Creating a Resume


It is a good idea to prepare a resume no matter what field you plan to enter.   Resumes provide a concise way to tell your story and support it through your accomplishments.  Resumes contain important information about your background, including facts and dates you may need to provide along the way.

There are a resume books you can buy to help you, but it’s probably easiest to find free templates online.  Just select one and get started.  Remember resumes are scanned quickly so keep it to one page.  List your accomplishments and leave the stories for later.

Get on LinkedIn

You also want to have a profile on LinkedIn.  A profile on LinkedIn is like a digital billboard advertising your brand.  But LinkedIn is more than an online resume;  LinkedIn is a network, and a profile allows you to connect with other professionals and build your network.  Include your education, accomplishments and any areas of interest you want to pursue on your LinkedIn profile to get started.

Leverage your network

Now that you have a career path, your personal network can give you a jump start to building your professional network.  All of our networks are different, but you never know until you try.  Start by asking family members like your parents, guardians and older siblings who they might know in your new field.   What about adults you already have relationships with like teachers, coaches, and volunteer leaders?  They already know you; maybe they know someone who can help?  Reach out and talk to as many people as you can, and be sure to connect on LinkedIn .

As you identify people in your new profession and build your network, think about someone who can mentor you.   It is valuable to have someone to work with to show you the ropes as you start out.

Here is a great article from a LinkedIn employee about how to leverage your network:

Prepare for interviews

First, take it seriously.  Not enough people prepare for interviews, but they are as important as any other part of this process.  Maybe more so.  Interviews are usually what lands you the job.  In school rewards are based on your achievements, so if the whole class studies hard and aces the exam – everyone gets an A.  Grades are based on your effort and ability (ignoring curves) and your grade is not related to the person next to you.

Careers are different in one important way:   it is no longer enough to be qualified to do the work. Assume many people are qualified for any one position, and anyone getting an interview is qualified to do the job.  Employers select a candidate based on their interview.   Think about how different school would have been if a teacher told the class this about their grading method on the first day.  “The top 5 students get an A, the next 5 a B and so on.”

Is it fair?  Jobs are limited.  An attractive employer may post a new job and receive 5,000 applications.  They’ll use software to filter that number down (somehow) to a manageable few for interviews with a hiring manager.  Once you have a job in your chosen field you can build your network and use other techniques (a former boss) to manage your career, but at one point or another you’ll be in an interview so it’s best if you know how to approach it.

Improve Your Knowledge

Don’t assume you get a free ride.  When you sit down across from an employer you should understand the industry and how the employer fits into it. Learn their core values and their biggest accomplishments.  A free suggestion that’s pretty simple?  Find a newsfeed about your industry and the role you are seeking and start reading up.   The more current your information, the more likely you’ll be that perfect fit!

As one example, you can identify employers in your new industry that are recognized for excellence and follow them. Leading firms and organizations will often publish articles and studies that everyone can benefit from reading, whether you work there or not.

Be Your Best

You have a big advantage based on all the work you’ve done, but you need to finish what you started.

Interviews are the chance to tell your story.  You are not only qualified – you are the candidate someone should hire.

The interview gives you a chance to connect your background and skills to the role.  Start by writing down the major responsibilities in a job listing, or the primary activities an employer is focused on (use their web site or wiki here).  Pick the top few if many are listed.


How can you interview well?   Some of us may be naturally better at this type of setting than others,  but we can all learn to do it.   I’ve found that as long as you are sitting in the right chair (if you’re a computer scientist, don’t be in a sales interview!) your true self can come out.

But it always helps to be prepared.  One model goes by the acronym SARSituation. Action, Result

Take a role that requires someone to think critically.  Look at your background.  When you have done that before?  Maybe as a member of a team?  Or as part of a group project?  Identify the situation, describe what you did (action) and what happened (result). Then repeat the question to be sure it came out correctly.  When you are ready, find a partner to ask the questions and practice, practice and practice again.

You can hire a professional coach if that is in your budget (if you have a budget) but I would not recommend it early in your career; at this stage you want to experiment and learn from the process.  Professional coaching might be worthwhile if you are continually landing interviews but not the role you want, but if you choose this route be sure you get the fixed costs in writing before you start.

Leave the Right Impression

We all want to work with encouraging, high-energy people.  So be that person when you interview.  If you are slouching in a chair and resting your head on your hand, your body posture is saying you don’t want to be in the room.   Why would an employer hire someone who doesn’t want to be there, when the most basic requirement of any job is to show up every day?  They wouldn’t.

  1. Greet everyone with respect.  Identify yourself.  Shake hands.  Ask for a card if one is not offered.
  2. Sit tall in a chair.  Exude the confidence your preparation allows you to do.
  3. Thank people for their time. After you get an interview follow up in writing.

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