Tag Archives: resume building

Learn While You Earn, and Build a Resume in the Process

Filed under: Post Grad and Career - BookRenter Team
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Don’t turn up your nose at what looks like a “nothing” job – it’s all in how you spin the experience.

by Evil Erin

Personally, we don’t know too many ­college students who don’t work at least part-time while they’re in school. Some wouldn’t be able to attend college at all without working. Others have the basics covered, but work so they can enjoy some extras. And a lucky few work not because they have to, but because they want to. No matter why they work, though, students who hold down jobs during college gain something that money can’t buy: experience, and a chance to develop marketable real-world skills.

Starting a job search? Don’t turn up your nose at a gig just because it looks like a “nothing” job that you wouldn’t want on your resume. As with lots of things in life, it’s all about how you spin the experience. And don’t overlook non-traditional or think-outside-the-box opportunities, many of them on or close to campus. For example:

  • Alumni Services Staffer – Working in your school’s office of alumni affairs will expose you to everything from fundraising and event planning to outbound marketing. Another great reason to seek out this kind of job: The networking potential. On your resume: Marketing communications coordinator, event coordinator, development (fundraising) coordinator.
  • Brand Ambassador – Marketing products to peers has taken off in recent years as more and more companies look at establishing a presence on college campuses. To find this kind of opportunity, check out BookRenter’s program or RepNation.com is a good place to start. On your resume: Marketing consultant, customer service specialist, brand evangelist (yes, that’s an actual job title in many companies).
  • Tutor – This gig isn’t for everyone. Patience and personality are prerequisites for the job. But private tutoring usually pays a decent hourly wage (especially for math and science tutors) and allows you some flexibility when it comes to scheduling. For tutoring opportunities, start by checking your campus placement service, local want ads, and Craigslist. On your resume: Tutor, teacher, subject matter expert (SME).
  • Residence Hall Advisor – Another job that’s not for everyone, but RAs usually receive a discount on their own dorm fees (or aren’t required to pay at all). On your resume:  Facilities manager, peer counselor, team-building specialist with excellent interpersonal skills.
  • Writer: Almost any career path you take will involve communication, a lot of it written. So getting some writing experience under your belt could stand you in good stead someday. Instead of waiting for jobs to be posted, be proactive. Contact local publications and marketing/advertising agencies to see if they use freelance writers. If you don’t have a portfolio of your work, offer to do an assignment “on spec.” If the editor doesn’t like what you do, they don’t have to pay you, but you’ll have a finished piece to show to the next publication or company you talk to. On your resume: Writer, fact-checker, researcher.
  • Entrepreneur: We’ve heard some great stories from students who created their own job opportunities. (One of them is Keith Kaplan, winner of one of two BookRenter 2011 Social Media Internships, who started his own cookie business while an undergrad at Michigan’s Albion College!) Other creative student businesses: a laundry service that delivers clean, folded clothes to students’ dorm rooms; a girl who offers personal wardrobe consulting and closet organizing; a weekend artist who turned her hobby into a paycheck by holding painting classes on campus; two classmates with one car and lots of initiative who provide child care support to working couples by picking up their kids from school; a computer geek (self-described) who offers 24/7 consulting and computer repair to students in his dorm; a journalism major who started an editorial service specializing in fact-checking, editing, and proofreading senior papers. On your resume: Entrepreneur, small business owner, director of marketing.

Planning to work while you’re in school? Tell us about it!

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Just Snagged a Great Summer Internship?

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By BookRenter Andy

Congratulations – you’ve got the ultimate resume-builder.

As school winds down, most students are looking ahead to the summer, hopefully one that includes lots of vacation. But there’s this inconvenient thing called money – you need it if you’re to go on vacation. So a lot of us will be spending at least part of the summer months working. Which brings me to the subject of experience, and the student’s Catch-22: You need experience to get a job, but you can’t get a job unless you have experience.


Enter the internship.

Almost any kind of summer job will get you to one goal: You’ll earn a few bucks and maybe even be able to save a little. But an internship can be different. For one thing, people tend to take internships in a profession or a field that interests them. Besides pulling down a salary, you’re gaining relevant experience that not only looks good on your resume but which could one day lead you to a real grown-up job in your chosen field.

