March 2009

NY Times: Basically, you’ll never save enough to pay for college

March 25, 2009

It’s not a long article — more of a USA Today-style nugget — but it confirms what most of us already know, which is that college tuition rates are rising much faster than our rate of savings (or the interest anyone plans to earn on those savings in the very near future). Long story short: […]

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5 Ways to Win More Scholarship Money

March 18, 2009

If you’re a student who’s already in college or about to start, you have my deepest condolences. The economy you’re inheriting hasn’t only devastated the job market you’ll soon be trying to claw your way into, but also the financial resources of the universities to which you’re applying. That’s right – those fat financial-aid packages […]

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10 Tips on Getting the Best College Financial Aid Package

March 16, 2009

I write about scholarships because it’s what I know, but let’s be honest — not everyone can bring ’em home. On the other hand, however, everyone has access to the federal financial aid system, and everyone’s school has a financial aid office, so everyone should pay close attention to how they can best extract the […]

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Should You Take a Year Off Before Starting College?

March 15, 2009

Jonathan Glater of the New York Times floats the idea, and although I don’t agree with his primary reasoning (there may be more federal financial aid available due to new Obama proposals…or maybe not), I think it’s an idea worth considering. Glater cites proposed new policies that would increase some grants by a few hundred […]

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Warning For The Hypersensitive And The Faint Of Heart

March 9, 2009

When I talk about resumes and cover letters, I’m opinionated and direct, and I’ll always tell you exactly what I think. That’s my own characterization of myself, anyway. Others have called me rude, insensitive, arrogant, and other, more R-rated terms. But usually the people who knock me are students who have never had a full-time […]

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Why Should I Listen To This Guy?

March 9, 2009

Always a good question. Personally, I can’t pick up any kind of how-to or other instructional book these days without thinking: Who is this person, exactly, and why should I listen to what he/she has to say? What have he/she done to be anointed a so-called “expert”? So let me make my case in the […]

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The Forest, The Trees, and Whatnot

March 9, 2009

What’s the point of a resume, anyway? I mean, if you want the job, why don’t you just send a letter and ask nicely if you can have it, pretty please with sugar on top? That’d be nice – sure would eliminate a lot of time spent polishing (and padding) a resume. But of course, […]

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The Resume: Your Best Foot Forward

March 9, 2009

This is the single most important concept of this site, and I repeat it several hundred times (seems like, anyway) throughout the pages. This seems obvious, but honestly, most people don’t really understand this until it’s pointed out to them. Ask someone what their resume is, and the answer goes something like, “it’s the thing […]

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The Internet Has Changed Everything About The Way You’ll Get Your First Job

March 9, 2009

In Fact, It’s Made It A Lot More Difficult. How? Because everyone and his mom has access to millions of job listings. Used to be, if you lived in Iowa and saw a job opening, you could be pretty sure that you were only going to be competing with other Iowans for that job. But […]

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Spell Everything Right. Everything.

March 9, 2009

My agency once managed a very large online events calendar for a major news website in Phoenix, where I live. It was a very important job, but it didn’t require a great deal of experience, so we placed an ad at Arizona State University, looking for an intern to handle the job of editing the […]

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Use correct grammar.

March 9, 2009

Most of what I just said about spelling applies to grammar as well, although there is one slight difference: most people, including your potential employers, are not masters of grammar. You can screw up a little here and there, and it’ll go unnoticed. For instance, should you say “if I were a rich man” or […]

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Fitting 10 Pounds of Shit in a 5-Pound Bag

March 9, 2009

As a humor columnist for my college newspaper, The Capaha Arrow at Southeast Missouri State University, I was long-winded and often wrote longer columns than space would allow my editors to print. Seems I loved the sound of my own voice (and if you’ve gotten this far into this e-book, I doubt you’re surprised). So […]

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Remove The Objective

March 9, 2009

There, I said it. Whew. I feel better now. There are some things that happen every day in this world that make absolutely no sense, but they keep happening anyway, just because that’s the way it’s always been. This phenomenon explains, among other things, why every Yanni CD goes platinum, why Pizza Hut keeps stuffing […]

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Don’t include your GPA

March 9, 2009

You read that correctly: I said you can leave your GPA off your resume. Slowly back away from the screen, breathe deeply, calm yourself down, and re-approach the computer at the next paragraph. Hey, you’re back! Good. Here’s the deal about GPA: As far back as you can remember, classroom grades have been the only […]

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Showing up

March 9, 2009

Did you ever see the movie “Hardball,” the inspirational tale of Keanu Reeves teaching love and teamwork to a group of poor inner-city kids? Neither did I, but I caught about 10 seconds of it one day while I was channel-surfing. I caught the part where Keanu, tears in his eyes, tells his ragtag group […]

