Resume Madness : 5 Steps to Improve Your Resume

Written by: Gillian Lopez, Management Career Consultant

Edited by: Dalton Rogers, Student Assistant

Posted by: Serena Nguyen, Media Assistant

March is resume madness month. If you haven’t updated or edited your resume yet, now is the time to do so before our annual Career and Internship Fair at UC Merced. According to a Ladder’s Research Study, it only takes six seconds for a hiring manager to asses a resume. As shocking as this may seem, hiring managers do not have all day to go through a stack of resumes. They want to find gold as quickly as possible and good first impressions from your resume are the key to moving on to the call-back pile rather than the recycling bin.

Within the first six seconds, hiring managers glance at formatting, education, companies, position titles, locations, and dates. If they like what they see, your resume will move on to the next round, which includes further interpretation of your skills and experiences. At this stage it is critical to make your resume stand out amongst your competitors. So how do you accomplish this? Apply these five resume tips and see if your resume will advance to the interview round.


An objective is a statement that expresses your interest or goal of securing a future position. Employers already know that you want this job because your resume is in their hands. If you choose to include a personal introduction in your resume, utilize a personal branding statement instead. Keep in mind that a resume for undergraduates should only be one page. Space is valuable in a resume, so let your experiences and skills demonstrate the value you offer to the employer.


Are you thinking about including a skills or expertise section that includes “fuzzy concepts” like team player, hard worker, excellent communicator, etc.? Think again! It is better to incorporate your skills into your actual experiences rather than to simply state that you have them. Employers want to see what you can potentially do for them, and your skills become more credible just by integrating them into your experience section.


Take a look at the job description and identify some of the company or position goals.

Do you have any proud accomplishments from previous work experiences that correlate with the position responsibilities? If so, you want to place that important information towards the top of your resume or as the first bullet point in your experiences. Market your achievements and sell to employers why they need you to fulfill this position.


Bullet points that only share basic job responsibilities don’t stand out to an employer. Instead, use achievement-oriented language in your resume by using the CAR method– Challenge, Action, Result. Share with employers a challenge you had to work with, what you did to address it, and what the results of your efforts were. This makes your resume more impactful and memorable with an employer.


Anyone can say, “worked with customers and improved sales,” but putting a tangible number to that statement will give an employer something to remember you by. Don’t just say you improved sales; state a percentage or dollar amount. Define your successes with metrics and show employers the accomplishments you have to offer them.

A resume is a quick snapshot of who you are as a professional. Take your resume to the next level by implementing these five steps. Finding a job can be competitive, exhausting, and a full-time job on its own, but taking the time to compose a stand-out resume will increase your chances of getting a call back for an interview. Come share your resume and network with employers at our Career and Internship Fair on March 20thfrom 11am to 2pm in the Gym. Bring a few copies of your resume, dress in business professional attire, and see what opportunities lay ahead!



Securing Employment Before Graduation

Written by: Gillian Lopez, Management Career Consultant

Edited by: Dalton Rogers, CCPA Student Assistant

Posted By: Serena Nguyen, CCPA Media Intern

UC Merced’s 2014 Commencement is right around the corner. If you are like me—a graduating senior who is excited for the next chapter called “post grad”—then start counting down from today because there are only 110 days left until we toss our graduation caps into the sky!

There are multiple paths one can pursue after graduation, such as attending graduate school, joining the armed services, finding a full-time job, or even taking some time off to travel the world. However, if you are still like me—a graduating senior who is ready to transition into finding a full-time job—then now is the time to buckle down and secure employment before commencement.

Here are three tips to help you in your job search:

1. Dedicate time for future success

Finding a job is a full-time job on its own. On average, it takes at least one hour to apply for a single position, not including the time it takes to craft your cover letter and resume. A great way to begin the job hunt is to make a target list of companies that interest you. When you are exploring career opportunities within a company, you should examine the position’s responsibilities, minimum qualifications, salary range, employee benefits, travel and relocation options, and other important job characteristics.

If you are uncertain about which company you would like to work for, or which industry you want to be in, then research companies that have work atmospheres that you value. Your first job will probably not be your last, and occupational well-being is an important aspect to consider when looking for your first full-time job. You will likely spend at least 40 hours a week at work, so you’ll want to be comfortable.

