Practical Resume Tips: Don’t Lose Your First Dream Job

Preparing a resume and cover letter during your last semester can be an incredibly tense and stressful time. Everything is on the line. You’ve spent the last four years (at least) getting an education, and now you have to prove it.

We’ve compiled some tips to make sure your transition into the working world is smooth:

One Page Only

If your resume looks great but it reads like one of your college philosophy books, there is no way an employer is going to take time to decode your hidden messages. Be direct and concise. They don’t want to read your life story.

Also, if you’re just finishing college, they assume you don’t have much experience, and they do not want to read three detailed pages about your high school awards. Chances are if you’re being considered for an entry-level position, your potential employer knows exactly what they’re looking for. Don’t complicate it for them.

Format Consistency & Alignment

This seemingly insignificant portion of your resume is your future employer’s first look at how organized and systematic you are. If your alignment varies from section to section or if you tabbed over an area where you shouldn’t, employers will notice. Attention to detail can be the difference between a new job with a great salary and ramen-ridden unemployment.

Punctuation & spelling

You should always spellcheck. There is a wonderful invention standard on most document editing software that helps prevent misspellings. There is no excuse. Your potential employers will agree. It also helps to read a hard copy. You will catch things in print you didn’t catch digitally.

Sporadic punctuation may help you gain attention on your resume, but trust me. It is not the kind of attention you want. If you end one sentence in a list with a period, end all lines with a period. If you are not constructing full sentences, but put a period in any way… throw your resume away and start over. Commas are important, so use them correctly. Semi-colons usually aren’t necessary; use them sparingly.

Tense Consistency

Make sure if you “Have experience in” one thing, you continue to use the active present tense throughout your document (don’t revert back to “experienced in”). This small change in verbiage (And trust me. It is small.) could land you the job or leave you out in the unemployed pool of hopefuls.

Relevant Experience

If you’re the typical college student, you have probably jumped from job to job gathering as many hours as you can to pay bills. PLEASE NOTE: Not all of your work experience is important. No one cares that you folded shirts at Gap. If you play your cards right, you can create a resume that makes you seem perfect for one job and another resume that makes you seem perfect for a completely different job.

Your relevant experience is gold! Highlight skills each position requests, using the same wording when you can (without appearing to have copied it from their website). It’s all about versatility. Spend time phrasing your experience to demonstrate high problem solving skills instead of good decision-making.


If you don’t have a 3.8 or higher, don’t put your GPA on your resume. We all know you may be proud of the 93 in Organic Chemistry, but it is better to leave out anything that may classify you as less than the best.

Including your education on your resume is debated among many professionals, so it is up to you if you want to include it or not, but we recommend you feature your strengths. If your education isn’t something you’re extremely proud of, don’t feature it. Brag on something you feel makes you more suited for the position.

StudyPods allows you to create a Pod to connect with your classmates and other students worldwide, form study groups, upload and share files, complete assignments and help each other get better grades. Check them out at 



As college students, we hear about all of the benefits of internship experience and all of the horror stories. But are internships are really worth our time?

The truth of the matter is internships can be super useful, if you get the right one, but, how are you supposed to find the “right one?” Will there be some flashing neon sign? Maybe a small voice saying “pick this one?” Well, chances are neither of these things will happen, but here are some tools to help you choose the right internship for you.


If you can, your options will open up dramatically. A lot of positions are unpaid mostly because they are paying you in experience. However, experience won’t pay your phone bill this month, so make sure you can afford it before you accept.


People graduate all the time and end up accepting positions that aren’t in their desired field or exactly what they wish they were doing. An internship is not the time for that. Internships are meant to prepare you for your long-term career, so set your sights high and don’t settle. (This will help you with the whole “not getting paid” thing.)


If you can, find an employer who is genuinely invested in your growth. Look for places will full internship programs for your first internship. These programs are designed with you in mind, and will often offer training and education beyond your specific position. After your first internship, you can spread out to something with a little less supervision, but it’s always a good idea to play it safe until you know you can get the job done and get it done right.