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Exams

March 9, 2009

Acing midterms and finals is still the number one way to leave college with an excellent GPA. Exams are supposed to cover the most important concepts and skills that a class has to offer and reveal to what degree you’ve mastered all these concepts and skills. So why is it that test scores don’t necessarily […]

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A Wealth Of Personal Activities

March 9, 2009

If you like to water ski, or play shuffleboard or crochet dog sweaters, good for you. As an employer, I don’t give a damn. If this resume is truly your one-time, one-page, rehearsed best effort, then your personal activities don’t belong anywhere on it. If you can’t talk about yourself for one measly page without […]

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Fraternities And Sororities

March 9, 2009

Everything I said about personal interests also goes for social Greek organizations, and also most service fraternities. Yes, but: Aren’t fraternities and sororities great for networking after college is over – including job-market networking? Yes, they’re definitely great for networking. And I must confess that I never joined a fraternity, so I don’t have personal […]

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High School Achievements

March 9, 2009

Almost without exception, you should not put high school achievements on your resume. Unless you cured a disease or saved the world from certain destruction and have the newspaper articles to prove it, leave this stuff out. Why? Because things were different in high school. You were competing against a hodgepodge of 16- and 17-year-olds […]

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Education Is A Commodity

March 9, 2009

Ever hear the talking heads on CNN discussing the stock market and talking about the “commodities market”? They’re talking about stuff like coffee beans, wheat, corn, etc. We call these things commodities, which means there isn’t much difference between coffee beans in Africa or Jamaica or Guatemala. Sure, there are subtle variations in quality and […]

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More Great Advice No One’s Given You

March 9, 2009

Use a real email address. Do not spend hours putting together a great resume and then ruin your professional image by putting down phatbootyshaka@aol.com or demonicoverlord420@yahoo.com. Or even goyankees@, andyaknowdis@msn.com. Sign up for a new Yahoo! or Hotmail address that is firstname.lastname, firstname_lastname, etc. Use it for all job-related correspondence. Piggy Forgetful, use graphic and […]

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Resume Photo: To See, Or Not To See?

March 9, 2009

When I was a graduate student at the University of Missouri, few topics of discussion generated the ferocity of debate as the question of whether you should attach a photo to your resume. For most readers, this is a completely new idea. It’s rarely mentioned in any books on the subject, and ten bucks says […]

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References Available Upon Request

March 9, 2009

This runs neck-and-neck with the Objective as the most annoying, ubiquitous, aggravating mistake on resumes today, both for new as well as experienced job-seekers. Why is it such a big deal? First let’s recall some important things that we’ve already learned: You’re competing with hundreds of other people for this job, and the employer already […]

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Internships

March 9, 2009

For students who are still in college, internships are the most popular form of experience on a resume. There’s a good reason for that: just about every business out there loves interns. Adores them. We love interns because you’re cheap! Hell, a lot of the time, in the case of unpaid internships, you’re not just […]

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”Yes, I Invented Post-It Notes” Or To Pad, Or Not To Pad?

March 9, 2009

With all that talk about the thousands of new competitors you’re going to have for every job thanks to the Internet, you’re probably already thinking about padding your resume. After all, I’ve been railing and railing on you about putting your best foot forward in this one concise page, right? So when the competition is […]

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Padding Principle 1: Don’t Include Skills You Don’t Have

March 9, 2009

It bears repeating: a surprising many people think that padding your resume means making stuff up out of thin air. They think that if they just pack enough BS into their resume, then they’ll look like a major big shot to whom companies will want to make a big job offer right away. But that’s […]

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Padding Principle 2: If You’ve Held Multiple Positions At The Same Company, Use The Best One

March 9, 2009

You may have started out in the mail room in 2003 and moved up to receptionist in 2004 and up to personnel manager in 2005, but you don’t need to give details about every single step you’ve made in order to get where you are. More important than the mundane details of your ascent are […]

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Padding Principle 3: If The Company On Your Resume No Longer Exists, Then You’ve Got More Leeway When Padding

March 9, 2009

This is especially useful for those of you who were working, or at least in college, during the heyday of the Internet. If you worked in an industry that was even close to being associated with the Internet, chances are you did some work for a company that doesn’t exist today. That was a real […]

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Padding Principle 4: Use Powerful, Active Words To Describe Your Duties.

March 9, 2009

This isn’t only a principle of padding; it’s a principle of good resume writing and, for that matter, all good writing. But I mean to take it a step further here in our padding section to remind you that even seemingly frivolous or even fun things you’ve done on the job can be described as […]

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Web Resumes

March 9, 2009

Long, long ago, in a place called 1997, both the education and business worlds alike were buzzing about Web resumes. Just to clarify, I’m not referring to the ability to email someone your current resume, or to upload it to an online storehouse of resumes like Monster or Careerbuilder. When I say “Web resume,” I’m […]

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