As you prepare to enter the job market, it is important to understand that you are really trying to market a new product: yourself! As such, it is important to understand the tools and resources available to you, so that you can highlight your greatest attributes and experiences. Understanding the best practices for resumes/cover letters, your online presence, interviews, and your professional image will allow you to maximize your self-marketing efforts.
The most compelling resumes are those that show HOW you have demonstrated a specific skill, rather than simply telling the employer that you possess it. Think of bullet points on your resume as statements of accomplishments and impact – not a laundry list of your job duties as defined in your job description. Don’t worry if you don’t have a lot of ‘real’ working experience. At this stage in your career employers like to see the transferrable skills you developed from you other experiences.
Employers and recruiters want to see what you can do for them, so include major achievements that relate to the job for which you are applying. Your resume should be an embodiment of your personal brand.
To differentiate yourself from the crowd, don’t forget to include some things that make you stand out. For example, are you a fashion blogger, avid traveller or have a very interesting personal interest? Make sure you include this in your skills and interests section.
A cover letter should always accompany a resume unless the employer indicates not to do so. This is a professional business document and it should follow a proper format. Remember that employers typically receive many applications and normally will only skim through them. Make the extra effort to ensure your cover letter stands out from the rest.
- Employers typically spend only up to sixty seconds initially reviewing a resume, so you must ensure that your resume clearly and quickly communicates your professional journey, and your personal brand.
- Triple check your spelling and grammar! Have a friend, a peer or Relationship Manager review your resume.
- Make an extra effort to ensure your cover letter stands out from the rest. Start by asking yourself some of these questions:
- What are the most important skills that employers desire in job‐seekers?
- What makes you stand out from the group?
- What skill sets are important to the job you are applying to?
TOOLS & LINKS:
There are a number of resources related to résumés and cover letters available to Rotman Commerce students. Log in to the Rotman Commerce Portal > Career Centre > Resources to access these!
Creating a professional online presence is really an extension and application of your professional and personal image. You should approach the online world as your digital footprint, since increasingly employers are scouting their potential candidates online as a standard element of the screening process. You should ensure that you are conducting yourself online with a sense of purpose and an acknowledgement that anyone could be viewing your activity. As such, you need to make sure that your personal life and your brand aren’t in apparent conflict, and that your online activity maximizes your potential for employers.
LinkedIn is the leading network for business professionals. LinkedIn users include recruiters, executives, HR directors, and influencers from all areas of the business world. It allows you to easily make networking connections and introductions to key players, as well as conduct target research and learn about corporate cultures and values. We encourage all Rotman Commerce students to create a LinkedIn profile and we have workshops and experts on staff to help you. We also have a professional photographer come in to take our students profile photos.
It is a vital and user-friendly tool in your job search, as it offers a myriad of communication options and search parameters.
- Add a professional-looking profile photo. A headshot is best. Add a background photo to brand your industry / career goals.
- While you are building your profile and doing your research, you may want to adjust your privacy and update settings so that the network will not receive notification whenever you update or change your profile information. You can also make yourself anonymous, allowing you to conduct research privately.
- Stand out with a keyword-rich headline that describes your personal value proposition.
- Join Groups and follow companies in your industry, especially those to which you may consider applying.
- Ask for recommendations from past or current colleagues
Facebook is the world’s leading social network, and most people consider it to be a fun personal resource for connectivity. However, it is an increasingly vital tool for business—recent statistics show that nearly eighty-five percent of North American businesses are now using Facebook to post events, jobs and networking opportunities. With this in mind, you will want to leverage your social media activity to grow your network, while bearing in mind that not everything you want to share should be seen by the companies you are attempting to connect with.
- Edit your privacy setting so that you can control the audience. Posts, photos, and other highly personal content should be seen only by your friends. Alternatively, you can approach content from a broader perspective—simply don’t share anything that you wouldn’t want anyone/everyone to hear.
- Join the Rotman Commerce Facebook page to keep up to date on current events at the Career Centre and across the program.
- Actively network by following pages of organizations in which you have interest, and monitor and interact with their content. This ensures that you are informed about their latest initiatives or emerging trends.
Since Twitter first emerged in 2006, it has become one of the biggest and most rapidly growing social networks. With over one billion accounts, it has tremendous reach and has become a vital tool for brand awareness and management. The vast majority of companies who use Twitter post at least once per day, so really it is a massive ongoing conversation between users of all types. That being said, it is important to recognize how to engage this platform in your career.
- Keep your profile focused on employers. Use a professional description of yourself to attract recruiter interest, and try to use a professional-sounding username.
