Category Archives: Employment

How to Write a Resume!

 

Need a job? On top of job applications, many companies prefer applicants to give them a resume. Sometimes they only want resumes and don’t even give out applications. First off, don’t be scared of writing a resume if you’ve never made one before. It may seem intimidating at first, but having one can greatly impact your chance of getting that job you want.

You may be thinking that you can’t build a resume because you have never had any “real” work experience. That is not true. Whether you realize it or not, you actually have a lot you can put on your resume!

A resume is basically all of your skills and experience written out neatly in a list for employers to easily and quickly look over. So, start with just making a list. By writing a list, you will have all the information you need to build a resume right in front of you. Then all you need to do is format it. (Don’t worry, I’ll help you with this step later.)

List your name and contact information, like your address, phone number and email. Then list your education. Write the name of your high school and your year of graduation, even if you haven’t graduated yet. For example, list “Class of 2015.” This shows the person looking at your application that you are working towards graduating from high school, which is an important and valuable accomplishment in the job world. If you have any college experience, even if only one term, write that down too.

Next, list your achievements and any awards you’ve gotten. If you’re proud of your high GPA, write it down! If you’ve made honor roll, or gotten any other award at school, write that down, too.

Then list your work and volunteer service. Did you have a summer job last year? Did you mow your neighbor’s lawn on a regular basis? Did you babysit your siblings or neighbor kids? Were you part of a club in high school that did projects around school? Have you volunteered anywhere? Write it down. All of these things are important because it shows the employer that you have valuable experience and skills.

Next, write down any skills you have that would be important to have at the job. Are your responsible? A hard worker? Are you able to use PC’s an/or Mac’s well? Do you get along well with other people? Are you outgoing? Are you organized? Write any thing like these that apply to you. These gives the employer an idea of who you are as a person.

The last part of your list should include all of your activities. Did you play a sport in high school? Are you in the band, choir, or orchestra? Did you win any awards in any of these activities? Write it all down.

Whew.

That took a while. But now you have everything you need for your resume! YAY!!

Now, before you start to build your own, look at some sample resumes so you can get an idea of what one should look like. Google is a great resource. Here is a link to another website with lots of different examples.

http://jobsearch.about.com/od/sampleresume1/a/high-school-resume-examples.htm

 

Here is a sample resume for someone with little or no work experience:

 

 FirstName LastName

6 Pine Street, Arlington, VA 12333
home: 555.555.5555
cell: 566.486.2222
email: phjones@vacapp.com

Education 

Arlington High School, Arlington, Virginia
2002 – 2006

Experience

Pet Sitter
2004 – Present
• Provide pet sitting services including dog walking, feeding and yard care.

Child Care
2002 – Present
• Provide child care for several families after school, weekends and during school vacations.

Achievements
• National Honor Society: 2004, 2005, 2006
• Academic Honor Roll: 2002 – 2006

Volunteer Experience

• Big Brother / Big Sisters
• Arlington Literacy Program
• Run for Life

Interests / Activities

• Member of Arlington High School Tennis Team
• Girl Scout
• Piano

Computer Skills

• Proficient with Microsoft Word, Excel, and PowerPoint, and Internet

 

Once you feel comfortable with the format, begin building your own. At the top center of your resume, list your contact information. Make sure you don’t use a “silly” email that you made back in middle or elementary school. If you need, make a new account on gmail (for free!!) that uses a more professional looking email. For example, use a combination of your name, initials, and birthdate/graduation year. Lets pretend your name is “John Smith” and you were born in 1996 and you are graduating this spring (2014). Here are some possibilities:

  • jsmith2014@gmail.com
  • johnsmith1996@gmail.com
  • jsmith1996@gmail.com

After you list your contact information, continue entering information from your list into the format you chose to use. Generally, you should begin with your education history, then your work/volunteer experience, then positive qualities and skills, and finish up with activities such as sports or music.

Print your resume on white or light cream paper using size 11 or 12 point font. Do not use a fancy font, a simple Times New Roman or similar font is all you need. Any other font can be hard to read and distracting, not to mention look unprofessional, and might even discourage someone from hiring you.

Before you submit your resume, PROOFREAD it! Think you already proofread? Proofread again. And then have someone else look at it. After they have looked at it, bring it to someone else. You want your resume to be 100% error-free. TRUST ME.

Congratulations! You now have a resume!

As time goes on, keep your resume up to date with new education, work, or volunteer experience. This way, you will always have it on hand for when you need it!

Good luck!

 

Rock Your Next Interview!

