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What STEM Resumes Should Include

STEM resumesThere is no one way to write a good college resume. Visit any college career center and you can typically find hundreds of sample college resumes that any student can use. Although there are differences in layout and style, all good college resumes include certain basic items like contact information, education and professional experience. Depending on your college major though, there might be some specific sections of a college resume of greater interest for some hiring managers.

One group of college students that is very attractive to hiring managers are students who are in STEM majors. STEM is an acronym meaning Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics. If you are a college student in a STEM major here are a few specific tips on what STEM resumes should include.

PROJECTS

The projects included in STEM resumes should be non-trivial and beyond the textbook. When writing about projects, include any specific lab equipment, processes or outcomes from STEM projects. In addition to the lab skills, mention any project work in teams with other college students or professors.

RESEARCH

STEM resumes must include information on any research partnerships with faculty on significant research. This research involvement is great content for college resumes from STEM students. Include research experiences, on or off campus, poster presentations, grant writing support or research methodologies.

INTERNSHIPS AND CO-OPS

STEM resumes must include internships and co-ops experiences regardless of major. For STEM majors, this experiential involvement could be the competitive advantage that one college student has over another. Employers want to see that STEM majors are not just interested in their college coursework, but have also been involved in the practical applications of their studies in real work environments.

SUMMER FELLOWSHIPS

College students with STEM majors considering graduate school, should use summers to participate in academic fellowships at research universities. For example, the Duke University Institute for Genome Sciences and Policies (IGSP) is open to college undergraduates, even freshman and sophomores, with an interest in this genome sciences.

College students with majors in STEM disciplines are going to continue to be in demand in the 21st century. To stay competitive, college students need to have strong STEM resumes with evidence of research, projects, internships, co-ops and academic fellowships.

Originally written by Marcia Robinson in 2007.

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Biggest Resume Mistakes

resume mistakes…and he should know.  Laszlo Bock is the Senior Vice President of People Operations at Google.  He reads a LOT of resumes and decided to share this list of biggest resume mistakes he sees.

Of course, there is no surprise that certain things will always end up on any list of resume mistakes.  The basics identified by Bock are typos, errors, formatting and lies.  One other resume mistake struck me and I wanted to share it specifically.

Confidential information

Here is what Bock had to say, “I once received a resume from an applicant working at a top-three consulting firm. This firm had a strict confidentiality policy: client names were never to be shared. On the resume, the candidate wrote: “Consulted to a major software company in Redmond, Washington.” Rejected! There’s an inherent conflict between your employer’s needs (keep business secrets confidential) and your needs (show how awesome I am so I can get a better job). So candidates often find ways to honor the letter of their confidentiality agreements but not the spirit. It’s a mistake.”

Bock’s point is that even though the job seeker did not mention Microsoft specifically, everyone knows which major software company is in Redmond Washington.  Bock also shared that in a quick survey, they found that 5-10% of applicants were sharing  confidential information on their resumes.

The lesson here?  Put yourself in the employers shoe.  Don’t you think he would believe that you will share his company’s secrets too?  In business when success requires you be a first-mover in the market, protecting confidential information is key.

Be careful what you share!  By the way, it could cost you more than the potential job if you disclosing proprietary information is one of the resume mistakes for which you get busted.

Read Bock’s article here.

Other resume stuff!

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Johnson C. Smith University Gets BOSS Magazine

BOSS Magazine Johnson C. SmithOur first subscription of B.O.S.S. eMag is enroute to Tracy Foster in the A.C.E. Advising Center at Johnson C. Smith University!

Ms. Foster is a 2002 graduate of Claflin University.  She was an English major in college and now works with undecided freshmen at JCSU.

Here is what Tracy said when she applied for one of our 10 scholarships to cover subscription to B.O.S.S. Magazine: “I realize how important RESEARCHING and PLANNING for your career is. I also impress upon my students that it’s not solely about the salary–they must choose a career/major in which they are skilled, which they enjoy, and which they can reasonably predict upward mobility and/or industry growth. With that being said, is it possible to receive The HBCU Career Center subscription at The A.C.E. Advising Center at Johnson C. Smith University? Thank you for extending this gracious opportunity to all HBCU alumni!”