- Follow for quality rather than quantity. One of the challenging aspects of Twitter is the sheer number of profiles and the amount of reposted information. Follow only those people you are genuinely interesting in connecting with, in order to avoid becoming lost in the slipstream of information.
- Follow leaders in your industry or profession. Often these accounts can be a source of knowledge and insight, and often you can even converse directly with those people.
- Join in on community career discussions with your favourite companies!
Instagram has grown from a simple photo-sharing app to be one of the biggest and fastest marketing tools in the world. With over 300 million active users, it represents a haven for anyone looking to test a brand, connect with tastemakers, or engage with an active marketing community. Many companies use it to share the visual side of their brand or the nuances of their corporate culture, so it can be a strong resource for anyone looking to learn more about what it is actually like “inside” any given organization.
- If possible, use the same name for your Twitter or other social media accounts. This helps to link your online identities and since content is often shared across platforms, it makes it easier for people to track or attribute content.
- Use photos that visually embody your personal brand, and include kind of relevant hashtags you use on other social media.
- Engage with the content: follow, share, and comment on the photos of leaders or brands that you are researching.
- Follow our Rotman_Commerce_Career Instagram account!
Dos and Don’ts of Social Media:
- Have social media profiles.
- Make sure your LinkedIn profile is updated.
- Be conscious about what you post, where you post it, and who can see it!
- Post interesting, witty, and relevant content.
- Check out social media accounts of companies!
- Post negative or obscene content on your social media.
- Identify yourself as ‘unemployed’ or ‘jobseeker’ on social media.
- Forget to be consistent.
- Use an inappropriate photo as your profile picture.
- Forget to interact.
Rotman Commerce Social Media
Keep in touch with us on social media! We’re on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and LinkedIn.
ROTMAN COMMERCE GENERAL SOCIAL MEDIA LINKS
ROTMAN COMMERCE ALUMNI
LinkedIn: Rotman Commerce Alumni Network Group
ROTMAN COMMERCE CAREER CENTRE
Social Media Tools
- Scrubber: clean up your social media and find what potentially inappropriate content is currently public on your profile.
- How to take a great headshot on a budget.
- Social Media Checklist for Job Seekers.
Like all aspects of a job search, preparation is key for an effective interview. By the time you are invited for an interview, you must feel confident that you have thoroughly researched the industry, organization, and the position offered. In addition, you should also prepare yourself for the most common types of interview questions and case scenarios.
Introduction Questions: Inquiries such as “tell me about yourself” or “walk me through your resume” are designed to give the interviewee a short introduction and get conversation flowing.
Behavioural Questions: Questions that ask you to refer to specific instances when you were required to exhibit a certain abstract skill or trait, such as problem solving or interpersonal communication (i.e. “tell me about a time you used analytic thinking to solve a problem”). In these types of questions, interviewers are asking you to identify positive behaviours, with the assumption that past performance is the best indicator of future results.
Situational Questions: When an interviewer poses a hypothetical challenge or scenario, they are posing a situational question. Generally, these inquiries aim to test the same attributes as behavioural questions, but in a more spontaneous, judgment-based model.
Technical Questions: Questions related to whatever technical knowledge or competency is needed for that specific industry or company. These can come in a variety of forms: case interviews, stock pitch, market sizing, excel, financial modelling, etc. These are becoming much more common types of questions.
Market/Industry Questions: Inquiries meant to assess your knowledge about that industry or trends in the sector in general.
Assess your current level of interview skill, and practice accordingly, by participating in mock interviews through the Rotman Commerce Career Centre.
- Mock interviews are a great way to prepare for answering actual interview questions that the employer will ask. It is also a good way to notice habits that might harm your chances of impressing an employer.
- The mock interviewer should prepare a list of questions that are likely to be asked at an interview. You should separately prepare a variety of answers (without knowing the specific questions) that highlight your skills and utilize important interview tips. Once you have prepared, you and the mock interviewer should go through a fake interview process from introduction to conclusion.
Interview Close & Follow Up
Always prepare two to three final questions for the recruiter. This not only speaks to seriousness of intent on your part, but also demonstrates that you are already thinking about areas of improvement or the next steps in the hiring process.
It is also a good practice to give the recruiter a quick summary of your main talking points, a comment or two of appreciation for the interview, and a clear indication of interest in the position. You want to eliminate any ambiguity that the interviewer may perceive about your work experience and your personal brand.
