Networking 101: Perfecting Your Resume

Networking 101: Perfecting Your Resume

February 19, 2014

Thank you to everyone who attended the St. Louis Alumni Chapter’s “Bulldogs Getting the Job” networking event! Networking isn’t just exchanging business cards, it’s growing in popularity and it is a skill more than anything. Going to a networking event sometime soon? You’re basically headed into an informal interview.

How can you stand out while still being professional?

Why should the career professionals in the room take interest in you, and add you to their list of contacts?

Networking events can be a pretty intimidating experience, especially for someone just starting a career path. One way to get noticed? Your resume.

We asked the Truman Career Center for the top resume and interview mistakes they see grads making, and how you can avoid them:

  1. NOT targeting your resume to a specific job. Applying for a job is not just sending out your resume in bulk. Each job you apply for is going to take a little extra time and effort. Cater your resume to what the employer is looking for. Don’t know where to start? Read through the ENTIRE job description/requirements, and the company’s mission statement. Make sure you include accomplishments and transferable skills to any specific job description.
  2. NOT preparing for the interview. Research your potential employer! What’s their philosophy, history, locations, divisions, etc.? Do they have a presence online? Know who you will be interviewing with? Check them out on social media. Maybe you have something in common with them whether it’s your alma mater (Go Bulldogs!), or past experience. Knowing exactly why you’re right for this particular job/company is going to help you prove it in your interview.
  3. NOT quantifying experiences on your resume. Adding numbers to your resume shows you know what you’re talking about. Proud of an accomplishment? Prove it. How much better does, “Increased participation by 37 percent in one year,” sound than “increased participation”?
  4. NOT dressing appropriately for an interview. An interview is not the place to show off the latest trends (unless you’re applying for a position in the fashion industry, then by all means go for it). Leave the sky-high heels and the funky ties at home. You don’t want your clothes to be louder than your resume.
  5. NOT formatting your resume in an easy to read manner. Unless you are applying for a job in a creative field, your resume should reflect your professionalism. That means no colors, no fancy fonts, etc. Keep it simple: use headers that identify each section in an easy and visually pleasing way. If an employer wants to know where you went to college, it shouldn’t take five minutes to find. Employers get STACKS of resumes, if your’s is hard to read or is longer than a page, they will more than likely throw it out.
  6. NOT using keywords. Keywords will vary depending on what career field you are tailoring your resume to. Many companies are having job candidates apply online, and software (not a person) is weeding out resumes from the stack. Meaning, if you don’t have the right keywords, your resume might not even be seen by a real human. The most important key words are almost always nouns; skills, degrees, job titles, software, etc. Sometimes it helps to study the job description. Does this job require that you have experience with Microsoft Word? Specifically include that in your resume.  Check out the employer’s website. If you notice keywords that are used in both the website and job description, use them in your resume. Verbs are also important. Use meaningful verbs that describe your background; use “achieved” or “managed” instead of “contributed” or “supported.” A resume should show your accomplishments, not just your duties and responsibilities!

Some resume examples can be found online at career.truman.edu. Need additional help? The Career Center can critique your resume Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

If you’re looking to add to your resume, one of the easiest ways is to get involved with an alumni chapter.  The level of time commitment is up to you, and there’s always leadership and volunteer opportunities available. Not to mention, getting your foot in the door for an interview can be a lot easier if you have built a relationship with someone working at that company. Alumni chapters are great ways to get to know other successful alumni living and working in your area!

Ready to take your resume out for a test run? We have several upcoming networking events in our alumni chapter areas, but remember: you don’t have to be at a networking event to expand your professional relationships. All of our alumni chapter events are opportunities for you to create relationships, and enhance your career with other successful Truman alumni in a fun and casual setting.

Upcoming Networking Events:

February 25: Truman Day at the Capitol Networking Event with the Mid-Missouri Alumni Chapter

March 10: Bulldogs and Bonbons Networking Event at Chocolaterie Stam with the Iowa Alumni Chapter

Remember, every chapter event is a chance to network! A full list of events in all of our chapter areas can be found HERE.

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