ProfessionalismOral CommunicationWritten CommunicationInformation Technology

Create a consistent and professional image that effectively articulates your value.

Your Goals

  • Maximize your social media accounts
  • Write a resume and cover letter
  • Create your elevator speech
  • Create your professional portfolio
  • Purchase professional attire

Your Action Steps

Create a LinkedIn profile

LinkedIn is a professional networking site that encompasses a digital version of your resume, promotes the sharing of knowledge and ideas, allows you to stay up-to-date with market trends and industry information. It can also generate new employment opportunities and connections with professionals.

Quick Tips

  • Only connect with people whom you have met in person; include a note mentioning how you met (or were introduced) in the invitation.
  • Add examples of your work to your profile.
  • Create your own profile name: www.linkedin.com/in/johnnyexample
  • Use your profile link on professional marketing tools such as a resume or business card.
  • Join groups relevant to your career interests and comment and post to the groups regularly.

LinkedIn StudentsLinkedIn Resources

Consider additional online branding

Candidates utilize social media as a way to promote their career targets and professional background. Employers are also using these outlets in their recruiting efforts to screen potential candidates. Therefore, it is essential for a job seeker in today’s technological world to understand how to use social media.

Common branding products

Facebook is traditionally used to keep up with friends and family, but it can serve in a professional capacity as well. If you are in the mindset of your job search, and are spending time on there anyway, why not turn it into something productive?

Quick Tips
  • Never assume anything is private, no matter how tightly you set your privacy options. Post all information as though an interviewer might see your profile and status updates.
  • Thoroughly comb through your profile to find anything potentially negative or concerning to a potential employer
  • Delete inappropriate content/photos
  • Remove status updates that you don't want employers to know about you
  • Use a professional photo. (To maximize your “name brand” use the same photo for LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook.)
  • Monitor your friends’ comments. It will show up in your newsfeed and can reflect poorly on you.

Twitter provides an excellent opportunity for students to follow organizations and companies, interact with leaders and professionals in your desired industry, and establish valued connections. It is important to first decide if your account will be used for personal or professional purposes and modify accordingly.

Quick Tips
  • Use your real name as your username and in your profile. Use your bio as a job pitch, and you can even link to an online resume (if you have one).
  • Share useful content before you begin following others, this way they have a reason to follow you back.
  • Follow your target companies and industry leaders.
  • Find hashtags for upcoming conferences, hot topics, and more to become a part of the conversation as well as identify people that you should follow on Twitter.
  • Put yourself in the Twitter stream by describing your specific skill set. Retweet and interact with others to boost your profile.
  • Create a “Twitter pitch” much like an elevator speech. Be ready with a pitch you can deliver in 140 characters or less.

YouTube is an online video tool that can be used to professionally present yourself or your works through video. In less than a minute, you can share your professional experience, skills, education and works. Research your field to know if a video resume will work for you.

Quick Tips
  • Include your name in your video link and it can increase your chances of having your video link appear in search engine results.
  • Create a “video resume” and direct employers to your video for a glimpse of what you have to offer.
  • Many employers are seeking individuals with social media skills, and this is a great way to show that you have this set of skills.
  • Use your video link on professional marketing tools such as a resume or business card.

A blog is a personal website that can be used to convey text, images, and information in a public format. Some bloggers intend to make money from their site while others use it as a personal journal; most blogs center on a subject in which the writer has expertise and have an intended audience.

Quick Tips
  • Start a blog that relates to work within your field.
  • Update it frequently by writing about topics and posting articles.
  • Communicate professionally and respond to readers’ comments.
  • Read other bloggers within your industry and comment on their posts.
  • Remember that employers do research on their candidates, so keep everything you put online professional.

Social Media Tips 

Develop a consistent, professional image

Visit the University Career Center for resume and cover letter help

Stop by the University Career Center during drop-in hours to get your resume and cover letter critiqued by our Peer Career Ambassadors.

Career Center Drop‐in Hours:

Monday - Friday 10:00 AM - 4:00 PM

(August 29 - December 7)

Hunt Hall Drop-in Hours:

Monday - Thursday 4:00 PM - 8:00 PM

(September 6 - December 7)

Do a mock interview

Mock interview with our employer partners:

Login to Hire-A-Niner and...

