How to Write a Resume When You Switch Gears in Your Career

It is common for a student to switch gears and decide that she or he wants to try some new types of jobs. Particularly, a freshman or sophomore is likely to try out different majors and when she/he is ready to make up her/his mind about what kind of career she/he wants, not everything she/he has done is closely related to the position she/he is to apply for. So how should students in such situations write their resumes so that there is enough content and the things listed on the resume are also relevant to the job?

Here is a quick list of possible solutions (not necessarily comprehensive):

  •  Realize that a resume is not a biography. A resume is not supposed to cover everything that youhave done. Instead, for a reciter, a resume is a summary of meaningful points that the candidates want to make about their qualification for the position. So a resume is the candidate’s opportunity of highlighting his/her skills by showing evidence using what he/she actually had done in the past.
  • Emphasizing on transferable skills are usually the approach to phrase some less relevant experiences
  •  Know the industry and the position. Do research and try to figure out what the postil is really looking for. Target the resume content according to the expectation from the recruiters.It is common to encounter this problem. I have seen cases that came up during walk­in hours when people wanted to do consulting after getting an engineering degree, or people who did mostly administrative jobs earlier wanted to do some hard­core field engineer work. Here to clarify the above points, I will use my personal experience as an example. I successfully got an internship after I changed my major from Chemical Engineering to Computer Science.I thought I was going to major in either bio­chem or chemical engineering during my first year at Rice, but I finally made up my mind to study computer science at the beginning of my sophomore year. I was eagerly looking for an internship, but I thought I had nothing to write about except that I took that one single Computer Science course in my second semester at Rice. I did a lot of oil­related research, got excellent grades for Organic Chemistry as a freshman, and also TAed Organic Chemistry right after. So I felt it hard to totally ignore my “little” achievements. But on the other hand, I thought it inappropriate to include the chemistry­related experiences when I was applying to be a software engineering intern.

    I got advice from the CCD and got tremendous help from the staff. What I end up doing was to look at the experiences through a “lens”. I emphasized on the transferable skills that I demonstrated in those chemistry ­related tasks, such as my ability to learn quickly and my general research skills. I also put myself in the shoes of a tech recruiter for a software company and tried to figure out what they were looking for from an intern applicant. Those recruiters for interns definitely wanted smart students, but they also looked for potential. That is, because the tech industry changes so quickly over time, companies would rather look for people who might not know everything now but who had the ability to pick up anything quickly. Realizing what the company was looking for in a resume helped me tailor my experiences from a particular perspective that demonstrates my transferrable skills more than the specific details about the chemistry and the research.

Lastly, remember that CCD is always the place to go for when you have questions about your career! We are always there to help!
Cheers!

Maggie Tang (Lovett College, Duncan Liaison)

How to behave in interviews

Your skills and qualifications are the basic things that the hiring manager is looking for. Whether you get the job depends largely on your behaviors in the interviews.

 

What the employers are looking for when they ask you a question.

Let’s use a very common question as the example—can you talk about your last internship. First of all, they are looking for a clear and objective description of the situation. You not only need to have relevant things to talk about, but also need to communicate concisely and thoroughly. The strong business communication skill is also needed in your daily life—for example, when you need to report your research progress to your professor, you want to quickly remind him of the project you are working on. Secondly, you should include the lessons learned from the internship in your description and an example of how you apply them to another situation to show your understanding of the lesson and your capability of applying new skills.

 

Four words that help you to answer a question: STAR

Situation—Briefly describe the situation

Task—be specific on what you did and what you learned

Action—address your skills. How did you solve the problem?

Result—should be measurable

 

How to prepare examples for a question

Start from thinking about the employer’s intention of asking this question. What kind of skills they are looking for by asking this question? The job description will probably give you the answer. Do you have any relevant skills? Also when choosing the example, make sure you have enough experience to answer the question and any possible follow up questions.

 

Demonstrate your leadership

Employers like to ask about your leadership experience which demonstrates your interpersonal skills. Did you have a strong role in a situation no matter in work, class, or extracurricular activities?  Did you manage multiple activities at the same tie? Did you ever have to deal with a difficult person? Do you have answers for these questions?