It’s our pleasure Tracy.  Please watch for your first issue in about 6 weeks.

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I Need a Mentor

need a mentorWhenever I think about developing a relationship with a mentor, I think to myself, “Hind sight is always 20/20.”

My First Mentor

As a new college graduate, I was thrilled to accept an entry-level position at a large, global corporation.

This corporation offered many opportunities for advancement, which included the encouragement of finding a mentor from within.  I saw this chance to network with a mentor as golden.  My relationship with my self-selected mentor quickly grew.  We engaged in conversations of how other entry-level employees volunteered to participate in various projects and, as a result, were promoted to managerial positions.  She critiqued my job performance so I could improve.

My mentor was a supportive role-model.  So, I thought.  Our relationship turned for the worse when I disclosed to my mentor that another co-worker was extremely rude to me.  My co-worker would constantly speak with sarcasm and harshness during our conversations.

I explained to my mentor that I did not enjoy interacting with this co-worker and needed to address this issue.  Without my consent, my mentor immediately called my co-worker and unsympathetically demanded my co-worker to apologize to me over the telephone.  The apology came in a meek, shaky voice, not the voice of a mature woman.  I accepted the apology and returned to work.  My mentor was so proud of her actions.  She smiled from ear-to-ear for the remainder of the day.  But, I was so embarrassed because of my mentor’s inappropriate behavior. The punishment did not match the crime.

The issue with my co-worker needed to be resolved but not in that manner.  I was never able to look the co-worker in her face since the incident.  And, needless to say, my relationship with my mentor ended.

Why you need a Mentor?

The relationship of a mentee and mentor should be meaningful and resourceful.  And, the mentee plays a pivotal role in the development of this relationship by implementing the following steps:

The relationship of a mentee and mentor should be meaningful and resourceful.  And, the mentee plays a pivotal role in the development of this relationship by implementing the following steps:

Select a mentor who wants to participate in a mentee/mentor relationship.   Your mentor should be an experienced professional but not necessarily a professional within your field because some skill sets are universal to all professions and must be mastered regardless of your occupation.

Be clear in what you expect from the relationship.  Mentors can play many roles.  A mentor can expand your professional network.  A mentor assist with the development and implementation your professional growth plan.  A mentor can explain to you the unwritten rules of the work environment and culture.  Or, a mentor can solely provide professional advice on work issues and/or concerns.

Specify the amount of time you are willing to devote to the relationship and specify the amount of time you request your mentor to devote to the relationship.

A mentor should not be controlling.  The mentor should not demand that you follow his/her actions or advice.  The mentor should not violate the confidentiality that must be maintained in the relationship.

The mentee should not misuse the mentor’s name in order to obtain favors.  “If you do not do what I say, I will report you to (Name of Mentor).”  And, similar to the mentor, the mentee must maintain a code of confidentiality.

Over the years, I have developed more fruitful mentee/mentor relationships that truly added to my professional life.  The aforementioned relationship taught me what I should expect and what I should not tolerate, which was a lesson well learned.

Dorothy HandfieldDorothy C. Handfield is Founder/Owner of DCH Consulting Services, LLC.  As a Workforce Consultant, she assists job seekers to transform into highly qualified candidates who get and keep their dream jobs.  Follow: Twitter, Instagram @consultingdch and LinkedIn – Dorothy C. Handfield

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3 Things Black Students Must Do Before Graduation

what black students must doEmployers seeking diverse talent, will have larger talent pools

Gone are the days when seeking diverse talent, translated to “hire a Black person.”  I hate to be so blunt, but it is the reality.  Employers are looking for new grad talent with the professional preparation to succeed.

The percentage of American college students who are Hispanic, Asian/Pacific Islander, Black, and American Indian/Alaska Native has been increasing steadily over the years. For example between 1976 and 2011, the percentage of Black students rose from 10 to 15% according to the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES).  Although the growth in the Black college population is significant, the growth of Hispanic students is very impressive going from 4 to 14% and for Asian student population growing from 2 to 6%.