  1. Click "Events"
  2. Click "Career Events"
  3. Select a time beside a company of interest

Here at UNC Charlotte, the mock interview will consist of a 30-minute meeting with a recruiter from a company/organization. The mock interview will last for 20 minutes and for the final 10 minutes, the employer will give you feedback on both your resume and your interview skills. This program is a great way to network with employers and fine-tune your interview skills, while hopefully being a stepping-stone to finding your next opportunity. We offer both campus and virtual mock interviews. Past employer partners have included: Google, St. Jude Children's Research Hospital, Wells Fargo, Autism Charlotte, Clark Nexsen, Rock Hill Police Department, Charlotte Agenda, Moses Cone Health System, The Schiele Museum of Natural History, KPMG, Seacrest Studios and many more!

Launch Hire a Niner 

Mock interview with your career advisor:

Mock interviews are one hour long, and students and alumni have the option to have their interview recorded via webcam. Email your resume to your career advisor at least 3 days prior to the mock interview appointment. Professional dress is recommended but not required. Mock Interview appointments are available year round.

Schedule a mock interview appointment with your career advisor in Hire-A-Niner by clicking “Meet With Your Career Advisor.”

Launch Hire a NinerInterview Guide

Practice interviewing online with Big Interview:

Big Interview Logo

All UNC Charlotte students and alumni can use Big Interview to conduct free, online practice interviews with a webcam.

Features and benefits of using Big Interview include:

  • Convenience: You can practice online, any time of the day or night, from the comfort of your own room.
  • Interview Questions Specific to your Field: You have the option of conducting an interview with questions that are specific to your future career field. Big Interview organizes practice interview questions by industry. This allows you to create your own practice interview related to Business, Education, Technology, Sciences, Healthcare, Communications, Art, Non-Profit, Social Services, Military, Recreation, and more.
  • Interviewing Curriculum: Big Interview also offers videos to guide you through the interview process. Covering such topics as what questions to ask, how to prepare for an interview, how to stand out and more!
  • Negotiating Your Salary: Nervous about after the interview and negotiating your salary? Big Interview has you covered with a video curriculum that takes you through the world of negotiating and how to come out with the best possible option.
  • Getting Feedback: After you conduct a practice interview on Big Interview you will have a video of the entire interview that you can access later. You can send anyone (professors, family members, friends, mentors) the link to this video and ask for their feedback on your responses and nonverbal communication. You also have the option of reviewing the final video yourself and revisiting any of your responses to improve your performance. Send Your Video to Your Career Advisor today for feedback.

Launch Big Interview

Purchase professional attire

Did you know the most often cited complaint from employers at career fairs is that students were not dressed in appropriate professional attire?

Think about it from the employer's perspective - if you were hiring an intern or professional employee, would you be more impressed with a student in a business suit or a student dressed in jeans and a t-shirt? Consider your interactions with employers at career fairs as impromptu interviews and dress the part!

 

 

Dress Code for Career & Internship Fairs and Interviews

Men: business suit, dress shirt, and tie OR slacks, dress shirt, tie, and blazer

Women: business suit (skirt or slacks) OR slacks/skirt/dress with blazer

Both: dress conservatively; no jeans, shorts, or flip flops

Dress Code for Other Career Fairs

Men: slacks, collared shirt, and tie (blazer optional)

Women: slacks or skirt with collared shirt (blazer optional) OR professional dress (blazer optional)

Both: dress conservatively; no jeans, shorts, or flip flops

More Resources on Professional Dress

What To WearBusiness Attire Guide

Write a cover letter

What is the purpose of a cover letter?

The purpose of a cover letter is to tell a prospective employer what you can do, why you are interested in them, and why you feel you are qualified.  A good, well-planned cover letter is just as important as an impressive resume or CV; and together they form an important resource in your job search.  Send a cover letter anytime you submit your resume or CV for a position.

Quick tips when writing a cover letter

  • A cover letter should ALWAYS accompany a resume or application (unless the employer/job description notes otherwise).
  • Keep your cover letter to one page (3-5 paragraphs). Prioritize your most relevant and positive experiences.
  • Use the professional format for closing, “Sincerely,” with your name (typed) and your signature between the two.
  • Place the word “Enclosure” at the bottom of your cover letter, to indicate that you will attach a resume or application to your cover letter.
  • Write to a specific person, ideally the one who actually makes the hiring decision. If the job description does not list a specific person, do your research – Go online and find the appropriate contact individual. You can also contact the Front Desk Receptionist or the Human Resources Office within that particular company if you still cannot find the appropriate contact person.
  • If you try all of the options above and still end up without a specific contact individual, write to an appropriate position title. For example, address your letter to the “Sales Manager” when applying for a Sales position.
  • Create a separate cover letter for each job. Generic letters do not impress employers! Employers might interpret a generic cover letter as lack of interest or passion for the job position.
  • Print your cover letter on the same type of paper as your resume.  Furthermore, maintain side margins of approximately one inch with even space at the top and bottom of the page.
  • Check for spelling and grammatical errors. Make sure that you have 2-3 people review your cover letter before you send it to an employer. Grammatical errors are unacceptable!