 

How to deal with an unexpected question

Don’t get panic! Don’t try to be clever and skip the question. The employers know you might not be prepared for all the tricky questions, so they can accept you thinking during the interview. However, you’d better make a transition instead of leaving the room in silence by saying something like “it’s a good question, let me think about it”. Yet you cannot be silent for too long—once at most in an interview. Therefore the best solution to avoid an unexpected question is to do more preparation. Mock interview with CCD is a good way to prepare for interviews.

 

 

Nebula Han, Martel College PCA

Welcome Back! Meet our new counselors.

We hope you had a wonderful spring break! During your time off, we have added two new counselors to our Center for Career Development staff. We are very excited to have them as part of our team and they are ready to meet you! Their counseling schedules are now available on RICElink so sign up today.

 

Andrew Tessmer

I am new to CCD and Rice University and am thrilled to begin working with you to achieve a fulfilling and rewarding career, no matter where you are in the process.  I can assist you in identifying your values, interests, and strengths by encouraging self-reflection and self-discovery.  Action is one of favorite words, and as an action-oriented counselor, I can help you put your ideas into a structured plan to help you make the most of your time at Rice University while preparing you for the future.

I am coming to Rice from across the town, where I worked as a career counselor at University Career Services at the University of Houston.  Before getting into career services following graduate school, I had a host of over experiences ranging from training, EEG research, tutoring, and bartending.  Having worked consistently since the age of 15 at various part-positions while in school, I can help you translate those part-time experiences into marketable points on your resume.   I am also a Houston native, and grew up in and around the Houston area, so also if you need some recommendation of great places to eat or fun things to do on the weekend, I can help.

I take full advantage of all the great cultural events and entertainment that Houston has to offer, so if you are out and about around town you are likely to bump into me at some point.

 

Kim Yackel

Greetings! My name is Kim Yackel and I am one of the two new counselors in the Center for Career Development.  I am so excited to have the opportunity to work with Rice students and join the Owl family.  I love owls and have been collecting owl items for many years now so it is fun to work somewhere where owls are everywhere!

I am originally from Virginia and moved to Texas from North Carolina just over a week ago.  This is the furthest I have ever lived from home (which was pretty scary at first) but I love living in Houston already.  I was previously living in a small town and there is so much more to do here.  I am excited to tour all of the museums, take my dog to parks, experience fun events (like the Rodeo), and eat lots of Texas brisket and Mexican food!  In my free time, I enjoy working out, being outdoors, playing with my dog, and baking gourmet cupcakes.

I got dual bachelor degrees in Human Development and Psychology from Virginia Tech and a master’s degree in Higher Education Administration with a concentration in Student Affairs from North Carolina State University.  I fell in love with Career Services when I served as a Peer Career Advisor in undergrad and knew for sure this was the right career path for me when I took Career Counseling in grad school.  I have previously worked at Duke University’s career center in the Public Policy school and was most recently the Career Services Coordinator at Barton College (unfortunately not the one featured in Pitch Perfect).  I truly love what I do and look forward to helping you find and obtain a career that makes you feel the same way!

 

Career Advice for International Students

Even before I came to the United States, I heard people talk about how challenging it could be for international students to find a job. The truth is, finding a job isn’t hard, but finding a satisfying job that matches your career interest, and also one that provides sponsorship, can be hard. But don’t panic – with proactivity and a lot of preparation, international students can land a dream job just like their American peers.

 

One thing you can do from the first day of college, just like every other student, is to start building up your resume. This means a lot of exploration of what you want to do, and a lot of hard work into finding the best experiences for your dream career. From my personal experience, during my freshman year, I talked to a lot of alumni whom I found on LinkedIn. They shared with me a lot of valuable experiences both at Rice and at work, and really gave me an insider’s view about their industries. It really helped me figure out what I want to do, or at least what I don’t want to do, which is equally important. After I figured out what I wanted to do for career, I began doing research with a professor whose field matches my career interest. I am also involved in a student club, which is of pure interest when I first joined it, but really helped demonstrate my leadership ability on my resume and during interviews later on.

