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June 2012

Dear new grad (and others making a fresh start)

Although you have heard this before, I want to put a spin on this career advice: “Value your life experience.”

Your summer jobs, your volunteer work, your work-study assignments, your practicum, your internship, your evening jobs, your lawn mowing and baby sitting, caring for your grandparents — all these may make the difference between a job / no job.

1) Instead of just listing these on your resume under Volunteer Work, Temporary Employment or Summer Jobs, cluster them under appropriate functional headings like Retail and Customer Service, Event Coordination, Summer Leadership Experience, or Human Service Experience. Headline them somewhere in the top 1/3 of your resume. This will draw attention to the experience you want to showcase.

2) Then bullet at least 2-3 accomplishments that bring your skills to life — e.g,: a) Entrusted with keys to open and close locker rooms at large public swimming pool; b) Initiated coding system for lost and found items and kept accurate daily records; c) Held perfect attendance record during busy three-month summer job which earned ‘Employee of the Month’ award.

3) Get (or make) your own personal business card. Right away… ASAP… (See my last month's column, May 2012 — “What's your line — Is your business card working for you?” Your business card is invaluable as you make yourself memorable to people you meet. Practice using it with family and friends.

4) Perfect your telephone skills. Practice, practice, practice. Role play with a friend. What message do you leave on someone's answering machine so you get a call back? How do you get to the person who makes the decisions? This will separate you from your competition.

Did you know that as an alumnus you are entitled to resources and services at the Career Services Center (ground floor EUC)? If you're a recent alumnus you have up to six months after graduation to enjoy all the benefits you had as a student — including individual counseling. Go to

More than six months after graduation there are CSC resources available to you:

Keep learning about the job search process. It is a survival skill you will need the rest of your life. Good luck!

Kathleen Martinek, former UNCG Alumni Career Counselor, has more than 15 years experience in career development and corporate management. She can be reached at







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