1. Your Work-related Values: What is
Important for You?
Salary Professional Development
Job Security Relationship with Co-Workers
Autonomy Opportunities for
High Degree of Competition
Other Fringe Benefits
Low Level of Pressure
Relationship with supervisor
Opportunity for Travel
Your Leadership Role
Making a Contribution
2. Short-term Career Goals
1) Position ______________________________
2) Sector / Field __________________________
3) Public or Private ________________________
4) Organization(s) _________________________
5) Salary ________________________________
6) Work Environment _______________________
7) Education Required ______________________
8) Experience Required _____________________
9) Barriers to Entry __________________________
10) Overcoming Barriers _____________________
3. Long-term Career Goals
1) Position ___________________________________
2) Sector / Field _______________________________
3) Public or Private _____________________________
4) Organization (s) _____________________________
5) Salary ____________________________________
6) Work Environment ___________________________
7) Education Required ___________________________
8) Experience Required __________________________
9) Barriers to Entry _____________________________
10) Overcoming Barriers __________________________
11) Next Steps
4. Resume Do's and Don'ts____________________________________
by Katharine Hansen
• Do consider a bulleted style to make your resume as reader-friendly as possible.
• Don't get overwrought about the old “one-page resume rule.” It’s good to keep your
resume to one page, if possible, but if you have a lot of experience, two pages may be
more appropriate. If your resume spills beyond one page, but you have less than a half a
page of material for the second page, it may be best to condense to one page.
• But don't go beyond two pages with your resume.
• Do consider a resume design that doesn’t look like everyone else’s. Many jobseekers
use Microsoft Word resume templates and wizards. There’s nothing wrong with them, per
se, but your resume won’t look distinctive if you use one; it will look like the resume of
everyone else who used a Word template. These templates and wizards can also be a bit
inflexible to work with.
• Don't use justified text blocks; they put odd little spaces between words. Instead, make
your type flush left.
• Don't ever lie on your resume.
• Do include as much contact information as possible -- any information that would enable
an employer to reach you during business hours.
• Do give your resume as sharp a focus as possible. Given that employers screen resumes
for between 2.5 and 20 seconds, you need a way to show the employer at a glance what
you want to do and what you're good at. One way to sharpen your focus is through an
objective statement. The objective statement can be very simple and straightforward; it
can be simply the title of the position you're applying for, which can be adjusted for every
job you apply for. Or you can embellish the Objective statement a bit with language telling
how you'll benefit the employer. Something like: "Objective: To contribute strong
________ skills and experience to your firm in a _________ capacity."
• Do consider a section such as "Summary of Qualifications," or "Profile," which can also
help sharpen your focus.
• Don't discount the possibility of a functional format for your resume. This format can be
strategic for career changers, students and others who lack experience, those with gaps
in their employment, as well as those re-entering the workforce. A functional resume is
organized around functional skills clusters. After listing three to four skills clusters and
showing how you've demonstrated those skills, you provide a bare-bones work history at
• Don't use personal pronouns (I, my, me) in a resume.
• Do list your job information in order of importance to the reader. In listing your jobs,
what's generally most important is your title/position. So list in this preferred order:
Title/position, name of employer, city/state of employer, dates of employment.
• Don't leave out the locations of your past jobs (city and state). This information is
expected, but many jobseekers unwittingly omit it.
• Do list your jobs in reverse chronological order.
• Don't mix noun and verb phrases when describing your jobs. Preferably, use concrete
action verbs consistently.
• Do avoid the verb, "Work" because it's a weak verb. Everyone works. Be more specific.
"Collaborate(d)" is often a good substitute.
5. • Do think in terms of accomplishments when preparing your resume. Accomplishments
are so much more meaningful to prospective employers than run-of-the-mill litanies of job
• Don't use expressions like "Duties included," "Responsibilities included," or "Responsible
for." That's job-description language, not accomplishments-oriented resume language
• Do emphasize transferable skills, especially if you don’t have much experience or seek to
• Do quantify whenever possible. Use numbers to tell employers how many people you
supervised, by what percentage you increased sales, how many products you
• Don't list too much experience on your resume. The rule of thumb for someone with
many years of experience is to list about 15 years worth of jobs. Age discrimination,
unfortunately, is a reality, and even more likely, employers may think you're too
expensive if you list too much experience on your resume.
