Job Search 101: Building Your Resume

25 May

Let’s say you have transformed your resume into a masterpiece. It is easy and, dare I say, fun to read. It is visually stunning. It dazzles the reader with a personal heading and perfect fonts. You are so close to the document that will open the perfect opportunity’s door. But…

*Record Scratch*

There always seems to be a but. Right? And this one comes from too little relevant experience. If you are taking your job searching status as a chance to move into a field that better suits your dreams but doesn’t match your history, you may have some work to do.  Now is the time to build your resume with proofs of the potential and self-starter attitude you will bring to your new gig.

How do you do this? As always, read on!

In this ‘economic climate’ (or whatever the correct term is), a job searcher should expect to search for months. With that said, you will probably have some extra time on your hands. Use that time to your resume’s advantage! Although these tips may not be to your checkbook’s advantage, in the long run if you find a position that is challenging and fun, you will be happier. So bear with me here.

Land a Relevant Internship

I was lucky enough to get a virtual internship with a Houston-based Non-Traditional PR Agency during my first month of searching. Sure it was unpaid, but I got valuable experience in a field I wanted to learn more about. I got to blog for their site, run some of their social media campaigns and help plan a fun event for SXSW. I used that experience to build my resume toward a web-based writing job. And that, my friends, is finally what I got. So don’t limit yourself to only paid work, remember that an internship may be just the experience to get you where you want to be. Also, if you get a local internship, you may even be lucky enough to turn it into a full time job.

Get your work out there, or Volunteer

I also got the chance to get my work published in an online magazine. But I was ‘paid’ in wider exposure, and not cold hard cash. But I was okay with that. Again, I got to add writing experience to my resume. If you can’t find a full-time paid position in your desired field right away, try to find relevant ways to volunteer. You want to be a teacher? Volunteer to help plan your church’s VBS. You want to be a caterer? Provide the most delicious cake for an acquaintance’s baby shower. If you want to be an Astrophysicist, um, sorry, I can’t give you a concrete example there. But you get the idea. Get out there and find work relevant to what you want to become. It will help you feel more confident and it will help prospective employers feel more confident about hiring you. But never let a volunteer opportunity stop your job search. Continue searching as you gain experience.

Online Portfolio

Finally, if your career path warrants it, create an online portfolio. This mainly applies to people in the artsy world. Graphic designers, writers of any kind, photographers should have their work on display on the web. I created this very blog for that purpose (mostly, but it is also FUN). I used it as a way to post my resume electronically, to gather all of my ‘professional’ writing samples in one convenient place, and to produce a writing sample every day. I think this helped prove to potential employers that I love to write and that I can do it consistently. It also proved to me that I can write pieces that people seem to enjoy reading. And that helped boost my job searching confidence.

I promise that my job searching series will eventually have job searching tips in it. But I feel like it is important to take that time to create a killer resume, cover letter and build relevant experience.

I hope you are all having a wonderful Wednesday. Tomorrow I will take a break my job searching series again for a review of Beauty and the Beast the delightful Broadway musical. Be ready.

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