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



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



Dressing the Part: What Your Work Wardrobe Says About You by Christy R

Dressing the Part: What Your
Work Wardrobe Says About You

Dressing properly for work assures credibility and helps to develop a professional relationship with colleagues and clients. Today many companies have adopted business casual attire and let go of some of the more conservative ways of dressing. Problems arise because the concept of business casual is not clearly defined and depends on the company’s dress policy and its corporate culture. Since few companies adopt clear written guidelines regarding business casual attire it is really important to learn the company culture and understand the expectations.

In the traditional business environment, for example, the existing culture expects you to stick to the classical business suit. It is crucial to establish reliability and a good reputation when you work in professions such as banking, finance or accounting. Choose a simple pattern or dark colors and try to change your professional business attire a single item at a time. Think of your dress as something that speaks for you and the way you do business. If the environment you work in is physically demanding, the internal culture there allows you to go with comfortable and easy-to-clean attire, but make sure that your clothes look smart and fit well. When interviewing with a company whose dress code or corporate culture you are not really familiar with, a business professional, traditional suit will be the perfect choice. Once you get hired and learn what the expectations and internal rules are you can adjust your style accordingly.

While it is important to know and understand your specific company’s environment, there are some basic rules that work for any situation or work environment.

Don’t get too casual. The fact that your company has a business casual dress code does not mean that you can get away with inappropriate outfits. Remember where you are and that you represent the company you work for. People won’t take you seriously if you can’t take the time to dress appropriately for the situation. Do a simple “Friday night” test: if you would pick a specific item to wear out to a weekend party, it probably doesn’t belong in the office.

Be professional in your choice of clothing. A short skirt is not a good choice for women to wear in the office environment. Short socks that expose legs are taboo for men. Avoid using bright colors in your outfit; it does not usually look professional. An option here would be adding an accessory that is an unusual color and goes along with the rest of the attire; however, that should be as far as it goes.  The foundational rule for wearing jewelry in a business environment is not to overdo it.

Summer Business Dress. Remember not to abandon your regular business attire when it gets warm outside. Sleeveless tops are very tempting in the summer time, but are usually not appropriate for a business situation. If you do happen to wear one, be sure that you have a jacket to put on when the situation requires. Women can try putting up their hair to stay cool and look sophisticated at the same time.

The Bottom Line. Every time you choose what to wear, think about the message that you want to send with your appearance. Keep in mind that you represent yourself and your organization. Carefully built credibility and reputation can be damaged very quickly by an inappropriate choice of clothing. By following some basic rules and learning the corporate culture of the company will guarantee you a professional look!

For more valuable information on professional dress, view our handout on Dressing Professionally in our Handout Library.

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

Sources:
www.theworkbuzz.com
www.fashionforrealwomen.com
www.westsidetoastmasters.com



Dining Etiquette Workshop by Christy R

Dining Etiquette Workshop

Do you know the dos and taboos of dining etiquette? Are you prepared to interview during a meal?  The Office of Career Services is pleased to welcome Deborah Thomas-Nininger of DTN Productions to Ohio University to facilitate a Dining Etiquette Workshop. This workshop will guide you through proper dining and interviewing techniques as well as providing tips for pre-dinner mingling.

Due to high demand, Career Services has added one more table to the program.  Single tickets are available for $15, first come, first serve.  Please bring a check (written to: Ohio University Career Services) to 533 Baker University Center to receive a ticket.

When: Monday, May 9, 2011

Time: Dinner will begin promptly at 6:00 pm

Where: Baker University Center Ballroom

Cost: $15 (only checks will be accepted)

*Cost includes four course meal and training materials
**Professional business attire required.

Please direct any questions about the Dining Etiquette Workshop to Ali Woodworth at aw800110@ohio.edu.

More on Deborah Thomas-Nininger
Deborah Thomas-Nininger has been conducting business etiquette, communication and self-presentation workshops and training seminars for over 20 years. During that time she’s coordinated the international etiquette training for the 1996 Olympic Games held in Atlanta for Coca-Cola. Deborah has presented to a wide varieties of companies and universities including Nationwide Insurance, Cardinal Health, Bath and Body Works and Harvard University.  For more on Deborah Thomas-Nininger visit her website at http://dtn-productions.com/home .



PwC’s Personal Brand Week by Christy R

PwC’s Personal Brand Week

Last year PwC hosted its first Personal Brand Week. This program provided students and recent grads with an overview of the importance of personal brand and steps you can take to develop your own personal brand.  During the week of February 7-11, PwC is holding Personal Brand Week 2.0, an opportunity to take an even deeper dive into personal brand.  As you know, landing a job today requires more than just good grades. You need to focus on and promote your individual strengths, stand out from your peers and tell a unique story. In short, you need a personal brand.

Each day during Personal Brand Week, PwC will focus on one of five elements they recommend you master in order to develop and refine your unique personal brand:

Day 1, Monday—Building Your Network

Day 2, Tuesday— You Are What You Write

Day 3, Wednesday— Your Online Image Makeover

Day 4, Thursday— Prepare for Career Fairs and Interviews

Day 5, Friday— Your Elevator Pitch – with the announcement of a special contest with a $5,000 prize!

You can access Personal Brand Week 2.0 starting on February 7 on PwC’s Facebook page www.facebook.com/PwCUSCareers or at pwc.com/us/personalbrandweek

PwC also invites you to participate in a Live Chat on Personal Branding at www.pwc.com/us/careercorner on Wednesday, February 9, from 12:00-1:00pm PT/3:00 – 4:00pm ET. This is your opportunity to ask your personal brand questions to PwC’s US Recruiting leader, Holly Paul!  We hope you take advantage of Personal Brand Week 2.0 and please be sure to share this with your friends of all majors!



Brush Up on Your Career Fair Etiquette by Christy R

Brush Up on Your Career Fair Etiquette

As we gear up for the annual OU Winter Career Fair tomorrow, here are a few helpful reminders to help you interact successfully with employers.

BEFORE THE FAIR

1. Identify & research employers: Visit Bobcat Career Link to find out what employers are registered for the fair. Do some initial research about the companies by visiting their websites.

2. Bring multiple copies of your résumé…and don’t forget to organize them neatly in a nice portfolio.

3. Practice your introduction: Be ready to introduce yourself to employers and highlight your major, class status, and how your knowledge/skills would be an asset to the company.

4. Dress professionally: Dark business suits and ties for men, with polished shoes, dark socks, and well groomed hair. Neutral or dark suits work best for women, with panty hose, close-toed, low-heeled shoes, and minimal make-up/perfume.

DURING THE FAIR

1. Make a good first impression: Greet the employer with a firm handshake and smile, and introduce yourself.

2. Demonstrate your knowledge: Let the employer know that you’ve done your research and are able to communicate how you will fit into the company.

3. Remember names and companies: Be sure to get the recruiters name and business card.

AFTER THE FAIR

1. Follow up: Send a thank you note to the employers you spoke to. Reiterate the main points you discussed with them at the fair e.g. your qualifications, interest, and anything you forgot to mention at the event. Be sure to send a résumé/make a phone call if the employer asked you to do so.

—The information above was taken from the Office of Career Services’ “Career Fair Etiquette” flier which is available for students to pick up at any time. For other helpful handouts on a variety of career-related topics, stop by our office or visit our Handout Library online.



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.