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Writing a Winning Resume Video Transcript

Hi, thank you for joining us today. I'm Lori Cleymans. I am the Career Specialist and Internship Coordinator on the Gainesville campus. And I am Lisa Geddings. I am the Career and Internship Specialist on the Dahlonega campus. And today we're going to talk about writing a winning resume. We want to help you figure out how to showcase your accomplishments, your skills, and get the attention of an employer so that you can make it to the interview and get the job.

And so the purpose of a resume is to, of course, give an overview of your experience, where have you worked or what kind of responsibilities have you had. But you also want to showcase your accomplishments. Whenever you've gone above and beyond, done a little bit more.

Maybe save time, money, made something more efficient, made a customer happy. Maybe develop some new training. Any time where you've done more than what your basic responsibilities were. And this also helps the employer to understand if you're a good fit for their company. Meaning, do you have the skills, do you have the background that they're looking for to fill in certain positions.

Also, your resume really gives an example of some of your personal characteristics. Such as, do you have good spelling, grammar, follow instructions in terms of how to apply, how to call in for an interview, whatever kind of instructions they have in order to get that job. All of that comes into play and helps to paint a picture for the employer so that they can see you as a future employee with their organization.

So before you get started, it's often helpful to think like an employer. So figure out what is that employer looking for? And one way to help you do that is to do some research. So visit the company website and look at the company's mission and values. Think about how their values match your own. And also, you know, what is that company doing that excites you? Do they have a new project coming out? Are they offering a new service?

So be able to clearly articulate what it is about that company or that position that you're interested in. Be sure to examine the job description closely. Look for the key skills, education, and qualifications that that employer is seeking. Reflect on your own experience and be able to connect the dots with what you will bring to this position.

Be sure that you customize each resume to the particular job that you're applying for. So it's not a one-size-fits-all resume. You're going to have a different resume for each position that you apply to. One of the ways to help, help you get started with developing your resume is to create a portfolio for yourself.

And this isn't necessarily a portfolio that you submit during your interview or showcase your work. It really is a way for you to encapsulate all of the information and experience that you have. Keep everything in one place and this really helps you to be prepared. So for example, maybe the job announcement in the application or asking for your references, or they need the address of a previous employer. You don't want to be scrambling around trying to find that information when you're hitting a deadline. It's nice to have all of that in one place where you can easily access that. It can be in a file drawer, can be electronic files, however you want it. So that way you can easily find the information. This also helps you with keeping track of all your certificates, transcripts in case you do need to show any kind of proof of your education or certifications.

Another good way to keep all of your information together is to write for yourself a master resume. This resume is not seen by anyone except to you. Only you were the one that keeps this autobiography of all of your work history, even the things that might not be relevant going into your future careers. It helps to remind you of your stories, of your accomplishments so that when you go into the interview, you can remember these things much easier instead of coming up with a blank thought and not knowing what to say.

This master resume also helps you when you're developing each of those resumes as Lisa had mentioned, you want to customize each of the resumes. And so when you have this master that has everything on there, you can easily copy and paste the information that is the most relevant to the next job without having to start over every single time you go to apply.

So some general guidelines to help you to get started. First, we want to really emphasize that it's important for you to learn to write your own resume. Don't depend on templates. Now we know that you can go to Google and you can Google resumes and you're gonna get a lot of information that comes up.

However, a lot of that information may not be accurate and it may not be what employers are currently looking for. So we encourage you just to learn to write your own. And in Career Services we have some sample resumes on our website. You can check those out. Go to our website at www.ung.edu/careers. And then under the Students and then Resumes and Cover Letters tile, you'll be able to find several sample resumes to look at the format and see which one kinda best fits the experience that you have.

It's also important for you to proofread your document. This is going to be kind of the first sample of your work that an employer sees. So you want to be careful to avoid any kind of spelling or grammatical errors. Proofread it several times. And I also encourage you to have maybe a family member or friend look over it. And then you can also bring it to us in Career Services and we'll be happy to check over it for you and give you some feedback.

