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.
Check out the below tools to see how your resume scores against other graduate students and real job postings :
- Resume AI (Big Interview) (Sign up with UCINetID): A great tool to ensure you have the basics and foundational elements of a resume. You can also compare your resume against a job description you are interested in to see how to further tailor your resume to that position.
- Jobscan (Resume Optimization Tool): Your resume is scored against job postings of your choice. Great tool to help you tailor your resume to specific companies. This tool is not affiliated with UCI; it is free to sign up though requires a paid subscription to use their advanced features.
- Resume Worded (Resume and Job Description Scanning Tool): Another tool that allows you to scan your resume or job description to help with resume customization. This tool is not affiliated with UCI and it is free – candidates have unlimited scans.
- TealHQ (AI Resume Builder using GPT Technology): Teal offers many tools, including a resume builder using ChatGPT. This tool is not affiliated with UCI; it is free to sign up though requires a paid subscription to use their advanced features.
- How to write an ATS-friendly resume: TopResume tips and Jobscan tips and examples.
For additional tools and resources, including sample resumes and popular keywords used in tech resumes, please visit CODE Resource Library (accessible to current MCS, MSWE, MDS and MHCID students and alumni only).
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 is the world’s largest business-focused social networking site and its main purpose is to help people network professionally.
With over 800 million members, 58 million companies, spread across 200 plus countries and territories, 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.
Did you know? 8 people are hired through LinkedIn every minute! 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 an incoming or current MCS, MSWE, or MDS student, please join your program’s UCI LinkedIn Group to start engaging and connecting with other students and alumni. If you are an MHCID student, please contact your Program Manager and/or Faculty Director to join the MHCID Slack Channel:
Check out the below resources and tools to get started on creating a searchable LinkedIn profile:
- LinkedIn Checklist (by UCI Division of Career Pathways)
- LinkedIn Profile Optimization Checklist (LinkedIn Post)
- Chrome Plug-in AI/ChatGPT Tools for LinkedIn profile optimization and outreach emails such as Careerflow, LinkedRadar, etc.
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 on- or off-campus groups and organizations to which you belong.
As you will see below, networking and online applications are two primary methods of how our students obtained their internships. For full-time career opportunities, return offers also come into play for those who secured a summer internship. As such, to enhance your chances to secure employment, your job search strategy should be diversified and balanced between multiple methods, and definitely should include some type of networking.
On average, our alumni obtained summer internship opportunities through:
|Networking – including Referrals & Informational Interviews||41%|
Of the alumni who reported they have secured a full-time position within three months of graduation, they obtained the opportunity through:
|Return Offers from Summer Internship / Conversions||42%|
|Networking – including Referrals & Informational Interviews||19%|
Networking is a skill you can learn, whether you are an extrovert or an introvert. Throughout the program, the Career Development Team 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.