Accessibility

Transcript for March 2016

>> Are we good to go? Okay, perfect. Well, good afternoon. Thanks for coming at 2:00 on a Friday. I really appreciate it. And thanks to everybody who's online too. I'm excited to be here. My name is Jenny Nominni. I'm the workability coordinator and interpreter coordinator at Southwestern College. I went through the program here, started in 2008 and graduated in 2011. And from there I did some internships with VOR. I volunteered and did internships and then worked as a vocational specialist through San Diego Community College. And then utilized my grant writing skills and wrote a grant at Southwestern College and started the workability program there.

 

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[ Inaudible ] My day in and day out is resumes and interviewing and cover letter writing. So I wanted to kind of touch on it a little bit, just because I feel like we don't get a lot of in-depth information about how we write a resume. You know, cover letter, interviewing, following up. And so I'm hoping we can have a super formal, sorry, informal conversation today about that. So if you have questions, interrupt me. Jump in at any time. I want this to be more of everybody sharing the talents that they have. Okay. Okay, so how can today be helpful? Seeking internships or employment opportunities for either yourself or perhaps you're working with students or clients that are looking for work. As you know, almost every job application requires a resume and a cover letter.

 

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As you can see, if you open up Microsoft Word, there's a million different templates to use. And it's a little bit intimidating. So it's not common sense. It's definitely an art. And many times unfortunately, job seekers work really hard to create this great resume and unfortunately it just doesn't pan out that well. So you may have all these great skills, but if we don't set it up appropriately, unfortunately you're not marketing yourself too well. So the goal today, kind of what we talked about a little bit, is just to really set yourself up for success from the very beginning. And how we want to do that is utilizing a master application by gathering all of our information into one spot in the very beginning. We'll talk about that. Learn strategies to create a tailored resume and cover letter. The application process and the importance of following up and following directions and how to do that.

 

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And learn how to effectively prepare for an interview and kind of the steps to take after an interview. So the first thing I want us to look at is in your packet I believe other than the slides there is the master application. So for those who are joining us online, what the master application is, it is a document that asks for personal data, educational information, professional certificates, foreign languages, special skills. Your work history. And if you notice in the work history it asks for a lot of detailed information, company name, address, city, job title, supervisor name, their phone number. The start date, month and year. That's really important. As well as beginning and ending salary, your job duties. Any special compliments or awards, and then also the reason for leaving. Then it continues on for military service, your availability, powers, days, scheduling concerns. And last, criminal record information and lastly references. So it seems tedious.

 

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And we use this in workability for every single one of our students. But I also use it for myself and other professionals like ourselves use this as well. Just because I notice a lot of times we're frantically trying to find what's that employer's address. Or how much did I make in 2001 when I started this position? So we have everything in one place. It really streamlines the process. Because as we know, when we're applying for things, it takes a really long time to do so. So the easier we can make it on ourselves, the more prepared we're going to feel going into the process. So I have this for you. I'm more than happy to send this electronically for you if this is something you would like. I have all my contact information and cards up here so I can send that to you at the end. But this is one thing that we'd like to start out with. Any questions on this? Does anybody use something like this already? Yeah? Awesome. So a few people. Fantastic. So I'm moving on to resumes. You already filled this out and have all of your information. So now -- question?

 

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[ Inaudible ] Sure, so the question is, is it always necessary to put your salary? It really depends on if they specifically ask for that. So if they ask for it on the application, I suggest you put it. Otherwise it's a red flag if you don't. Or if they scan it through some type of reader and there's missing information, they might throw your application out. For example, on federal resumes, which we're not going to talk too much about today, but I can touch on. It does ask for beginning and ending salary. And federal resumes are a lot more detailed than your typical general resumes that you use for the public sector. And if you do want to write a federal resume, there's a great template on USAjobs.gov that I highly suggest that you utilize that website to create the federal resume there. Sure. So two common formats. The chronological format and the functional format. There's also one that I didn't add on here which is the combination resume. And there's no single format that's right for everybody. It really depends on your career objectives, your experience, are you looking for a new job? Are you changing careers? Are you a seasoned employee?

 

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So I put in your packet a couple of examples. So the chronological, which I believe is the -- it says chronological on your packet here. It really is formatted to highlight your work experience. So you're going to really want to make sure you include all of your dates on there. Start with your most recent position and list your work experience in date order. The functional resume, which is also an example. And we're calling it the combination resume. T's more skill-based. So you're going to highlight more of your skills and your accomplishments, rather than your work experience by date. So for example, looking at the chronological, it says name up here and chronological. This is the most used format. So you arrange it in date order by employment history. This current first job description of responsibilities in date order. And this shows your career profession and highlights increased responsibility and experiences. And then people with a little bit less experience, you want to use it to highlight your skills. Questions so far? Okay. So pros and cons. There's a few reasons why to use chronological that are really great and a few reasons why it's not so great. It's a really easy format for first-time resume-writers.

