All posts by Phillip Rodriguez

Give Them a Reason to Choose You

Choose you art

Have you ever felt that you were more than qualified for a job but just never got a call for an interview? First thing you must know is that you are not the only one. Chances are, each open position is receiving about 100+ resumes and cover letters for the job you are applying to. Just getting your resume selected is a challenge of its own.

So why are you not being selected for a chance to interview? Let’s take a look at some common mistakes and improvements you can make to your cover letter and resume to make sure you are one of the chosen for that next job interview.

Make sure your resume isn’t boring. Whoever is sifting through all the resumes for this position is going to see a lot of standard, traditional resumes. There is nothing wrong with traditional but you need to set yourself from the majority. Remember this; numbers can sell your experience better than words. What this means is, when typing your experiences, anyplace that you can include a number put it there.

Here are two examples for a person applying for an Event Marketing Manager. One is from a resume not accepted and one is from someone placed to the top of the pile.


  • Marketed and Planned Events. (Boring and Not Selected)
  • Marked and planned over 100 events and increased revenue by 40%. (Stands out and Selected)

The second example gives employers facts and shows them that you made your last company money, which means most likely you will make them money. No company is going to look away from someone who can make them money.

The next thing that will set you apart from that rest of the applicants is your cover letter. This is what will be read first and if it is too generic, the reader is going to skip right over you. A resume will show of your experiences, but a cover letter is where you have the opportunity to sell yourself to the employer.

Here are some keys to a good cover letter:

  • Do your research and find the HR Directors name or the name of the department head you are applying for and address it to that specific person. This will go a long way!
  • Explain why you are interested in the position. Be specific and let them know why you are choosing them. This will give them more of a reason to select you
  • Explain how you can deliver results in the position you are applying for. Expand upon one or two points in your resume that directly relate to the position you are applying for.
  • Do not ramble about things. You want to be concise, specific and relevant.
  • Be Honest, genuine and confident – Companies will see that and want to meet you in person.

Check out this link for The Mind Trick That Will Change the Way You Write Cover Letters Forever!

Remember the Career Service team is here to help you with your cover letter and resume. If you have any questions before submitting them, make an appointment to see the career team on your campus.

Average Is Not Good Enough

Above average stock art

Since 2008 there has been a slow climb out the recession that impacted this country’s financial industry and job market.  Jobs became very limited and very hard to get.  Today’s market is not much different. We are seeing more and more people applying for a limited amount of quality jobs. So in this tough market, how do you set yourself apart from the rest of the pack?

Thomas Friedman, a NY Times columnist wrote “in the past, workers with average skills, doing an average job, could earn an average lifestyle but today, average is officially over.” What he is trying to say is that with the amount of people applying for a job, you can no longer be average or directly in-line with the job description; YOU NEED TO BRING MORE TO THE TABLE.  This does not mean to apply for jobs you are overqualified.  You just need to make employers see that you are going to go above and beyond what they are expecting from the position.  This is especially true in a growing globalized market where employers have a lot more access to cheap foreign labor and even the growing world of robotics.

Economics journalist, Adam Davidson wrote in an article called Making It In America “In the 10 years ending in 2009, [U.S.] factories shed workers so fast that they erased almost all the gains of the previous 70 years; roughly one out of every three manufacturing jobs — about 6 million in total — disappeared.” That number is only going to increase with a globalized market.

To set yourself apart from the rest of the pack there are several things you can do.

1) Educate Yourself: Learn everything about the company you are applying for, the market they are a part of and learn who their competition is. If a company sees how much you are invested in them, they will be more willing to invest in you.

2) Be Creative: In this growing market, doctors are doctors, lawyers are lawyers, and sales persons are sales persons. Make yourself a creative [insert profession]. What this means is, find a trait that you are really good at and can applied to that profession and use that to set yourself aside from everyone else. Because now when you are applying for that next job as Marketing Assistant. You are no longer just an applicant, you are a creative applicant and that might be what gets your hired.

3) Perfect the Basics: Make sure that everything else is in perfect condition. This means your resume, cover Letter and any other correspondences with the company. Don’t forget to send a Thank You letter after you are interviewed. The smallest mistake or error here, can remove your name from consideration.
Remember, being average is not enough anymore, you need to be above average, you need to be the best!

Services Available for Students with Disabilities

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While a disabled student is in college there are resources to assist the student. However once the student graduates they may not know that there are a number of resources available to assist them with job placement and success.  As someone with a disability getting into the workforce is very hard and sometimes you even deal with employers who do not want to hire you.  It is important for a student with a disability to find someone to help the with job placement.  The most important thing for someone with a disability seeking a job to remember when looking for a job is that there are certain questions that potential employers can ask and questions which they cannot ask related to the potential employees disability.  The job accommodation network provides potential job seekers with a list of the questions which an employer cannot ask the potential employee.  Regarding Job performance the employer can only ask if the employee is able to perform the job with or without reasonable accommodations. They cannot ask the potential employee if their specific physical or mental impairment work keep them from preforming the job they are seeking or would affect their job performance.  This also applies to the attendance of the potential employee.  As far as attendance is concerned the potential employer can only ask the potential employee if they would be able to meet the requirements and also how many days they were absent from their last job other than approved days.

There are many resources online for disabled student to use for finding jobs.  Two of the best resources on the internet are from the “Ticket to work” program through social security and also through Vocational Rehabilitation.  Both of these resources provided the individual with jobs.  Vocational rehabilitation also helps disabled individuals with resumes and being successful once they do obtain employment. is a great resource for disabled individuals.  This site provides individuals with resources on accommodations and job resources.

If you would like further assistance, please contact Kelley Ferranti at 727-341-3297.

Improve your Interview Skills

Photo of a man and woman shaking hands

Post-graduation job hunting can be nerve-wracking, interviewing for your next career can be even more stressful. However, once you land your dream job all those worries become antiquated.

Let’s talk about some skills for you to show off during your interview that will help you land your first job after graduation. Even though you are a new graduate and more than likely have limited experience, these skills can push you to the front of the line, when being considered for the open position.

Employers are looking for a team player. They want to make sure that you have the ability to work in a collaborative setting. On your application and resume you want to emphasize any time you worked in a meaningful team setting. This can be an extensive class project, a club committee you were in charge of and even an athletic team. Remember you are going to be asked about this in the interview, so have a story about the time you and your team worked through a difficult project or conflict.

Next thing is that employers want to make sure you have a go-getter attitude, can prioritize projects and can make decisions on your own. Waiting to be told what to do is not the attitude employers want. They want you to have the ability to set and meet high expectations for yourself and the company. This is an action trait, so how do you show them this skill in an interview? You want to convey a time you set and accomplished a major goal in your life; explain to them all that went through the process from begging to end. This will give them a good visualization on how you prioritize and accomplish big things.

Lily Zhangs, a Career Development Specialist at MIT wrote an article titled 5 Skills You Must Show Off to Land Your First Job (and Every One After That) writes, “being able to communicate effectively with your team, your manager, and your clients can be what separates stellar candidates from decent ones. Make sure you can speak with confidence. This is something that will be noticed in your interview. If you speak very quiet and just answer questions with simple responses, chances are you are not going to get a callback. You want to show confidence in speaking and address each question with ample detail and a confident tone.

Lastly, remember that you are new graduate and whichever employer hires you, they are going to put you though training. However, they want someone who can learn and process new information quickly. Explain in the interview that you are a fast learner and offer examples how. Employers want to get the most out of you as quick as possible, the longer you are learning something, they less time you have for bigger responsibilities.