Be Prepared

Are you in the process of applying for internships and jobs?

University of Hartford’s Career and Professional Development Center can help you with résumé writing, mock interviews, questions to ask, salary negotiation, and more.

Résumé Development

A résumé is a tool used to market your skills, experiences, education and accomplishments to employers. Your résumé will assist you in getting an interview and making the important first impression. Tailor your résumé to the kind of job you are seeking. The qualifications listed in your résumé should match those listed in the job description of the position for which you are applying.

Résumé Writing Guide

Recruiters read résumés for an average of six-10 seconds. This may be devastating news given how many hours you spend working on your résumé, but it is useful information because it should impact how you write your résumé. Make sure your résumé is easy to scan. Here are some basic tips to help you make sure your résumé is getting the attention it deserves from recruiters:

  • Do not use centered text. Readability is improved with left-aligned text because people read left to right, so the eye naturally goes to the left of the page.

  • Do not use a resume template. You can make a perfectly formatted resume using only the tab, enter, space, and backspace keys.

  • Align date ranges to the right. This makes it easy for a reader to skim to see all your dates at once, getting a clear picture of your work and experiential history.

  • Keep font size consistent throughout your résumé. The only exception is your name, which should be slightly larger. Using too many sizes is distracting and can inhibit readability. To add emphasis, use bold, italics, and all-caps.

  • Use half-inch margins. This is standard for résumés and allows you maximum space on one page to show your skills and experience.

  • Use bullet points to describe your experiences at past jobs, in projects, or in activities, and other involvements. Bullet points allow for easy skimming.

  • Enhance the first couple of words of each of your bullet points. Use strong verbs at the beginning of your bullets to draw the reader in. Instead of saying “responsible for managing the store” say “managed the store,” since starting with the strong verb really drives home the action that you performed.

  • Use what, how, and why to guide your bullet writing. A good résumé bullet point will include an action verb, the subject, and then state “how” and/or "why" the action was completed. For example, “Develop and post content to Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram (what) using Hootsuite (how) to maximize client engagement (why)."

  • Be concise. You should strive to be descriptive in your writing, but also eliminate any words that do not add value to your sentence. If the sentence means exactly the same thing with and without the word, get rid of it.

  • Keep your bullets to a maximum of 2 lines.

  • Proofread for spelling, spacing errors, and typos.

  • Maintain some white space around your text so it does not appear cluttered.

  • Keep it to one page. For those who are heavily involved, this is especially tricky. You should therefore focus only on relevant experiences to the job.

  • Tailor your résumé. Based on the job description, choose to highlight a few jobs and skills that march the desired qualifications. Save your less relevant involvements on a separate document because they may be related to a different job you apply for in the future.

  • Eliminate the “extras.” You do not have to include a statement saying that references are available upon request on your resume. You should submit your references and their contact information on a separate sheet of paper once they are requested. Remember to alert your references each time you list them.

Submit Your Résumé

When submitting your résumé to a prospective employer, make sure you:

  • Convert your résumé to a PDF to ensure that your careful formatting work is preserved.

  • When submitting your résumé via email:

    • Include the name of the position in the subject line of the e-mail (or reference number if the employer included that).

    • Type the cover letter as your e-mail and attach a copy of your resume to the e-mail.

Other Resources:

Interview Preparation

To prepare for an interview, you should review sample questions and make sure you are thinking of some good examples of past experiences. Set up a mock interview with one of our career counselors.

Common Interview Questions:
  1. What are your long-term and short-term goals for your career development? How do you see yourself achieving these goals?
  2. What do you consider to be your greatest strengths and weaknesses?
  3. How would you describe yourself?
  4. What motivates you to put forth your greatest efforts?
  5. In what ways do you think you can contribute to our company?
  6. What do you know about our company?
  7. Describe a bad experience you had with one of your co-workers or supervisors. How was it resolved?
  8. Why did you select the college or university you attended?
  9. What led you to choose your field of study?
  10. Do you plan to continue on with your education?
  11. In what kind of work environment are you most comfortable?
  12. How do you handle working under pressure?
  13. What are the two or three things that are most important to you in your career?
  14. Are you willing to travel?
  15. What are some of the most important things you have learned from the mistakes you've made?
Questions to Ask Employers:

First-round Interview Questions

At this stage, you should aim to get a sense for what the position entails. Questions to ask vary from employer to employer. Thoroughly research the company and ask questions about new products, marketing strategies, or organizational challenges.

Second-round Interview Questions
At this level, the company is interested in gaining more specific information on your background and abilities. Likewise, you need to learn as much as possible about your potential employer. Prepare insightful questions that reflect your knowledge of the industry and the specific employer. For example:

  • Would you elaborate on your training program?
  • What is the management style of the organization?
  • Would you describe a typical work week?
  • What types of career paths or opportunities for professional development exist?
  • How would my performance be evaluated?
  • What are the qualities of those who have been successful in such a role?

Final Interview Questions

Some companies require three or more interviews to evaluate candidates. If this occurs, you are certainly a candidate that the company is seriously considering for employment. This is the time to ask any final questions concerning the organization. Focus on topics that have come up during previous interviews. At this point, the issues of salary and benefits will most likely be mentioned. If the employer does not bring it up, you may. Phrasing it in relation to a salary range is acceptable. Many of your questions at this stage will depend on individual research and areas of concern. Generally, insightful, well-thought-out questions that demonstrate your knowledge are the key. If you need assistance in formulating questions, stop by Career and Professional Development, GSU 207 and schedule an appointmentto meet with a Career Advisor.

Using LinkedIn

Why Use LinkedIn?

Your LinkedIn profile is your online professional presence. It serves as an online résumé, in which you have expanded space to discuss and describe more about your work and leadership experiences. Furthermore, LinkedIn is a powerful networking tool. Once your profile is established, you can use LinkedIn to “meet” people in your field, University of Hartford alumni, and stay in touch with past professional contacts.

LinkedIn also provides easy access to articles and thought-leaders in your field of interest. You can use the LinkedIn news feed to help you stay connected to current events in your field, stay up to date on what is happening at a specific company, and learn from important leaders in your area of study.

Helpful Resources to Get Started

Negotiation and Salary

When an employer makes you an offer, it may be appropriate to negotiate your salary.  Negotiating salaries is challenging, and can be risky. As with answering the desired salary question, it is important to be knowledgeable about the market and your field before you begin negotiating. To get started, here are some helpful resources: