Weekly Career Tip: Career Development Guides

Are you looking for advice on how have a successful phone interview, what to do when attending a professional conference, or how to best negotiate a job offer? Check out our career development guides. We have a number of guides – everything from explaining what an informational interview is to tips on professional etiquette – available for you on the Career Resources webpage on the Milken Institute School of Public Health website.

Weekly Career Tip: Why You Don’t Want Your Resume to be Memorable

It may sound counterintuitive, but you don’t want your resume to be memorable. Employers certainly remember good people, but they don’t necessarily remember resumes…unless they stand out in a bad way. So when you’re writing your resume, you don’t need to worry about formatting it in an unusual way or adding some creative element to make it look different from the other documents. The best resume is one that is formatted cleanly and consistently. It will contain bulleted statements that describe your experience in terms of outcomes, not responsibilities, and include quantified information where applicable. It may feature a profile or summary statement and additional sections for volunteer work, publications, etc. that are directly relevant to the position to which you are applying.

Stand out by being clear, concise, and specific, not by trying to add a lot of bells and whistles.

Weekly Career Tip: Job Search Strategies

If your job search consists solely of finding and applying for jobs online, you may be working hard, but you’re not working smart. The most effective job search will employ a variety of strategies. Here is a list of several things you can do to make sure you’re using a varied approach to your job search:

1. Apply for jobs online, using a variety of job banks and databases.
2. Reach out to your contacts to let them know what you’re looking for and ask about leads.
3. Conduct informational interviews as a way to find out helpful information that will allow you to tailor your application materials.
4. Consider using social media in your job search.
5. Stay active in the field by volunteering, reading relevant material, and /or attending events. This will demonstrate a genuine interest in the field and may help you meet valuable contacts.
6. Keep a record of all of your job search activities.

Weekly Career Tip: How to Indicate a Promotion on a Resume

There are a couple of different ways that you can indicate that you’ve held two positions under the same employer. If the duties of the two positions were significantly different, you can use the employer as the heading and the position titles as two separate subheadings with bullets under each subheading describing the work of each position. For example:

The Milken Institute School of Public Health at George Washington University
Research Manager (April 2014 – Present)
x  Action verb bullet point that describes results of work
Research Assistant (September 2012 – April 2014)
x Great bullet point that includes quantitative information

If the promotion is a change of title but the position duties stay the same, you might format the entry on your resume like this:

The Milken Institute School of Public Health at George Washington University
Research Manager (April 2014- Present), Research Assistant (September 2012-April 2014)
x Promotion to Research Manager awarded due to excellent work quality
x Bullet point that describes results of work

Of the two formats, the first is preferred since employers like to see progression. Ideally a promotion does include some additional responsibilities. However, if you truly can’t differentiate the work you did under one title from the work of your previous title, the second example is an acceptable way to format a resume entry.

Weekly Career Tip: Long-Distance Job Search

If you’re applying for a job in a city or state that is a significant distance from where you live, you are, unfortunately, at a disadvantage. Even though you may be willing to cover the costs of getting yourself into town for an interview and relocating, employers often prefer local candidates. That’s not to say that getting a job in a new area is impossible, but there are some specific things that you should do and be aware of when conducting a long-distance job search including: prepare for a longer job search, use a local address, and state that you will cover your own travel and relocation expenses.

For some helpful tips on long-distance job searching read:

How to Conduct a Long-Distance Job Search
Why Long-Distance Job Searching Sucks and What You Can Do About It

Weekly Career Tip: Advice from Recruiters

Last week GW career services professionals had an opportunity to hear from a panel of professional recruiters. We asked what common mistakes they see students making in their interaction with recruiters. Here are some of their responses:

  • When interacting virtually with a recruiter, remember that you’re still talking to an employer. Virtual or social media platforms don’t mean that you can be overly casual in your communication.
  • Avoid the “just someone in HR” mentality. Recruiters and human resources professionals are the gateway to the hiring manager. Be professional and respectful.
  • Be accutely aware of your tone, especially in written communication. Recruiters cited arrogance or students’ expectation that they can circumvent the system as a common mistake.
  • Recruiters and hiring managers often go to social media platforms to see how candidates present themselves. Not having a social media presence (i.e. LinkedIn) can count as a check against you.
  • Show that you’ve done your part. Don’t just send a recruiter your resume and ask where you might fit in the organization. Spend some time on the company’s website and identify a few divisions or job titles that might be a good fit for you, then present those ideas to the recruiter.
  • International students need to own the responsibility of understanding the sponsorship process. Don’t assume that the employer will understand or do the work required for sponsorship.

While not all public health organizations use recruiters, some do. Regardless of whether you’re working with a professional recruiter or a manager looking to hire a team member, it’s important to be professional in all written and verbal communication and to respect the recruiter/manager’s time.

Weekly Career Tip: Word Power

The words you use affect your attitude and your thinking. If you’re having trouble with career-related decisions, try the following exercises:

  • Replace “should” statements with “want to” – does the statement still ring true?
  • Replace “can’t” with “won’t” – this can help illuminate your true priorities
  • Replace “but” with “and” – this will help open up possibilities

From the book You Majored in What? Mapping Your Path from Chaos to Career by Katherine Brooks

Weekly Career Tip: A Few Professional Etiquette Tips

These professional etiquette tips are applicable for students, job seekers, and professionals.

Leave your phone alone! Refrain from checking or sending text messages and emails during meetings or lectures. You may think you’re being discrete, but others will take notice. Give the speaker the respect that he or she deserves.

When addressing people – either verbally or in written communication – use titles (Mr., Ms., Dr., Professor, etc.). Do not use first names unless invited to do so. If you have multiple email communications with the same person throughout the day, a formal greeting may not be needed for each email; however, you should begin the first email of each day with a salutation.

When approaching someone in a cubicle, knock on the cubicle door/wall and ask, “May I come in?” Respect personal space, even if there are no office walls.

Read more professional etiquette tips here.