Do You Need A CV Or A Resume?

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You’ve probably heard the terms CV and resume thrown around a lot. Are they the same thing, or different? How do you know if you need a CV, a resume, or both? Here’s a quick guide to CVs versus resumes and how to know which one is right for you.

Are CVs and Resumes The Same or Different?

First up, what exactly are CVs and resumes, and what’s the difference? Both are documents used to demonstrate your qualifications. They share the same purpose—showing an employer or admissions committee what you have accomplished and that you are a great candidate for the position. Both include things like your education and your work history.

But make no mistake, there are important differences. CV is short for curriculum vitae meaning “life’s work.” So a CV is comprehensive. There are no limits on the length of a CV. Depending on how much experience a person has, a CV could be three, five, or even ten pages long. A CV includes everything you’ve ever done, from degrees and jobs to presentations, publications, licenses, awards, courses taught, and more, going all the way back to the beginning of your career.

A resume, on the other hand, is a concise summary, narrowly targeted at the current job. A resume is typically just one full page. In some cases, a resume can go to two full pages, but no more. Work history on a resume usually doesn’t go back more than 10 years, and there’s no need—and no room!—to include everything you’ve ever done. A resume is mainly focused on education and work experience, with a few extras like community service thrown in to round it out.

You Probably Need a Resume

For most people, in most fields, a resume is the way to go. A resume is the standard on the job market. Most hiring managers doesn’t have the time or the inclination to read more than a page or two from each candidate. And for most professionals, all those other items on a CV—like publications and courses taught—just aren’t relevant. When in doubt, go with a resume.

When and Why To Use A CV

There is a time and place to use a CV, however. People working in academia typically need a CV. If you’re hoping to land a job as a professor, use a CV to highlight all the different aspects of your experience, from your own education to your research, teaching experience, work history and professional service. If you’re not looking to be a faculty member but want to work in an academic setting—supervising programs at a college, for example—you may also be asked to submit a CV because it is the norm in higher education.

Even if you’re not in academia, you may wish to use a CV if you have very extensive experience in your field. Some folks have been in their chosen field for ten, twenty or more years, and have very well-rounded experience including professional service, publications, and so on. If there’s just no way to fit all your relevant work onto two pages, and if a posting asks for either a CV or a resume, go with a CV.

Still not sure whether a CV or resume is right for you? Come see us at Career Services!

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Shalom Leo Bond
Career Development Facilitator 1
UNM Career Services

How to Write Amazing Resume Bullet Points

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What’s the most important part of your resume? You might think it’s the job titles you’ve held or whether you stayed for at least a year in a position. But the most important part of your resume is actually the bullet points explaining your responsibilities in each of your jobs. This is where you have the opportunity to be creative—and the chance to convince an employer you’re the best candidate for the job.

There are no particular rules for what to say, so long as you’re truthful. So take this opportunity to brag and make yourself sound as fancy and important as possible. This is key to standing out from the stack of resumes crowding an employer’s desk.

Use this simple formula to writing amazing bullet points that will make your resume shine.

Action Verb + Example = Result

Action Verb
Begin each bullet point with a strong verb showing the action you took. See below a list of action verbs.

Example
Use an example to illustrate your action. Be specific. Quantify your accomplishments whenever possible.

Result
What was the outcome of your action? Explain how what you did contributed to the mission and operation of the organization.

How to Write Accomplishment Statements

  1. Make a list of duties and tasks for each of your positions. Include anything that comes to your mind. Later, you can pare down to just those responsibilities that are relevant for your application.
  2. Select an action verb for each item. Choose a strong word that highlights what you did. Think about how this task has prepared you for your next job. The word you choose should be tailored to the position you are now seeking. See the list below for suggested action verbs.
  3. Add examples. Use specific details to demonstrate what you did. Quantify whenever possible. Again, keep in mind the position you are seeking now.
  4. State results. Always include the outcomes of your action.

Examples

Okay, so that’s the format, but what does it look like in practice? Let’s walk through a few examples. Say you’re applying for a position that requires excellent organization, and you previously worked as an assistant in an office. How could we make that sound as professional and relevant as possible?

  1. Job Duty: Answered phones.
  2. Action Verb: Operated multi-line phone system.
  3. Example: Operated multi-line phone system, transferring and prioritizing calls
  4. Result: Operated multi-line phone system, transferring and prioritizing calls to ensure efficient operation of office.

