Sunday, November 18, 2012

How to Network in College

If there is one thing important to do in college today (besides getting the grades and making it to class in the morning), it is networking. While you are in college, you have a distinct advantage when it comes to networking: you are surrounded by people who want you to succeed.

1. Professors

Professors may not give you a job in the future, but they will give some outstanding references. The easiest way to get to know your professors is to visit them during their office hours, or be active in class. If you're shy and rather not speak up in their classroom, just go talk to them afterwards and ask them questions (how could I do better on this paper?). Showing an interest in their class will make them have an interest in you.

2. Internships

Internships are a tough subject right now. Unpaid internships are on the rise, and often they are illegal. Be careful when entering an unpaid internship, it is only legal if you are learning new things, not doing work that an office worker would be doing. However, unpaid internships at non-profits are legal and are considered volunteering. In addition, many unpaid internships can provide you with class credit which can be very rewarding as well. Basically, don't turn immediately away from an unpaid internship - if you can get class credit out of it and you are not working many hours a week, it may be well worth it.

Internships will provide you with people who can see the work effort you put forth, provide fantastic references, and can put you in the running for potential positions there in the future. Some of my best references come from an internship I did at a non-profit and they have helped me gain other positions.

3. Part Time Jobs

You may not need to work, but you should. If you really do not need to work, be picky in what you choose. Aim for positions that you can relate to your career goal in some way. I worked at big box electronics retailer in customer service for a year, and while it was not a glamorous job in any way, it helped me gain the position I have now. In addition, part time jobs provide you with people who can potentially help you out down the road, and managers to give you references. If you are working with customers, you could even build a network through them.

4. Special Events

I am willing to bet that your school offers a lot of special events that feature speakers or professionals. You likely even have speakers come to your class. These are a great opportunity to get out there, learn something, and network all at the same time. After the speaker is done talking, ask them a question related to their subject, and then go and speak to them personally if you are able to.

6. LinkedIn

After you have met all of these people, connect with them on LinkedIn, not Facebook. The only people I have added on my Facebook are friends from part time positions that I still hang out with frequently, not managers or other professionals I have worked with. LinkedIn also serves as a great reminder, and make sure you send a quality message even if it is brief. "Hi, we spoke briefly after your talk on x, I really enjoyed your speech," is more than enough.

6. Always have business cards!

This is a great time to start having some contact cards. Get some cheap ones with just your name, your university, your major, and your email address on them. Hand them out when you simply need an easy way for people to contact you. If you have a smartphone, you could also get away with downloading the LinkedIn app and adding them right then and there.

Good luck with networking, and if you have any questions about specific ways to network, please comment below!

Monday, October 15, 2012

New Template: Two Page Creative Resume

Preview of new template!
Sometimes you just need a little creativity in your resume, but make sure you do it professionally. This two page resume has plenty of white space to make reading easy, and gives you a lot of room for information. My favorite thing about this template is the snapshot that the first page gives.

I might have to make some more templates based on this look... I just love it. Check it out here.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

New Music Industries Job Board

That's right, a brand new music industries job board has been created at Sex, Drugs, & Jobs. There aren't many positions available on the board just yet, but let it grow and you have yourself a nice specialized board just for the music industry.

Positions currently available include Graphic Designer for Gupta Media and Marketing Manager at Total Assault, meaning it has more than just music industry seemingly specific roles available.

Anyways, check it out. It's a job board with a little humor and a lot of potential.

New College Resume Template: Blue

I created a new resume based on one that I saw on Reddit. It is very sleek and modern, and one of the more stylized resumes on the website. I will soon make a professional version of it as well. Please note that I have several instructions, including the need to download a free font. I have included a link on how to install fonts on Windows on the page.

You can choose a different font if you wish, but I thought that the font looked very nice and would be useful in other documents as well. Experiment with fonts as much as you want.

This resume isn't for the Word beginner, as it has interesting tables and customized bullet points. If you have any questions about the resume, please let me know. You can go to the page to download the resume here. Please note that it is not available for Google Docs... sorry!

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Simple Pro Free Resume Download

I added a new template over at the Professional Resumes link called Simple Pro. You can download it via Google Docs or with Microsoft Word.


  1. If you are keeping this on Google Docs, you need to keep it to one page due to the way the headers work. I will add a two page template soon. If you download it for Word, you can extend it, but make sure that you select the option to have a separate header for the first page.
  2. I would recommend experimenting some on adding in a professional branding statement at the top if you have room.
  3. The SKILLS & QUALIFICATIONS section is a table. In Google Docs, you have a "Table" button on the menu bar. From here you can choose to add more columns or rows as needed. In Microsoft Word, you must select anywhere in the table, and then you will have a "Table" design tab show up in the Ribbon at the top (Microsoft 2007 and newer). 
If you have any questions about the template, please feel free to leave a comment.

Real time Docs preview:

Microsoft Word Download

Image preview:

Free Simple resume template

Monday, October 8, 2012

Should I list all of my positions on a resume?

Answer: You should list all of your relevant positions on your resume.

Your problem: You have a lot of experience. Hey, I do too! And that's great. But, you don't want to fill up your resume just for the sake of filling it up either. If you're concerned about having job gaps I would recommend putting the company and job title on the resume, and just leaving out any bullet points.

This free stock photo was aptly named "hand over keyboard." Deep.

Example of what to do with too many job positions to put on a resume:

That One Job LLC
Marketing Manager
  • Look at the awesome things I did!
  • Yay me!
  • Accomplishments all around!
That other job you don't want INC
Customer Service Representative

That other awesome job
 Marketing Assistant
  • Awesome relevant information!
  • Look at these great stats of mine. I was great.
  • Etc. Etc.