Cover Letter Guide

Write a resume

What is a resume and why do I need it?

A resume presents to an employer a summary of your relevant educational credentials, experience, skills, and extracurricular involvement. In many situations, your resume is the first impression an employer has of you. You want to make sure it is the strongest statement possible of your assets and reflects the “true” you.

Employers spend a short time reviewing the resume of a potential candidate. It is essential that you have a well formatted, descriptive document that highlights what you offer the employer. Your goal is to advance to the next step in the job search process, which is usually the interview!

Quick tips when writing a resume

  • As you begin to apply to different job positions, consider changing the sequence of information on your resume to emphasize particular job experiences, skills, or educational/research experience that match the position sought.
  • Avoid using computerized templates for your resume because they typically do not produce the best resume formats.
  • Typically, your resume should not exceed 1-page in length. There are particular industries and job targets that would allow for more. Check with a Career Team member for more information.
  • In relation to font sizes and types, Times New Roman, Arial, Palatino, and Century Gothic (10-12 point) are common fonts. Margins should be approximately one inch on all sides.
  • Check carefully for correct grammar and punctuation. Spelling errors are unacceptable! Always ask 2 – 3 people to review your resume for grammatical or punctuation errors before you send it off to an employer.
  • The average resume requires 4-5 drafts before reaching a satisfactory version. Edit each draft to improve word choice, emphasize relevant experience, and reduce redundancy. Update your resume frequently as you continue to obtain new employment experiences, leadership positions, skills, certifications, and extracurricular activities.
  • Print out the final draft on white or ivory resume paper using a laser printer.

Resume Guide 

Write and practice elevator pitch

When approaching recruiters at a career fair, you only have about 5 minutes to convince them to contact you for a future interview. With that in mind, the more prepared you are, the better you will be able to sell yourself. Preparing a 30 second “commercial” about yourself can help break the ice and get the interaction started in the right direction.

For example

“Hello, my name is Jane, and I am a senior majoring in accounting. Last summer I did an internship in the accounting department of Office Depot. I am interested in broadening my experience, and I read that your company is embarking on a new market in Europe.”

Your introduction should include the following

  • Name, Class, and Major
  • Opportunities you are seeking
  • Relevant experience (work, internship, volunteer work)
  • Highlights of skills and strengths
  • Knowledge about the company

Tailor your “commercial” to each of the top companies you will approach. When deciding what information to include, consider what is demanded of the position and what skills or traits would allow someone to be successful in that position. Determine how you can fill such requirements (i.e. key skills, characteristics, experiences) and stress those points.

It's often advisable to close with some form of question to transfer the conversation to the recruiter. Still, there are questions recruiters say you should avoid...

  • What does the company do?
  • Asking if the company has any jobs.
  • When asked what type of position you are seeking, saying you would be willing to do anything at the company

Instead, conduct some research ahead of time to gather information about the company. Use this research time to find something about the employer that interests or relates to you (i.e. international customer base, industry relevance, projects, etc ... ), and use that as a base for your questions. For companies you visit that you did not research extensively, follow your introduction with a question such as, ''Could you tell me how someone with my background and could fit into your company?”

Practice

Hello, my name is ______, and I am a (year in program/ alumnus of UNC Charlotte) (majoring in/ with a degree in)  ______. Recently, I have been (working/ interning/ volunteering) with ______ in the _____ department to gain experience in ______. My strongest interests lie in (teaching/ management/CIS) ______, so I'm looking for a (summer/currently looking/post graduation) position in ________. I'm particularly interested in (company name) because of ________ and find your companies (enter research findings - new market openings, business strategies, community involvement, etc .. .) particularly interesting. Could you tell me about how this will affect employees in (position of interest)? - or other relevant question.

Once you have prepared your commercial, you need to practice it until you become comfortable enough that you can sell you can exude confidence in its delivery--the recruiter will find you more convincing. Be careful not to cross the line from professional confidence into arrogance or cockiness, as you don't want to push anyone away. Remember to include the basics... maintain good eye contact, good posture, and positive body language, and you should b e on the road to success.

Login to Hire-A-Niner and click “Meet With Your Career Advisor” to schedule an appointment to practice your elevator pitch with your career advisor.

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