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Job search advice: cover letters, resumes and interviews

Lynne sitting with three students in a common area.

Whether you’re a new graduate entering industry or an established alumnus looking to change jobs, it’s important to remember the essentials for cover letters, resumes and interviews. 

Check out these job search tips shared by NSCC Employment Navigation Specialist, Lynne Morrison, from our NSCC Alumni Program 101 series.

Cover letter and resume don'ts

  1. Don't wait until you see a posting to start working on your documents, these take time to develop.
  2. Don't think your first draft is the one to send, you should have it reviewed by someone else and then you make revisions and then submit it.
  3. Don't plan to submit your documents near the closing date of the posting as the employer may receive 100s of applications and take the ad down earlier than stated.

Cover letters and resumes dos

  1. Include your professional contact details such as your email, LinkedIn site, electronic portfolio and have consistency among all your materials.
  2. Follow the posting and include all your relevant skills sets in your documents regardless of where you gained these skills.
  3. Target each resume and cover letter to the specific role and specific employer.

Interview don’ts

  1. Don't leave your preparation to the day you apply; the employer may request an interview the same day you apply.
  2. Don't skip reviewing your answers out loud with someone who can give constructive feedback.
  3. Don't forget to follow up with a meaningful thank you within 24 hours.

Interview dos

  1. Be honest – let them know if you’re feeling a bit nervous and how important this meeting is for you.
  2. Have a sense of humour, when appropriate – show the interviewer that you would be a fun person to work with.
  3. Be curious – show the interviewer that you want to learn more about the company and develop interesting questions to ask.

Words of advice

Sometimes it's not about what you are going to do but what you are going to stop doing.

  • Stop selling yourself short, instead you acknowledge your skills.
  • Stop hiding what you want, instead tell everyone you meet that you are an NSCC graduate and are now job searching.
  • Stop thinking you have to do this alone – get out there and network, ask for support; people like to help others and celebrate achievements.
Be sure to check out NSCC’s online job board, and keep your information updated with NSCC Alumni so you’re in the loop on professional development offerings.