Can you see how this sounds much more impressive than just “answered phones”? The funny thing is, this fancy-sounding statement is actually a more accurate account of what “answering phones” really means. You didn’t just pick up their phone and say hi, you managed a communications system that’s essential to the functioning of the office as a whole. And by stating it this way, it’s much easier for employers to see how this experience will translate over to a new job.

Let’s look at another example. Say you’re trying to get a job in early childhood education. You’ve never worked in a school or daycare facility before, but you do have several years of babysitting experience.

  1. Job Duty: Babysat
  2. Action Verb: Provided childcare.
  3. Example: Provided care for three children, ages 18 months to 9 years, including healthy meals and educational activities.
  4. Result: Provided care for three children, ages 18 months to 9 years, including healthy meals and educational activities, resulting in a supportive and enriching after-school experience.

Here again, the accomplishment statement doesn’t just sound better—it’s also a more detailed and accurate explanation of your work. And you can see how writing it this way makes a connection between one job and the next.

Let’s look at one final example. Say you’re trying to get a position that requires excellent communication skills and the ability to think on your feet and work under pressure. You’ve never worked in this field, but you did work as a barista throughout college.

  1. Job Duty: Worked as a barista.
  2. Action Verb: Delivered excellent customer service.
  3. Example: Delivered excellent customer service in a fast-paced café setting.
  4. Result: Delivered excellent customer service in a fast-paced café setting, creating a welcoming environment for all customers.

Accomplishment statements set your resume apart and present the best possible side of your professional experience. Use this formula to write amazing bullet points.

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Shalom Leo Bond
Career Development Facilitator 1
UNM Career Services

Read on for a list of action verbs. Continue reading How to Write Amazing Resume Bullet Points

How to Answer Behavioral Interview Questions

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“Give me an example of a time you faced a conflict while working on a team. How did you handle it?”

“Tell me about a time you made a mistake and learned from it.”

Behavioral questions crop up in most interviews. Interviewers ask this kind of question on the theory that your past behavior is the best predictor of your future behavior. How you’ve dealt with challenges in the past should provide a good indication of you’ll deal with difficulties in your new job. Follow these tips for great answers to behavioral questions.

  1. Spot behavioral questions. Listen out for behavioral questions during your interview. This subset of questions requires a specific strategy, so the first step is to recognize them. Behavioral questions usually begin with a phrase like, “Tell me about a time when…” or “Give me an example…” Any question that asks you to discuss how you’ve handled a particular scenario in the past is a behavioral question.
  1. Tell one specific story. A common mistake when people first try their hand at this type of question is to speak in very general terms. When I ask behavioral questions in mock interviews, students often jump among a bunch of different examples, not pausing long enough to fully explain any of them. Remember, the question asks for a specific example. Focus in on just one story.
  1. Use the STAR method. The STAR method is a simple formula for answering behavioral questions. It works like this:

Situation: What was going on?

Task: What had to be done?

Action: What steps did you take?

Result: What was the outcome?

An effective answer hits each of these points. This format also helps to keep your answer organized and focused on your role.

  1. Write out stories in advance. The STAR method helps keep your answer organized and focused, but it won’t help much if you don’t have a story to tell! Take the time to write out a few stories from your professional, educational and volunteer experiences before the interview. All you need are short answers—no more than a sentence or two—for each piece of the STAR method. By preparing these in advance, you’ll be able to choose a great example and explain it clearly in the interview.
  1. Relate the example back to the position. In an interview, everything should relate back to the position you’re seeking. After you tell a great story from your work experience, turn back to the current position. How did this experience prepare you to succeed now?
  1. Be ready to talk about success, teamwork, and things going wrong. You never know exactly what questions you’ll get in an interview. But behavioral questions tend to address certain areas, and by preparing a few types of stories, you’ll be ready with an example for any question they throw at you. Make sure you have at least one example of a time you were successful in your work, a time you worked well as a member of a team, and a time when you overcame challenges or setbacks. It’s also a good idea to prepare stories related to conflict resolution, problem solving, time management, and working under pressure. You may also want to consider any issues or values that are very important in your field and prepare examples related to those topics. Depending on your field, you might get behavioral questions related to ethics, diversity, customer service, technical skill, creativity, or other issues.

If this sounds like a lot, don’t worry—most examples can work for more than one kind of question. A story about conflict resolution might also be a story about teamwork, and a story about time management might also be a story about working under pressure as well as a good example of a time you were successful in your work.