 

Ever have an interview? Did you get awkward, tense and ridiculously nervous? Well, you are not alone. Being interviewed is scary stuff.  It is literally being subjected to complete judgement on everything you say and do.  Still, no matter how much they suck, we all have to go through one at some point or another, whether it be applying for a job, student leadership, a scholarship, or any other position.  Since it can’t be escaped, you might as well learn to do it well.  Here are some tips that will help you to rock your next interview and hopefully calm your nerves:

  • Be yourself. Employers want to hire people that they will enjoy working with, so they genuinely want to get you know you. Be funny, interesting, confident, honest. Just be you. Don’t try to be somebody else, or something you’re not.
  • Be prepared. Think of some potential questions you might be asked before the interview, so you’ll be more prepared and you won’t have to think of everything on the spot. Most employers ask things like: What are your strengths and weaknesses? Why should you be hired? Why do you want to work here?
  • Do your research. Look into the company you’re applying to. Make sure you know their mission statement and values if they have them. Recall a good experience you had with the company and bring that up. They want to know that you really do want to work there.
  • Know what they are looking for. If you’re applying for a job that requires a lot of interaction with others, then present yourself as a people person. If it is a labor job, show that you’re a hard worker.
  • Be confident and relaxed. Show them how awesome you are. Don’t be shy, go ahead and brag and talk about all the things you’re good at! After all, if you don’t think you’ll be hired, why should they even consider you? And, don’t talk in circles. Get right to the point and if you don’t have anything else important to add, just stop there.

Again, everyone gets at least a little nervous during interviews, and employers understand that. But really, just be straight up with them. You just need to tell them about yourself and why you want that job. No biggie… so just chill!

Finding the Right College for You

It’s about that time of year… those of you who are juniors or seniors this year, or who took a little break after high school, are probably beginning your college search. With thousands of colleges all over the U.S., all of which offer different majors, programs, and activities, are located in big cities, small towns, and rural areas, and have anywhere between 200 and 20,000 students… how on earth are you supposed to pick just ONE? How do you know what’s right for you? If you’re stressing out and don’t know where to begin, here are some tips for you:

  1. Curriculum: The whole purpose of going to college is to get a degree that you’ll use to get a job, so obviously the thing you need to consider first is what majors the college offers. If you already know what kind of career you want, make sure they have a major that will get you there. But even if you think you know what you want to do, keep in mind that most students change their major at least once, so it’s a good idea to have a couple back up plans. If you have no idea what you want to do, don’t worry… just think about the general direction you want to go in, like if you like the sciences or the social sciences, and make sure that they have some of those majors. Also, make sure they have good facilities for what you want to do. If you want to be an athletic trainer, make sure they have a good gym with lots of equipment, and a good athletic program.
  2. Location: Figure out if you want to stay close to home or go somewhere completely new. Also, take into consideration what kind of climate you want to live in for the next couple years. If you’ve always lived somewhere where it rains a lot, maybe you want to go to college somewhere warm, or vice versa.
  3. Size: Do you want to go to a small school where you’ll know just about everyone, or a big state school where you’ll see new faces everyday? Do you want campus to be small and be able to get everywhere in less than 5 minutes, or do you not mind if it takes you a little while to walk from place to place?
  4. Sports and activities: If you want to play sports in college, obviously you need to make sure they offer the sport you want to play. If you’re into music, make sure they have a band, choir, orchestra, etc. If you like sports but you don’t take them too seriously, see what kind of intramural sports they have. Also check out their clubs and other organizations and see if there’s some you might be interested in.
  5. Cost: Make sure you look at colleges that are within your price range. But also keep in mind that about 85% of college students get at least some kind of financial aid, so don’t be discouraged if you fall in love with a school that’s a little outside your budget.
  6. Financial aid: Again, about 85% of college students get at least some financial aid. Make sure you fill out your FAFSA to see if you qualify for government grants and loans. Also, see what kinds of scholarships different schools offer. Many of them off academic, athletic, and music scholarships.
  7. Religious affiliation: If you’re religious, do you want to go to a school where everyone shares your beliefs? Do you want to take religion classes and go to chapel? There are plenty of colleges out there for every religion and denomination.
  8. Visit the campus: This is going to be your home for the next few years, so make sure you love the campus and the town it’s in. Do you want to live in a big city, in the middle of a busy downtown area, or in a smaller town? What is there to do nearby? Could you see yourself living there and enjoying it? Do you like the look of campus, the academic buildings, and the dorms? You need a college that could feel like home to you, somewhere you feel comfortable.
  9. Talk to students and alumni: When you visit campus, talk to some students. They can tell you what they love about it and/or what they hate about it.
  10. Campus atmosphere: What is campus life like? Ask about what kinds of events they have throughout the year, like dances and holiday events. Are there some good study spots? Are there any fun things to do when you need a break from studying?
  11. Housing options: Check out what their on-campus housing looks like. Some colleges have old, run down dorms with small rooms and cruddy restrooms, and some have big, spacious rooms that look brand new. If this place is going to be your new home, you need to love it.
  12. Class size: Some schools have classes in big lecture halls with 300 students and one professor, while others limit there class sizes to about 20-30. If you want to develop relationships with your professors and make sure you get one-on-one attention, take their class sizes into consideration.

