How to get your Resume “On Fleek” Post-Grad

Winter graduation season is upon us and along with flowing gowns, colorful tassels, and smiling graduates comes a lot of pressure to find employment in the career you have chosen to undertake. If you are like me and went straight into a graduate program directly after completing your bachelors, you might have a little bit more time, but remember those college years fly by. If post-graduation, you are going to join the rest of the working class by looking for employment, I ask you one crucial and for some of you daunting question… What does your resume say about you? If your answer to that was “it says I worked at these places and that I went to school here and graduated with a degree in this or that,” then it’s a good time for me to let you know, that your are the recruitment equivalent of #Basic. Now, being recruitment basic might not sound like such a big deal to you when your main priority is “turning up” at this post-graduation party going on this weekend, but when you miss out on getting your dream job because your resume was lackluster compared to better prepared candidates, you will be bummed. So, listen up and DO NOT “swerve” from reading this article, because below is what I look for as a national recruiter for several big name companies, and I assure you reading this article will step up your resume game.

The Art of the Cover Letter

I could probably write an entire thesis on the right cover letter, but I am going to sum up what I know about cover letters in 4 easy words. Get. To. The. Point. By no means do I think you should skip out on writing a cover letter because after graduation most grads look exactly the same on paper (yeah, I know, but hey those college loans set you apart from the people without a college degree so you are already ahead of the game and a lot better prepared.) What makes all your resumes carbon copies? A college job here and there, volunteer experience, an achievements or awards section that hopefully doesn’t have you listed as the 2013 fraternity beer pong champion. I personally like cover letters with 2 paragraphs. In the first paragraph tell me about yourself. Let your personality shine. What do you love? Tell me a joke about being a web developer or public relations manager. Tell me a funny story that correlates to why you chose this career. Tell me about what you’re passionate about. If I wanted to know what school you went to, what your GPA is, or where you have worked before, I could easily look at your resume or stalk your Linkedin, Facebook, and if I am feeling really curious your twitter. Trust me, you’re not as hard to find as you think you are “GMarkstheSpot1992”. 140 characters is more than enough to scare away any recruiter, so be very careful what you post on social media. Your second paragraph? I think most recruiters would agree that it’s the “why should I hire YOU paragraph” but I don’t like to think of it that way. The second paragraph to me is the “Why will I be sorry if I don’t hire YOU paragraph” and I don’t mean that in a Liam Neeson “I will find you….” Taken sub-reference. I want to know what you will bring to the table that makes you the best of the best I am going to get! How are you going to be a different than everyone else, and why should I bring you in for an interview.

Don’t you like, have like, spelling check like?

I would hope all those last minute procrastinated, google and Wikipedia referenced papers taught you a thing or two about grammar and syntax. As a recruiter when you have 80 resumes to look through and only 2 positions to fill, we can get pretty cut throat about what candidates don’t get interviews. Make sure all your words are spelled correctly. Don’t use annoying fonts or characters. Don’t try to make your resume longer by making your text 22pt. 22pt font is just not fetch, and it’s not going to happen! See that, fetch happened before 22pt resume font will happen. Make sure to clearly have all of your personal information listed at the top of the resume. Make sure the phone number and email is up to date if you are serious about us getting in contact with you. It does a recruiter no good to have your cell phone number from freshman year, you know, from that cell phone you lost during the homecoming game you don’t remember? Yeah, that one. There’s plenty of other candidates, recruiters do not have the time to skim through the classifieds looking for your information. NEXT!

How to format your resume so it looks like you passed your elementary art class

Formatting is everything. First of all, make sure when you send your resume anywhere it is in PDF format. It makes it harder to edit (in case anyone is trying to mess with your resume) and it also helps to keep all of your formatting intact which the 10 million versions of Word still in existence can’t seem to do. When listing your work experience make sure to include the company, your title, the dates worked, a quick one sentence liner about what the company does, and then brief, organized, metric driven points about what you did. If you were a sales associate but kept track of the hourly sales log, make sure to specific that you did. It’s added responsibility and it also lets the recruiter see that you understand how a company’s bottom line is affected. If you got promoted, let us know. If you worked on any special projects detail how that project benefited the company. For example, if you worked on a Public Relations project as an intern making press releases you can say “Created press releases from scratch for a variety of situations including company expansion, new products, and any other company needed releases.” But make sure all of these things are done in bullets. Make sure nothing runs together. If your resume looks like alphabet soup, I am going to assume you are still watching sesame street and aren’t able to fulfill the requirements of the job. Also, if the formatting is messy, I will assume you don’t pay attention to detail or organization, or even WORSE that you don’t care about detail or organization.

Turn Up on clubs, sports, honor societies, and other activities!

