Dr. Peter Rans Geoff Smith


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  • Preamble: Most recently in this room for iron ring – at the other end of your engineering education Next week we’ll teach you how to use our job posting system Slides are posted BUT TAKE NOTES AS WELL One other announcement is that you need to fill out a place pro release form to indicate to our office that you will be going on a workterm next summer and giving us permission to access your transcripts to upload them into placepro for your use in job applications. Who am I MASc, PEng, MBA Worked for years in consulting, hired lots of students – so this knowledge is not just from an academic point of view – it’s from experience, and from what employers have told us
  • Application leads to the interview which leads to the job You are unique and fabulous but all the employer sees is three pieces of paper First impression and could be only and last impression. May not get past your letter to even look at your resume and transcript. Revise your application for each and every job posting. Have to show interest. Don’t waste their time – if you don’t want the job, don’t apply. The people reviewing the applications are busy – make their life easy by making your cover letter and resume easy to read, and make it easy for them to see what you have to offer. Documents should be continually improved - If you’ve applied for lots of jobs and not had any interviews – rethink your letter style and review your resume. Resume is like a finger print The most significant absolute – that the letter and resume should be PERFECT
  • PD slides are also posted on line LOTS OF OTHER ADVICE ON RESUMES OUT THERE. TAKE A LOOK AT SOME FOR IDEAS BUT DON’T STRAY TOO FAR FROM OUR SUGGESTED FORMAT – ITS WHAT WE KNOW THE EMPLOYERS WANT Imagine yourself in 15 years – how would you narrow down from 50 applications to 5 to interveiw? No right or wrong, all employers are different
  • Mainly talking about letters through the job competition, but independent letters would be similar Employers know if you haven't’ customized Must be well written and error-free Cannot be overstated – “If you cannot even spell your prospective employers name correctly, what confidence will that give us in your ability to do complex engineering tasks” “ The student may do a design that I’ll stamp – if they can’t be accurate in their letter, I’m not going to risk my reputation on them” You all have similar education and experience. 73 resumes – you have to find some way of narrowing them down
  • Don’t focus on what a great opportunity it would be for you Emphasize what you can do for them Yes, they want to contribute to your education, but that isn’t their top priority Not Canadian idol or apprentice but it is competitive. You all have the same education – what differs is your life experiences and your ability to use that experience.
  • Use local address unless you will be moving home soon. But say if you are from the area where the job is. MUN email address – it’s the one we will use to correspond with you. Has to be a professional sounding address. No supergeek@hotmail.com type addresses. Make sure your out going voice messages are sensible. At least put company name and job location” ie. Petro-Canada, St. John’s, NL If at all possible, find out a name: never “to whom it may concern” Spell the name right Don’t guess about sex, marital status or preferred form of address – Mr. or Ms. no Miss, Mrs. Maybe Dr.
  • Make it easy to read - Never more than one page and leave white space even on the one page. Not too small a font, and not too many fonts. Employers can always tell whether or not you have customized your letter If you cant show enough interest to spend time on the letter, how do they know you are interested enough to do a good job Have a word file of useful paragraphs that you can cut and paste – but BE CAREFUL to remove old references Can use similar letter for similar jobs, eg all oil and gas jobs or all consulting firm jobs. Remember that most people reading your cover letter and resume will be your parents or grandparents age – be conservative. Take your cue from the job ad but still always be on the conservative side. HR might write the ad, but engineers often pick the candidates to interview Be cautious using ‘clever’ letters “ are you looking for a bright student …” “ why should you hire me?” “ you can throw all those other lettters away – you’ve found your perfect employee” Hydro’s “Are you looking for a great place to work”
  • Intend to go into …. Discipline – if you know. Don’t say you are going into Electrical engineering if you are applying for a civil job Lots of employers post with multiple universities. Only people familiar with mun program will totally understand your Academic Term and Work Term number. Expected year of gradation gives a better idea of how far along you are in the program If job title listed in the description, use it in the letter. Else say “work term student”. Could be several jobs in one posting. Say if you are applying for one or more. If on placepro “As advertised through the Division of Co-operative Education at Memorial University of Newfoundland” Don’t say “on PlacePro” – employers don’t know the details of our data base. If applying on your own say how you heard about the position or company: advertisement in The Telegram heard news story on VOCM Mr. X suggested I apply…
  • This is generally the “what they can do for you” section Shows enthusiasm Be honest but strategic: Not because I want to live at home with Mum because I’ve heard you pay well and I wont have to work very hard Often used as an interview too – why did you apply?