Now, employers do not spend a lot of time actually reading someone's resume on the initial review, they just quickly scan it. So we're talking six to ten seconds for them to decide, yes, I want to look at this person in more detail, or no, I'm going to pass over this person. For that reason, you need to be very conscious of the length of your resume. So resume should be one to two pages depending on your experience and your relevant accomplishments. Black and white is classic.

I know now it's very easy for you to create a resume and throw in some color and some fun graphics. But employers tend to be more conservative and they tend to want to say just a classic black and white resume.

Also remember that resumes rate from top to bottom. So again, we know employers are not going to spend a lot of time actually reading in detail your resume on the initial scan. So we need to have the most important information coming towards the top of the page. Also, be consistent with your formatting.

Be sure that you're using the same style and size font throughout. Consistent spacing and consistent margins. And then it's really helpful to use italics and bold to emphasize key pieces of information. But be careful not to overdo it because then your resume may look too busy and it's difficult to read. And if you do use bold and italics, make sure that you use them consistently. So for example, if you put one employer name in bold, make sure that all employer names from then on are in bold.

You also want to make sure that you use good quality resume paper if you are going to be mailing it in which I know is rare. However, that can still happen. Or if you're attending a job fair face-to-face. And that might be an opportunity for you to really invest in some good quality resume paper, which you can find at most stores such as Walmart, Target, Office Depot, Staples, and the like. And the box actually says resume paper. You usually want to make sure that the paper is a very light color so that the ink shows up really nicely. Anything that's in the dark grays, dark blues just makes it more difficult for the employer to read. And remember, you want to make this as easy for them as possible.

Same with your fonts. A lot of times I've had students ask me, well, what kind of font should I use? It doesn't really matter the actual font style, so long as its professional and easy to read. We don't want anything that makes you look like you're childish or that you don't take this seriously. And of course, we want to make sure that they can understand what it is that you're trying to say.

Ensure that your email is a professional email that you use exclusively for your job search so that you don't accidentally delete something or miss an email from an employer. And keep in mind that your UNG email will not last forever once you graduate. So you might want to start thinking about getting yourself an email that will be just for your job search. And even though this doesn't have to do with your resume, employers of course, are going to see your phone number on your resume. And that's what they may use, of course, the call you for an interview. So you want to make sure that your greeting on your phone is something that says who you are. Thank you for calling. We don't want anything like music or anything inappropriate, something that would cause the employer to think this person isn't going to work out for us. So again, just keep that in mind as you move forward in your job search.

So when putting your resume together, there's going to be certain basic blocks of information that you're going to have. First off will be your identification information.

And you're going to want that to be at the very top. I have seen some resumes where they've put the identification at the bottom. But like we said earlier, an employer may not even make it all the way to the bottom of your resume. So we don't want your email and your phone number, the way that they're going to get in touch with you to be lost down there at the bottom. So that information is usually and needs to be the very first section on your resume.

Next comes and objective or your tagline. And when I say objective, I don't want you to think objective section, I want you to think more of a single statement that's very targeted to the position or the industry or the company to which you're applying. Education will follow.

So in education you want to focus on your degree, what you're doing now, especially once you get to sophomore year of college, you need to start clearing off the high school information. That will be followed by your experience.

And for experience, I want you to think not just paid work experience, but also maybe your volunteer experience, internship experience, campus involvement. All of those things can come together to create your experience.

And then you may have optional sections. And some of those optional sections may be activities or community involvement, honors, awards, scholarships, or languages, or computer programming. You may not have all of those sections. You may only have one or two and everyone's is going to be different.

No two resumes will be exactly the same. So here's an example of how to write your contact information. So you notice it's not just the straight down column, which you're perfectly fine to do that. But if you want to add a little bit of style to it or add an ounce of personality, you can put your name in the middle. You can put it off to the left hand side, whatever kind of looks best and also fits well on your resume. That second example there, the bottom, really helps you to save some space there and still includes all the important information. If you notice with both of these, we do not have the actual street address. One, you just don't need it anymore.