 

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It's best used by individuals who have long breaks or employment gaps. And it's best used when applying for a position similar to your recent job. You're welcome. Some of the cons though to take into consideration is it's not great for individuals, like I said, with large gaps of employment. It tends to identify candidates by past positions rather than skills and experience. And lastly it can be repetitive in description. So there's a few things to think about there and how can we ensure that it's not competitive and highlight these skills. But again, this is the chronological, the most widely-used resume format. And the functional format, which on here says combination resume. Functional resumes often are skill-based. So if you look at the combination resume that we have, you'll notice the difference is rather than work experience it talks about your professional skills.

 

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And it really highlights your accomplishments versus specific jobs or dates. You want to use specific, relevant examples as proof of abilities and qualifications. For either yourself or for students that maybe do not have professional work experience but maybe more volunteer-based experience, you want to use this to really explain your transferrable skills for the position that you're seeking. And you'll also want to use this when changing careers. When job titles don't really match what you're going for or there's a large gap in work history. So we're going to go into more detail with both of these. The difference too, looking at the combination resume and the functional resume, is most likely on the functional resume. At the very bottom here you'll notice it says experience. The reason it makes this a combination resume is because we have put down the places and titles of the positions that were held and the dates.

 

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But with just the functional resume most likely it won't have that on the bottom, but instead just highlights of skills. Great. A few pros and cons of the functional. The pros, it's used by individuals who are starting or changing careers. Highlights skills and abilities. And that includes skills and abilities that are applicable to the career objectives obtained outside of employment such as community service, special projects, organizations, volunteer base positions. The cons of it is some employers really like to see your job history and dates. So that's one thing to keep in mind. They want to see verifiable information. And this doesn't give a distinct timeline. But as we all know, working with students, maybe they don't have the work experience so it's not an option. For yourselves, if changing careers is something that you're looking to do, we really want to make sure that we can focus on those skills to make sure that it shows your transferrable skills that relate to the position you're going for. Does that make sense so far? Perfect. Okay. So again, we have our master application.

 

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We filled out all of the information and now what we want to do is we want to take that information -- and if you decide it's a functional, combination or chronological, whatever you decide, you want to create what we call your core resume. And this includes all information except your career objective if you use one. I personally don't suggest you put an objective at the top because you are going to be tailoring each and every single resume to that specific position that you're applying for. So for example, rather than utilizing space up top to say -- hi, welcome. Come on in. Please come in. A lot, anywhere. Where career objectives were, I noticed one the other day that said, "Seeking an administrative position at a company where I can grow." Pretty vague. So rather than writing that objective, just get rid of it and utilize that space to highlight your skills even more. So this is the starting point for all resumes. For your resume, take everything from your master application, anything you can possible think of, and create your core resume. And then you'll also want to save that as your core resume.

 

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So that way you make sure that you're not sending that to employers. So what you'll do is once you have a job lead of something that you really want to apply for, you then create your targeted resume. And you tailor it down. So this is the resume that you're going to submit to employers. And again, like I mentioned, you're going to tailor your resume every single solitary time. So that will include the information in your core resume, but tailored such as the summary of qualifications which you see at both the top of the combination resume and the chronological. You'll want to tailor the duties from each of your previous jobs and the objective if you do decide to use one. And then you'll save that differently. So save as for example your name underscore and then the employer's name. How are we doing? Yeah? Okay. So again, you have these examples to take home.

 

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I created these in Word without a template. So again, really work on your core resume in the beginning for all the information you can possible think of. So then when it comes time to apply for that position you can delete some information, tailor information. Make sure you utilize key words from the job lead, lots of action words. And make sure that your cover letter -- cover letter, we'll talk about that later. Your resume matches the job lead exactly. Okay, so a few common sections of the resume. The personal contact information at the top, summary of qualifications again. In this area you're going to want to talk about accomplishments, career highlights, skills, educational background and military experience if that's applicable. Your employment history and volunteer history. And then special certifications and licenses. So that pretty much I believe matches the handout that I gave you regarding the chronological resume. How about for you all? Does anybody have anything else on their resume that perhaps I forgot? Yeah? >> I always add my accolades and any kind of community service. >> Great. And which area do you add the community service? >> I usually do it on the bottom. I was just thinking I had my resume but I guess I don't. >> That's okay. >> I would show you. I usually put it on the base of mine. Unfortunately my resume is far too long, but since it's long already, might as well go for it. So I put it on the base. I put accolades and then under the accolades I put my volunteering and anything that I have certifications or whatever. >> Perfect, great. We are all out. I was told to make 10. So I apologize. We can share. >> Certificates of excellence or grants that you've written. >> Perfect. So the question is, where do certificates or grants and things go? That can all be added in the summary of qualifications. That might be a better place for you to put accolades or any type of experience, volunteer experience or things like that. But one thing you want to really, really make sure is that it's really easy to read. Human resources typically will spend 15-20 seconds looking at your resume. I mean, we spend hours preparing this resume and we get 15-20 seconds? So you want to make sure it's as clearly written as possible.