You weren’t a part of any clubs in college? No really? You’re kidding right? I can think of like 3 things I joined just for free food, and that was senior year alone. I’m pretty sure I was the only Hispanic person at the Asian Student Union banquet, Arigato by the way! There is so much more to college involvement that “paying for your friends”. First of all, I’m extremely nice to anyone who has Greek Life experience on their resumes. No, I am not bias. It brings back memories of my time in college being part of a fraternity. I, alone, in my 3 years as an active brother raised over $12,000 for HIV research and treatments. Sure, that has nothing to do with the graphic designer position you are applying for, but I know that balancing greek life and full-time school is exhausting! I know someone who was able to balance both of those things is much better suited for employment than someone who only went to school and did nothing else. Disclaimer: I equate having a job to being involved in college. I equate being involved in college, having a job, and going to school full-time as a superstar! Now, another really important part about college involvement is that it gives people a chance to see who you are. Honor societies say a lot more than being on the dean’s list. You had to take extra initiative to be tapped into an honor society, all you had to do to get on dean’s list was study. I mean. Didn’t you go to college to learn and study anyways? You SHOULD be on the Dean’s List every semester. Leadership positions within organizations also show that you are a natural leader. You are an independent thinker and can lead others. You can grow within an organization. You can be more than just a sheep in a flock, you can be the dog herding the flock. Also, you have a lot to talk about during your interviews. It makes you more interesting. Not quite as interesting as “The most Interesting Man in the World” but instead of just being a black and white resume, your activities will give it some color. Lastly, college sports are grueling and time consuming. Anyone who was able to balance being an athlete and attending school is also on my priority list. Make sure to write down all the activities you were a part of. Do NOT write that you were part of a club you were only in for 1 month or can’t explain or talk about. If someone brings it up during your interview and you go blank, you will be seen as unreliable.

Make your Resume SHOW YOUR PERSONALITY!

If you have a nickname you go by, put it in quotations as part of your professional header. Don’t be afraid to use a monogram or a nice header for your personal information. Just make sure it represents you. At the top of your resume try to add a quick summary about yourself. 3 to 5 sentences that just show who you are. Chances are recruiters will read your cover letter on the computer, but will only print your resume so if they have a quick summary they can match back up to a very memorable cover letter, then you have already struck gold. Don’t be afraid to add a little bit of color to sections such as “Job Experience” and “Activities”. Don’t make your resume a Britto painting either, but dark classic colors that blend in with the resume are always appreciated. Dark blues, reds, and greens always give the resume a little pizazz. Don’t use all the colors, stick to one neutral color and black. All of these minor things will make you memorable in a recruiters mind. But hey, if all else fails, you can take a page from Elle Woods resume notebook and mail that personally in to the recruiter in charge of the position. I know I personally always appreciate a resume on nice scented paper.

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5 ½ iPhone Apps I Would Never be Able to Function Without!

1. OpenTable / Grubhub (I know it’s two but they’re in the same sphere) – What can I say about these two apps other than I would starve to death without them. I like to eat relatively healthy except on my cheat days, so for me OpenTable is a dream come true on those special treat days. I can easily find restaurants in the vicinity and book a table. I can look up restaurants by price range, rating, type of food, etc. It makes it so convenient to go out and grab dinner that I normally just pick a place 15 minutes before I need to get there after my friends and I have all gathered for some sort of Happy Hour. In a half mile vicinity of my building there is easily over 100 places to eat, the goal is to eat out at all of them before I move out of Downtown Miami.

1/2. Grubhub on the other hand allows me to order delivery, pay through their app, browse through menus online, and gives me a pretty accurate rating of places I would like. I normally order out often since I use my lunch break to go to the gym in my building. This app makes it convenient to order food, pay through the app (including tip), and by the time I leave the gym I can just go downstairs to my buildings concierge and pick up my food. That my friends, is time management at its finest!

2. Twitter – I run my personal twitter and my professional twitter on this app. I will admit I have been slacking on my twitter game because I have been so busy, but this app is where I basically get most of my millennial news. I find articles, new people to connect with in my professional network, read about my friends’ lives, etc. Unfortunately, Facebook became a networking tool for me, but I was able to divide my twitters between personal and business and because of this it is my most convenient networking platform.

3. Lose It! – This app is how I track my calorie and exercise. Heart disease unfortunately is very strong in my family therefore I need to watch what I eat and my exercise in order to control cholesterol levels and to watch out for my health. I like to track how many miles I run a week (I normally run in excess of 30 so I like to beat my goals monthly). Sometimes I fall off the health food wagon and need to be reminded how bad the week was for me health wise. How many extra bad fats I ate, how many carbs I had, and what my cholesterol intake was. This app provides me with all of that. Exercise and Food in one. Must have for everyone.