  • This is the “what you can do for them” section Interprets your resume as it applies to their job You won’t have time to change your resume for each job posting – your cover letter is your chance to bring out from your experience why you can fill their needs. Focus on the skills they have asked for in the job posting. This is why the letters have to be customized for each employer. Especially make note of any particular skills they ask for, example drivers licence or software skill. Even if your experience isn’t overly technical, find a way to say how what you have learned made you qualified for this job Experience can be from work or volunteer activities, sports or clubs Sandwich artist : communication skills, Working as part of a team, following strict franchise procedures accurately, importance of health and safety Country ribbon chicken example Dept T&W – looks for Scouts and Guides – outdoor skills, working as a team
  • Can combine this with why you are interested. “ we do NOT … expect to have our promotional statements regurgitated back to us in the letter of application” Ideally not just a quote from their website home page, but at least that Look at news releases on company websites Maybe talk to a student who worked there before. Do not flatter them too much – it won’t ring true “I would love to work for your company”, “this job is the best possible for my career”
  • For jobs in job competition, co-op office provides means of communication, employers should not be contacting students directly
  • Have you covered all relevant points? address qualifications required quoting reference numbers, other information requested Check spelling of company name and contact name, don’t call a government department a company or vice versa Don’t say your interested in oil and gas if you are applying to a municipal engineering firm Spell your own name right Don’t rely on spell check – remember there are three spelling of there, three of two, etc. If you are reusing text from another letter, make sure there are no references to the old company Example of student applying for a job at petro canada, and cover letter asked for an interview with IMTT
  • Use your middle name or initial if there could be multiple candidate with your name If the employer might get your voicemail, make sure that your outgoing message is professional sounding
  • Optional May not be relevant early in your work terms, but become more useful as you progress
  • Always order in most significant/impressive first Some education can go under skills
  • Avoid assisted with, helped with …
  • Volunteer Experience can be more significant than jobs if you’ve had authority and responsibility Interests – can highlight personality or skills eg. outdoorsy, practical skills, Again, honest but strategic
  • Studetn was going to get an offer on a job but then didn’t because he got a bad reference He hadn’t checked with his old supervisor, and hadn’t realized what she would say about him
  • Active doing what? Scouts at D t&W Organizing events gives Management skills
  • Coordinators are always available to help if you want your cover letters or resumes checked – anytime between now and graduation or beyond. CDEL can help with resumes, cover letters, interview skills, - may give different advice that we give – check with us if confused Writing Centre - Science Building, Room 2053 Will be here Feb 11 to talk about technical writing Questions?????????????
  • While you are dropping off you assignment you can sign the placepro release form.
  • Dr. Peter Rans Geoff Smith

    1. 1. Dr. Peter Rans Geoff Smith Cover Letters and Resumes PD Seminar – Session #1 Sept. 9, 2009
    2. 2. Cover Letters and Resumes <ul><li>Arguably the most important activity for the co-op aspect of your degree </li></ul><ul><li>First impression </li></ul><ul><li>Could be last impression! </li></ul><ul><li>As individual as you are, but some absolutes apply </li></ul>
    3. 3. Cover Letters and Resumes <ul><li>See examples and guidelines in Engineering Student Co-op Handbook , 2008/2009 </li></ul><ul><li>Available at </li></ul><ul><ul><li>http://www.mun.ca/coop/home/enghandbook.pdf </li></ul></ul>
    4. 4. Cover Letter <ul><li>Introduces you and your resume </li></ul><ul><li>First impression employer gets – may not even read your resume </li></ul><ul><li>What is your message? </li></ul><ul><li>Customize for each employer </li></ul><ul><li>Must be well written and error-free </li></ul>
    5. 5. Cover Letters <ul><li>Who are you? </li></ul><ul><li>What do you want? Why? </li></ul><ul><li>What can you do for them? </li></ul><ul><li>What can they do for you? </li></ul><ul><li>What distinguishes you from your peers? </li></ul><ul><li>Why should they hire you? </li></ul>
    6. 6. The Basics 1 <ul><li>Return address – local </li></ul><ul><li>Phone number and MUN email address </li></ul><ul><li>Inside address, if known </li></ul><ul><li>Date </li></ul><ul><li>Attention: Contact Name </li></ul><ul><li>Dear Sir or Madam: </li></ul><ul><li>or Dear Mr. or Ms. Contact Name: </li></ul>
    7. 7. The Basics 2 <ul><li>Content </li></ul><ul><li>Closure – yours truly, yours sincerely </li></ul><ul><li>Sign the letter </li></ul><ul><li>Type your name </li></ul><ul><li>Encl. to indicate your resume is attached </li></ul><ul><li>Attach transcript if requested or if impressive </li></ul>