These are a few critical aspects to consider when researching career opportunities after graduation. If your goal is to be employed before graduation, make it a priority to work on post grad plans now rather than later because finding a job is a tedious process.

2. Never underestimate the power of networking

According to recent statistics, 70% of all jobs are found through networking. In some cases, it’s not about what you know, but who you know. As 2014 graduates, we should feel confident in the skills and experiences that we have cultivated over the past few years, and we should share those achievements with our network. Everyone has a network, beginning with family and friends. Share your career interests with them because you never know what opportunities may be available right in your own backyard.

Another great networking tool is LinkedIn—a professional social network platform. LinkedIn contains several career advancement tools, but one of their greater purposes is to connect colleagues, coworkers, employers, and other professionals. A good network can be influential during a job hiring process, so invest in your network now and continue to form professional relationships.

3. Stay proactive, engage in career events, and utilize our office’s resources


Did you know that CatLink has over 300 national and international employment opportunities? The Center for Career & Professional Advancement strives to assist students with their career goals. Our office offers assistance with resumes and cover letters, in addition to welcoming companies like IBM and AT&T for informational workshops. Coming-up on March 20TH, 2014 is our annual Career & Internship Fair located at the Gym. Over 30 different companies will be present on our campus, and I hope to see you there in your business professional attire and resume in hand!

While we enjoy the last semester of college, it’s also important to prepare for the next chapter of our lives. If finding a job is the next step for you, then start taking action today in order to be employed before commencement.

Finals Week is Almost Here!

Written by Elizabeth O’Kane, Gillian Lopez, Kristen Nelson and Serena Nguyen

Center for Career & Professional Advancement Student Employees

Question: “How are you going to prepare for all of your final exams for the last few weeks of school?

Elizabeth Okane UC Merced Career Center, Media Assistant

Elizabeth O’Kane, Media Assistant

Wing it.  Just kidding.  Final exams are always stressful, but there is never a clear path to study for them.  Even though you supposedly learned the material front to back all semester, this will not help you breakdown and identify the question.  Yes, you need to know the fundamentals as a base, but this alone will not guarantee an A.  Here are some tips to be mindful of when test taking:

1.    Breakdown topics, NOT chapters.

Multiple chapters usually refer to common topics.  Identify these common trends and group them together.  Trust me, it will be easier to remember, because you are creating a cognitive file system.

2.    No flashcards!

I used to always get stuck in the flash card rut.  I would memorize the way I wrote the words or a fold in the flashcards.  This did not help me learn the material, because I was looking for clues instead of reading the content.  Get out of this rut!  Look at a concept and physically write 1-2 paragraphs about it or verbally explain it to someone.  If you can explain it, then you know what you are talking about.

3.    Read every word.

Not every word in the textbook, every word of the exam question.  Have a piece of scratch paper and rewrite the question.  Writing the question out automatically puts you in the mindset for identifying what the question is really asking.  Circle keywords and start writing notes about what you know about the topic.  If it’s multiple choice, go back and start eliminating answers to better your chances.  This does take time so only use this method on questions you are unsure about.

Have faith, get plenty of rest and you put yourself in a confident mindset!

Kristen Nelson Center for Career & Professional Advancement, SSHA Career Consultant

Kristen Nelson, SSHA Career Consultant

My number one rule for the time leading up to finals is to stay balanced. It’s so easy to just shut down during finals week. The end is so close, and yet for some reason I can actually get lazier. Because of this, I try not to break my routine. It helps me stay on task, keep a good work ethic, and also keep the stress at bay. This means the week prior to and also on finals week, I still go to the gym, enjoy some time with friends, and make sure to get enough sleep. The only way I am able to stick to my routine is by making adjustments and managing my time well. So I might go workout for 30 minutes rather than an hour, or I might go home a little earlier from hanging with friends so that I can finish up an assignment. Another thing that helps me through finals week is staying positive. This year my motto for finals time is “Pedal to the Medal!” I am not giving up. I am pushing hard all the way through, because I know by giving my 100% effort I will feel my break is well deserved.  Whatever your way of getting through finals is, positivity can always help. Happy finals Bobcats, and may the curve be ever in your favor!