Employers are not necessarily mailing information to you. They're going to email it or text you the information. So you just don't need that. Also for your privacy, just to not have that on your resume. It really helps out. So it also save some space. And you notice having the email. And if you have a LinkedIn account, you can put your LinkedIn URL there as well. Here are some examples of the objective or the tagline.

So in the first example, you can say customer service, retail management. In that example, we're focusing more on the industry or the type of work that you're seeking. That tagline can also be specific to the actual position that you're applying for. So for example, marketing communications intern. And then in the third example, it combines two features. It combines the position that you're interested in along with the name of the employer.

So you could have something that says seeking nurse residency at Northside Hospital Forsyth. And of course for your education while you're in school, you can go ahead and keep that education up towards the top of your resume. As you have more years of experience, especially once you get to about three plus years of experience. Eventually the experience is going to be even more important.

Of course, education is always going to be important, needs to be on there. It just might move a little bit further down underneath the experience. As you can see, there are two different examples here. The first one and the third one, that talk about while you're still in school. So the first one says working toward a Bachelor of Arts in English. And both of them, the first one and the third one, say the expected graduation date.

And that's important because a lot of internships require you to still be in school while you are doing this internship. And this lets the employer know when you're going to be graduating. Is it in the timeframe that they're looking for? Some employers are only looking for rising seniors or they want someone who's almost about to graduate. So this helps them to know, are you in that right category and that you're still working towards your degree.

The example in the middle is how you will write your education once you have completed your degree. All we need is the year. We don't need the span of years that you were in school, just the year you graduated, the degree program and then of course, University of North Georgia.

When you start to work on the experience section, this is probably the section that I'm not going to say is the most challenging, but maybe it requires the most thought. What you're going to do here is you want to paint a picture of yourself for the hiring manager. So you're gonna show them how your skills and your experience and your education fit with what they are looking for.

So it's important to examine that job description very closely. In that description, they have spelled out exactly what they are looking for. So as you read over the job description, reflect on the experiences that you've had. Sometimes it's even helpful to take a highlighter and highlight key words or phrases and skills that they've used in the job description that match your experience.

Also, like I said earlier, do not discount the volunteer and campus experience that you've had. All of that experience where you've worked on projects or you've led a team. All of that can come together to showcase some of your skills. Be sure that you are being specific and you're using relevant information for the job that you're applying for. One thing that might happen is that as you get more and more experience, we become attached to all of the things that we've done. And sometimes it's hard to let go of those things.

But keeping in mind that this resume needs to be one to two pages, you're going to have to be more selective with the information that you put on your resume. So you're going to select those experiences and those skills that directly relate to this position that you're applying for. It doesn't mean that we're doing away with that other experience forever.

There may come a time where there's a job that you're applying for that you'll need that information and then you'll bring that information back. But it's just always important to remember that your resume must be customized to each position that you're applying to.

And so part of building your resume, as we mentioned, with volunteering, campus involvement, community involvement, think of all of the different things that you are a part of. With internships, those are important. You need to make sure that those are listed on your resume, even if they were for a short period of time.

In fact, there are internships that are called micro internships. UNG Career Services has partnered with a company called Parker Dewey. And that company information is on our website. And what Parker Dewey does is connect students with employers who have short term projects. It could be four weeks, six weeks, eight weeks, typically less than a semester. And because a lot of these are projects and they're fairly short-term, most of these are remote. So you can do this while still working, while still going to class and gaining the experience, making those valuable connections with employers.

Figuring out if that's what you like or what you don't like. Now there are times where on your resume that you need to put your GPA. And if you remember back to our education examples, one of the examples had the GPA listed in one did not. There are some internships that ask for certain GPAs. And of course, if you have that, you want to make sure it's listed. But not every job is going to really take that into consideration. But that's where that research really comes into play.