 

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And we'll talk more about font and italics and all that as well. But if you can put those certificates that are applicable to the job or any certifications or anything that you've gotten, volunteer experience, put it in the summary of qualifications. Because you want to put the most important information at the top. Because then if they don't get to the bottom, at least they've seen that really core, pertinent information that could set you apart from somebody else. Yes, question?

 

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[ Inaudible ] So the question is, for people online, if the certificates are not applicable to the job, do you put them on? It really depends. Because you want to make sure that you utilize all your space as best as you can for information that's applicable. So you'll have to just kind of -- for example, if -- let's see. If a position is asking for you to be bilingual Spanish/English and you have a certificate for -- I'm trying to think of an example. >> A CPR certificate or something. >> Yeah, CPR certification, Spanish/English or something like that. If it's bilingual, put it in. But if it's just a CPR certification and the job doesn't ask for it, yes, you would leave it out. Exactly. Good. Let's see, summary of qualifications. Compare your skills to what the employers are looking for. So read the job lead. I can't tell you how many times I have students that come in and they say, "Oh, I want to apply for this." And we do a mock interview and I say, "Tel me about the position. Why do you want to work here?" And they go, "I don't know." Well, obviously their resume is not tailored. They didn't utilize the keywords, so they're not going to stand out.

 

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Think about transferrable skills that you possess that can be applied to this position. Create statements that give specific examples of how you applied that skill in the workforce. Focus on information you can give the employer up front to get an interview. And utilize keywords for particular position or industry. So again, those keywords can come from a job lead. Onet Online is something I really like to utilize too. I'm not sure if you're familiar with Onet. You can type in a job title and a ton of information pops up on it. Transferrable skills, lots of the jargon from that specific industry. So to be able to use specific words.

 

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>> What's the name of it? >> OnetOnline.org I believe. [ Inaudible ] Did you have a question back here? Was that the same question? >> Yeah. >> Okay. OnetOnline.org. That's also another really great resource to utilize with students that are wanting to do a little bit of career exploration. Or they don't really know what it entails for education or salary. That website has it all. Okay. So moving down, educational background. So for most of us applying for a position in the field, there's minimum qualifications immediately of a master's in rehab counselling. Or it requires a master's degree. You want to put your education at the top. Because you want to make sure that you meet that minimum education immediately in order for you to move on to the next step. So put that educational background portion right under summary of qualifications.

 

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>> We need summary of qualifications at the top too? >> Yes. >> Okay. >> So summary of qualifications. And then under education. So if you don't have your degree and you don't have a lot of experience yet, you can list relevant coursework. Recent graduates with little work experience should put their educational background close to the top. Again, I suggest for all of us we put it right at the top since typically it is an important qualification. High school, not as important. For some of our students it may be if a position is at entry level and they are asking for a high school diploma. But ourselves, typically just the bachelor's and the master's most times. Okay, now on to work experience. This is easy in chronological order. If you're doing a chronological resume, beginning with your most recent employer, and then you work your way back. You don't need to list every job you've ever had, but typically about 10 years. And then if you've had very little or no previous work experience, include volunteer work, organizations you belong to or any relevant experience related to the job that you're seeking. Questions, thoughts? Let me see what's next. Okay. Yeah.

 

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[ Inaudible ] Okay, so the question is, what happens if you had a job more than 10 years ago in the field that you're looking to get a job in now? Perhaps a functional or a combinational resume might be better because then you're really highlighting your skills. And for example, if it's a counselling type position that you did more than 10 years ago, you could put those skills and accomplishments at the top of the functional resume in terms of professional experience. Because you can kind of play with that however you want. If you had administrative, counselling and then some other job, you'd want to put counselling first and then administrative and whatever the last one is. Good question. Does that help? Okay. And then lastly the references. Most common practice is just leave it off and create a whole new sheet that has all of your reference information. So the person's name, their job title, employer, their email address and their phone number. So as much contact information as you can give. Professional references of course are best. And somebody who can really speak to your working abilities. Professors, other counsellors. Yes? >> So the references should be on the next page, not the same page? >> Yep. References should be on another page. A total separate page. But matches still your resume. It matches in font, it matches in your heading. So for example you'll really want to be looking at the combination resume. The same title that you have at the top with your name and your contact information, copy and paste that onto another sheet and then put your references on there. So everything matches in font and everything. Yeah, question?