  1. Present yourself in a positive light. It’s up to you to choose examples that show you’re a great candidate for the job. Don’t miss this opportunity to make yourself look good! We’ve all had moments of excellence and moments of not-so-excellence in our professional and academic careers. This is not the time to talk about when you completely forgot to study for your midterm or got in a huge argument with a coworker. Talk about times that you were successful. When answering questions that ask you to talk about difficulties—a time you made a mistake or faced a serious setback, say—don’t shy away from the negatives, but be sure emphasize how you overcame challenges and end on a positive note.

Examples

Here are a couple of examples of answers to common behavioral questions, using the STAR method.

“Give me an example of a time you faced a conflict while working on a team. How did you handle it?”

Situation: When I was a research assistant, I worked closely with the research team, especially the other students. Midway through the semester, a conflict came up among my fellow graduate students about how we were dividing responsibilities. One of my teammates felt he was doing more than his share of the work, and another teammate was frustrated with him because she felt we had divided the work evenly.

Task: We needed to come to agreement so we could work together and keep our project on schedule.

Action: I decided to address the situation directly by asking my teammates if they would be willing to meet to discuss the situation. In our meeting, I asked each teammate to tell their side of the story.

Result: It turned out that my teammate who felt he was doing too much actually wasn’t unhappy with the amount of work, but rather with the type of work we had assigned him. I volunteered to trade some responsibilities with him so that his tasks would have more variety. We were able to work well together for the rest of the term and completed our project on time.

“Tell me about a time you made a mistake and learned from it.”

Situation: During my internship ABC Company, one of my responsibilities was giving presentations. After working with another intern on a presentation for two weeks, the big day came. I arrived at the venue that morning, and my coworker asked if I had brought the hard drive with our slides and documents on it. I thought she was going to bring the files. My copy was sitting on my desk at home!

Task: The presentation was supposed to start in 20 minutes, and we needed that hard drive.

Action: I rushed home and got the hard drive.

Result: I got back just in time and the presentation went on as planned. I learned the importance of clear communication and never making the assumption that I if don’t do something, someone else will take care of it. Now, I know that I am the bottom line when it comes to my work.

Need help developing your own success stories? Come visit us at Career Services!

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Shalom Leo Bond
Career Development Facilitator 1
UNM Career Services

What Interviewers Want To Know

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During an interview, potential employers want to gather information to gauge whether you, the position, and the organization are a good fit.

Here are some generic questions—and examples of specific questions—an employer may ask in an interview. Use these as a guide to your preparation.

Generic Questions Specific Examples
What do you know about the organization?
  • What do you think a typical day is like here?
  • What sparked your interest in [this organization]?
  • Do you have any suggestions for how we can make our organization better?
  • What made you decide to apply for this job?

 

What do I need to know about your personal traits or characteristics?
  • What is your strongest attribute?
  • What is your greatest weakness?
  • What personality traits make you suitable for this position?
  • If someone said one word to describe you, what would that word be?

 

How do you work with others?
  • Would you rather be micro- or macro-managed?
  • Tell us about your best and worst boss.
  • What is your ideal work environment? That is, what type of boss/co-workers would you like to work with?

 

What skills do you have relevant to this position?
  • What work experience have you had that is relevant to this position?
  • Tell us about any specialized training or certifications you have.
  • What skills do you think you need to add to your repertoire?
  • How will you get those skills? I know about your college and work background, but what else have you done that would aid us if we were to hire you for this position?

 

What are your personal goals?
  • Why do you want us to hire you?
  • What is your dream job? How would this position help you get there?
  • What is your seven-year career plan?
  • Do you have plans for graduate school?

 

How much do you know about your specialized area?
  • What are your strongest points with [two specific skills that the job requires]?
  • What are the most important traits of a person in your field?

 

How have you handled specific situations? (Behavioral questions)
  • Can you tell me about a time when you effected a change?
  • Give me an example of a situation that didn’t work out well.
  • What have you done that you are most proud of?
  • Tell us about a time when you took a unique approach to solving a problem.

 

Adapted from “The Job Interview,” an article by Susan M. Katz in the NACE Journal.
Courtesy of the National Association of Colleges and Employers.

How to Talk About Your Strengths and Weaknesses

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“What are your greatest strengths and weaknesses?”

In almost any job interview, you will be asked to describe your strengths and weaknesses. Sometimes the question is asked outright. Other times the question comes in a veiled form. For example, you might get a question like, “If we were to interview your last supervisor, what would he or she say are some things you’re great at and some things you need to work on?”

