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Module 12

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University of Waterloo
Judah Oudshoorn

Module 12: Communicating for Employment Objectives: By the end of this module, you should be able to:  draft a targeted résumé that is persuasive and concise,  draft a persuasive cover letter, and  identify and apply transferable skills. Readings and Resources Textbook: Ch. 9  eRésumés (see below)  Résumé Quiz (see below for web link) Your Career Goals and Qualifications  Assess your skills and values.  What are your values, interests, and marketable skills?  What are you good at?  Do you have any new skills?  What are your short-term and long-term goals?  What’s important to you?  Assess your work preferences and personality.  Are you an introvert or extrovert?  Would you prefer to work for a larger or small organization?  Do you like a fast pace or a slow pace?  Do you thrive on challenges and risks, or would you work better in a stable environment?  What job rewards motivate you?  What sort of colleagues and working conditions would provide you with enough job stimulation?  Assess your work history.  What are your previous accomplishments?  What are some of your most satisfying/dissatisfying experiences?  Do you have good communication skills?  What are your hard and soft skills? Job Huntin  Get to know the job market, sources of employment, and organizations where you would like to work.  Read the career pages, classified ads, and financial sections.  Master electronic job-search techniques.  Learn to network.  Tap into the hidden job market.  Visit employment agencies.  Think ahead.  Polish your interpersonal and communication skills. Resumes  A résumé is a summary of your qualifications and past work experience.  It should be professional, accurate, and formatted for easy reading.  Prospective employers must be able to read your résumé quickly (usually in less than a minute), or scan it electronically to be searched by key words. Resume Format - Your résumé should:  Be tight, action-oriented, and in point form.  Use capitals and boldface for headings.  Use consistent indenting.  Use space between sections and have wide margins.  Be error-free!  Be specific to each job rather than general.  Name and contact information o Format your name in bold, and list your telephone number and appropriate e-mail address.  Career objective (optional)  Your main qualifications and career path. o The position you desire or your professional goal.  Summary of qualifications/profile (optional) o Use one or two sentences (or a short list)  Your skills and qualifications as they relate to the job.  Education o Undergraduate and graduate degrees, diplomas, and certificates in reverse chronological order. o The diploma name, academic honours (if applicable), name of institution, location, field of study or specialization, and years of attendance. o Relevant courses taken and your GPA (optional)  Work experience  Strong action verbs and specifics.  Your activities and accomplishments.  Full-time, part-time, co-op, and volunteer work.  Job title, company and location, and years of employment.  Skills and capabilities.  Any technical training, special skills, and languages.  Awards/honours and activities.  Academic awards, volunteer experiences, professional memberships, and school or community service. References  “References supplied on request.”  References can be provided on the résumé or on a separate sheet.  Include your reference’s full name and job title, company name and address, telephone number, and e-mail address. Resume Format  Human Rights Act  The Canadian Human Rights Act forbids employers from asking about age, race, religion, marital status, sexual orientation, or health. Résumé Length and Style  Length o Check the industry or company requirements. o Use a well balanced design with plenty of white space. o Keep it to one or two pages.  Style o Functional o Combination o Chronological Keys  Be honest. o Don’t embellish, exaggerate, or alter the truth.  Be current.  Include recent accomplishments, responsibilities,  and activities.  Have both a scannable and a traditional version.  Customize each résumé.  Revise and clarify the focus for each job.  Keep it professional.  Use good paper, a muted colour, traditional fonts, and a good printer. Scannable Résumés  A keywords section with relevant words (current and previous job titles, professional jargon, synonyms, marketable skills and traits) is essential on a scannable résumé.  Use whitespace and blank lines in your formatting.  Avoid fancy fonts or graphics. Résumés by E-mail  Read the job advertisement carefully for instructions.  Put the job title or reference number in the subject line.  Attachemtns: o Be sure to consider the readability of the file and potential SPAM filters. Use computer friendly formatting (.pdf, .doc).  Use keywords.  Attach your cover letter and include a covering e-mail message. Cover Letter  Opening: o Get attention and define the position for which you are applying.  Middle: o Build interest with a summary of your qualifications. o Match your strengths to the job requirements.  Closing: o Request an interview and provide contact information. Cover Letter Tips  Avoid using “I,” “me,” and “mine.”  Get the names correct.  Use keywords from the job posting.  Use a consistent font for the cover letter and résumé.  Write short paragraphs.  Don’t plead, apologize, or exaggerate.  Don’t use generic letters.  Be strong and clear.  Keep the letter to one page in length.  Keep a copy for yourself. Solicited Application  Opening: o Gain attention by using a summary + request opening style. o Demonstrate shared values and an interest in the company. o Solicited Application  Middle: o Relate your skills to the job posting/ requirements. o Summarize your skills and emphasize those related to the job. o Use bullet points. o Refer to your résumé. o Solicited Application  Closing: o Include contact information (telephone or e-mail). o Ask for an interview. Tips for an Unsolicited Application  Show enthusiasm.  Use an indirect approach.  Demonstrate your interest and knowledge.  Articulate what you can do, your qualifications, and the benefits you bring to the company.  This approach demonstrates initiative and creates opportunities. Tips for Interviews  At the Interview o Be on time (or a little early). o Go alone. o Bring copies of your résumé, references, work samples, or your portfolio. o At the interview: o Be courteous. o Make a good first impression (handshake, eye contact, and smile). o Listen carefully to questions and instructions. o Use correct English. o Show interest with body language. o Be positive. o Demonstrate a knowledge of the company. o Don’t make salary and benefits a priority. o Don’t expect a decision before you leave.  After the interview o Use one of the following types of letters: Thank you letter (sent within 24 hours)  Thank the interviewer for his or her time.  Restate your interest in the job.  Personalize the letter with information about skills, qualifications, or topics covered during interview.  Follow up letter (if you haven’t received a response) o Let the employer know you are still interested. o Ask if they need any additional information. o Provide any new or updated contact inform
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