Consider this page your ultimate guide to a job application preparation! The Career Services Office assists students in all aspects that come with applying for a new job and works to prepare you for an upcoming interview.
We can help you with picking a resume style; editing, proofreading, and formatting your resume and cover letter; exploring your transferable skills; developing accomplishment statements; targeting your resumes and cover letters to each position, and even provide mock interviews.
The first step to getting that dream job of yours is to identify the things that make you stand out and express to your employer the many ways your qualifications will benefit their company or organisation. A great way to do this is by creating accomplishment statements. Accomplishment statements show the actions you have performed in a role and the results that came from it.
To help your organize your experience, try using the CAR technique.
C – What was the Challenge encountered?
A – What Action did you take?
R – What Results were achieved
C – Liaison between departments and management
A – Recommending alternatives to sales pitch
R – Resolutions to customer complaints using creative solutions
Outcome: Liaison between departments and management recommending alternatives to sales pitch resulting in resolutions to customer complaints using creative solutions.
C – Promoted Algoma University at community events
A – Communicating with high school students and their parents
R – Increasing awareness and recruitment numbers
Outcome: Promoted Algoma University at community events by communicating with high school students and their parents, increasing awareness and recruitment numbers.
Tips and tricks: To make your accomplishment statements pack a punch, you’ll want to start your sentences with action verbs to highlight your skills and experiences. For example: facilitated age appropriate games and crafts with enthusiasm; fostering a positive and safe atmosphere, or, inspiring others to succeed at the highest level. See how good that sounds? Who wouldn’t want to hire you! Here are a few other examples of Action Verbs you could use:
Now that you’ve brainstormed and identified everything that makes you so awesome using the CAR technique, it’s time to communicate this to your employer. Remember, resume writing is more than merely stating the skills you have. It’s about standing out, and proving why you are fit for the job.
Below you will find examples and outlines of almost every possible resume type out there, so please choose the style that fits your next job search.
The most common résumé types
- The most common résumé format and preferred by employers
- Highlights steady employment
- Lists work experience by date from most recent to least
- Provides names of employers, locations, dates, job titles, and accomplishments
- Chronological Resume Example (PDF)
- Highlights transferable skills
- Downplays irrelevant jobs or spotty work history
- Organizes work experience into skill clusters or functions
- Dates and places of employment are usually briefly summarized at the end of the résumé
- Information is organized without regard to time sequencing
- Functional Resume Example
- Combines your past and future potential
- Combination of chronological and functional formats
- Combines the self-marketing of the functional style with the credibility of the chronological style
- Hybrid Resume Example
Other Résumé Types
- Infographic résumés are a way of describing information in a visual or graphical form. This type of résumé gives employers the ability to quickly glance at a résumé and get the information they need.
- Infographic résumés can be very powerful and show your creativity and communication skills.
- Job seekers in graphic design, marketing, or web developing are just a few of the unique and creative occupations that may benefit by using an infographic résumé.
For more information and examples on infographic résumés please read Anatomy of a Great Infographic Resume by Laurie Morse-Dell.
The following are a few of the free web-based applications that can be used to assist you with creating your own infographic résumé.
- A video résumé is a short video created by job seekers to showcase their skills and qualifications beyond a traditional résumé. It is important to note that a video résumé does not replace a traditional résumé; however, it is a creative tool to further market yourself to prospective employers.
For tips on how to create a video résumé, please view the following links:
- Six Tips for Creating a Dynamic Video Résumé – Career Options
- Video résumé Mistakes – Career Enlightenment
Video Résumé Examples:
- Sajita Nair’s Video Résumé is an excellent example of a professional video résumé where she gives a quick overview of her qualifications. She completes her video résumé within the ideal time of 1 minute and 30 seconds.
- Nick Belling’s Video Résumé is a mix of professionalism and creativity. He presents his qualifications and examples of his experiences in an upbeat manner, allowing the employer to get a full understanding of his skills in software development.
- Khushbu Gosai’s Video Résumé was created as an entrance application into the Caldwell Fellows program. This résumé shows her artistic ability while explaining her view of art and background history.
The next step is writing your cover letter! Cover letters provide additional information to an employer on your skills, accomplishments, and why you want to work for them. The why is extremely important here because, while a resumé is useful for showcasing your skills, it leaves little to no space for you to explain why you want this job, and what this job means to you. When in doubt, always speak about your passion and interest for the position you are applying for. The cover letter also gives you the chance to provide in depth information on how you are qualified for the job without repeating exactly what is already in your resume.
Tips and tricks:
- An ideal cover letter will consist of four paragraphs;
- Paragraph One should indicate what position you are applying for;
- Paragraph Two and Three should highlight how your qualifications match the qualifications sought by the employer; and
- Paragraph Four should thank the person for their time and ask for an interview.
- Note: if your cover letter seems too bogged down with information, turn your qualifications (paragraphs Two and Three) into bullet points. This will make the cover letter more visually appealing and easier to read.
Click to download our Cover Letter Example (PDF).
Building professional relationships and maintaining them is crucial to having quality references in your corner. It is assumed that you will provide the employer with your references when asked. We suggest that you have your reference page ready and bring multiple copies with you at an interview! Here are some examples:
Useful information: Did you know, unless otherwise stated, it is unnecessary to include “References upon request” at the bottom of your resume? The reasons for this is that the references take up extra space on your resume that could be used to further explain your skills, and creates more paperwork for an employer to look through.
If all of the steps above went smoothly, and you are now at the stage of going to an interview, congratulations! This is your last step to getting the job, so let’s make sure you’re ready for it! Completing these step will prepare you for the interview and show that you are interested in the position and company.
Step 1: Research
One of the most important steps in preparing for an interview is doing your research. You need to research the company and familiarize yourself with their mission, goals, and objectives. Research any special projects or events they may be involved with. Use LinkedIn to research employees and find some common ground with those who may be hiring you.
Step 2: Get familiar with the types of questions that are commonly asked during interviews
Traditional Interview Example Questions
- Tell me about yourself.
- What do you know about our company?
- Why do you want to work for us?
- What are your strengths? What are your weaknesses?
- Describe your ideal manager.
- What are your long term career goals?
- How do you determine success?
- What do you know about our competitors?
- Why did you leave your last job?
Behavioural Interview Example Questions
- Give me an example of a time you were working in a group and there was conflict between members. How did you handle the situation? What were the outcomes?
- What do you do when your schedule is interrupted? Give an example of how you handle it.
- Tell me about a time you thought outside the box. What was the outcome?
- Give me an example of a time when you were able to communicate successfully with another person, even when that individual may not have personally liked you.
- Tell me about a situation in which you had to deal with a very upset customer. How did you handle it?
- Tell me about a time in which you had to use your written communication skills in order to get an important point across.
Step 3: Practice, practice, practice!
Practicing a variety of interview questions will prepare you for your upcoming interview. Developing “go to” answers for common interview questions will help put you at ease, so that you can feel (and appear) cool, calm and relaxed during the interview.
As you might have noticed in step 2, an interview will typically consist of a mixture of traditional interview questions such as “What do you know about the company?” and behavioural questions (or situational) such as “Tell me about a situation where you were challenged.”
Consider the STAR method when answering interview questions:
S – Situation. Explain a situation you were involved in.
T – Task. Describe the tasks involved.
A – Action. Explain what you did, skills used, behaviours and characteristics.
R – Result. Explain the outcome.
Tips and tricks: Have a friend or family member read these questions out to you a few days before the interview and provide an answer as if it were the real deal. This puts you on the spot, and allows you to practice your answers out loud to someone.