 

One thing leads to another, and soon you will find you have a lot of interesting experiences (club activity, volunteer work, job experience, etc.) to put on your resume. Then what? One thing that worked for me is to apply for as many positions that interest me, and reach out to as many people as possible. One side note is that when you apply, make sure you find out if the company offers sponsorship or not. This way you can save a lot of your energy in filling out personal information and writing cover letters. And some of the best people you can reach out to are upperclassmen who have applied for the position/interned at the company, people you meet at the info sessions and Career Expo on campus, alumni you find and connect with on LinkedIn, and many more. You never know which one will eventually work out, but it is good to build up your network!

 

And one last thing, be open up to new ideas and be persistent! There are a lot of opportunities out there, so don’t limit yourself or give up too fast. The perfect job may be right around the corner!

 

– Rachel Li, PCA, Jones College Class of 2016

Post Expo

Now after Career Expo, what should we do? In the following paragraphs, I will discuss about the things you might want to do after Expo.

 

  • Submit your application

Don’t forget to submit online application. During the career expo, I’m sure you have find some companies that you are interested in. While some companies take you resume as a form of application, most companies still need you to submit online application on their website. Therefore, it is important for you to sort out the flyers you have collected and decide what companies you want to apply.

 

  •       Follow up

Now you might have got many business cards. It’s time to follow up! Send a brief email to the people you talked to during the Career Expo. The emails do not have to be long. State your major, your interest and why you are interested in the company. It’s always good to mention your conversation with the recruiters at the Expo. Say something that helps them to remember who you are.

 

  • Check on RiceLink

There are companies that recruit on RiceLink, but they did not go to Career Expo. Some companies that showed up on Career Fair may also need you to apply on RiceLink. So check on RiceLink and apply the jobs you are interested in.

 

  • Use Linkedin

It is wise to connect with alumni you met during Expo on Linkedin. It is also time for you to complete your Linkedin profile. Make sure you have correct information about your major, interest, and past experience.

 

  • Some tips
    • It is important to be organized. Keep track of the companies and representatives you talked to. Make sure read those flyers and try your best to reflect your interactions with them.
    • Sending a thank you note or connect on Linkedin helps you get connected with more people.
    • Write some summaries about potential improvements for preparation for future Expo. For example, what are the topics you think that are proper to discuss with those representatives? What did they say? How can you improve your elevator pitch?
    • Mark the companies that you might be interested in in the future. Maybe you are looking for internship right now, and some companies are only recruiting for full-time. Mark those companies, so that you will remember to check on them when you are finally looking for full-time during senior year.

    – Karen Yu, Jones PCA

Time to Come Up with Summer Plans

Freshmen, sophomores and juniors – If not already, now is the time to start coming up with summer plans! Without the homework and exams that take up your time during the school year, summer is a perfect time for some great plans and fun experiences. You certainly do not want to sit at home all day and get bored while all your friends on Facebook are all having a great time studying abroad or doing cool summer jobs. To prevent that from happening – now it’s a good time to start planning for your summer!

 

In this blog I will discuss a few options that will guarantee you a fun and rewarding summer. So please take a look!

 

  • Service trips & Studying abroad

 

In case you haven’t heard, the Community Involvement Center at Rice University offers some great programs for students to do services within the country and abroad. These service programs offer chances for personal and professional development, and they offer you the chance to look into the issue you are interested in, learn about a different culture, and have a great time abroad! So make sure to check them out! (http://cic.rice.edu/GIS/)

 

Another great way to discover opportunities abroad is through the Study Abroad office at Rice University. Find some time to go through the many programs on their website, and set up an appointment to talk with a Study Abroad Advisor, and you might find a great program for you. Depending on your interest, you might be able to learn a foreign language or take summer courses that count as university credit while having a great time traveling abroad! (http://abroad.rice.edu/)

 

 

  • Research opportunities

 

One thing that many undergraduate students do not know is that they can easily get involved with a research project just through talking with their professors at Rice. The research might be independent research conducted by the professor or might involve many other institutes such as the Medical Center. If you are interested in academia, want to go to graduate school after college, or just want to explore your interest in the major you are studying, doing research is a great way to accomplish all of these. Some of the research topics are very interesting, but make sure that you talk with the professors in detail before you start, so you know what to expect from the research and what is expected from you.

