

Location/Size of Community: Size of Company: Main Responsibilities: Supervisor: Support Staff: Office Budget: Vision/Mission of Department: Salary/Benefits: Additional Information/Comments:

Job Listing

Use this worksheet to help you stay organized. Make copies of the worksheet and complete one for each job you apply for. Developing your own organizational system will save you from costly mistakes.

As you plan for graduate study, use the following guidelines to prepare early and thoroughly: •

• • • • Select a major. Focus on doing well in your classes to build a strong academic base. Develop and demonstrate your writing, research, and analytical skills – valued in any graduate program. Begin building effective relations with faculty members in your academic department.


• • • Work toward completing the core requirements for your major. Talk to your academic advisor or a faculty member in your department about various graduate programs. Consider faculty members who can serve as references to support your admission to graduate school. Discuss with them your goals and ask them to recommend specific institutions and/or programs to which you might apply. Obtain information on graduate programs, and write for catalogs and application materials. SUMMER: Gather information on graduate program admission tests and register for appropriate dates. Most graduate schools have web pages so information may be requested by e-mail. It is recommended that the LSAT (Law School Admission Test) be taken during the summer after your junior year. If applying to medical schools, you are encouraged to take the MCAT (Medical College Admissions Test) in the spring of your junior year. Early decision is usually made by August 1st.


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Carefully select faculty and/or professionals who can write positive, persuasive, and personalized letters of recommendation for you. Talk with potential references and give them a copy of your resume so they can highlight your strengths. Give the writers stamped, addressed envelopes. Follow up with a thank-you letter when the recommendations have been sent. Begin working with application materials early. Plan to complete your graduate school admission file by December. Law school applications should be made in the fall of the senior year through LSDAS. MBA program applications are generally due in the fall of the senior year as well. Medical school applications are generally due in the summer, no earlier than the first of June. For assistance in writing your personal statement, contact the Career Services Center. Talk to graduate students at the institutions to which you are applying. Ask both about the rigor of the program and the atmosphere. Investigate the financial aid and employment opportunities at the institutions to which you are applying. Make your selection and prepare to enter the program of your choice. (Most graduate programs announce their decisions March through May for fall admissions.)

Visit the Career Services Center, Counseling and Testing Center, your departmental advisor, and the Internet at

• Take the appropriate graduate admission tests [Graduate Record Examination (GRE), Miller Analogies Test (MAT), Graduate Management Admission Test (GMAT)] if you did not take them in the summer.

"Follow your bliss and be what you want to be. Don't climb the ladder of success only to find it's leaning against the wrong wall." --Bernie Siegel,
psychologist and writer

Career Services Center James B. Chavis University Center, Suite 210 PO Box 1510 Pembroke, NC 28372-1510 Phone: 910-521-6270 Fax: 910-521-6166

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