Ohio University Office of Career Services


Résumé Words Not to Use by Christy R

Résumé Words Not to Use

When browsing a résumé, recruiters often look for specific words that are relevant to the job description. When writing a resume, you should aim to make it stand out. A couple of simple rules will help you to avoid words that are overused and do not add uniqueness to your résumé, as well as words that are not appropriate to put on your résumé.

Never use words that are too general and are irrelevant to a position description.

Remember to be very concrete and provide specific examples about every skill you list on your résumé. Avoid words like responsible or successful. We all have responsibilities that are associated with our jobs, so avoid listing your job duties unless very relevant to the job for which you are applying. Instead, be very specific about your accomplishments. It should be common sense to include only successes on your résumé but just listing them does not provide employers with useful information. Illustrate your success with specific examples and show how the success was measured.

For the same reason, avoid putting problems-solver or skilled on your résumé. These words are too general and need more concrete examples to add value to your résumé.

Avoid using words like assisted, helped or contributed.  When tempted to put assisted down, ask yourself: How exactly did you help/assists? What were the results and how big of a contribution did you manage to add? What amount of work (list specific tasks) did you do?

Avoid using word team-player, describe how you contributed to or lead a team. Never put just excellent written and verbal communication skills—provide an example of how often you had to write and how many viewers you had.

Never use words that are not appropriate for the résumé.

Remember to screen every word that you put on the résumé to make sure they are professional enough to be there. Avoid using over-praising adjectives like splendid or spectacular—they not only do not sound professional but also have no credibility.

Avoid saying how you feel about your job or your job function—words that carry feelings are not relevant to your job function whether you hated it or it was a pleasure. Never include a description of your physical appearance such as attractive unless it is relevant to the job.

You résumé is not the proper place for talking about your political beliefs or your religion—thus avoid words like liberal. It is also not appropriate to mention your health and there is no need to put strong immune system on your résumé.

It is tempting to use familiar with when you are not particularly good at something however still want to mention it on the résumé. You have a choice of learning it well enough to become proficient or leaving it off your résumé. Familiarity means that you know a little but will still need to be trained—just like a person who is not familiar with that same thing.

Avoid highly-intelligent (and rarely used) words. You may just confuse your reader or give the wrong impression. By the same token, avoid jargon or acronyms that are not generally accepted or widely understood. Don’t use clichés and words that are overused and won’t set your résumé apart from the others. Use synonyms to make your résumé stand out.  Never use personal pronouns in your résumé—it is a summary of your experience and “I” or “me” are considered redundant.

By using strong words and avoiding inappropriate words, and by spending good amount of time writing your resume you will be able to add character to it and make it stand out from hundreds of others!

To have a career counselor look over your résumé, come to the Office of Career Services walk-in hours.

—Written by Anna Morlang, CareerCATS Coordinator for the Office of Career Services

References
New Grad Life
SavvySugar: Money
Hub Pages
Online Degrees Today

Advertisements


Interview Bloopers & How to Avoid Them by Christy R

Interview Bloopers & How to Avoid Them

The ability to write a great résumé or cover letter may help you land an interview, but that’s not all it takes to get the job. An outstanding résumé can get you in to meet with your potential employer but once you’re sitting across from them in the interview you will have to start over in order to prove that you are the best candidate.

Most interview bloopers occur because of the lack of practice and preparation. Of course even if you are well prepared, the interview may not go perfectly–we all make mistakes. However, the following mistakes can easily be avoided by developing strong interviewing skills and preparing properly for the interview.

Weak communication skills.
Non-verbal communication plays a crucial role throughout the interview. A poor handshake may weaken your chances of getting hired from the very beginning. Also remember to make eye contact, avoid fidgeting and looking at your watch. Be aware of your body language–it may not be obvious to you but the interviewer will easily notice it.

Poor verbal communication skills will almost certainly decrease your chances of getting hired. Giving a long, rambling answer to a simple question demonstrates an inability to concentrate and process relevant information. Avoid using any slang–stay professional no matter what. Listening skills are also vital: don’t spend so much time thinking about your answer that you’re not paying attention to the question.

Failing to research the company.
Be prepared to demonstrate an awareness of the company and the position for which you are applying. It’s going to be obvious that you did not do your research if you ask the interviewer to tell you more about the position or what the company does. Read the job description. Check out the company website. Know the organization. On the other hand, don’t go overboard with your knowledge. When you know something about the company, wait for the right moment to share it. Do not interrupt the interviewer to tell them you already know the information. Wait until they have finished and then add a comment to what they just shared.

Dressing inappropriately.
When in doubt, err on the side of too formal. It is unlikely that there will be a good reason to show up for the interview casually dressed. Every company has its own dress policy, and it is a good practice to dress one level above what is acceptable for company.

Being late or too early.
Never be late. Develop a habit of being on time. It’s also important not to turn up too early because it creates the impression of having too much time on your hands and being desperate for the job. Five to ten minutes early is a good rule of thumb.