Sometimes you may have to run out and get everyone lunch or grab your boss’ coffee. This is part of being an intern. But if your position also offers you real-life experience that your friends would kill for, like contributing to a huge company project that offers travel benefits, then suck it up buttercup because it could be a whole lot worse. However, if you find the extent of your job responsibilities are saying saying “grande latte and a tall capuccino,” you should consider finding another internship.


Especially if you’re not getting paid, you should try to receive at least some kind of credit for your hard work. Talk with your academic adviser and see if you can work something out. Independent study works great for these types of situations.


If you don’t like your projects, that’s OK. Unfortunately, you still need to get them done. If you can take it on, ask for more responsibility possibly in an area you are interested in. Take this opportunity to talk with people from various departments, form networks, and have fun. Treat every situation like a learning opportunity and don’t be discouraged when you mess everything up. You’re an intern, you’re supposed to mess up so you can get better.

Sometimes you’ll probably want to quit. This internship experience may even make you reconsider your major or influence you to add an additional minor, but that’s the purpose. If you’re frustrated that’s OK. If you’re ALWAYS confused that’s also OK. Ask for help and just keep your head up. You will get through this, just keep going.

StudyPods allows you to create a Pod to connect with your classmates and other students worldwide, form study groups, upload and share files, complete assignments and help each other get better grades. Check them out at 

5 Rookie Mistakes to Avoid as an Intern or Entry-Level Talent

Are you getting ready to embark on your first internship or job right out of college? If so, you should be careful to avoid certain rookie mistakes in order to give yourself the best possible opportunity to succeed in your new role. As a previous Director of Career Services and Recruiter, I’ve seen numerous employee mistakes that could have been avoided if the talent was made aware of what not do before they started their position.

Here’s some of my favorite to avoid:

1) Showing up late and not calling ahead of time.

This is a sure way to make a poor first day impression and annoy any boss or internship manager. It is not ok to wait until you are already 20 minutes late to call and say that you are running late. By that point it is already too late! This is a rookie mistake that happens all to often and should be avoided at all costs. If you think you are not going to make it to the office at the required start time then you should call at least 10 minutes before your are late to notify your manager. This shows that you value other peoples’ time and gives the manager a chance to adjust their schedule.

2) Neglecting to thank those that help you.
As you start out in your career there are many people that will help you along the way. Whether it is training you to use the company intranet or offering you guidance on how to submit a request to helpdesk, you will have to ask for help at some point of your employment. Don’t forget to thank those who help you to get acclimated to your new environment. Showing appreciation for your peers in the workplace can go a long way when starting a new job and not doing so can be viewed as being ungrateful or obtuse.

3) Not owning up to your mistakes
Honesty really is the best policy when it comes to the workplace. If you make a mistake on a project or forget to do something that was asked of you, own up to your error immediately. This could actually build trust among your peers and boss. Everyone will know you are human and make mistakes but even more importantly, they will see that you have the willingness to admit your mistake for the betterment of the team. Not doing so will come back to bite you in the rear! Often times, it is important to admit when an error was made because it can have a chain effect on other peoples’ duties and projects. If you are working as part of a team, it is extremely important for everyone to be on the same page. Not owning up to a mistake right away could cause larger problems down the road.

4) Being too casual.
As a newbie it is often advised to do a lot of listening for at least the first 30 days. Keep your personal opinions to yourself or you might end up sticking your foot in your mouth by offending people you do not really know or understand. Take some time to learn about the culture of the company before you start calling your boss, “Dude!” Asking questions is fine but talking to others as if you are at a college dorm party is not appropriate. Hold back from over-sharing too much personal information and try to keep things focused on business. After you are settled in the role for a couple months you will have a better understanding of what is appropriate within the culture of the organization.