 

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[ Inaudible ] Yes. So the question was do you typically use three references? I would say at least three, yeah. You don't want to give a whole page. Three or four I think is pretty standard. >> So three or four? >> Yeah, three or four. Let's see. On the bottom of the resume, you see references upon request. Get rid of that. Because employers know they can request references. So utilize that space again. Similar to what we were talking about with the objectives. Go ahead and knock that out and use that space to put in pertinent information to highlight all of your great skills. Okay. So again, just kind of a reminder of resumes, is the design and the layout. Let me see here really quick. Okay. So there's no one right way. Again, don't use a template off of Word. Create it yourself. Make sure when you do create your own template that it's easy to read. That is the biggest, biggest, biggest step in a workshop with HR. All up front we were asking them about resumes and they just said, "Don't overbold. Don't over-italicize. Make it clean."

 

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Typically use arial, calvetica, cambria. None of those crazy fonts that you have to squint to read. Simple bullet points. You want to be careful with squiggly lines. It doesn't transfer well to other computers. So another thing is always, always, always save them as PDF. If you don't do anything else, save it as a PDF. So at least that way when you send it to an employer and they open it up, it looks exactly how you wanted it to. And it can't be changed. Font size, 11-12. If you have to go smaller than 11, I wouldn't go less than 10.5. Again, you want to make it super easy for these people to read. Consistency is huge. Your spacing, your periods, your dates, your addresses. The dashes are -- if you notice sometimes they're squished. Sometimes they're bigger. You need to figure out which one you want and you need to stick with the consistency. And then proofread.

 

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There's nothing worse than seeing resumes with spelling errors. It's so hard. I know how much time people spend on a resume. So proofread a million times. Have somebody else, two people look it over for you. Set yourself up for success in the beginning. And then again, save as a PDF. Okay? Any questions? Great. So remember, selecting a resume format is critical. What is it that you are trying to show an employer? Do you have a solid work history in the field? And if so, chronological resume. If not, then perhaps you want to highlight your skills. Switch to that functional or a combination. Let's see. And I think I talked about this. Employers will spend 15-20 seconds. It's brief, so make sure everything looks really great and highlight relevant skills and use action words and put all of that in the summary of qualifications. So I have now I believe an activity. Yes. So if you look at the chronological resume that I have for all of you, there are errors in it. And I want you to take a few minutes. There are one, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight, nine, ten -- about ten errors in this. So take some time and see if you can identify these errors. And we'll come back. I'll give you two minutes, a few minutes.

 

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[ Inaudible ] How are we doing? Are we finding some? Okay, we'll come together. We'll just talk about it. They're kind of hard. I hid some of them. So for example, and remember I talked about being super picky. Because these are little tiny errors. There are some that are bigger errors. There is one in the very first sentence of summary of qualifications. Did anybody find it? It's the spacing between the word individuals and the word with. Yeah. So super, super nitpicky things that I had looked at this resume multiple, multiple times and didn't see it. And then I gave it to somebody else and they said, "This needs to be fixed." So again, why you want another set of eyes to look at things too. One thing I didn't mention earlier is the use of abbreviation. Within our field we have so many abbreviations that nobody else knows what they mean. And you always want to assume that they do not know what they mean. So on one of the bullet points where it starts with knowledge, it says "Knowledge of student educational contracts and ED plans." That's educational plan. So that's little things to be aware of too. Yes? >> So the bullet point right before that, CRC-certified, would you want us to say certified rehabilitation counsellor? >> Yes, most likely. You could say certification from the Commission of Rehabilitation Counsellors Certification, CRCC. So fluff that. Great. Another one similar is at the very bottom CAPED is the last word in summary of qualifications. It's just the CAPED. And it should spell out the California Association of Post-Secondary Education and Disability. Under education --

 

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>> Wait, what's wrong with CAPED? >> It should be spelled out first, rather than just the acronym of CAPED. For education, we have the first bullet point. If you notice, San Diego is bold, while the rest of them are not. So that's something to think about too. And my suggestion is bold the information. Bold the important information. Bold the accomplishments, rather than the places. [ Inaudible ] So the comment was, if you didn't hear, something that's really helpful is after you type up a whole resume to hit control alt. Is that it? >> Control A. >> Control A and then you can make sure the font is all the same. Perfect. Spacing. If you look at the next one, MS rehabilitation counselling. Most likely it should say master's of science degree, rather than MS degree. But the spacing of San Diego is indented while the rest of it is not. So little things, little, little things. Earlier I was talking about the difference in terms of the dashes. Now it all depends on how you type it out. For example, if you look at the courses of internal training program, look at the size of that dash from 09/2011-January 2013. And then look at it for workability-coordinator. You see the difference in them? So you'll have to figure out exactly how you want it to remain consistent. Yes? >> What about the date on the top one? Instead of 09/2011 and then the other two is just the year.

