Show that boss you're a boss

When searching for a job, most students are not sure where to begin or how to be appealing to a company. The terms “résumé,” “cover letter” and “experience” pop up, yet a student looking for a career may not know how to apply these words for his or her personal benefit.
Employers look for three elements in a résumé. The first piece of information an employer searches for is the heading, which includes the student’s name and contact information.
Following the heading would be an objective statement. Through this statement, a student can provide information about what they want to do with the position offered. Dr. Stephen Brown, Mercer’s Director of Career Services, advises students to use key words relevant to that position and to create a first impression with this statement.
The rest of the résumé includes facts as to how the job seeker could benefit the company, and what experience the applicant has relating to the position.
A list of abilities or a summary of skills that relates to the job is preferable to many employers. In addition, a combination of soft skills, such as a strong work ethic or communication skills, can add emphasis to traits that can create a unique résumé.
Emily Halstead, a senior at Mercer University’s business school, said, “Students should consider listing classes that are relevant, include extracurricular activities with transferrable skills and provide any leadership experience.”
A job hunter should include previous work experience. However, Brown said, “An applicant will be hired based on their potential, not really based on their experience.”
The information listed in the résumé should be relevant to the position or opportunity. Brown said, “A strategic résumé is going to be tailored to what the employer is seeking.”
Brown suggests that not only the content of the résumé be relevant, but also the format be efficient in that it is easy to read.
Many employers recommend a résumé written in one page of length. Brown warns students, “Don’t get cute with the graphics and funky with the fonts,” unless the position calls for it, like a graphic arts job.
In addition to résumés, Brown suggests students bring a cover letter and portfolio, if relevant, to interviews. A cover letter lists additional information on skills and experience. The compilation of an individual’s previous work is a portfolio.
When beginning to search for a job, Halstead and Brown recommend BEARLink, an online accessible link from Mercer’s Career Services webpage used to find a certain position or employer. BEARLink also encompasses jobs targeted specifically for students graduating from Mercer.
Halstead suggests that students “tell people they know that they are looking for a position in a particular field, because you never know who has a connection.”
The Internet is a great resource to use for information. However, to many students the World Wide Web can be overwhelming.
Brown also recommends rileyguide.com for its niche lists, which assist in finding employers suitable to an individual’s qualifications. He stated that the professions with the highest current hiring rates include sales, technical areas of engineering and computer science, accounting and finance.
To find a documented library with sample résumés, cover letters, and interviews as well as more information on job offers, visit the Mercer Career Services page at http://studentaffairs.mercer.edu/careerservices.