Being negative.
It’s important to have the right attitude during an interview. Never complain about your current job and stay enthusiastic throughout the interview. Be careful to treat everyone you meet with courtesy, including the receptionist. Many companies watch to see how you treat their staff. It gives them an indication of how well you might fit in to the company.

Asking inappropriate questions.
At the end of the interview always take the opportunity to ask questions. By paying attention during the interview, you will ensure that you don’t ask about something that was already discussed. Take some time before the interview to think about the position, what it involves and what kind of information you need to know to learn more about it. Have several questions prepared before you go into the interview. Avoid asking questions about salary and benefits during the initial interview. These are only appropriate once you have been offered the job.

Failing to follow up.
Be persistent. Send an email and thank you note after the interview, thanking the interviewer for their time. By following up and letting the employer know that you are still interested, you will increase your chances of getting a job.

Remember, preparation and practice are key. The Office of Career Services provides you with assistance when preparing for an interview. You can find general information about interviews on our website.

The Mock Interview Program can also help you sharpen your interviewing skills. Visit our website for more information.

Make sure to check out our On Demand Presentations for additional information on Behavioral Interviews or Phone Interviews.

Get ready and the best of luck on your interview!

—Written by Anna Morlang, CareerCATS Coordinator for the Office of Career Services

References
Quintessential Careers
The Time of India
Career Alley



2011 Job Outlook: Good News for Class of 2011! by Christy R

2011 Job Outlook:
Good News for Class of 2011!

Based on information provided by the National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE) Job Outlook Fall 2011, employers are planning on hiring 13.5% more graduates in 2011 than they did in 2010. In addition to hiring more graduates, NACE has reported the hiring outlook for 2011 to be “good,” in contrast to last year’s rating of “fair.”

What do these statistics mean for you as a soon-to-be-graduate? They mean that you need to work on your GPA, and focus on your leadership skills when reaching out to employers in order to attain your true potential as a future employee. As discussed throughout NACE’s statistics, employers are working to cut many applications off if applicants GPAs do not fall above a 3.0. Additionally, to best present your credentials, be sure to successfully convey your strong communication skills, work ethic, teamwork, analytical skills, and overall initiative when pursuing any position with a company.

While the employment statistics for 2011 college graduates are high, proper attention needs to be paid to make sure you are able to put your best foot forward as a job applicant. By incorporating all discussed factors, your pathway to landing a career post-graduation will inevitably be secured, assisting in your overall growth as a future business leader.

—Contributed by Haley Drometer, Practicum Student for the Office of Career Services

The Office of Career Services is here to help you in your career pursuits and help you develop valuable careers skills. To make an appointment with a career counselor or to pick up copies of our handouts, stop by our office or visit our Handout Library online.



CareerCATS: Opening the door to your future. by Christy R

CareerCATS: Opening the door to your future.

CareerCATS is an Ohio University student marketing organization that promotes services offered by the Office of Career Services. Members of the club volunteer during the Career Fair and support the Office in many other projects.  CareerCATS organizes at least one big event each quarter with the intention of making it as relevant as possible to the majority of students on campus, regardless of their individual major and career goals. During fall quarter the club organized a Résumé Blitz to help students to polish their résumés before the Career Fair.  In winter quarter they organized a “Credit Wise” workshop aimed at educating students about student loans, credit cards and credit history. Currently, the club is planning an etiquette dinner for the spring quarter.

CareerCATS offers an opportunity to gain valuable experience in a variety of areas. This group is the ideal place to develop skills in writing, presenting, graphic design, event planning, problem solving, organization and leadership. The club has something for every major and values each member. Fine art students can expand their professional portfolios by working on promotional material for the various events organized by CareerCATS and the Office. Communications students can develop their public speaking and writing skills by giving presentations about CareerCATS and the Career Services Office to different organizations across campus, as well writing for the group’s monthly newspaper.

For University College students, CareerCATS can help students decide on the major they want to pursue by discovering opportunities they may not have known about before. Lastly, being involved in the group is a great résumé builder!

To learn more about CareerCATS including information on how to join, please check out Career Services’ website.

—Written by Anna Morlang, CareerCATS Coordinator for the Office of Career Services



Professionalism In the Workplace for New College Grads by Christy R

Professionalism in the Workplace for New College Grads


New college grads need to start putting workplace professionalism higher on their list of priorities as they seek jobs, employers say, according to a recent poll conducted by York College of Pennsylvania’s Center for Professional Excellence. The 2010 Professionalism in the Workplace Poll discovered eight specific areas in which employers have found new grads lacking:

  • Accepting personal responsibility for decisions and actions.
  • Being open to criticism.
  • Displaying a sense of ethics.
  • Being competent in verbal and written communication.
  • Taking initiative.
  • Projecting a professional image.
  • Thinking independently.
  • Demonstrating passion for their work.

The first two traits (accepting personal responsibility and being open to criticism) are the ones listed as needing the most improvement. Information Technology etiquette is another area in which employers are noticing less-than-desirable habits. The growing trend among students to surf the internet, text message, and respond to cell phone calls during class is translating into the work world in ways that employers find unprofessional.