 

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>> Right, exactly. Good call. So you want to decide too -- for education typically you will just put the date that you graduated. So that could say 2013, excellent. Let's see. Another thing that I want to -- I don't think it printed out on yours, but at the very top where you put your email, be sure to remove the hyperlink and change the font to black. Rather than have it be blue. Because when you send it as a PDF, they can't click on it. So just remove the hyperlink. And then black remains consistent. Yes? Question? >> So if you put your education like maybe just the year you graduated, what if you're currently a student? >> Excellent. So the question is, if you're currently a student, how do you do the dates on your resume? So you can keep it as it looks here from 09/2011-Present and then you could do coursework underneath. And then list the coursework that is applicable to that position that you're applying for. Good question. Yes? >> If you're applying for a position that starts after you're going to be graduating, and the qualification is that you possess a master's degree, what do you put on there? Well most likely they're going to request a transcript. So you can apply ahead of time and say expected graduation date May of 2016. Great. Okay. Any other questions? These are great questions.

 

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>> You can put your relevant coursework in that education section? >> Yes. So my suggestion would be to add relevant coursework if you are applying for an internship perhaps where they are requiring or it is beneficial for you to have experience in the field. But if you don't have too much hands-on experience, list the classes. List beginning, intermediate practicum. List the courses that all relate to exactly what you're applying for. >> So then if you have direct experiences necessary from those courses, how have you seen that before? >> Well, the direct experience would be on your resume too. So it really depends. You don't want it to be too redundant. Another really great way to utilize the cover letter, which we'll talk about later. So anything that's missing in the resume or you can't fit on there, you can add and expand in the cover letter section. Let's see. All right. On the second page there's just a few more. Again, spacing. Under interpreter coordinator there's the word provide. It's not lined up correctly.

 

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[ Inaudible ] Perfect. Oh good, you caught it. Yes, after activities. Is that the one? Yes. So you need to remain consistent. This is not consistent because there aren't periods anywhere else. So typically I don't need a lot of periods. Just because then you don't have to have everything be a full sentence. You're able to just make quick kind of statements. So I suggest not utilizing periods. That's excellent. Good call. Okay. Another thing is tense. You want to be consistent with your tenses. So for example, for your previous jobs, you want it in past tense. But your current job is in present. So if you look at the vocational specialist position, everything is in past tense except for the very last one that says monitor students, versus monitored. And that's a personal preference. It doesn't have to be past tense if you don't want it to be. Again, just really working on consistency. Oh, I was trying to figure out why I had one more highlighted on my cheat sheet. So the very last one too, rehabilitation counsellor intern, the date is off center. It's not fully justified to the right. Yes?

 

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[ Inaudible ] The monitored date. Yes, correct. Great. Rather than three. And that is perfect example of why they have another person read this, because this is kind of a botched version of my own. I'll just put it out there. I didn't even know it said the. It should say three and I'm embarrassed because I recently turned this in to my supervisor for a program, whatever, evaluation. So now that you know that it's the. So another reason to have somebody else look at it. That's perfect because spell check won't catch those kinds of things. So, great announcement.

 

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>> Where was that? >> The. Third bullet point under workability coordinator. It says develop and monitor the year contact rather than three. [ Inaudible ] Typically what you should do, and this is probably another mistake of mine. Rehabilitation intern [inaudible]. That's how we write our papers. >> Sounds like DSP. >> Disability support programs and services. DSPS. And then go ahead and move DSPS. But again, you want to make sure that you don't use the acronym first when you're writing the cover letter. Make sure you spell it out first and then you can use the acronym. Just in case your papers get separated and one person reads your cover letter and another person reads your resume, nobody is left guessing at what DSPS is. Good one. Super picky, I know. But kind of a fun game to play with students too. If you ever want to utilize this, steal it. No problem. Because it really kind of drives that point home of the importance of really reading through this and making sure that things are consistent. Great. Okay, moving along. Cover letter. So why do we need them? To explain why you're sending a resume. So you never ever, ever, ever, ever want to send a resume ever without a cover letter. So for example, if you are going to attach your resume and a cover letter by email to an employer, write something in the body of the email. I cannot stress that enough.

