April 20, 2010


The Assistant Director position in my office will be open soon, and I am starting the search right now! As a former Career Services professional, and as an educator, I'm going to post here for professional advice on the job search. Whether you are a candidate for this Assistant Director position, or you happened across this page after searching for "career advice", or you're just a faithful Intercultural Happenings reader, I hope you find the information useful!

  • As I'm receiving resumes and cover letters electronically, I'm simply saving them to my desktop. The problem is, there are individuals who will inevitably get lost in this first step. Why? Because they aren't putting their names as part of their files. For example, a few people have sent me attachments called "resume" or "myresume" or "coverletter." Guess what? As I save those files, the computer asks if I want to "replace existing 'resume' file?" etc. If I hit "yes", the previous person's resume gets lost. If I hit "no", your resume gets lost. As you want to make this step the easiest for the person receiving your resume, be sure to title your resume and cover letter, preferably by your LAST NAME and FIRST NAME.

  • Better yet, since I now have about 50 files of resumes and cover letters, make it easy -- put BOTH in ONE. Yes, that's right. Just call it "Talusan.Liza" and have your cover letter lead your resume in the document.

  • Cover letters -- it's not hard. Just "google" my office. You'll see who the director is (me) and what my title is. While the resumes technically go to the HR email, they are all forwarded to me. One way to get my attention as I go through the sea of files is to actually use my name. And, yes, please spell it correctly. One way to get lost in the system? Send it "To Whom It May Concern" or "Search Committee."

  • My job requirements as listed in the position highlight attention to detail. Demonstrate this even before I call you or email you by a) researching my name, b) reading the job description and c) making sure you don't send me your "CollegeX" resume that you meant to send to another school.

  • Speaking of cover letters, this is where you need to explain why you are specifically interested in this position, in working at this institution, or some information about why you'd want to work with me. My former mentor gave me fantastic advice: never use adjectives about yourself that you could use for your dog/cat/favorite pet. Loyal, hard working, friendly, and disciplined do not cut it in this work. Tell me about your philosophy on teaching, on diversity, on working with students. If you can't describe why you are important, you won't be able to describe why diversity work is important.

Quick list of how to stand out:
  • Actually address the letter to me!
  • Using your cover letter to talk about your interest in Stonehill, not just repeating your resume
  • Putting your documents into 1 file
  • Tell me you know someone else that I know (networking)
  • Use your cover letter and resume to actually address the job I posted -- I spent a great deal of time crafting the description. If those are the qualities and experiences I'm looking for, you should demonstrate to me that you have them.

Questions and suggestions? Chime in!