A lot of times they're going to be looking at those internships, that research experience, your campus involvement, volunteering, your part-time work, your leadership experiences, even your study abroad experiences, and look at you as a whole person in addition to your education. So employers, would like to have it all. They want the star candidate and that's what we want to help you to become. And to be able to demonstrate on your resume that you have all the qualities that they're looking for.

And in particular with the study abroad experience, you want to let employers know what did you learn from that experience? What kind of environment where you in? Did you learn another language? What kind of cultures did you interact with? That helps them understand what was the scope of this experience. And we want them to understand that you have the ability to adapt and be sensitive to other cultures, other languages, and just people from around the world. That is one of the critical skills that employers are looking for today.

So all of these paint a picture of who you are. Which is why we want to make sure it's best represented on your resume. So when you start to build the experience section, there are some key pieces of information that you're going to need. So you always need to include the name of the employer, the city, and the state where that employer is located, your position, title, and the date range that you worked for that employer. If you're currently still with the employer, you can put the month and year that you started through present.

And that's another important thing to keep in mind is that you do not have to narrow down your start and end dates to the very day. A simple month and year to month and year is all that's required. So then when you start to put the information together, you're going to list your most recent job first. And we call that going in reverse chronological order. So your most recent position comes first, and then you start to work your way backwards.

And when you put this experience section together, you're not going to focus on every physical job task that you did at a place of employment. Instead, you need to think of accomplishment statements. So what did you do that went above and beyond, or what are some projects that you're really proud of?

And when you're writing these statements, anytime that you can include numbers or percentages or amounts, that helps to make that statement measurable and stronger. So be sure to quantify whenever possible. So how many customers, if you've worked with customers or if you've had a job for you ever answering calls or making calls to potential clients. How many phone calls did you make? How much time and money did you saved the company? If you're involved in sales, did you increase sales for your employer?

Then you're going to want to carefully read that job announcement like I mentioned earlier. Take a highlighter, highlight the skills that the employer is looking for and make sure that those are things that you are including on your resume. Use the keywords, the verbs, the phrases that that employer has used in the job announcement in your resume whenever possible. That way, if that employers using an applicant tracking system, those keywords that are going to get picked up and you're going to make it through that initial scan by a computer and get in front of an actual person to review your resume.

To help you with your verbs, please go to the Career Services website. We have a list of action verbs there that you can use. Our website is ung.edu/careers. And again, go to the resume and cover letter section. And you'll be able to access a list of action verbs, Each of your accomplishment statements, need to start with a strong action verb. And I do have a lot of students who ask questions about the verb tense. If they're still working with an employer, should they use present tense?

And the advice that we give is to go ahead and put all of your verbs in past tense. Even if you're still currently working somewhere. That way it just makes it easier for the employer to quickly scan. If the verbs are not switching tenses between present and past, an employer will still be able to look at the dates that you've listed to see that oh, they still work in this position or no, they're no longer at that position.

When thinking about the accomplishments that you really want to think about what's the end of the story. What was the result of your actions? And this can be put on your resume that even says resulted in whatever that was, whether it was the customer was happy, the project was successful. You saved time, you saved money, whatever it may be.

However, there may be instances where you weren't there for the end of the project, especially if you were doing an internship. And of course at the beginning of the internship, it might be about building up to getting the project up and running. And so you might not have been there for the actual results to know happened at the end of the story. So one way to be able to compensate for this is that you can use the phrase "In order to...". This project was started in order to dot, dot, dot, dot. What was it trying to do? Were you trying to increase business, increase sales, were you trying to reach out to customers. What was the purpose of this project? And so that way, if, again, if you're not there for the end of the story to be able to give those results, you can still try to tell, tell the employer what was the point of doing this project. So that way you can show some kind of result, even though you don't have the actual results.

So here we have two examples of brief statements that maybe your resume started off with. So you can see in the before statements, trained new staff, and answered phone calls. So that might be kind of like your starting point of what you did. But then you want to expand on that. We want to start with strong action verbs. We want to try to include numbers wherever possible.