5) Saying, “That’s not my job!”
This is a sure fire way to not look like a “team player.” Maybe you said it because you feel overloaded already and are a bit overwhelmed. Yes, everyone has a job description but a job description can never illustrate what will be required of you as an employee over the term of your employment. New projects come up and responsibilities change depending on needs and available resources. Look at these times as opportunities to stretch your skills and duties. So if your boss or someone else asks you to help with something that seems unfamiliar to you then be honest about your abilities and availability and if you can do it then try saying something like: I’ve never done that before in my current role but I am open to trying something new.” This type of response will enable you more opportunities in the future and others will recognize you as someone they can depend on and possibly promote in the future.

About the Contributor
Marc Scoleri, CEO Creative Village, LLC and Co-Founder of has over 15 years of experience in creative recruiting, career development and talent management. Numerous companies including Apple, Marvel Entertainment, CNBC, McGraw-Hill, and HBO have worked with Marc to recruit student interns; many of them have been recruited as entry-level employees. These companies benefit by having a steady pipeline of creative interns before they hire talent full-time thus saving them thousands of dollars on recruiting costs and lowering their risk of poor hires. In addition, a quality internship program can identify talent that fits a company’s culture.

Top 3 Professional Benefits to Volunteering

Volunteering is and always will be a way to make a difference in your community and toward the causes you support. You do it because you care. But also consider this: volunteering is a pathway to reaching your professional goals. You give of yourself, your time and your talents, and you not only benefit your community, you benefit yourself, both personally and professionally. Not sold yet? Take a look at these top three benefits to volunteering and see if community service might be the right fit for your budding career.

1. Free Experience & Training

Have you looked at job postings and found yourself frustrated by the list of qualifications required for even entry level positions? You need experience using a particular software program or leading a project. Or maybe you want to explore other professional interests, but aren’t sure how to break into the field or whether or not you even want to pursue it academically.Rather than pay for that training or education, consider volunteering as though it were an internship. If you know the experience and training you want to receive, you can look for volunteer organizations offering those opportunities. Not seeing the listings you need? That’s where you can start approaching nonprofits about offering a particular type of service, especially if it’s not your expertise. After all, that’s why you’re doing it. When you find a good match, it will benefit you as a professional and the organization as a service provider.

2. Networking

It pays to know people. We’ve all heard the saying and when it comes to your career, it really rings true. Having someone personally recommend you for a position is quite different than applying for a job posting you see on the internet. Networking is an ongoing process and volunteering offers you a new host of professional references and connections to make. You’ll have the opportunity to network with the professionals employed by that volunteer organization, as well as their community partners. But don’t forget the Board of Trustees — these are established and often well-connected professionals from many types of fields (including law, accounting, marketing, real estate, fundraising, etc.) who are dedicated to that organization’s mission. Find an organization providing services within your field, and you’ll increase your chances of finding and impressing an entire new professional network.

3. Reaching Your Professional Goal

Piece together these first two benefits and you’ve enhanced yourself professionally. Having done so through such a well-respected path, such as volunteering, and you’ve also impressed potential references and employers.

Once you identify your professional goal - be it a promotion, a new position or a new venture - and you’ve established yourself within the volunteer organization, consider your next steps. Tell your new network about your goal, and perhaps you can have them review your resume and cover letter, ask if they can serve as a professional reference, recommend you for an opening or help continue to expand you professionally. If you feel so moved by the organization itself, inquire about job openings where you’ve volunteered. Whatever your goal may be, if your service and dedication to their program has been a benefit to them, they will be invested in you as a person, a professional and as someone they want to support.

So the next time you find yourself thinking about how you are going to reach your professional goals, consider the power of volunteering and all that becomes possible when you give of yourself.