Obviously this would be better in effect on a longer resume, but you get the gist of what I'm saying, right? This way your resume isn't running onto three pages (please, never... unless you're applying to an executive or government position but those are out of my ballpark).

As a side note, make sure that all of your bullet points are relevant to the position you are applying for as well and list your accomplishments. You are awesome and you want to show the company you're applying for that you're awesome, not that you "greeted customers in a friendly manner," or in other words, "did my job."

How do you deal with too many job experiences?

How to write a branding statement

You may be asking yourself, should I write an objective? Well, the modern answer is no. We've moved on to personal statements, or in other words, a branding statement. You will see that any of the templates I provide, if they do contain any kind of summary at the top, they are not labeled "objective".

Why should I not have an objective?

Objectives are usually fluffy and ineffective. Of course they know that you are applying for that position. Of course they know you want it. Why else would you have clicked apply on their website next to that position? Objective statements may have been handy when people were still mailing in resumes in order to show which position you were specifically applying for, but they're no use today when HR professionals are able to easily track which application was for which position.

What is a branding statement?

A branding statement is a concise summary of your skills and the impact you wish to make on the company. Some hiring managers skip over the cover letter and come back to it later, so you want to make your first line in a resume memorable. However, it is definitely not a replacement for a cover letter. You should always have a cover letter when applying for a job.

How do I write a branding statement?

  1. First, have a title. Something like "project manager", or even if you're a student, something along the lines of "engineering student" will work.
  2. The very first sentence should tell the reader your high level qualifications, especially ones that fit with the job description.
  3. The second sentence/part (in case your qualifications take up two sentences) should tell the reader what kind of impact you wish to make or have made on previous employers.


Computer science student looking for an internship:
Computer science student with practical and classroom experience in Java, C++, and Python. Looking to gain more experience while providing exceptional coding skills and fresh ideas to enhance current products.

Project manager looking for a permanent position:
Project manager with five years experience leading teams and ten years of professional IT work. Able to provide positive leadership skills while keeping in line with company goals. 


As you can see, branding statements are concise 2 - 3 sentence summaries of your qualifications and what you wish to offer to the company. Make it yours, and make sure you design a statement for each field of work you are applying to.

Sunday, October 7, 2012

How should I prepare for an interview?

There are plenty of tips out there that all scream "well no duh!" So, given that we all know these tips, I wanted to get down to the nitty gritty. Let's talk specifically about the tips you see everywhere and how you can really apply them.

This came up with I searched for interview. Let's roll with it.

Research the company

Again, one of those no-duh type of tips. But, let's get specific. How do you research the company? Obviously you look at their website (hopefully they're up to the current decade and have one). But what else?

Check for news on the company and run a Google Alert on them. In the days coming up to your interview, you will receive any and all new news on the company.

Is the company "followable" on LinkedIn? Either follow them or see what people currently work there. If you have the name of your interviewer, it would probably help to at least get a face to the name.

Finally, but possibly most importantly, check out GlassDoor. If it is a large enough company (sometimes even a smaller company!) then there will often be employer ratings and interview questions so you can prepare ahead of time.

Remember, you're not just researching the company, you're researching if you would want to work for them.

Don't change your daily routine

You might be really tempted to pick up a coffee before the interview because you have some jitters. Well, if you never drink coffee to begin with, you will just have worse jitters.

That being said, there may be some little things you would want to change. If the interview is in the morning, then make sure you wake up early enough (preferably at least an hour and a half ahead of time) to make sure you have everything ready. Lay out your suit the day before (yes I said suit. That better be a suit you're laying out).

Prepare for the question interviewers will ask, no matter what

"Tell me about yourself."

It should be a 60-90 second spiel about yourself, in relation to the position you're applying for. Maybe something along the lines of:

"I am a project manager with a degree in information technology. I have 5 years experience leading teams, and 5 years of experience being the follower in a team. I adjust well to new environments, and as a personable man, I look forward to getting to know you throughout the interview."

You get the jist. That being said, make sure you research common interview questions ahead of time and see how many you can answer on the spot, and how many you need to prepare for.

Have some questions prepared yourself

Try your hardest to be insightful, but if you can't be, try some generic questions.
  • Who would I likely be working under?
  • Where would my office be?
  • What is your main expectation of me and this position? (E.g., if you're in sales, you can rewrite this as "what kind of sales figures are you looking for here?")
But, save the "benefits" question for your second interview. Don't ask about salary (salary range is okay on the first interview, but tread lightly).

Let the conversation flow

They're not only deciding whether or not you're qualified for the position, they're trying to decide whether they want to be your coworker and work with you everyday. Did they mention they had kids? Ask how many kids. Be careful though, make sure the questions you ask about personal life are only the kinds you would ask when you first meet someone. E.g., they mention they have a wife. Don't jump the gun and ask if they have kids, that could be a very personal matter. For all you know, they've just recently discovered they can't have kids and it has become a very sensitive issue. While it's unlikely, don't be that guy that gets stamped with "he reminds me of this horrible situation I'm going through..." when the interviewer is looking back through his notes.

Basically, never ask for new information. Simply confirm information they have already told you and ask for more details. "Oh you have a dog? What kind of dog is it?"

Don't fake it

Relax. Stop shifting, stop touching your face. Women, if you have a tendency to pull on your hair, an interview may be a great time for you to put it up. Someone offers you a cup of water? Take it gratefully, as your throat may get dry during the interview and you'll want it.

Good luck on your interviews friends!