The corporate world can be scary, especially if you’re fresh out of college or still in it and trying to score internships. After the stress of the college application process, many dread having to play the same game with potential employers. If you can master a few key things, you’ll be the Wolf of Wallstreet in no time. We bring you simplified CVs, resumes, and interviews.
Everyone starts university with the expectation that when you graduate, you’ll find your dream job. However, there’s one little problem: how do you get there? With balancing grades, internships, future jobs, extracurriculars, and a social life, it piles up. But let’s be real … how are you supposed to excel at everything all at once? You need guidance, and we aim to give you some advice on what you can do to stand out in the professional world.
For starters, you must have a curriculum vitae, resume and cover letter, and must also master your interview skills. We know that sounds like a lot but, don’t worry, we’ll break it down for you.
For those of you that don’t know the difference between a resume and a CV, a resume is usually a one or two page document where you list your past work experience and skills. On the other hand, a CV is a document where you list all your achievements, both professional and academic, making it lengthier than a resume.
Create a CV
CV stands for curriculum vitae, which roughly translates to “life course,” which makes sense because it’s a complete overview of your work experience, skills and education, quite literally showing the course of your life so far.
Curriculum vitae for academic, medical, scientific or research positions contain detailed information about the applicant’s educational background, such as awards, fellowships, research projects or major publications. Make sure to have it printed and ready to hand out when networking.
There are so many areas to focus on when making your CV, so it’s important to highlight what makes you qualified for the job you’re applying to. For example, if you’re a recent college graduate, you may want to use a pragmatic approach to highlight all your skills and qualifications. Make sure to focus on extracurricular activities and volunteer experiences that demonstrate skills related to your desired job.
Write Your Resume
Dominique DeTullio, the CEO of Standard Trust Company NV, emphasizes the need to be thorough with what you include in a resume. “I’ve had experienced workers with no degree perform better and require less training than a master’s graduate with no experience,” he said.
Especially in an age where college degrees are less of a requirement in certain jobs, making sure you accurately portray what you can do can make you stand out — in a good way — from other applicants.
• Contact information: This has to be placed in the header. It has to be clear and up-to-date. Add your full name, phone number, professional email, address and links to your professional accounts — LinkedIn, online portfolio, and other relevant online accounts.
• Objective statement: It doesn’t matter if you are writing a summary or an objective, you must sound convincing, consistent and clear. Make sure there’s a purpose as to why you’re applying and state it.
• Work experience: Write your latest job on top and all the others you’ve had in the past below. Write your title, the name of the company, the location and when you started and finished. Little tip: if you were promoted, don’t just give them your last position, add that progression since it shows how you worked your way up in the company.
• Your skills: you should write six to eight skills and mix them up between soft — being organized and sociable, for example — and hard skills — ones that would correlate directly to the field the job is in.
• Education section: you need to write down all your secondary education, such as where you attended, when you graduated and what degree you earned.
• Include certificates, licenses and trainings: right under your education information put the title of your certificates, licenses or trainings. Then add the name of the certifying agency, when you obtained the certificate and its expiration date.
Master Your Interview
This is your moment to sell yourself, to show the employer that you’re the right person for this position and that if they don’t take you, it’ll be a mistake. Remember that repeating everything that’s on your resume isn’t efficient. They’ve probably read it before the interview and want to know more about you, so elaborate on what’s missing from the resume. Think of the unique talents, qualities, skills and traits you can bring.
Find an original way of bringing them up in your interview by supporting your claims with examples, but without bragging. If they ask, “What makes you stand out from the other candidates?” or “Tell us why we should hire you?” be humble about it. You want them to remember you for your professional qualities but also for your personality. Don’t make the interview a stand-up comedy routine but, the more relaxed you are, the less robotic your responses will feel.
Corinna Stam, former CEO of Antillean liquors, a beverage distributor for part of the Caribbean, said, “Dress sharply and groom yourself properly. No one will want a messy person who doesn’t shower sitting next to them at work.”
It’s self-explanatory, but you’d be surprised how many people don’t follow that rule. This doesn’t mean you have to wear your Sunday best, but look presentable and wear something business casual.
Now you have your CV, resume, your cover letter and you know how to rock your interview. But where do you present all of it? “LinkedIn, Facebook groups, business forums,” said DeTullio, which are all popular nowadays. While these are great to have, it’s even better to actively network.
If you find a networking event, before you go, try and find the list of attendees and prepare some go-to talking points. Know what you bring to the table, your strengths and weaknesses. Have your elevator pitch ready and know it by heart so you don’t waste time. In the next 24 hours, message your connections to ensure they remember you and maintain your network.
When you go to a networking event, remember that it’s all about quality over quantity. You want to leave the event by having three to five names and contacts because this way you can build a relationship. Make sure to listen, do not interrupt and engage in conversation.
It’s clear that the corporate world can be daunting for students, but we hope that with these tips you can have a smother entry into professionalism. And remember, not every interview will be a smash hit. You might mess some up and get rejected from a few jobs, but that’s life. Don’t let these experiences discourage you, and instead try to learn from them as you move forward.
words_sara angel blum. design_lizzie kristal. photo_reese putman.