One way we should be viewing this data is that there will be greater competition among graduates to get into companies that are actively seeking diverse talent.

What Black students must do before graduation to compete

Black students who want to seriously compete for career positions within major organizations must do three things:

Black students must do internships and co-ops to build experiences on non-trivial, outside-the-classroom projects. Ideally, at least 2 such experiences before graduation are important to see on a resume.  According to US News survey, only about 37% of college students in 2012 completed internships.  That is already low and having worked in higher education for 15 years, I know that the subset of Black students doing internships is smaller than we would like.

Black students must do study abroad and expand their international exposure.  Several HBCU’s are pumping up their study abroad programs.   International programs on majority campuses, are reaching out to diverse students.  Studies show that of the students who study abroad, African American students number about 4%.  Organizations, like IERCEF, through the consortium of 11 HBCU’s, is trying to do something about increasing these numbers.   At The HBCU Career Center, we feature monthly columns by J. Renay Loper, on Study Abroad news because it is so important.

Finally, another thing Black students must do before graduation is gain leadership experience.  This is the #1 skill or behavior that employers say they want and look for in new graduates.  It doesn’t matter much whether the goal after graduation is employment, graduate school or entrepreneurship. Black college students must develop leadership skills and there are plenty of opportunities to do so on campus.  This annual study lists the skills employers want from new graduates and is published by the National Association of Colleges and Employers.  For years this list has included strong communication skills and leadership skills as top requirements from employers.  Developing both sets of skills will give graduates a strong competitive advantage.

I understand the lack of resources for career programs and career centers on college campuses.  However, I don’t see educating Black students about their competitive advantage as just the responsibility of campus career offices.  I believe this has to be the subject of broader discussions between college leadership, parents and industry professionals.   When more people are questioning the costs versus value of a college degree while our students are racking up financial aid debt, it would be a shame if our students don’t hear the message about what is required to compete.

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Campus Leaders Land More Job Offers

campus leadersVisit any college campus and you will find posters and flyers  promoting a myriad of campus activities being hosted or sponsored by campus groups and clubs.  Check out social media sites for colleges and you can’t miss the photos and promotion of campus activities through campus organizations.

Behind all those campus groups and clubs are students who are campus leaders. These campus leaders are organizing, influencing and leading fellow students through well coordinated activities. These intrepid campus leaders are sometimes the hardest working students on campus – often balancing a full academic load, part-time jobs and campus leadership roles. No wonder employers love campus leaders and why many often land job offers from multiple companies.

The National Association of Colleges and Employers recently published the annual Job Outlook Survey where employers share how they plan to evaluate the attributes and skills of this year’s crop of college graduates. This year, the number one attribute employers seek is leadership.

In addition, to leadership being the top attribute, employers also identified the soft skills they will look for in new grads. Take a look at the 10 soft skills and it’s not hard to see why campus leaders land more job offers after graduation. Below are just the top three soft skills rated, in order of importance to employers, and how a typical campus leader demonstrates these sought after behaviors.

Verbal Communcation

Employers seek out new grads with good ability to verbally communicate with people inside and outside of their companies.  Campus leaders don’t just communicate with fellow students. Campus leaders communicate with faculty and staff advisors, external governing bodies and even with the executive leadership of their college or university.

Campus Leaders Excel at Teamwork

Ability to work within a team structure is the second soft skill identified by employers as important. Campus leaders are usually part of an executive board and spend a lot of time negotiating the direction of the campus organization. In many cases campus leaders have to influence and motivate others to get things done. Campus leaders have also moved up through the ranks by being good team players who have shown they are reliable members of the team, semester after semester.

Decision Making and Problem Solving

The ability to make decisions and solve problems is a routine part of life for any campus leader. Moving a campus organization forward while making your mark as the leader involves coordinating events, managing day-to-day activities, motivating others and making choices. Evaluating program offerings, growing membership and even organizing locations will demonstrate to potential employers that campus leaders have the attributes and the soft skills they seek.

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