Academic & Career Services

Job Search Tools

Below you will find information about Employment, Career Fairs, Networking, Interviews, Resume and Cover Letters.

Click here for a detailed packet of information that includes sample résumés, a list of action verbs, and information about cover letters and references.

Résumés for America is an online résumé builder that helps you to create an effective and professional resume by providing expert tips, writing examples, and helpful suggestions. The software also comes with a cover letter builder, thank you letter builder, and more.

Students who are registering for the first time or returning students who are logging in, visit the free resume builder now and sign in with your UNK email address.

Upon completing your résumé, email it to careerserv@unk.edu or drop it off at our office so we can provide feedback.

Résumés
A résumé is your marketing tool, and advertisement of your qualifications and abilities. It is a concise document – a snapshot – of your relevant education, experience, and skills. It is often the first item that a potential employer sees, and is used to screen applicants competing for a position. Obviously, you want your résumé to screen you in, leading you to the next step in the job search process. With that in mind, construct your résumé so it supports your career objective, i.e., it presents evidence showing that you have the skills and knowledge necessary to perform the job. Once you have a clear view of your target job, or at least your target industry, you can develop a résumé that highlights the appropriate skills and experiences. Visit Academic and Career Services if you need help defining your career objective.

Types of Résumés

  • Chronological - an account of whom you've worked for and what you've accomplished in each position, listed in reverse chronological order. It is the style most commonly used by new college graduates and by individuals changing jobs within a given career field.
  • Functional - places the emphasis on what you've accomplished and de-emphasizes where you did it. This allows the candidate to organize experiences, gathered from a variety of arenas, according to specific functions or skills.
  • Combination - merge the elements of each of the other styles. They will include an overview or summary of qualifications at the beginning, in which they stress their skills and characteristics appropriate for the position, but they revert to the reverse chronological style for the remainder of the document.
  • Sample Education Resume - Resume specifically designed for Teacher Candidates. This Sample Chronological Resume is the format most commonly used for recent graduates

Additional Online Resource: Purdue Online Writing Lab: Résumé Workshop

Résumé Advice for Veterans

COVER LETTERS
Before you write the cover letter, ask yourself these four questions:

  1. Who, specifically, should receive the cover letter? Target your recipients carefully.
  2. What is the best way to locate the right contacts? Research the industry/field/company.
  3. How can I motivate the reader to interview me? Address the employer's needs and your strengths.
  4. What points do I want to emphasize? Develop self-awareness and express confidence and enthusiasm.

The answers to these questions will focus your efforts and strengthen your case. You must next address the tone and presentation of the letter:

  • Use a positive and outgoing writing style.
  • Project energy and confidence.
  • Avoid negative and apologetic statements.
  • Adopt a business-like, but cordial, tone.

In general, picture the likely reader and adjust the style and tone of your letter accordingly. Become familiar with the prevalent style in your field. If the recipient is apt to be conservative, write a conservative cover letter. If your reader appreciates creativity, use a creative approach. Be cautious in making assumptions though.

The words you use are important in conveying both message and tone. Accomplishments are best expressed through action verbs (communicated, clarified, facilitated). Select self-descriptive words to express personal characteristics (enthusiastic, creative, dependable). Use words sparingly, and try to limit the length of the letter to one page.


Academic & Career Services is excited to present the Big Interview, an interactive site to help you ace your next job interview.  The site includes 7 core-learning modules, tips on how to answer difficult questions, and as long as you have Internet access and a webcam you're able to record practice interviews! It's easy to sign up, easy to use...and it's free!

Interviewing is perhaps the most important aspect of your job search. On this page we’ve outlined a 5-step process to successful interviewing and at the bottom of the page, take a look at links to handouts with more detailed information about specific aspects of interviewing.

5 Steps to a Successful Job Interview

PREPARE FOR THE INTERVIEW

  • Research the company and be able to connect your skills and goals to their needs (visit “Researching Occupations” in the “Exploring Majors & Careers” section of our website)
  • Review frequently asked interview questions
  • Develop questions for the interviewer
  • Know what to wear
  • Have a typed list of 3 – 5 professional references

MAKE A POSITIVE FIRST IMPRESSION

  • Strong eye contact and hand shake
  • Be prepared to engage in small talk to break the ice
  • Stick with positives, complaining about anything can be the “kiss of death” in an interview
  • Be aware of your nonverbal communication; facial expressions, posture, etc.

DEMONSTRATE YOUR POTENTIAL – What Employers are looking for

  • Can you do the job? – Employers want to see how your skills and experiences have prepared you for the position you are interviewing for. Use the STAR technique (see “Interview Ready” handout below) to back up your skills with experiences
  • Will you do the job? – Employers want to see that you are motivated to work for them and contribute to their well being. Do your homework; research the company and its mission, and have clear career goals that fit in with the company
  • Will you fit in? – Employers want to know if you will accept the organization’s way of doing things and if you’ll get along with your co-workers. They might ask about your ideal work environment or how you deal with conflict.