    8. 8. Student Name University Address St. John’s, NL A1X 2Y6 (709) 123‑4567 studentemail@mun.ca Date Company Name Dear Mr./Ms. Smith: State fully the job applied for, location and where the position was advertised. State what is known about the company. This is important because it indicates to the employer that the student took the time to do some research and is genuinely interested in this job and the company. Do not quote vague statements or repeat information from their web site. Information related to current projects, future plans, etc., is appropriate. The main body of the letter should be two paragraphs at the most. Here is where the student tells the employer what he or she has to offer and why they should read the résumé. This is a good time to read the job advertisement again. Emphasize that the student has an interest in the company and the industry it works in. In one paragraph (two at the most) summarise previous experience and skills which meet the requirements of the advertisement. A good way to start this paragraph is with a statement like this: “You will see from my enclosed résumé…” then go ahead and tell them something about the student’s career which will immediately get their interest. Only give them information related to what they are asking for in the job description. Ask for an interview where further elaboration will be made on the interest and qualifications outlined above. Yours truly, (Please make sure you sign the letter) John/Jane Doe
    9. 9. Contents 1 <ul><li>Never more than 1 page </li></ul><ul><li>3 or 4 paragraphs </li></ul><ul><li>Never smaller font than 12 point </li></ul><ul><li>Attractive to look at, easy to read </li></ul><ul><li>Customize to the specific job </li></ul><ul><li>Show interest and enthusiasm </li></ul><ul><li>Don’t be too creative – take your cue from the job description </li></ul>
    10. 10. Contents 2 <ul><li>First paragraph: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Introduce yourself – term, discipline, work term period, expected year of graduation </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Name the job or jobs you are applying for </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>How did you hear of job: “…as advertised through the Division of Co-operative Education at Memorial University of Newfoundland” </li></ul></ul>
    11. 11. Contents 3 <ul><li>Main body of letter: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Say why you are applying for the job: </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>“… interested in being involved in Newfoundland's oil and gas industry …” </li></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>“… looking for experience in a variety of engineering fields …” </li></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>“… planning to go into academia so would like to work in research and development…” </li></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>“… want to learn new design software skills…” </li></ul></ul></ul></ul>
    12. 12. Contents 4 <ul><li>Main body of letter, continued: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Summarize your relevant skills and experience </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Explain how your experience makes you the best qualified for this job </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Make them interested enough to read your resume: </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>“ You will see from my enclosed resume…” </li></ul></ul></ul>
    13. 13. Contents 5 <ul><li>Main body of letter, continued: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Say something to prove you know about the company or department: </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>“ I saw in The Telegram recently that ABC Company was just awarded XYZ Project and I would welcome the opportunity to be involved …” </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>“ ABC Company is a Canadian company and a world leader in ZZZ technique…” </li></ul></ul></ul>
    14. 14. Contents 6 <ul><li>Conclude by : </li></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Thanking the recruiter for his/her time </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Asking for an interview </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>If not through Placepro – provide contact information </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Sign the letter and type your name beneath the signature </li></ul></ul></ul>
    15. 15. Cover Letter - Final steps <ul><li>Review job ad: Have you covered all relevant points? </li></ul><ul><li>Proofread: Check the spelling of the company name and the contact name </li></ul><ul><li>Proofread: Check all your spelling, grammar, formatting </li></ul><ul><li>Have someone else proofread your letter </li></ul>
    16. 16. Resumes <ul><li>To market and sell yourself as the best candidate for the job </li></ul><ul><li>Research has shown that most resumes are looked at for ≤ 10 sec </li></ul><ul><li>The employer sees your resume as a reflection of who you are - who do you want to be seen as? </li></ul><ul><li>Write in third person – no “I” </li></ul>
    17. 17. The Basics 1 <ul><li>What They Look For (from Newfoundland Power) </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Easy to read </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Focus </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Grabs attention </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Visually appealing </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Correct spelling and grammar </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Detailed skills and accomplishments </li></ul></ul>
    18. 18. The Basics 2 <ul><li>What They Hate (from Newfoundland Power) </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Too long/too hard to read/follow </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>POor presentation </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Incorect spelling/grammar </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Inconsistent </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Layout </li></ul><ul><li>Keep it simple </li></ul>
