Sustainability (and such)

For my students: Stand out in the job market!

Posted by Nancy Van Leuven, Ph.D. on March 5, 2013

As we move toward your graduation, I hear that you’re excited yet also a bit nervous about facing an increasingly competitive job market. Job application materials are our first business cards, and a student must be able to express his or her skills  to a potential employer in an articulate, professional manner from the first cover letter through the final interview. As an example, this post outlines the ways in which I communicate my professional and teaching life with blurbs pulled from my resume.
FORMATTING:  First, although Google is still your business card –which is why you should check your name often– your resume/CV must be attractive as both a hard copy and virtual document.
Here’s a copy of my Traditional CV.
And now for some tips about different sections of your resume.
EDUCATION:  Most recent/highest degree first.  If you are just finishing your Bachelor’s, think about including some courses that align with the job specifications.  For instance, I have:
2007 – Ph.D. in Communication, University of Washington.  Dissertation:  “Hard News, Soft News, and Tough Issues:  The Symbiotic Relationships between NGOs, News Agencies, and International Development.  Additional certificates:  Women’s Studies and International Management and Development.
WEB PRESENCE:  Example:  My website is  Write your Twitter ID as @NancyVanLeuven.  Include your Gmail address (it’s more professional than your college student address) e.g.
STATEMENT OF PURPOSE/OBJECTIVES:  Omit this outdated line because it’s obvious you’re applying for a specific job with a purpose; instead, you can add a section about skills if relevant. Most employers will want to know about your hard and soft skills to make sure you have the practical experience plus social abilities to work well with others.  Use active words/voice as opposed to passive!  For example of hard skills:
Skills:  Marketing and branding, social media, technology, organizational management, groupware, etc.
TEACHING PHILOSOPHY:  If you’re applying for teaching jobs, you’re often asked to submit thoughts about how you approach teaching and learning, as well as how you anticipate meeting the needs of your department and/or school.  Here’s an example.
TEACHING EXPERIENCE:  Again, if you’re applying for a job in education, you’ll want to briefly describe the courses you’ve taught.  Maybe you were the primary instructor, or teaching assistant — specify your role and also details that illustrate your skills.  For instance:
2009-2012:  Core Faculty, Presidio Graduate School, San Francisco, CA.  Courses: Managerial Marketing (MBA in Sustainable Development) and Sustainable Development:  Local and Global Institutions and Information Management, Technology, and Policy (MPA in Sustainable Development.
PROFESSIONAL EXPERIENCE:  Remember that your resume is a marketing/branding tool!  Don’t include every single job back to babysitting; instead, focus on the most relevant skill builders and label volunteer positions that also give you credibility.
PUBLICATIONS:  Since you’re coming from a Communication background, use APA style.  For instance:

2012 – Book chapter in Citizen 2.0:  Public and Governmental Interaction through Web 2.0 Technologies.  “Citizen 2.0: How Government Uses Social Media to Reframe Public Messages.”  IGI Global.

AWARDS:  Keep these short and sweet, but make sure your audience knows you’ve been recognized.  My example:  2011-now – One of the “Top 100 Marketing Professors on Twitter”


REFERENCES:  “References available upon request” used to be a standard line at the bottom of each resume; now, everybody knows you’ll give them upon advancing, so leave this off.
FINALLY,  if you’ve applied to the right job and emphasize the requested skills, you’ll be called for an interview.  Here are tips about the most common interview questions and ways to think about replying.  And don’t forget to send a professional thank-you note about the experience!

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