Written by Mariana Foran
Starting college, there are many things to think about like paying for classes, which ones to take, where to live and more. Ultimately, ACC provides students with an education and sources to add to a resume to get a job in the appropriate area of study. However, not many know how to write a resume, or what to even put on it.
Many advisors suggest students build their experience at ACC by joining student organizations, volunteering, internships and anything that can give you experience beyond the classroom.
“I think the biggest mistake I see college students make when it comes to building their resume is, they don’t pay attention to anything except school,” says ACC advisor Don Bradley. “They do the bare minimum to get by and at the end they find themselves with a piece paper, nothing more. If an employer had a choice between two college graduates, one with a degree and one with a degree and an impressive resume of things they did in college who do you think they are going to hire?”
It’s not uncommon to attend class, go home and/or work and call it a day. However, the Office of Student Life offers multiple ways to to volunteer and participate in campus activities. If being on campus is too limiting, they can help you find ways to be involved in the community.
Bradley says, “I was very protective over my GPA and basically did whatever I could fit into my schedule. Doing stuff gives you experience and you never know who you might meet or what kind of connections you can make.”
Every job application should have a tailored resume and cover letter.
Resumes should include several sections: your career objective, a list of experience and skills that pertain to the job and education. It is ok to apply to jobs before graduation, just be sure to place your expected graduation date under the education section. If a list of references isn’t asked for, then include it at the bottom of your resume. Have three or four references of current and/ past co-workers and managers who can speak, honestly, about your work ethic.
In addition to a resume, many employers, often, ask for a cover letter. A cover letter is a summary of your resume and a formal way of introducing yourself. This is the opportunity to explain how a past experience or skill set, listed in your resume, makes you a top candidate for the job.
“Sincerity is an important element to a good cover letter,” says Bradley. “Staying away from empty phrases also, give people the facts they need not a flowy paragraph about how you’re a people person. The absolute worst thing you can do is use your cover letter to kiss up. Being a kiss up is a big turn off and it makes you seem lazy,”
When writing a cover letter, try keep it about a page long. Human Resources and the managers are receiving many resumes and cover letters (if asked), so be sure to keep it short simple and to the point. Formally address the boss or company you are writing it to and close it with the best way to reach out to you for an interview.
The libraries on every ACC campus has readings that can help you build your resume and cover letter. Or you can visit their online guide at austincc.edu/careerinfo. For hands-on learning, the Highland ACCelerator hosts several Resume & Cover Letter workshops throughout the semester.
Pick this story up in the Spring 2018 Life4U magazine on campus.