    19. 19. Resume – Personal Information <ul><li>Use your full name, never a nickname </li></ul><ul><li>Contact information: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>contact phone number and cell phone number </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>current and permanent mailing addresses </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>MUN e-mail address </li></ul></ul>
    20. 20. Objective and/or Summary of Qualifications - optional <ul><li>Objective - Position of interest, relevant information to position, try and be as specific as possible </li></ul><ul><li>Summary of Qualifications - Highlights and summarizes your top selling points, avoid using general statements. </li></ul>
    21. 21. Education <ul><li>Refer to your education in reverse chronological order </li></ul><ul><li>Include term number and expected grad year </li></ul><ul><li>All education and training is important and should be included on the resume. It may be listed under your formal education or in another section called Additional Training </li></ul><ul><li>Only include your Average or GPA if it will help (and specify if your GPA is out of 3 or 4) </li></ul>
    22. 22. Work Experience <ul><li>List in reverse chronological order and list: year, job title, name of employer (organization /company), city and country </li></ul><ul><li>Focus on skills, leadership roles and accomplishments </li></ul><ul><li>Start each phrase with an action word: coordinated, surveyed, completed, administered… </li></ul>
    23. 23. Optional Sections <ul><li>Volunteer Experience </li></ul><ul><li>Awards and Accomplishments </li></ul><ul><li>Conference Attendance </li></ul><ul><li>Professional Affiliations </li></ul><ul><li>Interests </li></ul><ul><li>Presentations </li></ul><ul><li>Publications </li></ul><ul><li>Additional Training </li></ul>
    24. 24. References <ul><li>Not usually included in resume – “references available on request” </li></ul><ul><li>Seek approval beforehand </li></ul><ul><li>Give references a copy of resume </li></ul><ul><li>Provide list, if requested, at interview </li></ul>
    25. 25. Additional Resume Hints 1 <ul><li>Include name and page number on 2nd page </li></ul><ul><li>Be honest but strategic! </li></ul><ul><li>Always have someone proofread for errors </li></ul><ul><li>Use action verbs to highlight responsibilities and accomplishments </li></ul><ul><li>Do not exceed two pages </li></ul><ul><li>Leave some white space </li></ul>
    26. 26. Additional Resume Hints 2 <ul><li>Do not include: age, height, weight, religious/political affiliations, or social insurance number </li></ul><ul><li>Avoid paragraphs, use bullet statements </li></ul><ul><li>Use consistent spacing and formatting </li></ul><ul><li>Use your MUN email and check it often </li></ul>
    27. 27. SANDY SMITH University Address Home Address 12 Any St. P.O. Box 123 St. John’s, NL A1X 2Y6 Any Town, NL A1B 2Y6 (709) 123-4567 (709) 765-4321 [email_address] EDUCATION 2006-present Memorial University of Newfoundland Faculty of Engineering and Applied Science Enrolled in Academic Term III Civil Bachelor of Engineering Co-op Program 2006 ABC High School, St. John’s, NL Graduated with honours from Grade 12 2005 DEG School of Arts, St. John’s, NL 45-hour course in Shop Practice
    28. 28. AWARDS AND SCHOLARSHIPS • Current academic average 82% • Engineering Dean’s List, academic terms 1 and 2 • Pass with Distinction, Work Term 1 • Award of $100, highest marks in Grade 12 • James Moore award, highest marks in Grade 11 WORK EXPERIENCE May - HIJ Company, St. John’s, NL September 2007 Work Term 1 Student • Worked extensively with AutoCAD producing sketches and drawings for survey layout and general construction • Assisted engineers in underground pipe design and placement • Completed quantity takeoffs, including concrete, rebar and piping, of buildings and concrete pipe supports • Kept accurate records of quantities completed on a daily, weekly and monthly basis • Completed design work for valve access platform foundation and sump drip pans as well as design layout work for main entrance to the site • Made oral presentations on work completed
    29. 29. Sandy Smith Page 2 of 2 June - Rural Development Association, Paradise, NL September 2006 Biologist’s Assistant • Collected salmon eggs and scale samples for a salmon hatchery project • Collected data from fishermen concerning the quantity of fish caught in a specific time period, size and weight of the fish • Wrote daily, weekly and monthly reports • Presented reports verbally to the Association 2003 - 2005 Morning News, St. John’s, NL Paper Carrier • Supplied papers and flyers to 150 customers 2002 - 2004 Babysitter • Responsible for the care of children during weekend evening hours
    30. 30. EXTRA-CURRICULAR ACTIVITIES • Active with Engineering Society A, Memorial University • Member of the intramural soccer team, Memorial University • Editor of the student newsletter Advocate • Volunteer for the Heart and Stroke Foundation SKILLS • Computer skills include Microsoft Office, AutoCAD, C++ • Familiar with surveying procedures, completed the Civil workshop • Knowledgeable with concrete inspection techniques • Familiar with hydrometric data collection and flow instrumentation • Familiar with the use of lathes, hand-held power tools, welding equipment and safety gear • Good written and verbal communication skills • Valid driver’s licence INTERESTS • Woodworking, reading, skiing, fishing, swimming and travelling REFERENCES: Available upon request.
