Assembling Your Portfolio

Building a portfolio

By Emilee Smith G’16

Portfolios come in all shapes and sizes. Some are digital and display designs and videos while others are presented on paper, featuring art projects or written music compositions. Looking past the differing displays and varying content, there are several pieces that every portfolio should contain.

Whether you are an art major or aspiring teacher, start thinking about how you can fill these categories and begin collecting materials. Some essential pieces include:

  1. Your resume. The resume acts as a summary and is a great way to introduce potential employers to your work and accomplishments. It sets up the experience of looking through the rest of your portfolio.
  2. Examples of your work. No matter what your major is, you already possess examples of your work. These can be projects completed in school, work produced for an internship or job or even work that you have done on your own! Your field of study will most likely dictate the format of these examples. (After all, it makes sense that an aspiring video producer would have a digital portfolio, right?)
  3. If you have certifications related to your field then you should definitely include them in your portfolio. Not sure what certificates you should pursue? Ask your professors or schedule a meeting with a career counselor!
  4. Letters of Recommendation. Letters of recommendation act as great vouchers for your skill sets and work ethic. Reach out to employers and professors, both past and present, and ask them (politely) if they wouldn’t mind writing a letter for you.
  5. Awards and Publications. When it comes to awards and publications related to your field then you should absolutely showcase them in your portfolio. This will help employers recognize just how fantastic you are!

While no two portfolios look the same, all of the strongest will contain these five categories. By gradually collecting and assembling these pieces, you will ensure that you have a spectacular showcase by graduation.

So if you haven’t already, get started right away! Opportunities can arise at any moment and you may need a portfolio sooner than you think.

Craft Your Resume with These 5 Tips

A typwriter and a piece of paper that reads resume

By Emilee Smith G’16

We all have experience stressing over resumes. We know how important the resume can be when making good first impressions and securing job interviews. But how exactly do you go about creating the most effective resume?

Well, I’ll tell you…

1. What is perfect? Before crafting your resume, first recognize that there is no such thing as “perfect.” Everyone is unique and no one’s resume will look exactly the same. It’s important to recognize this so that you can go about making what is the best resume for you.
2. Keep it short. While we all have a lot to offer, hiring managers are looking for brevity when they are wading through hundreds of applications. Pick your most impressive experiences and accomplishments and limit them to one page. After all, they can always ask you for more information during your interview.
3. Keep it clean. Don’t crowd your resume with small, overflowing text. Aim for a clean, modern, design with ample white space. The more attractive it is, the more likely someone is to pay attention to it. If you have design experience, consider using Adobe InDesign to create your resume, taking advantage of the program’s capacity to create custom margins and layouts.
4. Establish hierarchy. Design your resume in a way that forces viewers to see the most important aspects first. When applying for professional jobs, it is already implied that you have a college degree. Therefore, you don’t need to place education at the top. Instead, consider listing relevant experience first.
5. Edit frequently. This is a living document, which means you should be revisiting it constantly. Tailoring the document to every application will demonstrate to employers how serious you are about the position.
6. Ask for advice. Improve your resume by seeking out professors, mentors, and career counselors. While you may not always agree with the advice they give you, hearing different opinions will give you insight as to how other people view your resume.

By following these tips you will not only improve your resume, but also further your career. Don’t be afraid of writing and editing your resume. Embrace the challenge and use it to your advantage!

Looking Ahead: Majors, Workshops, & Fairs

By Magnolia Salas

Spring break is around the corner and we are sure you are looking forward to a week-long rest. But as you get ready to pause, don’t pause in your job or internship search. Take the time next week to build new relationships, discuss your career aspirations with friends and family and reflect on your career journey. In addition, mark your calendar with these events taking place in the coming weeks.

Major Dilemma 15 Minute Drop-Ins
March 24, March 25, March 26, & March 27, 2:00 p.m. – 4:30 p.m., 235 Schine
Not sure about your major? Come to us about choosing it, switching it, or what to do with it once you’re out of school!

Career Crash Course
March 28, 10:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m., 304ABC Schine
A one-day crash course on career essentials such as resumes, interviewing, networking, and job search resources. Workshops will be led by employers including GE, Macy’s, and JPMorgan Chase.  You can attend, one, multiple, or all sessions to gain knowledge about landing your next internship or full-time job. RSVP in OrangeLink.

SEC & ACC Virtual Career Fair
April 1 – 3, online via CareerEco
Attend this virtual career fair from anywhere and connect with more than 45 employers hiring in engineering, business, IT, sales, accounting, science, human resources, and many more. To RSVP and to view the full-time and internship opportunities and employers participating, please visit this link.

Keep an eye on your emails for updates on these events. Enjoy your spring break and we’ll see you back on the blog in two weeks!

You've studied abroad…now use it to stand out!