 

  • Internships

 

With so many on-campus info sessions and interviews going on everyday, it is not surprising that many students choose internships as a way to spend their summer. Although most big name companies hire juniors for their internship positions, there are a number of companies that offer different opportunities for underclassmen as well. There are many ways to find an internship for your summer, such as going to RICELink on the CCD website, networking with alumni on LinkedIn (Do not have LinkedIn yet? Setting up a LinkedIn Account is super fast! Already have LinkedIn? Make sure to check out and join the OWL Career Mentor Network!), or simply going to the company websites that you are interested in and search for their openings. You might be surprised at how many potential opportunities you can find!

 

 

The above is a list of only a few of the many great ways to spend your summer! How you spend your time really depends on what you want – spend more time with family? Be more fluent in a foreign language? Do services abroad? Or work for a great company and gain professional experience? There are many great resources at Rice and make sure to check them out!

– Rachel Li,

PCA, Jones College Class of 2016

 

Fix Up Your Resume! 5 Easy Steps

In my last blog, I talked about staying in the job search even if you have a job, and one of the things that often gets forgotten and left undone is updating the ol’ resume. Here are 5 easy steps to fix up and improve your piece of paper!

Step 1. Banish all outdated information from your resume.

Are you a freshman? Still acceptable. Are you a sophomore? It’s been TWO years since you’ve graduated. Are you a junior? It’s been THREE. Are you a senior? Silence. What I’m talking about is the classic high school adage: including your high school experiences on your resume. Employers don’t care about which high school you attended or what you did there. Fill your resume with current accomplishments; it’s time to take the high school out of your resume.

Step 2. Don’t include unnecessary information.

Your resume serves to show your experiences and accomplishments. And only your experiences and accomplishments. Employers don’t want to read anything too descriptive, such as “creative innovator”, or “excellent leader”. They will ignore these because they should be in a cover letter, not your resume, so just stick to objective facts. Also, stick to one page. Two pages is unnecessary for a resume, and it mostly likely means that you’re going into too much detail.

Step 3. Only include strengthening information, not weakening.

Remember that you only have 5-10 seconds to catch your employer’s interest. This means that you don’t want to waste that time giving them information that would lose their interest or even hurt your application. For example, short-term jobs are big red flags. The hiring manager will wonder if you were fired, if you quit, or just couldn’t do the work. So make sure you have an explanation that won’t reflect poorly on you. Next time you’re applying for a job, make sure to consider how long you think you’ll be working there, and make sure that it will be long enough to not raise any red flags.

Step 4. Part 2 of Step 3.

The other thing about short-term jobs is that it’s unlikely for you to have shown any real accomplishments in such a short amount of time. A few months on a job is not enough to finish an important project or to advance in your workplace. This is why these kinds of experiences can’t help you to strengthen your resume, so don’t have it on your resume. This tip serves as a space-saver and job-saver.

Step 5. Don’t wreck your resume with distracting information.

Distracting information includes all of the above. It makes your resume look unprofessional and weakens your impression. The employer will think: “why does he/she need to dec out his/her resume so much? Is it because his or her skills and achievements do not speak for themselves?” I know you want to have a resume that is eye-catching and interesting, but the way to do that is through substance, not design. Upon seeing an unusual color scheme, your potential employer will only be seeing a tacky mess. What they actually want is a professional-looking resume, which means this is not an opportunity to be trying out new fonts.

Alice Chen, Duncan PCA

Atypical Career Paths

 

Rice University helps students learn to adapt and problem-solve in life. The school teaches students to think at higher levels, and afterwards Rice graduates are prepared for all types of careers.

 

A lot of one’s life is influenced by luck and randomness. A person really can’t know how his or her life will end up, and that is a scary yet thrilling reality. Life-changing opportunities and career choices can come in many different ways, and I believe that there is a question that people should evaluate each of these decisions by. Will this career path bring me happiness and fulfillment down the road, or will I look back with regret at choosing it?

 

Each person is unique and has a variety of interests and strengths. There are boundless career path opportunities for people. Yet, a typical career path for a girl in a family of doctors might not be the typical career path for someone in a family of coal miners. People should think more openly when deciding on careers. As a college student, one should hope to pursue a career that provides him or her fulfillment and happiness.

 

Often, a career path is just a way to make a living to support one’s family. However, a career can be so much more. It can be a source of inspiration and pride to a person.

