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6 Tips to Take Your Resume from Good to Great

by South University
April 13, 2018

Landing your dream job can be a challenge, especially in fields with a competitive job market. To have a chance at a phone call – never mind an-person interview – your resume must grab your potential employer’s attention and then keep them focused on you!

1. Quantify your contributions. Don’t just list the tasks you do. Instead, use numbers to show the volume and impact of your work. If possible, explain how your actions benefited or improved your team or the company as whole.

2. Tailor your resume for each specific job. For each job you apply to, think about what skills, qualifications and experience you should highlight on your resume. If it’s applicable, include how your current role is similar to the job for which you are currently applying (but don't exaggerate!). For example, if you're applying to be a manager, list your previous or current management responsibilities and project leadership experiences.

3. Include your hobbies, freelance or volunteer work when it’s relevant. If you're applying for a position as a computer programmer and your hobby is developing mobile apps or helping with a non-profit’s website as a volunteer, include those items on your resume. Hobbies and additional work can show that you are passionate about a subject or that you have taken the initiative to develop a skill outside of your current position. If you don’t have room on your resume, you can mention them in your cover letter instead.

4. Create a resume that's easy to skim. Format your resume with bold headings and bullet points and start each section with the most impressive skill or job responsibility. Unless you have over 5 years of experience, keep your resume to one page. Even if your resume is two pages, the most important information should still appear on the first page. Remember, hiring managers may see tons of resumes, so yours could have only a few seconds to grab their attention.

5. Clean up and unclutter your layout. Leave white space around the edges and delete unnecessary items like supervisor contact information or "References available upon request." (If they want references, they'll ask!) Use tables to ensure each column is perfectly lined up.

6. Leave a professional impression. Use bright white paper or professional letterhead, make sure the ink in your printer is dark, and select an easy-to-read font such as Times New Roman or Arial in 10- to 12-point size. And of course, proofread and then proofread again. You want to captivate the employer with your impressive qualifications, not an offbeat font choice or multiple spelling errors!

Related Posts:

Note: This blog was originally published August 15, 2013 and updated April 13, 2018.

by South University
April 13, 2018
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3 Mistakes You Can Easily Avoid in Academic Writing

by South University, Online Programs
October 9, 2014

Over the course of your studies, there’s no way to avoid writing academic and research papers, but avoiding some of the most common writing pitfalls is easier than you might think. Developing your writing skills as a student is essential, as these skills will allow you to clearly convey your ideas and opinions and will go a long way in helping you throughout your professional career. Here are 3 mistakes you should be sure to avoid, so that you can compose essays that are clear, concise and persuasive.

papers in the trash

1. Ambiguity

Ambiguous writing muddles your argument, making it difficult for your reader to understand what you're trying to say. Ambiguity in writing comes in many forms, but two areas are particularly susceptible to vagueness. First, ambiguous pronouns can make an otherwise clear sentence downright confusing. Using pronouns to represent previously introduced subjects varies your writing and allows you to avoid sounding repetitive. However, pronouns such as it, they, this, and these risk being ambiguous. To avoid being vague, define these pronouns. For example, instead of saying, "This was successful," write, "This study was successful."

Similarly, a modifier, which is a short phrase that describes another word or phrase in a sentence, can be ambiguous when it is improperly placed in the sentence. To avoid ambiguous modifiers, keep them immediately before or after the words they describe.

2. Lack of Credible Sources

Sources can bolster your argument and connect your research to the writers and researchers who came before you. However, while the Internet has simplified the research process, it has also exposed students to many unverifiable sources.

Knowing how to conduct research can help you avoid using questionable sources. For starters, anonymous sources should not be trusted. The credibility of authors can be verified by researching their background to determine whether they are a subject matter expert or simply an opinionated blogger. Questionable sources can further be avoided by searching on reputable websites, especially those that end in .edu, .org or .gov.

We recommend beginning your research through the Online Library, accessible in the Campus Common via the My Academics menu. The Online Library staff also regularly hosts webinars that can help you to enhance your research skills, and staff members are available to assist you at onlinelibrary@southuniversity.edu or 1-866-874-0730. To see our webinar schedule, check our events calendar!

3. Improper Style

Style guides might seem like burdensome rules that frustrate and confuse students, but they also help create cohesive, easy-to-understand papers that are consistent from start to finish. Many students overlook style guide formatting or fail to apply rules consistently, which can result in a paper that is challenging to read. Moreover, failing to follow proper style risks unintentional plagiarism.