By Christina Faulkner, Career Services’ Employer Relations Program Coordinator

So you’re back in the States after a semester abroad; you’ve explored a new place, culture, and maybe a new language too. Your semester abroad can be a great leverage point on your resume and in an interview to help set you apart from other candidates!

Christina in Niokolo Koba National Park during her study abroad experience in Senegal.
Christina in Niokolo Koba National Park during her study abroad experience in Senegal.

Put it on your resume
Your resume is often the first method of contact you will make with a potential employer, so you want it to stand out against all of the other resumes they see. Having experience abroad distinguishes you from other candidates because it shows that you can adapt to new environments and be independent.

Depending on how relevant your study abroad experience is to the job you are applying for, you can list it briefly or more in-depth. Always include the location, duration, and title of the program on your resume. If you studied at a university while in your host country, include the name of the university as well. If your study abroad experience is directly applicable to the job, you can expand on it by sharing the classes you took (and whether they were in a language other than English), research projects you conducted, what you learned, and/or skills you gained.

If you held an internship, volunteered, or conducted research abroad, add your title and duties under the appropriate section of your resume.

Include any languages you learned abroad in the skills section of your resume. Add your proficiency in the language – basic, intermediate, conversational, or fluent.


Resume Pic Christina

Talk about it in an interview
What you choose to put on your resume, including study abroad experience, may come up in an interview; if it’s on your resume, then you should be prepared to discuss it. You can also use experiences from your trip abroad to answer behavioral interview questions. Examples:

Interview Christina

Examples like these can show you are adaptable, determined, a good communicator, and so much more!

Everyone’s study abroad experience is unique and challenging in its own way, so use it to prove that you are the right person for the job. Be proud of your experience abroad – you learned, explored, and put yourself out there!

For individual help, please visit us during drop-ins! These times will change beginning May 13, so please keep an eye on our website.
Monday           12 p.m. – 2:30 p.m.
Tuesday          12 p.m. – 2:30 p.m.
Wednesday      3 p.m. – 5:30 p.m.
Thursday          2 p.m. – 4:30 p.m.

Jerejef! (Thank you!)

Prepare for the Fair! (Career Fair, that is…)

By Shannon Andre, Employer Relations Coordinator

With the Spring Career Fair less than a week away, there’s only a little time left to get ready to impress the employers visiting campus!  Here are some quick tips to help you along the way:

1)      Have an up-to-date resume.

Even Otto has a resume!
Even Otto has a resume!

Remember that your resume is a marketing tool.  Most recruiters will spend less than 10 seconds reviewing a resume.  You’ll want to make a great impression!  Spend some time reviewing the Career Services Career Guide for all the basics of building a resume.  Make sure it’s free of grammar and spelling mistakes too!  Once it’s ready, have it reviewed by one of our career counselors during 15 minute drop-ins, or visit us during Resumania on Monday, February 4.  Employer experts will review resumes from 9:00 a.m. until 3:30 p.m. on a first-come, first-served basis.

2)      Do your research.
One of the most frequent criticisms we hear from employers is that our students have not done their research when they approach the employer’s table.  Before you attend the Career Fair, it’s important to check out the employers visiting, the opportunities they have available, and to learn a little bit about the company.  Utilize resources like OrangeLink, LinkedIn, Twitter, and the company’s website to do the background research.  It will make you stand out!

3)      Practice your elevator pitch.
When you approach an employer, you’ll give them a firm handshake, introduce yourself, hand them your resume, and then have a few moments to explain why you are a great candidate for their position.  Be prepared to speak for 30 to 60 seconds about your qualifications, experiences, and goals as they relate to the position you are interested in (this is where that research is really important).  Don’t be afraid to write it down and practice!

4)      Dress for SUccess.
First impressions are key, which is why dressing the part is so important.  Make sure your clothes are ironed and appropriately cut.  Some suggestions for business dress include: dress pants, khakis, button-down shirts, collared shirts, suits, ties, skirts, and blouses.  Remember comfortable shoes too!  Check out Career Services’ Pinterest board for some examples.

If you need additional help preparing for the fair, Career Services is hosting two workshops this week – Wednesday, January 30 from 5:45 – 6:45 p.m. and Friday, February 1 from 1:30 – 2:30 p.m.  Learn how the Career Fair works, what to wear, what to bring, and how to approach employers.

We look forward to seeing you Tuesday, February 5 from 11 a.m. – 3 p.m. in Flanagan Gymnasium for the Spring Career Fair!

The CV vs. the Resume: Which should you use?

By Rosanne Ecker, Associate Director

At least once a week, I get asked the question, “What’s the difference between a resume and a CV?” It’s a great question!  Keep in mind that my answer is specific to the United States, because it’s different in other countries. Here are three key differences between a CV and a resume:

1. The purpose
A resume is designed to show that you have the skills and experience necessary to succeed in a job or an internship, that you are well-matched for the job opportunity and that you are able to hit the ground running.