 

As a Rice student, I think of typical career paths as: doctors, lawyers, businessman, financial analysts, academics, writers, programmers, and engineers who work on various different projects. Although, I recognize that typical and atypical careers change over the years.

 

Technology has always disrupted “typical” career paths in human history. Due to the Internet, the newspaper industry has been hard hit and had to radically downsize. This has significantly reduced the demand for conventional newspaper journalists, which once was a very viable career option. There are countless examples of disruption in the economy over the years. One other example is how automation has eliminated the need for many manufacture jobs.

 

When Bill Gates pursued a career in computer science, he was pursuing an atypical career. Now, most universities have a lot of students who are computer science majors. It is not bad to take unconventional career paths. In fact, in life going against the masses is often a good thing. Financial investors often aim to be unconventional and make bets against the market’s “perceived” wisdom.

– George Randt, McMurtry PCA

Growing Your Network on LinkedIn

 

LinkedIn is an online platform that helps you to build connections for your career. It’s a research tool to find jobs, organizations, and recruiters. You can build connections with the industry experts who are willing to share advice and their connections with you job seekers directly. If you are good at utilizing this “social” network, it will build the bridge for you to obtain your ideal career.

Yet before getting that job there are a few things you need to do:

  1. Build a perfect profile

A good LinkedIn profile is a means to brand and propaganda an entry level student to a well-rounded, experienced, and intelligent employee. A good profile is specific, complete, professional, and concise.

There are a few things you should do:

-Use professional looking profile picture

-Make your profile heading pop. For example, not “Rice student”, but “chemical Engineer/Business minor student, Rice University”.

-Include volunteer work, summer jobs, Rice Leadership activities, Research projects, internships, and community in experience. A frequency ask question is—what kind of abilities or experience should I put on my resume? A good way to taylor the information is to research the abilities that your dream company is looking for.

It’s never an easy and quick process to edit your LinkedIn profile. Furthermore, an ideal profile is based on the abilities and experience you had. In other words, you need to design your ideal image and strive for the experience. If you want to be a consultant, the experience that prove you are very outgoing and good at communicating will be very beneficial. Everything in the process of job seeking is painful; yet, fortunately, once done, you can enjoy the self-achievement, the salary, and the joy of watching the others’ struggling in it, which is more fun.

  1. Grow your network

One common and annoying situation is that your dream company doesn’t have application jobs when you search on RiceLink. Here comes the importance of networking. If you have connections with the employees in that company, you can get more information than your competitors. Is there anyone in the company you can link with, such s family friend or Rice alumni? Don’t be afraid to send a message to someone you’ve never talked to. most Rice alumni are happy to help you, but people are always busy. If you forget to respond, wait patiently and send another message politely.

Another way to grow network is to join groups related to your professional interests. Parents, job seekers, entry level students, employers and alumni are all in the groups. They are perfect people to connect to.

 

 

– Nebula Han, Martel College PCA

“I wish I didn’t have to set up an appointment and could just walk in to the CCD…”

 

You can! Walk-in hours are held at the Huff House from 12-1pm, M-F in the lobby area. Take the shuttle, or take a really nice walk over now that it’s not so muggy outside anymore. You can walk in and have your questions answered about CCD resources, and get help with your resume! Need someone to look over the formatting? Or to read over your experience descriptions to make sure they are clear and sophisticated enough? Does your resume need to be restructured for college? Do I need a cover letter? What is the difference between a CV and a resume? What’s a resume?! Your friendly neighborhood Peer Career Advisors are here for you.

Things to remember when you come in for Walk-in Hours:

1)    You don’t need to dress up. We are dressed like normal civilians too.

2)    Bring whatever resume you have. Even if you don’t have one. We don’t judge.

3)    We have water. So you can’t say it’s too far of a walk.

4)    The Huff House is located behind the Mcmurtry beach volleyball courts, and next to Brown Commons.

5)    Hours: 12-1pm, M-F.

It’s also a great time to get to know your PCAs. There’s bound to be a different one every day, so come as many times as you like! It’s at lunchtime, there’s no need for an appointment, and this is another valuable CCD resource that you don’t want to miss out on!

 

-Alice Chen, Duncan Peer Career Advisor