It’s our time as Millennials to apply for jobs. It’s really hard sometimes to try and understand how to even get our foot in the door and I know I definitely get nervous on how to present myself as a promising competitor against all other job applicants. A lot of the struggle can stem from confusion and stress about how to present ourselves to potential job opportunities. How do we make ourselves look good on paper? I myself prefer to attend in-person interviews, because then the interviewer can really get a sense of who I am and what I am about. However, not all opportunities will present that luxury. So how do we make sure our resume/cover letters are as promising as possible?
A lot of times it all comes down to wording. Who are you talking to? What is your end goal? And what aspects of yourself can you really shine light on that will benefit you for this particular job? I think a lot of college students want to be able to have one resume and one cover letter that they send out in bulk, and in theory that can work, but not always. Another problem that people run into is what to put on their resumes. I know I personally have a ton of things I could throw on my resume to spice things up, but in the end it is important to consider what is relevant. There are two main categories to consider here: Rhetorical awareness and User-centered design.
Firstly lets focus on Rhetorical awareness. You want to be persuasive in your writing, so you have to consider the following: 1) what is the ultimate goal of this document? 2) who is reading this document 3) who are the “stakeholders” or who is being affected by this document 4) what is the context/background of the situation? It is really important to consider these overall points, because you want your document to be relevant. No matter if it is a cover letter or a resume, if you are applying to a job as a web designer, but all you discuss is your job at Starbucks, they most likely will not be very responsive. Confidence is great, but Forbes addresses how there has to be a happy balance. You want to be persuasive without sounding entitled. So, for example, in your cover letter applying for this web design job, you may mention some projects or companies that you have helped design for and how much you enjoyed being able to get so much experience through those projects. Then maybe you say something about how you are looking to further your talents in a collaborative environment where you can expand upon your knowledge of design even further. You are letting employers know that you are competent and able in a persuasive matter. It is important to remember all the things not to include on a resume, check out Princeton career services for some helpful tips on that.
Second, lets focus on User-centered design. This is the idea of always considering your audience. You will want to make sure you are meeting the audience’s expectations and that your appealing to their goals. Most of the time when your going into an interview, you know the basic requirements of what the employer needs to see to consider you, so its important to address that. Next, consider their characteristics. Who is reading this document and how much pull do they have in the decision making process? In some situations, you don’t know who is the executive decision maker, so its best to always put your best foot forward. Considering who might read your resume is vital because this could heavily influence the expectations those people have for your document. Next, consider what the employer’s goals may be for your document. Make sure you are providing them with all the information they need, as well as anything relevant that can make you a competitive applicant. Finally, and most importantly, make sure your document is user-friendly. Make sure it is clean and concise (people don’t like reading messy resumes) and that the interviewer can easily locate the information they are looking for in your document. Overall, you want to present your best self in a persuasive manner. So, avoid extra fluff that may distract from your ultimate goal, keep it professional and clean, and make sure you are doing your homework about what is expected of you in each situation. For more info, check out this short video for some more advice on how to get an amazing resume resume video !