Gillian Lopez Management Career Consultant Career Services Center

Gillian Lopez, Management Career Consultant

When it comes to studying for final exams I like to do three things; create a study schedule, make time for study breaks, and form study groups.

Creating a study schedule is a great way to stay organized during finals week especially if you are studying for more than one cumulative exam.  For example, my study schedule consists of the chapters I will focus on each day and the amount of time I will dedicate to each subject. Getting organized is an important part of prepping for final exams because it prevents procrastination and late night study crams!

In addition to my study schedule, I also like to include breaks in my day and week. It is not effective or healthy to study for 10 hours straight. In fact it is psychologically proven that your brain can only retain so much information within a given amount of time. I like to study throughout the day, but in between every hour I will take a 15-30 minute break before continuing my studies. This can include taking a walk outside, doing small exercises, watching an episode on Netflix, etc. Exercising is probably the best study break and stress reliever during finals week, not to mention all the positive endorphins that are released throughout the brain that can make you feel even more awake while studying!

Lastly, I like to study with a group. Usually the day before a final I work in a study group to test my knowledge and assist my peers.  During our study groups we would quiz each other or review our class materials.

Studying for finals can be overwhelming at times, but getting organized, taking study breaks, and starting early will help prevent some stress and unnecessary panic!


Serena Nguyen, Media Assistant

This might sound crazy but we have less than two weeks of school left for this semester! I am always amazed how time passes by so quickly. It is crazy just to think about it!

I know that many students are already struggling with their classes and overwhelmed from group projects and final exams to study for. Although my mind is filling with many exciting events to do with my besties over winter break, school should always come first. In order to deal with my final week for this semester, I try to pace myself by creating a schedule for the next two weeks. In addition, I always remind myself to leave out the fun for later because after finals week, I will have plenty of time for fun. I know I should not be neglecting my study, because if I do, I will regret it once I receive my final grade at the end of the semester.

Good luck, Bobcats!

Do your best and ace that final with flying colors!

Informational Interviews

Gillian Lopez

Center for Career & Professional Advancement, Management Career Consultant

Are you a career explorer like me? Uncertain about what you want to do after your collegiate experience? Well a good building block to this career exploration process is to set-up and conduct informational interviews.

So what’s an informational interview you may ask?

An informational interview is a great opportunity to acquire new knowledge about a particular company, filed of industry, or even a specific job position. It carries the same concept as a regular interview however, instead of the recruiter asking questions about you, you are in the position of asking questions about them. Hopefully in a real job interview you are already prepared with your company research. I like conducting informational interviews because it provides me with the opportunity to gain new and in depth knowledge about a particular position or company. In addition, it is a great foot-in-the-door technique paving the way to welcoming new relationships or strengthening your network.

Here is an example of an informational interview I conducted last week, but before you read on, always make sure you are prepared for your interview. This involves setting up a meeting time, prepare the questions you want to ask in advance, and make sure to send a thank you card. These individuals take the time out of their schedules to assist you with your career journey and sharing that gratitude with the employer is a great way to leave a lasting impression.

Name: James Hatten
Position: Front Desk Admin assistant
Department: UC Merced Office of Student Life
Start Date: 16 months ago

How did you hear about this position and what was the application process like?
UC Merced human resource website. It was a basic application process where you upload your resume and apply. It was a simple process.

What are your position’s responsibilities?
Phone, filing, appointments, and supervise three student staffs.

What do you like most about your job?
The interaction with the awesome college students!

Name one thing that can be stressful about this position?
The wonderful college students! Educating students about the new OSL policies and campus culture. Before James arrived into this position OSL used to be more relaxed, but now the office is setup to be more structured. For example you cannot just walk in to visit someone in the office. You have to make an appointment with the fron desk and check in, etc.

How do you cope with that stress?
Work hard now for cruise control later. If you work things out now then later it won’t be difficult to manage. It is all about educating the students about OSL’s new policies and structure.

Share a recent accomplishment:
Developing the automated checkout system. When students check out tables or equipment they no longer have to leave their cat card or fill out paperwork. James generated the idea and worked with Cat Card department to develop this system for easier use and efficiency. Great fit for a campus that is trying to go green as well.

Advice for students who are seeking a position that is similar to yours?
Pay attention to details and come in with an open mind. Don’t have the preconception that you already know what to do. This job also requires being flexible with your time and assistance.