4. Taasky – Taasky is an updated version of the iPhone’s reminder app however it allows me to divide my tasks between work, personal, home, etc. By doing this I know what I need to do and when I need to do it. It also allows me to set reminders which can be helpful for things I know I will be more than likely to forget. Everything is color coded, and I am a color coded freak so it helps me reach a level of organization that my OCD needs in order to feel fulfilled. 

5. Tango – I have spent the past year living between Miami and Philadelphia since my significant other is in Medical school there. We normally see each other every month, but communication is the key to a relationships success. I LOVE THIS APP! It has so many features. It is like a super upgraded version of skype. You can do both video and text chat. You can also send pictures, create a profile, post picture updates and status updates all of which are tracked in real time so you both feel connected at all times. My favorite feature? You can play games with one another while video chatting. Once you open the game you can’t see each other, but Tango has over 50 games for you to choose from. We normally play darts just because we have pretty crazy competition going but we also play a variety of other games to keep ourselves entertained. I will have to say, we have spent plenty of entertaining and distressful nights laughing over games thanks to Tango.

Honorable Mention goes out to Hootesuite. I recently began using this application all the time to run my companies University Recruitment page. It allows me to plan postings in advance that are tweeted out at the time that I want them to be tweeted. I normally spent 45 minutes of the day planning articles, quotes, and pictures that will be posted throughout the day to keep the page active, that way I can just log in and focus on replying to comments and looking for new people to follow. I am considering putting my other two twitter profiles on here, but I am not comfortable with the platform yet, especially since one twitter is private and I fear making a mistake. I am sure once I feel more comfortable I could put all three together and the need for the twitter app (which is my life) might become obsolete.

So this is my life. These apps pretty much make up my life at the moment. I am sure a year from now as things change new apps will take the place of some of these. The moral here is, I don’t think I could ever be able to survive without my iPhone and its apps.

What do I do with my Free Time? A Post-Grad Conundrum.

Dancing for Children's Miracle Network
Dancing for Children’s Miracle Network
If you know me personally you know that the best way to describe me is probably by calling me an over achiever. In my undergraduate career at FIU I spent an entire year holding down 7 executive board positions for my fraternity and other organizations, while attending school full-time, having a part-time job, and a typical Miami frat boy social life. Let’s face it, I don’t like free time, in fact it makes me fidget until I drive myself insane. After graduating from my undergraduate I went into an accelerated MBA program for 1 year, 6 days a week. I did this while working full-time and still maintaining active in organizations within my university and the community. Imagine my despair December 14th 2013 when I walked across the stage at my MBA graduation, was mid transition into a new job, and had to leave behind the empire I built while attending college. Time to step into the Real World… Las Vegas maybe? I mean I had already left my kegger days behind and the social frat scene wasn’t a place I would be caught dead anymore but what was I going to do now to keep my time occupied?

December and January were great for sleep. Winter hit, and just like the bears in Canada’s wilderness, I also hibernated. I don’t think I had realized how little sleep I had gotten the past couple of years. Between waking up 5:30am to go to the gym and studying almost every day well past 1am, I do not know how I functioned. The only thing keeping me alive was McDonalds Sweet Ice Tea, probably from the pounds of sugar they pour into it. I took some time to catch up with my social life, I do after all live in the middle of Downtown Miami Brickell. It wasn’t until mid-February that I noticed that I was going out almost every other night and sleeping more than I had ever slept in my life before, I did not like it. I was getting nothing meaningful accomplished except attending expensive happy hours and networking with drinking friends who are only there when the glass is full (not even half full). I realized that what made my life so wonderful before was all the different activities I was a part of, especially to help the community, so I vowed to find a way to make my life more than just work and play.

After careful consideration, and an internal dream to one day be a well-known philanthropist, I decided to pick up a cause where I had extensive knowledge and the ability to aid a community that was near and dear to my heart. I reached out to the Miami-Dade Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce regarding their Scholarship program for LGBT Youth in South Florida. After reviewing the website I realized not much had been done with the scholarship, and education is something I am very passionate about. Within two weeks I had dived head first into meetings with the chamber, making a new proposal for the program, beginning to establish a committee, and working out a way to get funding for the scholarship pool which had diminished over the past 4 years. I was networking with people I would have never had an opportunity to meet, with diverse private company backgrounds I would have never imagined they had. I guess it’s always interesting to learn why someone who was successful in the private corporate world would want to leave it all behind to work in non-profit.

How much time am I spending on this project? The answer is A LOT.

Do I think most people my age would get their hands dirty with a project of this nature? No.

Most of my Saturdays and Sundays are now full of work for this project. My actual job can be very demanding so I spend late nights working on briefs and letters to the community for this scholarship.

Is it worth it? Yes.