Either way, you want to show up for an interview ready to talk about your talents and shortcomings. But how do you emphasize your strong points without sounding full of yourself? And how do you address areas for growth without creating a bad impression?

  1. Plan ahead. Take the time to think up your answer before the interview. You are almost guaranteed to get this question, so why not come prepared? A few minutes of planning and practice will go a long way towards acing your interview.
  1. Name more strengths than weaknesses. This is an interview, not a confession—you want to present yourself in the best possible light. There’s nothing wrong with playing to your strong suits in an interview. It’s an expected and necessary part of the process. Think of two or three strengths and one or two weaknesses.
  1. Support strengths with evidence. What does it really mean to say that someone is a hard worker or very organized? Without any more explanation, not a whole lot. Use a quick example to illustrate each of your strengths. This demonstrates the truth of your claim, and it also offers another chance to bring up your skills, training and experience. You might say something like:
  • “I have great people skills. In my customer service experience, I learned how to connect with customers from all walks of life.”
  • “I am highly organized. When writing my undergraduate thesis, I developed a spreadsheet system to track my research data.”
  1. Share an honest weakness. It feels pretty strange to say something negative about yourself in an interview. But the interviewer will see right through you if you mention a fake weakness. Avoid the temptation to say what you think they want to hear, like “My weakness is that I am too dedicated to my job.” This approach can easily backfire, making you seem dishonest, insecure, and too eager to please. Instead, take some time to reflect on yourself and your work style and see where your real shortcomings are.
  1. Explain how you address your weaknesses. The employer wants to hear about a real challenge for you. But they also want to be sure you are able to do the job. Name a real weakness, then quickly pivot to an explanation of what you do to make sure your weakness doesn’t stand in your way. How do you cope with your shortcomings? Be as specific as possible, and end on a positive note. You might say something like:
  • “One weakness of mine is prioritizing tasks. I can get so caught up in the details of a project, I lose sight of the big picture and spend too much time on the less important parts. I have learned that by planning ahead, I can stay on track. I create a schedule at the beginning of a project and stick to it, ensuring I reach my goal.”
  • “A challenge for me is speaking up in front of others. I get very shy in groups and find it hard to make myself heard. I decided to address this by taking a public speaking course last semester. Now that I have experience giving presentations, I much better able to share my ideas.”
  1. Ask for feedback. Are you stumped trying think of your greatest strengths and weaknesses? It can be pretty tricky to identify your own talents and areas for growth. Friends, family, coworkers and classmates are often able to spot your qualities easily. So if you get stuck thinking about your strengths and weaknesses, ask for help from someone who knows you well.

Need more help preparing for an interview? Call Career Services and schedule a mock interview with us!

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Shalom Leo Bond
Career Development Facilitator 1
UNM Career Services

Tips From Employers That Are Hiring

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The best job-search advice comes from the employers that are hiring. If you take the time to follow this advice, you’ll be better prepared than your competition for your application and interview.

Here are some things you can do to aid in your job-search success:

Research the Company

  • What products or services does the company produce and sell?
  • Where is it located?
  • How well did the company do last year?
  • What activities by this company have been in the news lately?

Learn something about the company with which you want to interview. Read its website and its annual report. Search for news stories mentioning the company. Use this information to customize your resume and cover letter for the position you want. Impress the interviewer by knowing something about the company.

Perfect Your Qualifications

A high GPA is important. It means you know the subject matter. However, employers are looking for people with “soft skills,” too—skills you can learn through extracurricular activities such as leading a team, taking part in a group task, or organizing a volunteer project. Employers want to find communication skills, a strong work ethic, teamwork skills, initiative, the ability to relate to co-workers and customers, problem solving skills, and analytical skills.

Get Experience

Year after year, the majority of employers taking part in a survey conducted by the National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE) say they prefer to hire job candidates who have pertinent experience. For college students, typically, relevant experience is gained through an internship.

In fact, an internship can be the “foot in the door” to a job with many employers: NACE surveys show that newly hired employees often come from the organization’s own internship program.

Build a Network

Whether you get the job you want—or even hear about the job opportunity you want—could easily depend on who you know.