I’ve known James for a few months now and I can see some great improvement with the department’s organization and communication efforts with the students. James is highly familiar with the campus policies and procedures. He knows the ins and out of his department and while things may get a little busy at OSL, James can manage things under control and with some fun.

The Summer Internship

Written by: Gillian Lopez

Center for Career & Professional Advancement, Management Career Consultant

Learn by Experience

This past summer I had the privilege and opportunity to intern for Human Rights Watch, a global non-profit organization that focuses on advocating human rights across the nation and world. HRW is a large organization that does incredible works in a variety of fields, but this summer I worked for the Student Task Force division at the Santa Monica headquarters. The Student Task Force (STF) team works closely with high school leaders in West Los Angeles and Santa Clarita Valley. During my three-month internship I planned multiple activities from leadership meetings to assisting with the development of the 2013 -2014 school campaign. In addition I had the great honor of working with a few of the best researchers in HRW for Senate Bill 260 and with that I also acquired knowledge in grant writing research. However, if I could only pick two things that I truly enjoyed about my internship this summer it would have to be the following:

Networking can get you far in life, but building relationships can take you even further.

 At our office the Children’s Rights Division (CRD) was working on Senate Bill 260, a bill that focuses on youth fair sentencing in California. The CRD division worked with our STF team in collecting petition letters for various state representatives in California. In one month my Santa Clarita STF team collected nearly 400 letters for SB 260.  One day while I was asking for letters, I ran into a good old friend and we caught-up over dinner. After talking about SB 260 and my summer internship, he told me that he was a good friend with Assemblyman Scott Wilk. I was in disbelief for a moment because I knew our STF team needed a meeting with him. A few emails and 24hrs later I was able to solidify a meeting with Assemblyman Scott Wilk and three STF student leaders. Expand your network as you progress with your professional journey, but don’t forget to maintain those special relationships as you carry on.

Do your research and don’t be afraid to ask questions.

 If I wasn’t planning something I was researching. I would have to say that 50% of my internship experience consisted of grant writing research. Non-profits rely heavily on donors, grants, fundraising, and sponsors in order to sustain and expand their organization.  I remember being presented a list of 300+ potential donors in the beginning of summer, and towards the end of my experience I nearly researched 200 organizations, foundations, and major donors. I presented a potential candidate list to my supervisor and felt confident in my work. However during this grant writing research process I had to ask a lot of questions to help me digest the information I was absorbing, but more importantly to supply HRW-STF with the best donors as it takes several days to compile a grant proposal for a foundation. I haven’t heard any feedback yet about HRW-STF’s grant applications are going, but before leaving my internship I was able to obtain a grant for one of their upcoming events for the 2013-2014 annual campaign. And guess what, I was able to get that grant with persistence, creative thinking, and most importantly, asking many questions.

If you are interested in a summer internship I strongly encourage you to start looking now or at least start preparing for the job hunt. Learn by my experience as it took me most of spring semester to find a summer internship. The best steps you can take to finding a summer internship is to set a goal and make time to apply because sometimes finding a job can be a fulltime position on its own.

Speaking Up

By: Gillian Lopez
Center for Career & Professional Advancement, Management Career Consultant

Do you ever get nervous to speak up in class or in a meeting? Have you ever skipped out of answering a question in lecture even though you knew the answer? It’s common to see the same old students answering questions in lecture, but try and challenge yourself one week and practice speaking up in class or at a meeting. Last week I was able to conquer my fear of speaking up in class and it felt really good! I learned that, if you have full assurance in your knowledge, your research, and what you have learned then you should feel confident when speaking-up in class. There are a few good reasons why practicing to speak up in class can also help prepare you for the work world and here’s how. Continue reading

Campus Involvement as Resume Builders

By: GIllian Lopez

Center for Career & Professional Advancement

One great thing that I love about UC Merced is the countless leadership opportunities and campus involvement that are available to all students. I’ve encountered a sophomore who became president of her sorority, to a junior who serves as a resident assistant for over 80 freshmen students. Getting involved on campus or in the Merced community is something all students should consider doing while going through the collegiate experience. Campus involvement can vary from research, to part-time jobs, clubs, and activities. Getting involved is so important because they are stellar resume builders especially for candidates who have had no previous work experience. Continue reading