Landing your dream job: tips on resumes and job interviews

2 years ago Triangle 0

Written by: Samantha Burgess, editor in chief

While college may give you the skills necessary for your dream job, the actual job search process can seem pretty scary to most students. 

Director of Career Services at Bryan College Luke Morris provides some useful tips for how to build a resume and enter into a job interview with confidence.

One of the most important things to realize when building a resume is that there’s no such thing as the “perfect resume.” 

“Your resume should constantly change according to what job you’re applying for,” said Morris. “For example, if you’re applying for a new tech start-up you would want to use a template that’s graphic heavy. For an office job you’d use a completely different template.”

When building a resume you want to know what the employer is looking for. Before applying for a job, look at the job description and use some of the same words in your resume. “Most companies have software that scans resumes for words similar to their job description, and those are some of the first ones they’ll pull,” said Morris.

When it comes to the actual layout of the resume, Morris recommends that college students put education at the top, leaving out high school education. From there, list job experience in reverse chronological order along with skill sets. 

“If you’re not sure which template to use for your resume it’s best to just come by Career Services,” said Morris. “Most of the templates you can buy online are strange, overly specific and have nothing to do with the job you’re applying to at the moment.” 

In addition to your resume, it is ideal to have a cover letter and portfolio prepared according to your career interest. While not all companies ask for these things, it’s important to have one to submit along with your resume to the job application when they do. Cover letters should be clear and consistent and portfolios should highlight a wide range of your best work.

Once your resume has been selected, you have to prepare for the job interview.

Before the initial interview, it’s important to research the company, and learn the things that they like from their employees.

In addition, you should anticipate certain questions and practice answering them. The number one question to expect is “tell me about yourself.” 

“These questions aren’t an opportunity to tell your life story,” said Morris. “Instead, employers are looking to hear how you relate to the position and why you’re interested in it.”

Other common questions asked are behavioral questions such as “tell me about a time you faced conflict and what the result was” and obscure questions like “how many planes are there in the world right now?”

“There’s no right or wrong answers for the obscure questions. Employers are simply trying to gauge how well you think on your feet,” said Morris.

In addition to preparing for questions, you should also know what questions you want to ask of the employer. Questions that show an interest in the company and the work life there will impress them.

When arriving for the interview, show up 15 minutes early. This gives you time to familiarize yourself with the building and where the interview will be. However, make sure not to be at your potential employer’s door until a few minutes before.

You should also come to the interview dressed for the job. “My best advice for this is to try to dress one step ahead of the employer,” said Morris.

Finally, make sure to come to the interview with your resume and a notebook for taking your own notes.

It’s important to remember that the first job you find typically won’t be your only job. Morris recalled a student who he’d ended up placing twice in the same semester.

Morris first connected the student, a senior music major, with a placement company who offered him a job. But it didn’t pan out. Discouraged, the student came back to Morris and they set down to discuss all of his skill sets.

The student was bilingual, and because of this ability he is now working in a school office. 

“Your first job will usually be a starter job, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t important,” said Morris. “You can gain experience and new skills from each job and eventually you’ll work your way up into the career you were actually hoping for.”

Morris welcomes all students and urges them to utilize the resources Career Services offers if they are serious about finding an internship or job.

Samantha Burgess is a senior communication major with an emphasis in digital media and is editor in chief for the Triangle. Her interests in writing include profiles and feature articles. Burgess can often be found curled up with a good book, writing, listening to music or watching Netflix.