Dress to impress with College of General Studies’ interview workshops

Vanessa Marcano

Vanessa Marcano

Students anxious to get “in the know” about marketing their skills to employers or simply looking to polish their job-searching abilities will have to look no further than the two workshops hosted by the College of General Studies next week. Résumé writing and interview skills will be the main subject areas of these workshops taking place at room 103 of The Union.

The résumé-writing workshop, to be held on Sept. 29 from noon to 1 p.m., will cover basic information that students should have in mind when putting their résumés together, said Susan Fredrikson, employment development coordinator at the College of General Studies.

“We will give different ideas and approaches on how to present information, focus on transferable skills, as well as how to target the information towards the situation they are using it for,” said Fredrikson, who is also in charge of this workshop.

There are some general guidelines when it comes to writing an appropriate résumé, Fredrikson explained.

“A one-page résumé is preferred, but if that means that you must shrink the font to a point where it can’t be easily read, then that doesn’t make sense,” she said.

Other common mistakes include not knowing how to prioritize the truly important information or not putting enough emphasis on identifying transferable skills, Fredrikson said.

“The information related to the job you’re applying for is most important … [as well as] identifying transferable skills, even if the job wasn’t related to their major or interest. Students have still used skills that can be helpful somewhere else,” she said.

Despite various skills that may be listed on a résumé, when it comes to desirable traits on a candidate, employers put communication skills at the top of their list.

“If you think about it, most people have used these skills in one way or another, even if the job was as a cashier or at a gas station,” said Fredrikson.

In the effort to write a more impressive text, students may not think in those terms and they may not prioritize information in the best way.

“It’s key to think in terms of what you want them to see first. You must tailor your résumé for each job you apply,” she said.

After a top-notch résumé has been written, then comes a more challenging yet potentially rewarding part of the job search: the interview. Nervousness, bland answers and general ill preparation are some of the issues that plague many at the time of job interviews. The workshop on Sept. 30, from 1 to 2 p.m., will help students sharpen their interview skills to improve their chances of getting a job in the “real world”.

“This workshop will focus on how to present yourself at interviews and different approaches on how to answer tough interview questions,” Fredrikson said. Behavior-based interviewing, in which the interviewee must give a specific example of how he or she solved a work-related problem, will also be addressed at the workshop. “We try to teach them tools to help them be ready for a variety of situations. It’s hard to predict what they will ask,” she said.

Megan Peter, a senior consumer affairs major who has worked at The Union’s Java City since her freshman year, praised the College of General Studies’ services in helping students improve their job-hunting skills.

“When I brought in my résumé, they helped me tweak it and showed me all the possibilities I had. I did a cover letter for Target … I’m also hoping to do mock interviews with them. It has been a huge help for me,” she said.

Peter advises students to take advantage of the College of General Studies’ career services. “I just wish they’d advertise more about the things they can do.”

Graphic design major Hannah Morford, who has been working with Outback Jacks for a couple of weeks, said one of the skills she feels she could improve on is thinking on her feet during interviews.

“I need to be a bit better at that; coming up with a creative answer on the spot,” she said. Morford, also a theater minor, said her communication skills have helped her when looking for jobs.