As an employee of Siena College’s Career Education and Professional Development Office (CEPD), I can say firsthand that using this resource is crucial to your success, from both an academic and career standpoint. The CEPD Office offers a wide range of services and resources for students and alumni across all majors and fields of discipline. Whether you are part of the School of Liberal Arts, School of Business, or School of Science, take advantage of the CEPD Office to build your resume, format a cover letter, search for a professional position, prepare for an interview, or apply to graduate school.
I am a Peer Career Advisor (PCA) at the CEPD Office and I review resumes for certification through the CareerSaint database. PCA’s also assist their peers with preparing for present and/or future career exploration, examine cover letter samples, and present resume and cover letter writing workshops to Siena students. For those who are unaware, our office must certify your resume before you can apply for a job through CareerSaint and utilize the site to its fullest potential. As a PCA, I use the resume certification rubric found in the Career Guide to determine whether a resume meets the basic perimeters for certification. If you are having trouble outlining your qualifications, need advice on how to start and/or your resume, or want to know how to maximize the information you have on your current resume, the Career Office is there to help you along the way. Every week, PCAs host Resume Drop-Ins hours to encourage students to take advantage of individualized feedback and assistance.
In today’s job market, having a polished resume is a way to impress a potential employer because it helps you “get your foot in the door” before the interview process begins. If you don’t have a solid resume that highlights your academic accomplishments and work experience, it will be nearly impossible for you to stand out from the other applicants applying for the same position. Your resume is your chance to let employers know what you can offer them and why you are the best fit for the job, so a mediocre resume lessens the chance that you will get a callback. You should think of your resume as an advertisement because it showcases your skills and qualifications.
Along with your resume, a customized cover letter also typically gets sent to employers to determine your eligibility for a job. A cover letter is another opportunity to impress potential employers, and it should be well-written because first impressions count. If your cover letter is interesting, you are more likely to be considered a strong candidate for the desired position. Every cover letter that you write should emphasize your key strengths that are included in your resume by giving specific examples of how you have drawn on them to succeed in the workplace.
You should never assume that having a good resume will guarantee you a position because it is rare for employers to hire someone based on their impression of the applicant’s resume. This is precisely why it is important to be familiar with the interview process because you want to market yourself as best you can, but it will be difficult for you to do that if you are unprepared or overwhelmed. Before an interview, familiarize yourself with the common questions that employers ask and practice your responses in advance. In an interview, the employer is looking to substantiate your resume, and see if the information you have presented on the page is accurate and supported by the answers you give during the questioning process.