Like Lori mentioned, we also want to tie in results. So when you start thinking and you add in those details, your accomplishment statement will turn out to be an example from our after. So selected by and store management team to train eight new staff members. Ensured new employees developed exceptional customer service skills and fully understood all menu items. So that could be an example from someone working in food service.

And I know sometimes in those types of industries and those types of jobs, students will feel like it's hard to come up with maybe like an accomplishment. They feel like, well, you know, I just I waited tables, I explained the menu items.

But we really need to think beyond just kinda those physical tasks and think about the skills that were involved to perform this job to make the customers happy. The other example is answer phone calls. And I've met with a lot of students who've had jobs and they'll say, well, all I did was answer the phone.

But then when we start talking about it and going through everything that they actually did and how they supported that company or that employer. We're able to then come up with a statement similar to the after example, that they supported front desk operation by answering and directing phone calls to appropriate staff, resulting in 20% increase in customer satisfaction rating. So you just want to make sure that you're taking credit for all of the great skills and experiences that you've had. And it doesn't have to be something that you did the most stuff. It could be something that maybe you only did one time, but you still get to claim credit for that. So just as you're putting this together, don't feel like, well, you know, 90% of the time I was taking customers' orders. Maybe one time you helped to plan a catering event.

So take credit for that. And some other sections to consider as well. Maybe you don't have quite the experience, but you do have the knowledge. And that's where related courses can come into play. Maybe you learned about something that you can say, okay, these are the classes I took that taught me an accounting skill, a coding skill, or some kind of counseling skill. What is it that you can say that you learned in your classes that could help make you qualified for these positions.

Also, you may have certifications for your career field. Maybe there were certain projects or research that you did that relates to the job you want to go into. Make sure you look at all of these different facets of your experience. And even your awards, scholarships, something that again says hey I competed amongst these people. And I was able to accomplish XYZ, I was able to obtain this kind of scholarship. I was able to receive this type of an award. Those things can really help you stand out amongst the crowd.

When employers are skimming through these resumes, they could easily have 200 applicants per job. And if they're a large enough company, they may be using applicant tracking systems. It's a computer that goes through, like Lisa said, those nouns and those verbs. The computer decides who makes it through to a human to look at it. When the human is looking at it, they may be looking at 50 or so resumes. And so out of 50 resumes, how do you stand out from the crowd?

And it's all these little things that come together that help you stand out as a potential candidate. And somewhere during the application or interview process you are going to be asked to supply references. So your references need to be a separate page from your resume. Don't include them on the resume and you don't really have to include a statement at the bottom that says references available upon request. Since we know that space is a premium, that can actually save you one line space by not including that statement.

And an employer will know if they are interested in you and want to move you on to the next step of the process, they will ask for your references. So just make sure that you create a separate reference page. And again, we do have a sample reference page on the Career Services website that you can check out. References generally consist of three to five individuals related to academics or employment.

So they are always professional or academic references. You will not use personal references necessarily, you know, friends and family members unless the employer happens to ask for that. And I have heard of that happening occasionally. But when you put these references together, the information that you're going to need will be the individual's name, their job title, a phone number, and an email where they can be reached, and a brief statement regarding how you know this person.

Make sure that you obtain permission to use that person as a reference before you list them. So please reach out to each individual, let them know the position that you're applying to and ask if you can use them for a reference. Most people are more than happy to help you out.

As an additional kind of favor and thank you for that person helping you, please offer to send them a copy of your resume. That will help them to keep up with everything that you've been doing. It's especially important when you're asking a faculty member. They get a lot of requests from a lot of students and it's impossible for them to keep up with what each student has been doing outside of the classroom. So offer to provide them with a copy of your resume. It's just a nice way to to help them out and thank them for for doing you this favor. And now on to your cover letter.

For the vast majority of jobs, yes you do need a cover letter unless they specify otherwise and are very specific and clear about we do not need a cover letter. If it doesn't say that, include a cover letter, even if they say it's optional, include a cover letter. Most of the employers do read them, how they weigh them compared to your resume that's up to every single individual. But they do read them. And resumes can be a little dry. It's really, you know, again, it's just the biography of your work history. But the cover letter is where you can have a little bit more of your personality. And this is where you can talk a little bit more about why you're interested in this job, why this company. And that's why that research is so important. Not only does it help you figure out what to put on your resume, it helps you to explain yourself in the cover letter.

