How to Pay for College:What You Need to Succeed in Your Job Hunt


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You need three things to succeed in getting a job: a résumé, a cover letter and some skill at interviewing.

Here’s an overview of each item:

Résumé

A résumé is nothing more than a one- or two-page summary of your work experience. However, it can be a little overwhelming to write your very first one. For this reason, you might consider going to your local library and asking the librarian to help you find a book with step-by-step instructions.

Also, be ready to write more than one version of your résumé. For example, if you have had jobs at camp and in an office, you would want to create one résumé for each type of experience.

Don’t pay for a résumé or cover letter. While it might seem like a good idea to pay someone else to write your résumé and cover letter, you will only be hurting yourself.

Learning to write both a résumé and a cover letter is an integral part of being a working adult. If you shirk now, how will you ever learn to write a résumé?

Will you pay someone every single time that you write or rewrite your résumé? That could add up to a huge expense.

I know, I know. Those résumé-writing services make it sound as if they have the special magic mojo to get you the job of your dreams. As with any and all scams, you don’t want to pay for something that you can easily do for yourself.

So, don’t pay someone else to write your cover letter or résumé. Who knows your job skills better than you do?

In addition to books, you might try these websites that offer articles, advice, and sample résumés for you to look at:

www.ehow.com/first-resume/ eHow has a variety of articles that will walk you through the résumé-writing process. This link is especially for those writing their first résumé.

www.internweb.com/articles/ InternWeb.com has a variety of articles about creating a résumé to land an internship, but those same tips can also help you land a job. Cover letter Cover letters can be tricky. First, a definition. The cover letter is the piece that goes along with the résumé. A cover letter is supposed to succinctly list the job skills on your résumé that relate to the position you want.

Cover Letter

Cover letters are short—just one page. However, as with résumés, you may want to write several versions to use for different types of jobs.

Of course, there are books on this topic, too. Here are a couple of websites that have sample cover letters and can walk you through the process of creating your own cover letter.

http://www.aftercollege.com/content/career_resources/e/cover_letters_an_endangered_species/

This article explains exactly why cover letters are important even in the age of the Internet. http://www.collegecentral.com/Article.cfm?IND=6&Search=1&Date_From=&Date_To=&s_CatID=ALL&s_Keyword=cover%20letter

 

College Central has a variety of articles to help you write the perfect cover letter for every job opportunity.

Interviewing 101

Your résumé and cover letter will get your foot in the door, but your interview will really get you the job. Be prepared for everything that the interviewer will ask by following these tips from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Preparation

You can prepare for the interview by learning about the organization. Find the company’s website online and read all about them. Be prepared to answer general questions about your previous job experience and why you want the current job.

The interviewer may begin with very broad questions such as “Tell me about yourself,” or “What are your strengths and weaknesses?” Think about how you plan to answer these questions in advance. If possible, practice answering these types of interview questions with a friend.

Personal Appearance

Be neat and clean, even if you are wearing blue jeans and a t-shirt. If the job is in an office, dress appropriately for an office. If you err, err on the conservative side. Don’t wear frayed clothing or anything that shows too much skin. In addition, don’t wear too much makeup, jewelry, or cologne. The interview Arrive early for the interview. Be prepared to speak clearly and don’t use slang. Bring a list of questions that you want to ask about the company or the job. Unless the interviewer brings it up, don’t ask about salary. Be polite with everyone. Make eye contact with the interviewer and sit up straight. Shake hands with the interviewer at the beginning of the How to Pay for College 116116 This article explains exactly why cover letters are important even in the age of the Internet. www.collegecentral.com/ArticleList.cfm?CatID=CAR College Central has a variety of articles to help you write the perfect cover letter for every job opportunity.

The interviewer may begin with very broad questions such as “Tell me about yourself,” or “What are your strengths and weaknesses?” Think about how you plan to answer these questions in advance. If possible, practice answering these types of interview questions with a friend.

Arrive early for the interview. Be prepared to speak clearly and don’t use slang. Bring a list of questions that you want to ask about the company or the job. Unless the interviewer brings it up, don’t ask about salary.

Be polite with everyone. Make eye contact with the interviewer and sit up straight. Shake hands with the interviewer at the beginning of the interview and at the end. Remember to thank the interviewer after the interview.

What to bring to the interview

Here’s a list of items to bring with you to the interview:

Social Security card Driver’s license Résumé Application (if required) References (Most employers ask for the names and contact information for three references.) Transcripts (These are not always necessary, but it’s a good idea to bring them anyway. It shows the interviewer that you are prepared.) After the interview When you get home from the interview, send a short thank-you note to the person who interviewed you. Explain that you are even more interested in the job after the interview.

Best in Show: The Best Websites for Résumés, Cover Letters, and Interview Tips

Monster College has everything to help the new college graduate find a job, but they also have a great deal of information about internships, writing résumés, and interviewing.
http://college.monster.com/training/articles/2what-

JobStar.org has some excellent résumé tips as well as a good listing of sample résumés. They’ve also got a good sampling of cover letters.
http://jobstar.org/index.php

 

This article is one in a series adapted from the book How to Pay for College: A Library How-To Handbook.

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book cover: How to Pay for College: A Library How-To Handbook How to Pay for College: A Library How-To Handbook by Editors of the American Library Association published by ALA Editions.

 

 

 

 

Photo credit: NoncommercialShare Alike University of San Francisco Graduation Commencement May 2010 by Shawn Calhoun.

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