 

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So whether it is a small introduction of yourself and why you're a good match and how you heard about the position and thanking them in advance for reviewing the materials that you have attached in PDF format. Fantastic. Never leave it blank and just expect them to open it up and then click on your materials. Be specific. Don't make the reader guess what you're asking for. Mention in there how you learned about the position. Was it a flyer? Was it a current employee that works there? It's appropriate to mention the name of that person too. So feel free. And it convinces the reader to look at your resume. Another thing I suggest is when you're attaching your document, attach your cover letter first and then your resume. So it goes with the way that we read. >> So they'll read the cover letter first. >> So they'll read the cover letter first. Yes. >> As far as the reference, should that be separate attachment by itself? Or should that be with the resume? >> Hold onto that, unless they ask for references. So typically you'll wait to send your references until after they've contacted you. And so perhaps they'll ask for references then and then you can send it to them. Otherwise I always suggest you bring copies of it to the interview itself. Again, grammatically correct, free of spelling errors and targeted to that employer. You spent all this time to tailor your resume. You want to tailor the cover letter too.

 

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>> I have a question. >> Yes. >> So what if you're trying to create your own position? >> We're going to talk about that too. The question was what happens if you're trying to create your own position? That goes with the cover letter. So in this cover letter example that I have, in the bottom of it, it's pitching an OJT. Are we familiar with OJT's? Okay, so we're pitching the on-the-job training. So there's ways to do it in your cover letter to kind of [inaudible] as well. Again, opportunity to expand on elements of your background, the reasons for utilizing a cover letter. Explain red flags. Perhaps there is an employment gap. That's a perfect place to explain the employment gap and maybe what you were doing at that time that's applicable. Again, a time to offer incentives. Employment proposals, volunteerism, OJT's. And this reflects your attitude, your motivation, your enthusiasm. And it provides information specifically requested in a job advertisement that might not be covered in your resume. So again, utilizing keywords and pulling from the job lead and putting it directly into your cover letter. Yes. >> So now I'm going to switch this to my clients or something. What if they do have big gaps in their resume? When you ask what they've been doing, it's just not a whole lot. >> Yes. So the question is, if there's lots of gaps in the resume, how do you address that? Right? Is that your question in the cover letter? For clients.

 

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That's a hard one if they haven't been doing a whole lot. Try to find something. Working with my students too, that's where the master application comes in to play. Driving home the point of have you volunteered? Have you set up a single table at an event? Have you helped an older lady across the street? Do you pick up the mail from your house? Do you walk your dog? Figure out something that you can do and then put that in the cover letter of what you've been doing with your time. Have you gone back to school? That's a perfect reason. They haven't been working but they've been in school. Talk about them enhancing their educational experience. So that's a tough one. That happens pretty often with our clients. But again, it's working on creativity and skills. Okay, types of cover letters. Again, letter of application. Applying for a specific advertised opening or a letter of inquiry.

 

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Expressing interest but not sure if there are current openings. There is a gentleman named Greg Wood who he runs a business called the Hire Road. If you ever get a chance to hear him speak, he has some really great information. I would check out his website too. On how to express interest but not sure if there's current openings. How to pitch yourself for a position that's not quite open yet, while utilizing cover letters and following that tactic. So we can touch on those a little bit too. But Greg Wood, he's fantastic. He's actually at CAPED. He's in my club for CAPED too. Go to CAPED in October. Network like crazy with people. You can create positions for yourself by meeting these people. I created my job at Southwestern College by meeting a woman at our interest group at CAPED. So network as much as you can. And then when you turn in that cover letter, they know who you are. Yes, question in the back.

 

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>> It's the Hire Challenge. >> Oh, the Hire Challenge. Thank you. I think he has a couple. Does he have two different ones? >> It's h-i-r-e. >> Okay, awesome. So I know he has some for -- I don't remember. But if you have time to look at his work as well, he has some really great information. Okay, components of a cover letter. Your contact heading. I did not add it on to this example. My apologies. But again, copy and paste from your resume and put it onto your cover letter. Same with your references. So if things get detached they know exactly where it belongs. Employers contact heading. If you have that, if you know the name of the person you are sending it to, it is always better to try to figure that out and send it to a specific person rather than, "Dear Hiring Manager." You can say, "Dear Mr. Sanchez." Even better. The first paragraph, include your opening introduction and company research. You always want to do your research on the company and put something in there that kind of caught your eye that set them apart from everybody else. Do you know what types of projects they're currently working on? What's their mission statement? Do they give back to the community? Add anything in there that shows that you've dug pretty deep and done your research. Yes, question?

