PERSONAL BRANDING & NETWORKING

Resume

The resume is one piece of your branding and marketing materials that summarizes your background, skills, accomplishments and professional qualifications.  An effective resume succinctly describes your education and experience and should be specifically tailored to the position you are applying for.

The goal of your resume is to stand out from your competition, and get past the professional screening process, whether that is a person (HR, hiring manager) or a software (Applicant Tracking System – ATS).

Remember… the average employer only spends six (6) seconds, at best 20 seconds, to briefly scan your resume.  As such, your resume needs to be written for the ease of the reader.

This includes using keywords to highlight your soft, technical, and/or transferable skills that also pertain to the position you’re applying for.  Also, limit your content to the most impressive items; adding additional items only distracts the employer from what you’d really like them to see.

A tool that is extremely helpful is Carmen, which uses ATS technologies to scan and score your resumes against job descriptions.

For additional tools and resources, including sample resumes and popular keywords used in tech resumes, please visit CODE Resource Library

Cover Letter

The cover letter (CL) is another piece of your branding and marketing materials.  Consider it your marketing brochure that advertises the background and skills you can offer to potential employers.  It is the letter (or e-mail) that accompanies and supplements your resume.

The goal of your cover letter is to cause the employer to want to turn the page to read your resume.  It should be simple and short, yet powerful, customized to a position, and action oriented.

The key to an effective cover letter is to be able to summarize your experience, list skills and accomplishments, and compel the employer to call or email you for an interview.

LinkedIn

LinkedIn is the world’s largest business-focused social networking site and its main purpose is to help people network professionally.

With over 500 million members, more than 3 million company pages, spread across 150 plus countries, LinkedIn will help you connect with your trusted contacts, develop a broader network, and allow you to exchange knowledge, ideas, and opportunities with a broad network of professionals.

It is estimated that over 90% of employers use LinkedIn to research candidates, sometimes even before reading their resumes.  Further, study shows that job applicants with a “comprehensive” LinkedIn profile is 71% more likely to get invited to interviews.  As such, it is critical to have a professional brand presence on LinkedIn. 

Through LinkedIn, you may discover job leads via their job search engine, and in specialized groups, that may not be posted anywhere else.  You can also save your job searches and receive daily or weekly emails with the results.

If you are a current student in the MCS program, join our very own LinkedIn UCI MCS group today!

Networking

Networking should be a critical part of your overall job search strategy and needs to be one of your primary job search methods.  Active networking is also vital to your career growth. Often confused with selling, networking is actually about building long-term relationships and a good reputation or personal brand over time. It involves meeting and getting to know people who you can assist, and who can potentially help you in return.

Your network includes everyone from friends and family to work colleagues, business connections, your social network and members of groups and organizations to which you belong.

As you will see below, networking and online applications are two primary methods of how MCS students obtained their internship and full-time career opportunities, with networking producing a higher yield.  As such, your job search strategy should be balanced between both methods, and should definitely include networking. 

MCS alumni obtained summer internship opportunities through:

Online Application 47%
Networking – including Referrals & Informational Interviews 41%
Career Fair 9%
Other 3%

Of MCS Alumni who reported they have secured a full-time position within one month of graduation, they obtained the opportunity through:

Networking – including Referrals & Informational Interviews 39%
Online Application 37%
Career Fair 13%
Internship Conversion 11%

Networking is a skill you can learn, whether you are an extrovert or an introvert.  Throughout the program, the MCS Career Counselor will offer workshops and resources to help you leverage your contacts.  There will also be networking opportunities and mixers to assist you with broadening your professional network. 

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