I’ve had a few internships in my day – one here at BookRenter – so I hope you’ll indulge my sharing with you these…

Five easy ways to turn an Internship into the Ultimate Resume-Builder

  1. Know up front what you’re applying for. Understanding what an internship entails and what you’re likely to be doing day to day will help you gauge what you can actually contribute the job – and whether the internship will be valuable to you in terms of building your experience in the professional world.
  2. Never underestimate the importance of your work. Regardless of your job title (if you have one!), be prepared to so some good, old-fashioned menial labor. My first task at BookRenter was quality fulfillment: packaging and mailing the prizes that some of you reading this probably won (you’re welcome, punks). It wasn’t glorious work, but it was important to our customers. Bring a positive attitude to everything you do and I guarantee you won’t be in the mailroom for long.
  3. Show ‘em what you’re made of. If you don’t have anything to do, take the initiative – believe me, there’s nothing that a busy boss likes more than an employee who can identify a need and find a way to fill it. Come up with your own projects – propose them to your boss or, when you can, just do them. Not only are you creating more good stuff for your resume, you’ll probably be able to count on a great reference when the time comes.
  4. Learn at least one new thing every day. Ask a colleague to tell you more about your company. Ask your manager if you can borrow a magazine you heard him talking about or review a creative brief. Time spent reading and thinking about the bigger picture will not only help you do your job better, but position you to take on more responsibilities when an opportunity comes along. (Remember, you’re building a resume.)
  5. Don’t turn up your nose at working for free. While ideally you want to learn and earn, an unpaid internship can be worth its weight in gold when it comes to getting some experience under your belt – and onto your resume. You might even find yourself fielding a job offer or two: A recent poll by CareerExposure.com found that more than 90% of employers ultimately offer full-time positions to interns.

Intern on.

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Trying to Snag a Dream Internship?

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Having a Good Resume Can Help.


So let’s say you’ve applied for a great summer job. You know for a fact that you’re at least as qualified as any other applicant, but you didn’t even get an interview. If you didn’t give the prospective employer a resume, your application was probably consigned to the round file from the get-go.

That’s because these days, with so much competition for even a part-time job, employers expect more from job-seekers than a hastily-filled-out standard job application form.

This goes double if you’re applying for a great internship.

A resume does more than just show your job history; it gives your application a more professional feel. Along with a good cover letter, a resume can show hiring managers that you’re ready to take on – and hold your own in — your area of interest.

Need to create a resume, or revise the one you have? Here are 5 easy tips to help take your resume from good to great:

1. Ask your mother. No other person in the world will remember that you once won an award in Boy Scouts (which actually is a good thing to put on your resume) or that 2008 was the year you got nominated for a leadership conference.

2. Toot your own horn. For example, if you worked at Famous Footwear for two years, that’s great to put on your resume. But if you worked at Famous Footwear for two years and got promoted from Sales Associate to Assistant Manager, that’s even better. Showing that you moved up the ladder is tangible evidence of your ambition, your work ethic, and your leadership skills.

3. If applicable, make your resume creative. If you’re applying for a banking or business internship, you probably want to have a pretty traditional resume. But if you’re applying for an internship with artistic leanings, make your resume creative. I don’t mean use colored font or crazy paper. Simple colors, like putting a light green or blue border around your resume or using a combination of grey or black ink, could make your resume stand out.

4. Get second opinions on your cover letter. A cover letter is a sales tool – an explanation of why you would be the best person for the internship. After you write it, have a close friend read it. Then have a teacher or your current boss read it. Having two completely different people read and offer input on your cover letter can help ensure that your letter will “speak” to a wide variety of potential employers.

5. Tailor your resume to the job. Every internship is different. So why make your resume the same for every position you apply for? Know what’s important to each prospective employer. Have a leadership experience section in your resume? Awesome! But if you’re applying for a fashion illustration internship, delete that, and instead include a section on where and when your artwork has been featured.

Create a good resume – one that’s detailed, honest, and relevant – and you may find you’ll be less nervous applying for internships and more excited about your future!

By Guest Blogger Mia Mishek I UNIVERSITY OF MINNESOTA DULUTH: Self-described curly-haired, potato-chip-loving day dreamer from Minnesota. But when it comes to social media this girl has some serious chops.

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Top 4 Tips Finding Summer Internships

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By BookRenter Eric

How to make your summer a real resume builder!


I know it’s only January but it can never be too early to start planning your summer.  Summer internships offer a unique opportunity for you to gain valuable work experience before you head out to into the job market for real. An internship can give you a leg-up on the competition in the job market post-graduation.  Challenge yourself, reach for the stars, and most importantly go out and impress some people with your hard work!

Here are my tips for finding an internship:

1.   Start with the people you know – Ask your parents, ask your friends, ask your uncle, ask anyone you know if they can help you get in contact with a potential gig.

2.    Visit your school’s career center – The career center is not just for graduates! Don’t be shy, take a visit and see what you might find…

3.     Check your favorite company’s websites – You never know, your dream internship could be waiting for you!  Just make sure you apply early because most likely you won’t be the only one applying.

4.    Know what you’re interested in – No, you’re not deciding on a life-long career, but knowing what industries interest you can help narrow your search.

A Few Online Resources for Summer Internships:
Monster.com College – A good starting place with a lot of available internships and interview tips
College Recruiter.com – Another good starting place with a lot of available internships and interview tips
College Magazine – Awesome site for students which includes a listing of internships and other goodies

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