 

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>> The other day I was helping a student apply for a job at Chipotle.com. So the application process is really long and they never submitted a cover letter. And it only asked for the resume. >> Perfect. So the question was working with a student filling out an application for Chipotle and they only asked for the resume. Go with what it asks for. >> Okay, in that instance it's okay? >> Yeah, it's okay. Sometimes if you're applying online and it will say upload documents, add a cover letter. Even if it doesn't say specifically, "Please add resume and cover letter," always add that cover letter too if you have the opportunity and option to upload more than one thing. If you only have one, of course do your resume. It's a question. Second paragraph, skills and qualifications and why they should hire you. Give them a really good reason on why they should not pass you up. And then the third paragraph is the closing and follow up and how you plan to follow up. Be very specific about that too. And your signature. So tips. Address your letter to a specific person if you can. Do your research. Perhaps if it mentions human resources, right, you want a specific person. Call human resources and say, "I'd like to apply for this job. Who can I address my materials to?" And a lot of times they'll say, "Oh, it's Cynthia so-and-so." And so then put the name on that. Okay? Tailor your letters to specific situations or organizations. Keep it concise and factual. No more than a single page if possible. Give examples that support your skills and qualifications. Use lots of action words. Things from the job lead, things from your resume. Reference skills or experiences from the job description. Convince the reader that you are ready and able to do the job. Specific your follow up plan and again have someone proofread your letter.

 

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>> What if the person you're writing to you're not sure is a Ms. or a Mrs. and not a Dr. or something? >> So what is the appropriate way to address somebody if you don't know if it's Ms. or Mrs.? Anybody? It's always sort of a tough one. Yes? >> If it seems like it's HR manager, "Dear HR manager." So you leave it really generic as in their job title. That's what I usually do. Now if you have a name, don't put Mr. or Mrs. >> Like, "Dear Cynthia so-and-so." >> Right. >> Full name. >> Their full name, yeah.

 

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>> That's always a tough one. I go to write it and I go, "Oh, I don't know what to type here." Let's see. Hold on a second. Okay. So look at the cover letter here. This is an example. And I'm just going to read it so that everybody that's online as well can hear this. So it says, "Dear Mr. Sanchez, from the World Beat Center website I learned about your need for an international coordinator at the [inaudible] and Tijuana location. I would like to express my interest in the position and believe that my education and employment background are appropriate for the position. There are a number of coordinator positions available throughout the community. However, this particular position and organization really resonates with me. I want to be part of the World Beat Center as I firmly believe in the mission statement and promoting peace within our communities through music, art, dance, education, sustainability and technology."

 

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So if we go back to what we just talked about, let me find the slide. The first paragraph is supposed to be opening introduction and company research. So the sentence of "Promoting peace through our community through music, art, sustainability," that comes straight off of their mission statement. And they really are trying to improve the community. Second part, skills, qualifications and why they should hire you. "You indicated that you're looking for someone that's bilingual and has a passion and ability to connect with others. I assure that I have a true passion and ability to build lasting rapport with others in both English and Spanish. I'm a current student at Southwestern College studying international business and also took courses in Tijuana, Mexico at the university. As you can see from my resume, and I mentioned prior, I'm bilingual in English and Spanish and I've taken international business courses in both languages.

 

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I'm interested in putting my classroom education to use in a business professional setting. I have spent much time in both Tijuana and San Diego and am confident that I can connect with individuals cross-culturally. In addition, because I am affiliate with a workforce development program" -- and this is where you can put a plug in for OJT's or something simile -- "If you hire me the World Beat Center can be reimbursed for the costs associated with my training." The enclosed resume will provide you with complete details about my skills and international business related experience. The third paragraph as we talked about, closing and follow up. "I'm confident that I can contribute to your organization in a meaningful way. I would be a great pleasure to meet with you and discuss my qualifications and to learn more about this job opportunity at the World Beat Center." So include the name of the company again.

 

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"I will call you on Friday, March 4th." You are talking about how you are going to follow up. "And answer any questions that you might have for me. In the meantime, I may be reached at," your phone number. "Thank you for your time and consideration. I look forward to speaking with you soon." So it's pretty specific. So again you're going to tailor it to each position. You suggested to them that they look at your resume to find out more details about your experience. That you've added some information about your interest and why they should hire you. Questions on this? One thing I try to do too for our students and also for ourselves is you can create more so a template for yourself and then change specific parts. So again, set yourself up for success. Make it as easy for you as possible. But you do want specific information from the company and it is going to be tailored for each position that you apply for. Great. Let's see. Let's see. Okay. So that's kind of all I have in terms of resumes and cover letters. And then I just wanted to briefly talk about interviewing.

 

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That's the most nerve-wracking part for everybody. So how do I prepare and where do I even begin? So talk to other people in the field, which I know that we do on a regular basis. But if you can talk to somebody who works in that specific position, or in that same office, and get a feel of the office culture, the job description, the daily duty, that's the best. So you have a better overall idea. And again, do your research. Similar to what you do with the cover letter. What current projects is the company working on? Future projects, affiliations. Are they well-connected with organizations? Are there any workshops or anything you can attend? Or maybe somebody from that company might be there so you can introduce yourself to them. Anything to make yourself stand out. Know the job description front to back.