• Don't emphasize skills and job activities you don’t want to do in the future, even if they
represent great strengths for you. In fact, you may not even want to mention these
activities. Why describe how great your clerical skills are if you don't want to do clerical
work in the future?
• Do remember that education also follows the principle about presenting information in the
order of importance to the reader; thus the preferred order for listing your education is:
Name of degree (spelled out: Bachelor of ________ ) in name of major, name of
university, city/state of university, graduation year (unless you graduated more than about
15 years ago), followed by peripheral information, such as minor and GPA. If you haven’t
graduated yet, list your grad year anyway. Simply by virtue of the fact that the date's in
the future, the employer will know you don't have the degree yet.
• Don't list high school!
• Don't include on your resume your height, weight, age, date of birth, place of birth,
marital status, sex, ethnicity/race, health, social security number (except on an
international resume), reasons for leaving previous job(s), names of former supervisors,
specific street addresses or phone numbers of former employers, picture of yourself,
salary information, the title "Resume," or any information that could be perceived as
controversial, such as religion, church affiliations, or political affiliations.
• Don't include hobbies or other irrelevant information on a resume. In most cases, they
are seen as superfluous and trivial. An argument can be made that hobbies are interview
conversation starters or that they make you seem well-rounded, but they are generally
seen as fluff or filler.
• Do, however, list sports if you’re a college student or new grad. Many employers
specifically seek out athletes because of their drive and competitiveness, as well as
teamwork and leadership skills. Collegiate athletes should even consider listing their
sports background in the Experience section.
• Don't list references right on your resume. References belong in a later stage of the job
search. Keep references on a separate sheet and provide them only when they are
• Do realize that the phrase "References available upon request" is highly optional
because it is a given that you will provide references upon request. If you couldn't, you
would have no business looking for a job. The line can serve the purpose of signaling:
"This is the end of my resume," but if you are trying to conserve space, leave it off.
• Do proofread carefully. Misspellings and typos are deadly on a resume.
9. Interview Do's and Don'ts__________________________________________
by Randall S. Hansen, Ph.D.
• Do take a practice run to the location where you are having the interview -- or be sure
you know exactly where it is and how long it takes to get there.
• Do your research and know the type of job interview you will be encountering. And do
prepare and practice for the interview, but don't memorize or over-rehearse your
• Do dress the part for the job, the company, the industry. And do err on the side of
• Do plan to arrive about 10 minutes early. Late arrival for a job interview is never
excusable. If you are running late, do phone the company.
• Do greet the receptionist or assistant with courtesy and respect. This is where you make
your first impression.
• Don't chew gum during the interview.
• If presented with a job application, do fill it out neatly, completely, and accurately.
• Do bring extra resumes to the interview. (Even better, if you have a job skills portfolio, do
bring that with you to the interview.)
• Don't rely on your application or resume to do the selling for you. No matter how qualified
you are for the position, you will need to sell yourself to the interviewer.
• Do greet the interviewer(s) by title (Ms., Mr., Dr.) and last name if you are sure of the
pronunciation. (If you're not sure, do ask the receptionist about the pronunciation before
going into the interview.
• Do shake hands firmly. Don't have a limp or clammy handshake!
• Do wait until you are offered a chair before sitting. And do remember body language and
posture: sit upright and look alert and interested at all times. Don't fidget or slouch.
• Don't tell jokes during the interview.
• Do make good eye contact with your interviewer(s).
• Do show enthusiasm in the position and the company.
• Don't smoke, even if the interviewer does and offers you a cigarette. And don't smoke
beforehand so that you smell like smoke. And do brush your teeth, use mouthwash, or
have a breath mint before the interview.
• Do avoid using poor language, slang, and pause words (such as "like," "uh," and "um").
• Don't be soft-spoken. A forceful voice projects confidence.
• Do have a high confidence and energy level, but don't be overly aggressive.