    31. 31. Additional Resume Hints 3 … and now, find the errors in the resume that follows:
    32. 32.
    33. 33.
    34. 34.
    35. 35. Final steps – Need Help? <ul><li>The Co-op Office – EN4019 </li></ul><ul><li>Student Services – Career Development and Experimental Learning – UC4000 </li></ul><ul><li>The Writing Centre – SN2053 </li></ul>
    36. 36. Assignment # 1 <ul><li>Due Friday, September 11 th at 9 am </li></ul><ul><li>Submit to the Co-op Office EN4019 </li></ul><ul><li>Pick one of the following jobs and prepare an application (cover letter and resume). </li></ul><ul><li>This presentation and assignment is available at: </li></ul><ul><li>http://www.mun.ca/coop/home/pd_engineering.php (see the link “Fall 2009, Seminar 1 – Resumes and Cover Letters”) </li></ul>
    37. 37. Assignment #1, Due 9 AM Friday, September 11th, 2009 at the Co-op Office (EN-4019) Submit an application, consisting of a cover letter and resume, the one of the following jobs. Sample Work Term 1 Jobs Job # 1 Location: Toronto, ON Contact Person: Dr. I. Wired, P.Eng. Job Title: Database Administrator Second or third-year Computer Science or Engineering Background The department is responsible for technical training of Lab designers and process quality. We are committed to keeping our people abreast of new technologies and methodologies through the development and delivery of technical courses, and maintenance and improvement of the development processes. Key Responsibilities: - installation and support of Computer Based Training courses - development of maintenance and registration procedures for CBT - create database macros to generate reports, charts, etc. - develop and support the creation of a database user’s guide. We are looking for a motivated student who is willing to learn and work in a fast-paced team environment. The successful candidate should have strong communication, writing and presentation skills. This position will allow you to experience and understand the intricacies of a development process in a leading telecommunications industry environment. You will also have the opportunity to exercise a diverse set of computer-oriented skills including Windows, Linux and UNIX applications, and database languages.
    38. 38. Sample Work Term 1 Jobs Job # 2 Company: Big Mac Oil Services Location: St. John’s, NL Contact Person: Mr. Mack Donald Job Title: Project Engineering Assistant Big Mac Oil Services has offices worldwide and is a leader in providing support to the oil and gas production facilities. We have a position available in our St. John’s office, which is responsible for providing Engineering, Procurement and Construction (EPC) services to four different clients in the East Coast Canada Oil and Gas industry. As an engineering student with Big Mac, the successful candidate will be supervised by our Project Engineer(s) and be engaged in various tasks including the following: - Assisting the project engineers in carrying out technical tasks requiring the use of prescribed analysis, design or competitive methods within a discipline. - Assist discipline lead engineers in preparing scope of work documents for our client. - Assist with project close-out activities - CTR (Controlled Time Resources) Preparation. - Development of project estimates. - Obtaining and analyzing data. - Employ the inter-company management system to retrieve and work with company procedures, drawings, etc. During the interview process, individuals must be able to demonstrate good communication skills as well as a keen attitude towards adaptability, initiative and problem solving.