 

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You never want to go in there and they say, "Okay, tell me what you know about this," and it's from the job description and you have no idea. You want to utilize keywords in the interview as well. So know the job description front to back. So a lot of our positions within the community college -- when you apply, HR will call you and then have you go in early. So I think you get maybe 45 minutes or something. And they give you the questions ahead of time. And it allows you time to write down your answers. Spend that time really writing down your answers. And feel free to utilize that paper when you go in for the interview. Everybody knows you're nervous. So if you say, "Let me go back to what I jotted down. I want to make sure I don't forget anything." So utilize your time appropriately too. And the Perfect Interview. We utilize this a lot with our students.

 

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And I've used it for myself. It's ThePerfectInterview.com. I do believe there is a small fee, but you can set up a profile. And I have it up here on my computer I can show everybody later. But what it is, is it's a bank of interview questions. And there's I think 1,500-1,800 questions. And you can set up the different levels that you want. For example, supervisory, entry level. 5-10 question segments. And it videotapes you. So someone will pop up and they'll say, "Tell me about your experience working with a team." And then it videotapes you and you record your answer. There's also suggested answers. There's a job coach on there that will coach you through your interview. It's fantastic to really be able to review and see how you're responding. Do you use a lot of um's, if? Do you look up? I used to play with my hair a lot, I knew. So after practicing with Perfect Interview I'd wear my hair back. Anything to make yourself more aware.

 

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I find this kind of thing easier than practicing in the mirror because you can go back and watch it again and again and you can see your progress. Find a partner to practice with. And positive self-talk. I cannot tell you enough about positive self-talk. Even being in the interview and you think, "Oh my god, I can't believe I just answered this that way. What was I thinking? I'm sweating. Do they know I'm sweating? Did I answer that question right? I don't remember." Allow yourself that time to breathe. Take a second before you answer the question if you don't understand the question. Say, "Can you repeat that for me?" Or "Let me think about this for a moment." There's nothing wrong with that. You're setting yourself up for success with positive self-talk. Prepare for behavioral and situational questions. I noticed that's where a lot of interviews are going these days. "Tell me about a time when you worked with a team and you had to handle multiple tasks at once." These are the times you use the STAR approach. Situation, task, action and result.

 

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And this will also help you stay on task of answering the question. So for example, the situation was I had an English and math class and I had two projects due on the same day. So the task was basically how am I going to get both of these done at the same time? The action was I separated the projects into timelines. I broke it down into timelines. And the result was I was able to do everything on time and turned it in and got great grades. So when there's multipart questions, think of the STAR approach. If you can't remember what STAR means, Google STAR approach interviewing and it will pop up. Situation, task, action and results. Know your strengths and your challenges. It seems like they're always asking, "Tell me what you're really good at. Why should we hire you? What are you going to bring to the team that we don't already have?" And know your challenges too and be really honest about them. But flip it and make sure you turn it positive. For example, I'm not the fastest typer, but I'm enrolled in typing classes and working on it daily. I know we utilize that for students a lot. For myself, I'm not creative on the spot, but give me a little time and I will come up with a new solution. So always try to make it positive.

 

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It goes with that positive self-talk. Dress to impress. Dress prepared. Dress for that job that you want. There's nothing worse than going in and being underdressed. It's a little bit better to be overdressed. So be prepared. Bring additional copies of your resume's, your references, your cover letters. You may not need them, but it's always great to have them. Also bring a blank thank-you card. So as soon as you're finished with that interview you can go out, address it to the person who interviewed you. Try your best to remember their name. And then you can immediately drop it off at human resources at the front desk and they can give it to that person. That way you don't have to wait till you get home, forget, if you just already have it. Don't show up more than 10 minutes early. If you get there really early, sit in the car and wait. Don't go into the office until about 10 minutes early unless specified that you have to go in and fill out questions or things like that. Again, allow yourself time. Don't feel like as soon as they finish asking that question you have to have an answer. Allow yourself time to understand and don't forget to breathe. Breathe, breathe, breathe. All right. Any questions, thoughts? We kind of went up on our hour. That was fast. >> Helpful. >> Good. Hopefully it was helpful. I have cards up here. Anything electronic that you want I'm more than happy to send. I'm also more than happy to review resumes. So if you have a resume you want to send to me, I'd be more than happy to review it. Just give me a little bit of time to get those back to you. And yeah, I'm here to support you all however I can. Thank you. Thank you, thank you, thank you.

 

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