Here’s where you will find people to build your professional network:

  • Business and professional social networking sites
  • Professional associations (online and in person)
  • Career fairs
  • Company information sessions
  • Your school’s alumni network
  • An internship or co-op program
  • A student professional organization
  • Faculty contacts
  • Employee referrals
  • Parents of friends who work in your field

 

Apply Online

Few employers want a paper copy of your resume in the mail. Many employers want to receive resumes and job applications through their websites.

Here are tips to keep your resume from getting lost in a company’s database of applicants:

  • Load your resume with keywords: Add job titles and specific skills—especially those that are specific to your field.
  • Use jargon and phrases specific to your field.
  • List the names of companies you’ve worked for or interned with: recruiters may look for their competitors’ names.
  • Post your resume on professional niche websites.

Make Career Services Your BFF

What is it worth to have someone who is in daily contact with potential employers show you how to write a winning cover letter, critique your resume, practice interviewing with you, connect you with people who are working in your field, and give you access to thousands of job opportunities?

Find the career center on your university or college campus today. Employers use this resource to find new hires, so shouldn’t you be there?

Say Thank You

Stand out among candidates. Send a thank-you note to each recruiter you meet at a career fair; to the employer who practices a mock interview with you; to a hiring manager who spends a few minutes interviewing you for a job; to anyone who serves as a job reference.

  • Keep your message short and confirm your interest. “Thank you for the opportunity to discuss [name of the position] at XYZ Company.”
  • Spell the recruiter’s name and title correctly.
  • Send your message immediately.

 

Courtesy of the National Association of Colleges and Employers.

 

5 Tips for Tackling the Most Common Interview Question

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“Tell me about yourself.”

So many interviews begin with these words. Whether you’re applying to graduate school or trying to land a job, you’re likely to face this question. But what do employers and admissions committees really want to know about you? Here are five tips for tackling one of the most common interview questions.

  1. Don’t get too personal. “Tell me about yourself” sounds like an invitation to talk about your personal life. But an interview is not the time or place to over-share. The employer doesn’t need to know about your hobbies, your favorite foods or the awesome band you saw live this summer. Everything you share should be related to the position. Discuss your education, work experience, volunteer work and internships, and current career goals.
  1. Keep it relevant. What does the interviewer really want to know about you? Think about the requirements of the position and the skills and qualities that are most important for this program or job. If you were in the interviewer’s chair, what would you need to know about a candidate to make your decision? You only have a few minutes to answer each question, so you want to prioritize the most important facts about yourself. Whatever you share, show how it relates to the current position.
  1. Tell a story. You know you’ll be discussing your educational and professional experiences, and keeping it all relevant to the current position. How do you organize all of that? An easy way is to tell a story. Start at the beginning, with your first related experience, and move forward to the present time. This makes it easy for you to keep track of the content and easy for the interviewer to follow along. It also sets up a nice sense of momentum, suggesting your past experiences have brought you here, culminating in this new position.
  1. Highlight your strengths. This question is an open-ended opportunity for you to convince the employer that you are an excellent candidate. Play to your strengths! You have complete control over what you share about yourself. Choose the experiences and attributes that are most favorable. Everything you say should be truthful, but beyond that, there’s no limit to how you present yourself. So make yourself sound really good. It’s okay to brag in a job interview—in fact, it’s necessary.
  1. Make the connection. Finally, make connections between your qualifications and the position. Be sure to explain why your training and experiences make you the right pick for this program or job. For example, what did you learn in your education that will help you succeed here? What experiences in past jobs have prepared you well for this position? If you feel like you’re stating the obvious, you’re probably on the right track. Really spell out the connections between what’s required in the position and what you bring to the table.

Still not sure what to do when somebody says, “Tell me about yourself”? Call Career Services and schedule a mock interview!

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Shalom Leo Bond
Career Development Facilitator 1
UNM Career Services

Top 10 Skills Employers Want to See on Your Resume

It’s a given that a good grade point average (GPA) is very important to potential employers. According to the annual Job Outlook survey, many employers say they screen by GPA. But what else do they look for?

Employers considering new college graduates for job openings are looking for leaders who can work as part of team, communicate effectively, and solve problems.

Here are the top 10:

  1. Leadership
  2. Ability to work in a team
  3. Written communication skills
  4. Problem-solving skills
  5. Strong work ethic
  6. Analytical/quantitative skills
  7. Technical skills
  8. Verbal communication skills
  9. Initiative
  10. Computer skills

 

How much influence do these skills have on your chances of getting an interview and landing a job? Here’s how employers ranked those skills and abilities:

attributes

Courtesy of the National Association of Colleges and Employers.