By Latisa Pacheco
A session for learning how to create resumes and cover letters was held for Housatonic Community College students on Tuesday, October 7.
Speaker and Career Services Coordinator Anisha Thomas shared techniques to landing an interview and getting the job.
“Never send a resume without a cover letter,” Thomas warned job seekers.
Cover letters serve as your introductions to sell yourself to the company, she said; they set you apart from other job seekers because they show employers that you took the time to do the extra work and really want the job.
Employers are using computer systems to screen resumes in 10 seconds to target keywords for the skills and job being offered.
“Make sure resumes are no longer than one page in length,” Thomas said. Employers want to save time and avoid numerous calls from job seekers.
Resumes should have background information about education. The GPA listed should be above 3.2 and job history and skills should be relevant to the job you are now applying.
Thomas encouraged students to get involved in extracurricular activities to develop new skills.
“If you don’t have it then seek it,” she said. “Joining school clubs that relate to your career field adds to your skill set.”
She assured students that it’s okay to put a retail store job as a customer service skill. In addition, the skills section should be updated every three months if the job seeker is still in search of employment. This way he/she remains active and improves work skills.
Being computer literate in Word, Excel, and Powerpoint is another plus, even if it’s the beginner level.
“I took an advanced Excel class,” said Debbie Kuchmas, a liaison and supporter for General Studies at HCC.
Thomas agreed that taking a computer class or reading a “Computers For Dummies” book at the library makes you a desirable candidate for the job.
When students are knowledgeable of Word documents they can use it to write a resume.
“It provides flexibility and correct formatting,” she explained.
It may not be news to know that job seekers should use professional references that will speak about them in good standing; but it may surprise you to know that listing references on a resume is not recommended.
Rather, Thomas instructed job seekers to use the phrase: “references available upon request” at the end of the resume. It is used for visual purposes and to let the employer know that the resume had ended.
After you have applied, contact the employer within 7-10 business days if you have not received an email confirming the receipt of your resume.
“But only contact them once. Don’t be a nag,” Thomas added.
However, the downside of job seeking is that “75% of jobs are never advertised.” She confirmed, “you get them through networking or moving up a position within the company.”
Another session of covering resumes and eover letters will be held on Wednesday, October 15, at 11 a.m.-12 p.m. in Beacon Hall Rm. 320. A workshop on interviewing skills will follow on Tuesday, November 4, from 10 a.m.-11 a.m. in Beacon Hall Rm 135.