Professionalism in the workplace is not limited to corporate jobs or specific professions (business, healthcare, law, etc.). In answer to the question, “Are all positions considered capable of exhibiting professionalism?” the majority of respondents indicated that they think of professionalism “as being related to the person rather than the position. Anyone in any position has the potential to exhibit professional traits and behavior.”

As you seek to project a professional image, keep in mind the following traits which were mentioned most often as characteristics of the professional employee:

  • Personal interaction skills (includes courtesy and respect).
  • Ability to communicate (includes listening skills).
  • Work ethic (includes being motivated and working on a task until complete).
  • Personal appearance.
  • Self-confidence and self-awareness.


Up Your Act in the Workplace, Part 2: Listening Skills by Christy R

Up Your Act in the Workplace, Part 2: LISTENING SKILLS


Developing good listening habits now is crucial to your career plans. The ability to listen well will benefit you no matter what type of job you intend to have. It will improve communication between you and the people you work with, making your working relationship more efficient and effective.

Poor listening skills can affect your performance on the job and create major mix-ups that you could have avoided just by taking the time to listen carefully. Take a moment now to evaluate yourself. Are you a good listener? Are there ways in which you can improve your listening skills? The following characteristics might indicate that you have some work to do:

  • You often interrupt or finish another speaker’s sentence.
  • You can remember what you said in a recent conversation, but you can repeat or paraphrase hardly any of what the other person said.
  • You find yourself “zoning out” when another person is talking.
  • You find yourself concentrating more on the speaker’s quirky accent than on what they are saying.
  • You fidget or shuffle things around while someone is speaking, indicating that you don’t have time to listen right now.

If any or all of these apply to you, it might be a good idea to focus on developing your listening skills with a few of these tips:

1. Don’t interrupt.
One suggested way of breaking this habit is to apologize immediately and ask the speaker to continue what they were saying. After a couple of apologies, you’ll find yourself thinking twice before you jump in again.

2. Keep your mouth closed.
Even if the speaker pauses to think before they finish their sentence, resist the urge to fill in the silence. If you are constantly waiting for the chance to jump in, you aren’t really focusing on what the other person is saying, and therefore you’ll miss crucial information being discussed.

3. Maintain eye contact.
Be alert and lean forward while looking the speaker in the eyes. By doing this, you’re not only conveying interest which helps the speaker communicate better, but you’re also positioning yourself to avoid distractions (such as that bird flying around right outside the window, or incoming emails/text messages).

4. Repeat ideas and ask clarifying questions.
While someone is talking, concentrate on being able to paraphrase the idea and repeat it aloud. This helps you process the information and store it in your memory, and it ensures that you and the speaker understand each other.

Whether you currently hold a job or are still in school, start developing good listening habits now. A conscious effort to improve these skills will prove invaluable in the long run.

For more information on developing good listening skills, visit SalesVantage.com, CareerJournal.com, or CareerPlanning.about.com.

(Illustration credit to Kristy Pargeter).



Career Fair Follow-up: Preparing for a Phone Interview by Christy R

Following the career fair, many of you can expect to be taking the next step in the hiring process:  interviewing. This may start with a phone interview or an invitation to an on-site interview. Sometimes a recruiter will conduct a phone interview simply to ask a few clarifying questions in their attempt to narrow down the pool of job applicants. Other times they prefer to conduct an entire 60-minute interview over the phone.

When preparing for a phone interview, many of the techniques for face-to-face interviews still apply, but a few additional tips are helpful:

1. Be Ready.
You might not know beforehand the exact time the interviewer is going to call. Have your résumé and notes on the organization handy to refer to during the interview. This is one benefit a phone interview gives you—the opportunity to use a “cheat sheet” during the interview. Use this to your advantage!

2. Eliminate distractions.
Find a quiet place away from other people or noisy pets. Turn off call waiting. Close applications on your computer. If there are other people around you, be sure they know not to interrupt! Avoid chewing gum, eating, or smoking.

3. Speak out.
Standing up actually makes your voice stronger. Also, smile! Even though the person interviewing you cannot see you, your facial expression comes through in the tone of your voice. Enunciate your words clearly and avoid awkward fillers like “um,” “er,” “you know,” etc. One last suggestion: Nerves tend to dry up the voice, so taking occasional sips of water throughout the interview will keep your throat relaxed and open.

4. Give short answers.
It’s easy to talk too much when you’re nervous. Only talk enough to answer the question, then allow a moment of silence to let the interviewer know that it’s their turn to talk.

These tips can help give you a feeling of confidence when conducting an interview. For more tips on conducting a traditional interview, view our previous post, “Interview Etiquette: Tips To Successfully Navigate a Job Interview.” Also consider participating in our Mock Interview program where you can practice both face-to-face and telephone interviews, and receive valuable feedback from the interviewer. For more information about this program, and to sign up, visit www.ohio.edu/careers.