Sabrina Norrie is co-founder and CEO of Zero Bound, an upcoming website platform for students and alumni to crowdfund their student loans through sponsored volunteerism. You pay it down by paying it forward. For more information about Zero Bound and it’s 2013 launch, visit or contact the Zero Bound team at


Equals6 Was my Wife’s Idea

I say this in almost complete truthiness.  However, the genesis of the idea of what is now Equals6 came as a consequence of a conversation that my wife and I had on a long drive one day in 2008.

My wife teaches Grade Eight and Nine and she was lamenting that her best students didn’t have a place to go to connect with their peers.  Her strongest students were generally not altogether interested in Facebook as it met social interests but did not meet their academic and career development needs.  So the result was, wouldn’t it be great if there was a social network where students could go to build a network of peers based upon their academic and career interests – and have this be a place where they felt comfortable in being smart and becoming motivated by the opportunities to learn and engage with other students across all disciplines and geographies?

Being desperately lost at the time I remember thinking, “Well that’s a great idea honey, but what I’d really like would be if you could read that map you’re holding”.

However, she was right, as there was, and still is, an amazing opportunity to build this community of engaged and motivated students, interacting based on their scholarly and career interests and passions.

As a longstanding supporter and employer of new graduates, I have lived the challenges associated with identifying and hiring the best graduates.  My perspective when looking at the professional social network represented by Equals6 is that it is tailor made for employers looking to recruit the brightest and best students.  The unassailable tenet of recruiting is that the best hires are made via personal referrals and networks and this is where social media excels. Social media sits at the intersection of technology and networking and, hence, Equals6 not only meets student academic and career development needs but also the very real and compelling recruiting needs of employers.

So based on these fundamental student and employer needs, we built what is now Equals6 -  a young, but growing and dynamic professional social network for students - a place where great students can become even better and a vibrant talent community where schools and employers can go to identify their future star performers.

New Blogger Intro - HR Heuristics with Stephanie

Hi Equals6 Bloggees!  Here’s a little intro about myself, and why I’m blogging about HR topics in the Equals6 world:

I’m passionate.  About a lot of things.  “Helping” (people, organizations, kittens) is one of those things.  From my background in Human Resources, most of my helping involves those who are looking for a job.  We’re not talking about just any job here, though; their dream jobs.  Jobs they’d be ecstatic to work in for 40+ hours a week, jobs that are challenging and make a difference in peoples’ lives.  Essentially, jobs like the ones they’d find at Apple and Google, but without having to battle 20,000 other applicants for the title.  And, essentially, that’s why I’ve been asked to blog here; to help students in Equals6 and beyond find their dream jobs.  Together we can silence your parents’ aspirations of finding you a nice cushy job you can stay in until you retire (unless that’s what you want), and find those jobs that really make you want to spring out of bed in the morning.  Sure, there’ll be much more work and risk involved, but, we’re here on this planet to make a difference, not to be indifferent. In the spirit of the ever-concise and impactful Steve Jobs: “let’s make a dent in the universe.” One dream job at a time.

Over the course of my blogging-time here at Equals6, we’ll cover topics such as:

  • HR Behind the Scenes: Infiltrating the Job Market
  • Most Effective Resume and Cover-Letter Formats
  • The Real Purpose of Networking
  • Interviews: Ace Them
  • Crazy Approaches to Job Hunting that Worked
  • Are Gap Years OK?
  • Funding Your Own Job
  • Mentorship
  • And more!

I’m, of course, incredibly excited to be part of the Equals6 movement, and look forward to chatting with you about all things HR.   Please feel free to PM me on Equals6 or Facebook, or send me an email at pronk.stephanie[at]  Cheers!

Stephanie has experience in the field of Human Resources with employers such as: The Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, Entrepreneurs with Disabilities Network, Metro Community Housing Association, Saint Mary’s University, and The Hub Halifax, and she has volunteered for organizations including the Khyber Arts Society, SMU HR Society, SMU Environmental Society, Salvation Army, Net Impact, and the Atlantic Canada Jazz Festival.