A CV is designed to show that you are a scholar who has conducted research, presented your work at conferences, taught, and published articles. A CV is used to showcase your academic achievements and scholarly potential.

2. The use
A resume is used to apply to most non-academic jobs including consultant, engineer, IT specialist, accountant, jobs in marketing, communications and more. A resume is the usual document used to apply to any job where your skills are the main reason that the employer would hire you.

CVs are mostly used when applying for faculty positions, for grants or fellowships or for research positions in industry, academia or government. Whenever your research productivity and teaching experience would be valued, a CV is the way to go.

3. The length
A resume is usually one to two pages at most (with less than 3 years of full-time post-graduate experience).  It’s likely that the employer will receive many resumes for any particular position and will scan them quickly (by eye or machine) to pick out the most outstanding candidates and eliminate those that are not specifically relevant to the advertised opportunity.

On the other hand, a CV can get quite long and that’s OK.  You can use a CV to showcase all of your academic achievements, including honors and awards, teaching experience, grants you’ve received and research you’ve done, if you’re applying to a college faculty position.

Is there any time you would use elements of each in a “blended” document?
Yes! A research lab would be interested both in your research techniques, computer skills and your ability to use specific equipment, as well as the papers you presented and articles you published. In this case, you’ll be presenting both your skills which are relevant to the job as well as your scholarly accomplishments.

When should you think about “converting” your CV to a resume?
If you’ve been geared toward a college teaching position or a research role and are now considering doing something more applied, you might want to have your CV focus more on your skills than your scholarly accomplishments. You will have to eliminate some of your accomplishments in order to spotlight your skills and this can be painful!

What is the main thing that CVs and resumes have in common?
Crafting a clearly formatted document, whether a CV or a resume, is your first step in getting an interview. That’s why people put so much work into the document. It may be the first glimpse of you that an employer gets. Of course, in addition to the CV and the resume, it’s useful to have an online presence on LinkedIn or a web page where you can feature your strengths and accomplishments. It would be ideal to have connected with someone at your potential employer so that they’re expecting your resume or CV.

Should I include references on either the CV or the resume?
It ‘s not usual to include references on a resume. The employer will request them if you make the next cut or the cut after that. You also do not need to write, “references on request.” It’s better to use that space to tell the employer something more about your skills and accomplishments.

On a CV, however, it’s usual to include, or add a page, listing your references with their full title and contact information.

Where can I get someone to help me figure out which document is best for me and to review my CV or resume?
Our office! Career Services, located at 235 Schine Student Center, has drop-in hours Monday through Friday (check our website for current drop-in hours), during which a career consultant will meet with you for 15 minutes to review your document. Please bring a paper copy with you.

If you are a PhD student or an undergraduate with a CV that needs to be reviewed, please set up an appointment by calling 315-443-3616, since a CV will require more than 15 minutes.

How to update your resume after a summer internship

By Tracy Tillapaugh
Career Counselor

Did you just finish a summer internship, job, study abroad or other career-relevant experience? Well then, it’s time to update your resume! Before you groan, remember that your resume is a living document. Constantly updating it allows you to show your most current experiences and skill sets.  This is a surefire way to make sure the best information about you is being shared.

If your internship or work experience is directly related to your future career aspirations, then listing that information toward the top of the resume is key. Employers often spend just 10 to 15 seconds visually scanning each resume. Don’t let your most recent and relevant experience get lost!

Make sure to think through the bullet points and write them out strategically. Emphasizing your real world experience will certainly impress your next internship company or employer after graduation.

Be descriptive. Include the specific tasks you performed at your internship. If you worked for an event planning company, instead of writing “helped plan events,” you can write “worked with supervisor to assess catering needs and place orders with catering company for a series of networking events” or “worked closely with interior designer to ensure the appearance of the event space matched client’s expectations.”

Quantify the work that you accomplished. Continuing with the event planning example above, make sure to include the number of events you assisted in planning, as well as the number of attendees at these events.  If you had a certain budget to work with, that would be good to include as well. Not only will this showcase the scope of your work, but it will reflect your attention to detail (a great skill to possess in almost any job).

If your internship or job experience does not relate to your future career goals (i.e. you want to be a journalist but spent the summer waitressing), IT’S OKAY! Look for transferable skills. Where do your skills as a journalist intersect with your skills as a waitress? Both journalists and waiters: communicate with individuals, multi-task several duties at once, and serve external and internal customers on tight deadlines. Those are just a few things that transfer from being a waiter to being a journalist. Can you think of others? Draw attention to these transferable skills on your resume!

Good luck updating your resume with your summer internship experience. When you’re ready and want an extra set of eyes on it, bring it to Career Services during our 15 Minute Drop-In Hours to be reviewed and discussed!