Hello, everyone! I’ve just returned from a whirlwind of a month. I graduated on May 14th with my Masters of Arts in Writing from Rowan Univeristy (Right).
The next day I jetted off to the Homeland (Ireland) for a twelve-day vacation with my family (Left). Look, we’re cute and touristy! Our Ireland vacation ended and we landed in JFK. A day later I was driving up into Maine for a weekend wedding at The Kingsley Pines campground, where I slept in a summer camp bunk cabin out in the woods.
What does all this mean? It means I haven’t had a chance to find a job yet. As all fresh college graduates will tell you, there is only one question on everyone’s lips after the sounds of “Pomp and Circumstance” die away. “So have you found work?” The answer, you lovely people, is no. So even though I have barely sat down on my own couch after almost a month of travel, I have already thrown myself into the search for employment. Yet, before I could send out my resume or tactfully plead for paychecks, I faced the need to actually update and develop a Resume/CV/Cover Letter/Work Sample power team that would propel me to the top of the applicants pile. That, my friends, has been the real journey.
I started with my resume. It’s grown and evolved over the years as my employment became less “babysitting” and more “actually doing grown up jobs,” and so, too, has the format. Google, as always, was where I started. Templates are easy to find and I loved that I could simply plug in my info and say TaDa! But that sad, simple resume wasn’t going to get me far. Then I discovered the power of asking people to look at my resume. I sent it to my parents, my family, and a few networking connections.
TIP: If you’re looking to connect with someone professionally, but you’re not sure how to ask them to help you get a job, ask instead if they’ll look over your resume and give suggestions. That way, they can see your resume and get acquainted with your skills while you get good advice and a Resume or CV that can help you more in the future.
Now, it looks like This.
Not perfect, but MUCH better than it was before. I slaved over word choice, agonized over the organization, and ended up with something that says (in obscuring words) what sounds like Carly Rae Jepsen’s next hit, “I’m good at this stuff, so pay me maybe?”
For a lot of this (the resume, cover letter, etc.), I would write out everything I did for each job to what I felt I needed to say. Big stuff, small stuff, aspects that weren’t technically in the job description but that I ended up doing anyway. I wrote it in plain speak so that I could keep track of the exact specifics. Then I had to rework everything. The name of the game is “clear and concise,” but such that the language fits into the business aesthetic. Honestly, Google “how to describe things on a resume” and there will be dozens of examples for you to read and get a feel for the style. Plus, those connections you reached out to will often re-write or give examples of how you can express your job aspects.
All this took me hours, nay, years to put together up until this point, but that’s the way of these things. Every job requires it’s own specific resume and cover letter, which means I can manage five or six applications in one sitting. I am very thankful I’ve had to write a “practice resume” so often in my classes throughout college, something that should be done over all disciplines.
What drives me on is the stress of the hunt and the hope of what I might come across. Just because I now have a college education, a Master’s degree no less, doesn’t mean my career will be handed to me on a silver platter. That’d be awesome, I mean, I wouldn’t send it back to the kitchen or anything, but that’s as likely to happen as my magically developing a supermodel body (complete with six-inch growth spurt). So my search continues. Now I’m trying to build my CV, or Curriculum Vitae, which is used pretty much just in academia and within a few writer’s circles, but I figure better start now if my resume took so long to figure out! I’m also working on my cover letters, at which I am TERRIBLE. They are just…so bad. So, so bad. I’m 100% open to advice.
Here are some links to sites and info that I’ve found helpful over the course of this. I’ll add as I go along. Feel free to share anything that I’ve missed in the comments!
Curriculum Vitae (CV):
Mostly, I’ve been looking at example CVs as there doesn’t seem to be much else out there that’s super helpful. I’m a person who loves examples, so for most of what I’m working on that’s what I use.