• Don't act as though you would take any job or are desperate for employment.
• Do avoid controversial topics.
• Don't say anything negative about former colleagues, supervisors, or employers.
• Do make sure that your good points come across to the interviewer in a factual, sincere
• Don't ever lie. Answer questions truthfully, frankly and succinctly. And don't over-answer
• Do stress your achievements. And don't offer any negative information about yourself.
• Don't answer questions with a simple "yes" or "no." Explain whenever possible. Describe
those things about yourself that showcase your talents, skills, and determination. Give
10. • Do show off the research you have done on the company and industry when responding
• Don't bring up or discuss personal issues or family problems.
• Do remember that the interview is also an important time for you to evaluate the
interviewer and the company she represents.
• Don't respond to an unexpected question with an extended pause or by saying
something like, "boy, that's a good question." And do repeat the question outloud or ask
for the question to be repeated to give you a little more time to think about an answer.
Also, a short pause before responding is okay.
• Do always conduct yourself as if you are determined to get the job you are discussing.
Never close the door on an opportunity until you are sure about it.
• Don't answer cell phone calls during the interview, and do turn off (or set to silent ring)
your cell phone and/or pager.
• Do show what you can do for the company rather than what the company can do for you.
• Don't inquire about salary, vacations, bonuses, retirement, or other benefits until after
you've received an offer. Be prepared for a question about your salary requirements, but
do try and delay salary talk until you have an offer.
• Do ask intelligent questions about the job, company, or industry. Don't ever not ask any
questions -- it shows a lack of interest.
• Do close the interview by telling the interviewer(s) that you want the job and asking about
the next step in the process. (Some experts even say you should close the interview by
asking for the job.)
• Do try and get business cards from each person you interviewed with -- or at least the
correct spelling of their first and last names. And don't make assumptions about simple
names -- was it Jon or John -- get the spelling.
• Do immediately take down notes after the interview concludes so you don't forget crucial
• Do write thank you letters within 24 hours to each person who interviewed you. And do
know all the rules of following up after the interview.
11. Sample Interview Questions
Your answers to interview questions should be complete but concise, well-organized, and use
specific examples from your past. Try to vary the situations that you use throughout the interview
(talk about different work or educational experiences for each question).
Conventional questions: some interviewers don’t ask these questions anymore, but you should
still be prepared with concise, informative answers that are specific to the job and organization -
to the following types of questions:
1. Tell me about your work and educational experiences, and why those experiences make you
an excellent candidate for this position.
2. Why do you want to work for this organization?
3. Tell me about things that you enjoy doing at work.
4. What do you think are your strengths and weaknesses?
5. What is your work/management style when you work on a team?
Behavioral questions: the common assumption is that past behavior is the best predictor of a
future behavior. Provide real-life examples.
Common Behavioral Questions:
1. Tell me about changes that you have tried to implement in your area of responsibility. What
have you done to get them underway?
2. Tell me about some projects that you have generated on your own. What prompted you to
3. Tell me about a situation where you helped a peer or co-worker.
4. Tell me about a time when you needed someone’s cooperation to complete a task/project
and they were uncooperative. What did you do?
5. Tell me about an unpopular decision that you made. What was your thinking process? What
happened and how did you handle the effects of your decision?
6. Tell me about the biggest problem that you had to face in the last six months. How did you
7. Tell me about recent problems/issues in which you included others in determining solutions.
How did you do it? Were you successful?
8. Tell me about a time when your persistence in overcoming obstacles paid off.
9. Tell me about the processes you follow to control errors in your work. When was the last time
that these methods helped you? How?
10. Tell me about some specific situation that was frustrating? How did you manage it?
11. Tell me about a situation in which you worked for or with someone you did not like or respect.
How did you deal with it?
12. Tell me about how you have gotten around obstacles preventing you from finishing a
13. Tell me about a situation in which your solution failed. How did you change your approach?
12. From: What Next: the complete guide to taking control of your working life. Barbara Moses. New
York: DL, 2003.
13. Suggested Resources for your employment search
• University Career Center/Office
• Muskie Alumni Directory