CLOSING WITH FINESSE

  • Ask the interviewer appropriate questions, show you have researched the organization
  • Re-state why you feel you are the best candidate and your interest in the position
  • Offer your references if they haven’t asked for them
  • Thank the interviewer for his/her time – maintain eye contact and give a firm handshake
  • Ask who is going to follow up with you and the timeline for their decision making process

IMPORTANT POST-INTERVIEW TASKS

  • Keep a record of the interview – detailed information about who you met with and your insights so that you can follow-up with them
  • Send a thank-you letter – confirm your interest in the job, show appreciation, and highlight your skills – if interviewed by more than 1 person, make sure to personalize each note
  • Anticipate a second interview – plan ahead to demonstrate how you will fit within the organization
  • Prepare to respond to an offer – carefully review the job, company, and geographic location
  • Call if you have not heard anything and the deadline has passed

Important Handouts
Interview Ready – Comprehensive look at all aspects of job interviewing, including the STAR technique
Common Interview Questions
Interview Attire
Interviewing to Win – PowerPoint outlining what to do before, during and after the interview
Researching a Company
Preparing for 2nd or 3rd Interviews
Top 10 Interview Mistakes

As many as 70% of all job offers are a direct result of networking. The hidden job market refers to jobs that are never advertised and if you only rely on applying for advertised positions then you are eliminating your chance to be considered for most openings.

Professional networking can be defined as connecting with people who can help you advance your career. You’ve probably heard the term “Six Degrees of Separation” that refers to the idea that through our connections with other people, we are all an average of six connections away from every person in the world. With that idea in mind, it is amazing where your career can go when you take time to get to know people and develop long-term relationships that can benefit you during your job search and as you develop through your professional life.

Imagine applying for your dream job. Would it be more effective to simply mail your cover letter and résumé to the address listed in an advertisement? Or through networking, meet someone in the organization who can hand deliver your documents to the hiring manager? That is the power of networking!

Additional Networking Tips

How to Network

How do I start networking?

How do I turn a contact into an ally?

Build Your Network While Attending UNK
There are many informal ways to enhance your network while you’re a student at UNK. Perhaps the most important thing you can do is get to know your professors and academic advisors. Also, through active involvement on campus and participating in community service you can meet more people from campus and the Kearney community.

Here is a list of several more formal networking activities that you can participate in as a college student. Advisors in Academic and Career Services are available to provide more information about any of these activities.

  • Attend Career Fairs
  • Job Shadow
  • Volunteer
  • Meet Alumni

Online networking is another important aspect of your job search. There are many sites that provide networking opportunities; one that focuses on professional networking is LinkedIn. LinkedIn is a professional networking site with over 70 million members around the world. It’s goal is to help you make better use of your professional network by showing you who your connections are connected to and allowing you to search for specific organizations or industries to find out if you’re connected to anyone there. Contact Academic and Career Services for more information.

Informational Interviews
There is no better way to learn about a career than to talk to someone who is currently working in your career field of interest. Conducting informational interviews can be a great way to gather information and a great way to start connecting with people who could remain a part of your professional network in the future. Click here for additional information about Informational Interviews; including how to set them up and possible questions to ask. Academic & Career Services can assist you in finding people to interview.

Online Resources:

Occupational Outlook Handbook – Provides information describing what workers do on the job, working conditions, training and education needed, earnings, and expected job prospects in a wide range of occupations

O*Net Online – Tool for career exploration and job analysis where you can browse groups of similar occupations to explore careers and read detailed descriptions of different occupations

JobShadow.com – Read real interviews from people as they talk about the jobs they do and the careers they have.

Learn How to Become – Provides detailed insight into 45 of today’s most popular career fields

Career Thoughts – Research careers using different criteria, such as academic major, fastest growing, or highest paying

CareerOneStop – Tools to help job seekers and students; sponsored by the US Department of Labor

mySkills myFuture – Type in your past jobs and get related jobs that use the same skills; sponsored by the US Department of Labor

Major Web-Links – Provides descriptions of career fields, lists of sample jobs and job search sites

International Internship Directory - reference guide to help match students with international internship opportunities

National Compensation Survey – A survey of employee salaries, wages and benefits designed to produce data at local levels, within broad regions and nationwide

NACE Salary Calculator – Salary data for more than 500 occupations in 560 regions of the United States

Professional Development Resources

Take a look at the publications below for tips related to professional development, as well as career and major exploration.

Choosing a Major provides tips on how to utilize Focus-2 in your major exploration process
Creating Your Resume and Cover Letter provides tips on writing these important job search documents.
Succeeding in the Interview walks you through what to do before, during, and after your job interview
You Can Succeed at the Career Fair walks you through what to do before, during and after a career fair.
Professional Job Search Strategies provides tips on developing a comprehensive job search plan.
Navigating the Job Application Process has specific job search advice for students in teacher education