How to help students network

How to help students network

Network building is essential to professional development for students. More so it can take place in a variety of ways. However, many students have a narrow definition of networking and are often intimidated by the idea. A key aspect of career coaching is helping students understand the myriad of ways networking can take place and how to approach it in small measurable steps.

A crucial part of building market intelligence and learning how to increase a students  competitive advantage comes from networking. More so, being able to network themselves not only empowers them to take ownership of their career development journey but helps them get comfortable talking about themselves and their interests. Network building is a long term practice that yields amazing results so it is always best if students starts early. The resource attached below provides a guide on how to help students do this. It details

  1. How to coach students through the networking process
  2. Help students understand informational interviews
  3. Guide students on how to tap into their existing network and build new ones

Conducting mock interviews

Conducting mock interviews

For many students preparing for an interview is the most nerve-wracking part of the job/internship application process. The only way to overcome these nerves is by simulating a similar environment t with people who understand the opportunity description. This is done through mock interviews. While students can research common questions, prepare responses and practice in the mirror several times, practicing with another person and receiving critical feedback is essential to adequately prepare for an interview. Thus when giving mock interviews, it is important to know the right questions to ask, what to look for in assessing the students answer and how to give feedback that helps the student move forward in their preparation. For details on how to do these, download the resource below .

How to review a students cover letter

How to review a students cover letter

Cover Letters are an application document that require students to describe their fit with and interest in the organization they are applying to. They are typically read after the resume has been examined and help to add nuance to each candidates relevant experiences. The role of the cover letter is often underestimated but it could be the determining factor when companies have to decide between 2 equally strong resumes.

 

In reviewing a student’s cover letter, the goal is to ensure that the student clearly and effectively communicate a compelling reason for their interest in the role/opportunity and a few core reasons why they would be a good fit and/or add value to the organization. The resource attached below provides:

  1. The fundamental elements that need to be communicated in a cover letter
  2. How to guide a student to reflect and identify compelling content for their cover letter
  3. A cover letter template you can use to provide a measurable assessment of a students cover letter

Guide to informational interviewing

Guide to informational interviewing

An informational interview is a meeting between someone who wants to learn more about an industry or profession and someone who is in that field. When exploring potential career interests, in your early university years, informational interviews are a great way to learn more about different career options. Informational interviews are also foundational to network building because they  provide an opportunity to initiate a conversation with a professional contact. These conversations can often lead to long standing relationships that could help students gain access to career building opportunities and understand how to attain success in their fields of interest.

 

As a student, you may be overwhelmed with concerns about what you can bring to the table in this type of interaction and worried about making a first impression. At this stage, your greatest asset is your curiosity and willingness to learn. Thus the best way to approach such conversations is by leaning towards that. Refer to the informational interview fact sheet attached below for a guide on how to:

  1. Set up informational interviews with people in and out of your network
  2. Writing compelling messages and emails
  3. Prepare for and follow up after an informational interview

The secret to artful interviewing

The secret to artful interviewing

The goal of an interview is to clearly and effectively communicate your fit for a role and within an organization. While this may feel difficult to do there is a simple science to interviewing successfully.  A successful interview begins with preparing adequately and the right way.  If you have an interview coming up or are hoping for one and feel overwhelmed a best practice is to phase your interview preparation in 3 main steps

 

STEP 1: Understand the organization and role you are applying for

STEP 2: Reflect on your fit with the organization. After doing this, sketch responses to common interview questions. The resource attached below will serve as a guide to preparing compelling responses to any experience based interview questions that come up.

STEP 3: Get comfortable sharing your stories and experiences through mock interviews

 

While you prepare, use the Interview checklist on page 10 of the resource attached below to ensure you are taking the right steps not just before, but during and after each interview.

Guide to a winning cover letter

Guide to a winning cover letter

The goal of a cover letter is to add context to the skills you have highlighted in your CV and demonstrate your understanding of the organization.

 

Cover letters are your opportunity to:

  1. Introduce yourself to your prospective employer
  2. Expand upon your resume, highlighting the most relevant experience
  3. Give an excellent example of your writing skills and attention to detail
  4. Give the organization a sense of your passion, ambition and commitment to their vision

The idea of starting a cover letter can be intimidating so to get started, we recommend you use the resource attached below for a guide to start structuring your cover letter and identifying the best way to describe your fit.

Writing a competitive professional resume

Writing a competitive professional resume

A resume is a document that highlights your key achievements, skills and experiences tailored to a specific professional opportunity. The primary job of a resume is to get you an interview. Essentially, it is your personal highlight reel and an opportunity to show your attention-to-detail. You may have heard the terms CV and resume used interchangeably in the past but what you need to submit depends on the type of opportunity you are applying for. A CV is often used for academic purposes (e.g applying for research oriented graduate programs) while a resume is used for professional jobs and internships. A CV details the projects you have done over the course of your career and will also include references. Thus a CV tends to be a much longer document, unlike the resume where your qualifications needs to be communicated in 1-2 pages (1 page if you are still in university).

 

Thus, if you are applying for professional opportunities, what you need is a 1 page resume. If you are in the early stages of building a resume or trying to improve the one you have, use the documents attached below, as a guide to the following:

  1. Essential elements of a resume and what is optional
  2. The right format to use and how to present your resume
  3. How to describe your experiences
  4. Sample resumes for a guide to what works

How to write a good professional bio

How to

Write a Professional ACN Bio

Your ACN Bio is what determines if an employer would take a look at your resume. Thus while you invest good time in your resume you must realize that your bio determines if all that effort would be worth it.

 

Your professional bio is the very first thing that the employer will see about you – even before they see your CV and as we all know, first impressions really count. When we receive your application documents for either a job or an internship, we will send them along to the partner organization by email and we will introduce you with the bio that you enter on your ACN profile. Therefore, this bio is also important because recruiters will ask about this. You can use your ACN bio as your LinkedIn professional bio. A sample LinkedIn profile to model yours off is of ALA graduate is that of Bradley Opere.