So that way the opening paragraph, you don't have to say, I'm writing in response to an ad I saw on this website. Since so many people do that, it starts to blend in. And again, then you won't stand out. We need you to stand out. So when it comes to the formatting of your resume and your cover letter, you want them to match. So the same heading, the same margins, the same font, whatever style that you use for your resume should also be on your cover letter. So it's one match set. This is where you can, again show that enthusiasm for the company, and this position.

You can start off the first paragraph with, while I was researching your company, I saw that you specialize in this product or this service. And this is why I like that so much. So this is why I want to be a part of your team. If you really struggle with coming up with that information, if you think, look, I'm just looking for a job. I don't care what I do. Unfortunately, the employer really wants you to care. And that can really come across if you don't care, if you don't try and you may lose an opportunity for that for that position. And if you can't answer, why do you want to work here, maybe it's not a good fit for you. Go with your gut instinct on what is important to you, what fulfills your values? What is it about their mission for that company that makes you think this would be a place I don't mind spending most of my waking hours.

And this is why you can tell the stories to kind of illustrate your experience. Why it's a good fit for the company. And really throw in some relevant skill sets and some accomplishments. Now your cover letter only needs to be one page. And so again, you're going to have the same contact information as your resume. The opening paragraph is all about what do you know about that company. Why do you want to work there?

The second paragraph is more about what skill sets and experience you have that relate to that position and that employer. And the third paragraph is your call to action. You look forward to scheduling an interview. Maybe you want to be even bolder and say, I will call you next Monday at this time on this day. And that's perfectly fine. However, make sure you actually follow through with that. Make sure you have a contact so that you can actually follow up with that hiring manager.

You want to avoid on your cover letter, 'To Whom it May Concern'. It's outdated. It makes you seem like you're old fashioned and not caught up with the times. If you're able to track down who the hiring manager is, and you can use LinkedIn, use the company's website, people in your network, whatever the case may be. If you can find that hiring manager's name, you want to address it to that person. If not, it's okay to say Dear Hiring Manager, dear hiring committee. Or you can even put regarding colon and then whatever the job title is, some way to acknowledge other than just saying To whom it may concern. It's again, that's just a bit outdated.

And we don't want to repeat the exact same information on your cover letter that's on your resume. Think of some of your accomplishments that you can put on the, on the cover letter. And that also helps to make your resume a little bit shorter, especially fits going onto the next page just by a little bit. That way you can take some information off, makes your resume fit nicely, and its new information for your cover letter.

So as we finish up, I just want to remind everyone that we are here to help. So we do offer a lot of services and our office so from career counseling, deciding on a major, doing an assessment to find out where your interests and values and skills match up with jobs and occupations and majors, to internships. Our UNG job board Handshake is a great place to go to look for part time and full-time jobs, as well as internships.

If you are not using it already, we really encourage you to go to ung.joinhandshake.com and activate your account and start using that feature. And then we're here to help with job searching, resume writing, and interviewing assistance. We are still meeting with students virtually right now. So if there's anything that we can help you with, please let us know. You can check out our resources and schedule an appointment by going to ung.edu/careers.

And of course we have all the different social media platforms where you can follow us, get news, information about who's hiring, what are the latest trends and resumes, interview questions and the different events that we have. We have a lot of live chats and workshops that you can participate in. We have job fairs, employers that want to meet with you in all kinds of fashion. So we want to make sure that you know all the latest information about all of our events and information about who's hiring and what's going on in the economy.

All of that is posted on our social media, on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Instagram. We again, we want to make sure that you are the best applicant out there. We want to make sure that you find the job that you're looking for. And we will do everything we can to help make you successful. And just make that appointment with us at ung.edu/careers. And we look forward to working with you.

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