This scholarship will eventually be able to be self-sustainable, meaning it will eventually be able to run itself once it has been established. If it takes a little bit of blood, sweat, and tears for me to build a strong brick foundation that won’t crumble 5 years from now, I see it as a task worth taking on. Not to mention, I have 2 resumes. I have my typical business resume, but I also have a philanthropy resume which extends back all the way to 2007. Everything from spending 2 weeks working with disabled youth in Indianapolis, working out of community kitchens and delivering food to HIV positive victims throughout Boston, and volunteering out of Miami Children’s Hospital as one of their Children’s Miracle Network volunteers.
Why am I spending all this time working on a second resume strictly based on my Philanthropic efforts? Simple. I need balance in my life.

Philanthropy is an amazing talking point. I have spoken about the work I do in job interviews, public speeches, and used it to my advantage when networking with some top company executives. It shows I have drive and passion, not just in my work (my resume is pretty great for a 24 year old) but also in my other endeavors in life. I hope to continue on my path to an executive level position within a company, however I hope to be able to also hold an executive position for a non-profit one day as a volunteer. Giving them my constant insight and experience throughout all of the philanthropic causes I have worked with in my lifetime.

Telecommuting Killed the Office Superstar

Office Superstar
Office Superstar

I hear a lot of people talking or see lots of writing about the pros and cons of working from home. The truth is, all of these lists are just representative of one person. Working from home is not the same for everyone. Things differ based on where you live and who you live with, whether or not you have children, how demanding is your workload, and how often your dog likes to bark whenever he hears even the most faintest of sounds. According to research at Stanford, 10% of our population commutes to work at least one day a week, now if only we can compare that one day to the other four days to measure the productivity of that individual. I can’t speak for anyone else who works from home but I can shed some insight into my own experiences telecommuting over the past 2 months and you can make your own assumption as to whether or not this work lifestyle is for you.

CON – Separation Anxiety : I don’t know how to separate work from personal life. I normally turn my work laptop on at 8 am and am normally on it till 7pm. If I hear an email come in any time after 7pm, I guarantee you it will get checked within the first 5 minutes of hearing the sound go off. I feel as if I owe the email a response and so I run to it. My favorite dinner dates are normally with my work laptop open as I review systems making sure I have everything completed and up-to-date.

PRO – Efficiency : To be honest, at my previous job I would get up to commute to work at around 6:45am and wouldn’t get there till 8:30am. I currently get up at 7:30am just to have time to make myself breakfast before sitting down at my laptop and getting my day going. Granted fighting through Miami traffic early in the morning is the equivalent of trying to make your way through a nightclub that’s 500 people over capacity, but I’m not complaining that I don’t have to spend an hour in traffic anymore, so I don’t mind working an extra hour to two. In fact I would leave work between 5pm and 5:30pm before and wouldn’t get home till 6:30pm to 7pm. I’m actually saving myself about 2 hours worth of road rage and top 40 pop radio and don’t even let me get started on gas prices.

CON – Human Interaction : Face to Face human interaction? What’s that? I spent most of the holidays working from home, the closest living thing to me Monday through Friday was my Christmas tree, and that’s questionable considering how often I forgot to water it. Coming from working somewhere where I was the life of the office to somewhere where I make up the whole office is a huge culture change. You might think it doesn’t take a toll on you until 1 month in you’re in a full out conversation with yourself about some report you’re reading and the things you need to fix on it. Who’s the crazy one now?

PRO – Comfort : Nothing beats being able to work in shorts and a tank top when I feel hot and full on pajamas, a hoodie, and ugg boots when I’m cold. No one is watching me or judging me if I accidently spilled soup on myself during lunch and I don’t need to worry about looking weird for getting up every 20 minutes to use the restroom because I have decided to do a juice fast. Let’s face it, no one can put a price tag on this level of work comfort. Burp away after lunch if you must, your Christmas tree isn’t judging you.

CON – Communication : I miss being able to walk over to my supervisors office and being able to ask him a question whenever I needed a second opinion. My life is now ran by LYNC messenger. Some days are good together, some days there’s a lot of distance between us. Literally, I hear more static than I do the other party even if my connection is flawless. I guess that’s the price one has to pay for that at home comfort I spoke about earlier.

PRO – Productivity : I love my lunch break as much as the next person, but let’s face it I only need about 15 minutes to eat at most. The best part about having a 1 hour break and a gym on the sixth floor of my sky rise? 30 minute gym sessions during my lunch break that get my endorphins going again and get me ready for an afternoon of productivity. At my previous job I would eat during my lunch breaks and then I would feel so sluggish till it was time to go home, now I have found a way around that and it is fantastic. I never feel tired when I’m working.

And with that I bid you adieu. I think I have covered some of the most prevalent bases of my life at work with those pros and cons. The cons, are things I am easily willing to overcome so long as I can have the pros. I wouldn’t change one day of my work life for one day of having to travel and deal with all of office culture craziness. The question now is can I ever go back to any of that?