Ensure also that you send a thank you email or leave a subsequent voice message (once enough time has passed), as it can help to restate your interest in the position and/or allow the recruiter to provide you with feedback.
TOOLS & LINKS:
There are a number of resources related to interviewing available to Rotman Commerce students. Log in to the Rotman Commerce Portal > Career Centre > Resources to access these!
Personal Value Proposition
Your personal value proposition (PVP) is at the heart of your career strategy. It’s the foundation for everything in a job search — targeting potential employers, attracting the help of others, and explaining why you’re the one to pick for the job. It’s why to hire you, not someone else.
Our Career Services team can help you develop a strong and compelling PVP that will be memorable and relevant to your audience. This can and should change over time as you gain new understanding of the industries, companies and roles that you’re targeting. Your pitch will change slightly based on the context in which you are using it i.e. email or in person, but will always re-iterate the same core message.
TOOLS AND LINKS:
- How to create your Personal Value Proposition
- Harvard Business Review: Build Your Personal Value Proposition
While on campus, you will have the opportunity to meet with employers, peers, alumni, and faculty on a and you have likely heard about how a professional appearance will impact your career. You must project a similar level of professionalism in your image as you search for a job.
Professionalism encompasses dress, language, and behaviour, and has a huge impact on how recruiters perceive your personal brand.
For industry networking and educational events, dress code ranges from business casual to formal business attire depending on the type of event and industry. Appropriate dress code will be noted in the event invitation. Formal business attire is strongly recommended for all job interviews and most employer information sessions. A well-fitted dark suit is always an appropriate choice for either gender.
- Business Casual for Men: dress pants and button up shirt, tie and blazer are optional.
- Business Casual for Women: dress pants or knee-length skirt, blouse.
- Formal Business Attire for Men: dark suit, light shirt, tie, dress socks and shoes.
- Formal Business Attire for Women: dark suit with pants or knee-length skirt, blouse, close-toe flat or low heeled shoes.
- U of T – Dress for Success
- U of T – Dress for Success – Checklist
- Student Life Network – Dress for Success
Language skills are increasingly important in the modern business world. With the proliferation of technology, the rate of our communication has increased while also becoming more depersonalized, and therefore it is harder to impart meaning. It is important to work to improve your language skills to ensure clarity and concision in all your career interactions.
- Increase your functional vocabulary
- Read business-related materials
- Watch business relation programs
- Practice new terms in everyday conversation
Professional behaviour means understanding the personal and social boundaries of an office environment—you need to attune to the standards set by the workplace (which can vary depending on the type of job/company). It also means using respect as the basis for all interactions, no matter the participants.
- Strive for excellence, but always be open to improvement.
- Be trustworthy and honest.
- Respect and maintain the confidentiality of your co-workers and clients.
- Set a good example at all time.
Want to get your email messages read by prospective employers and recruiters? There is a formula to it! Here are tips for sending an email when job hunting, including choosing an email account, formatting your email messages, what to put in the Subject Line of your message, how to create an email signature, and the best way to send email messages when job searching.
When you’re looking for a job, it’s a good idea to set up a special email account just for job searching. That way your professional email won’t get mixed in with your personal mail.
Ensure you are always checking your University of Toronto email. All correspondence from the Career Centre will be sent to your official UTor ID. If you do not plan on using your U of Toronto email make sure you go into the RC Portal to set up your forwarding address.
- Avoid making a general demand – “Do you know of any jobs that would be good for me?” This sort of question is overwhelming and it puts an undue burden on your contact. If you feel that it’s appropriate to ask them for an introduction to someone else, draft the email for them to forward along so that you’re in control of what they say about you AND you’ve saved them time.
- Remember that you are never the ONLY ONE emailing an alumnus or professional for an informational meeting – be mindful of this.
- Don’t be aggressive or long-winded in your email; keep it short and sweet.
- Subject line – be specific so the person knows ahead of time what your note will be about.
- Provide a brief introduction of yourself then acknowledge how you found their name and politely ask if they would have capacity to meet with you in the coming weeks. Don’t ask to meet them ASAP or give specific dates/times – you need to be FLEXIBLE with their schedule not vice versa.
- Don’t attach your resume to the email – this can be emailed to them after you meet if they ask for it. Include your LinkedIn URL at the bottom of your signature so they can easily look you up (they will, anyway).
- If you don’t hear back, you can send a reminder email a 1-2 weeks after your original email – but if they still don’t respond, leave it – assume they’re busy and always keep in mind what may be going on in their workplace, i.e. was there an M&A announcement; are they in finance and it is quarter, month or year end?