While you’re searching for colleges, http://www.collegeboard.org is a great tool. They have a college search engine that will narrow down your results using several filters like:

  • Type of school (2-year, 4-year, public/private, school size, religious, single sex or coed)
  • Location (by city or state, and rural, suburban, or urban)
  • Housing availability (dorms, apartments, houses)
  • Majors available, study abroad programs, internships, distance learning availability
  • Sports and activities
  • Financial aid available, tuition costs

As you can see, College Board is be a HUGE help in narrowing down your options!

Going to college will be one of the best experiences of your life. It’s supposed to be fun! Make sure they have the perfect major and programs for you, but also make sure you love the campus, the people, and the town you’ll be living in!

Building Your Resume

When looking for a job, one of the most important document you can hand out is your resume. This piece of paper is similar to a job application, but is different in how it is meant to share more about you, your skills and experiences. Your resume is the key to getting you an interview! Make sure to tailor your information to the job that you are applying for (ex: If you are applying to be a waiter/waitress, include social skills that apply to that job rather than your computer knowledge).  Here are the a few things you may want to include on your resume, although you can add whatever you think would present you best.

Personal Information– The top of your resume should always have your full name, address, phone number and email. This is helpful to the employer if they try to contact you for an interview! Make sure to avoid putting other personal information such as your age, race, or social security number.

Employment History– This includes any work that you have done, paid or unpaid. Include a brief summary of what your job entitled and the employer’s names and locations. Put the dates for each job, but only the starting and ending date. Volunteer work and community service looks great on a resume, so include what you can!

Education– This will consist of the schooling you have completed or are still acquiring. Put the name of the school and what years you attended. If you have attended classes outside of school, feel free to mention those if they apply to the job.

Achievements- Include any awards or accomplishments you have received. They could be school or activity related or anything else that would look good for this job.

Extra-Curricular Activities– This is a section where you can talk about you! Include interests, hobbies, sports and clubs that seem appropriate to the job you’re applying for. Also, if you speak a second language, this would be a great section to include that.

References– You should have about three people who know you well in this section. The purpose of having a reference is for the employer to have someone to contact if they are looking into more information about your character. So saying that, it is best to use trusted adults who know you! Don’t forget to include their names and contact information.

Your resume should be about one page in length. Make sure the layout look professional, as this will be the representation of who you are! If you are confused about layout, check out some sample resumes to build off of!

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Finding the Perfect Summer Job

ImageWith only a few weeks left of school, you might be starting to wonder how you are going to make some money this summer. When thinking about finding a job, remember that hundreds of other students are in your same position! This is good to know that you are not alone, but it also means that you may need to get creative as others are probably applying to the same jobs you are. Here are some tips on how to get creative and get great experience in a summer job!

Ask your friends or family members if any of their places are hiring. It is always nice to know someone who you will be working with and that can put in a good word for you! If none are hiring, start going into places that interest you and turn in a resume. Think about what you want to do in the future and look for jobs that pertain to that field. For example, if you are interested in working with animals, apply at a local vet clinic or animal shelter. You can also check out your local department stores, restaurants, coffee shops, nursing homes and local businesses for job openings.

Search online on websites like Craigslist, Indeed, the local newspaper and the company’s website. Research how to apply, whether in store or online. Applying online is easy and quick, but it can also come as a disadvantage as you try to stand out and get the job. If you do apply online, make sure to call the business the next day to confirm they received your application and to express your interest in the position. This will help you stand out and might even get you an interview! If the position requires applications to be turned in at the workplace, complete the application neatly, dress nicely and smile often. Be excited about the job! First impressions are important when looking for a job, so be confident and excited about the position you are applying for.

If you don’t get a job, don’t be discouraged. Keep looking and apply to a lot different jobs. You can always check out odds and ends jobs such as being a nanny, pet-sitting, house-sitting, mowing lawns, etc. There will always be a need for more help. Just keep your eyes open for what may come up!