Adhering to your program- or course-specific style guide, whether that is APA, MLA or the Chicago Manual of Style, among others, is essential. In addition to ensuring that your academic paper adheres to basic formatting guidelines, you should also ensure you cite sources properly throughout. Whether you use parenthetical citations within the text or footnotes at the bottom of the page, your in-text citations should line up with a complete and correctly formatted works-cited page at the end of your paper.

Don’t forget that South University offers a Writing Center where someone will review your papers and give you feedback prior to final submission. Just select the Tutoring Service link in your classroom on any assignment page!

by South University, Online Programs
October 9, 2014
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A Crash Course in Writing a Thank You Note

by South University
January 16, 2014

For many, sending thank you notes by mail may seem like a trend of the past. Yet friends and family often still expect handwritten thank you notes after giving a gift, and, whether they expect it or not, everyone appreciates a heartfelt thank you. In the world of business, your choice of whether to send one after an interview can mean the difference between getting a job and getting ignored.

Thank You noteTo stay ahead in your personal and professional life, fine-tune your thank you note writing skills by following these simple tips! In fact, why not try putting them into practice today and thank your mentor during National Mentoring Month?

Written, Typed or Texted?

With the ease of text and email at our fingertips, you may be tempted to thank someone digitally rather than take the time to write it out. Resist this urge. Only casual and informal situations – a friend offering you a ride home, a neighbor returning your aimless dog or a coworker holding an elevator door – allow for this easy delivery method. In most circumstances, texted thanks can come across as unappreciative, and while emailed ones are a step above a text, they're still perceived as less thoughtful than a handwritten note.

Focus on the Giver’s Feelings

Sometimes it seems like we live in a self-focused society, but thank you notes are one time to fight against the norm. Concentrate on making the giver feel good for their efforts and expense. A big part of that is identifying what they did for you, and show them how they affected your life for the good—whether they gave you an actual gift, invited you over for dinner, or introduced you to a new business connection. Even if you're given a gift you don’t like, you should send a polite, specific thank you, and leave it at that.

Bring it Back to Business

Sometimes it’s easy to forget that thank you cards aren’t just sent in response to receiving a gift. People also send them – especially in business – after receiving a favor. These kinds of acts cover any business effort that will potentially help you succeed, including those with mutual benefit. These include entering into partnerships, providing a discount on a large lot of merchandise or hosting an interview. As with other kinds of thank you notes, these should be handwritten, specific and focus on the impact of the giver’s actions.

Read More

- http://www.forbes.com/sites/work-in-progress/2013/01/09/why-e-mail-will-never-replace-the-handwritten-note/
- http://bits.blogs.nytimes.com/2013/03/10/etiquette-redefined-in-the-digital-age/

by South University
January 16, 2014
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Call for Student Artwork & Writing: Deadline Extended to 12/18/2013!

by South University
November 19, 2013

Do you write poetry, stories, or personal narratives (literary non-fiction) that you’d like to get published? Do you have artwork or photographs you want to share with a larger audience? Submit your work for a chance to be featured in the second issue of South University’s Asynchronous!

Garden Student Image

Asynchronous is an online literary magazine established to showcase the creative efforts of students attending South University. We are now calling for poetry, fiction, literary non-fiction, and artwork for the journal’s second issue. 

Note: The call for submissions has been extended to December 18, 2013. We are particularly interested in receiving more fiction and literary non-fiction submissions. Please look through your work and choose the best, or create something new!

For a better understanding of the kind of work we’re interested in publishing, please take a look at our inaugural issue at http://online.southuniversity.edu/asynchronous/.

Submissions guidelines can be found at http://online.southuniversity.edu/asynchronous/submissions.aspx.

We look forward to receiving your submissions!

The Editors, Asynchronous

by South University
November 19, 2013
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Literary Journal Call for Submissions

by South University
September 4, 2013

South University’ student literary journal ASYNCHRONOUS will be accepting submissions from September 9 to November 8, 2013. The literary journal will welcome short stories, poetry and artwork created by current students and is an excellent outlet for creative expression for our students. 

Asynchronous cover

Find complete submission guidelines and directions at http://online.southuniversity.edu/asynchronous/submissions.aspx

Learn more about the journal here, or view our inaugural edition published in Spring 2013.

We can’t wait to see the submissions!

by South University
September 4, 2013
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