If you’re looking for a job these days, you know how competitive finding one can be. To help you make a great first impression, IEEE partnered with OptimalResume, a career services company in Durham, N.C., to create IEEE RésuméLab, an online program that helps you with the many tasks needed for landing a job. This includes writing better résumés and cover letters, creating a portfolio or a video résumé, and improving your interviewing skills. Launched in January, IEEE RésuméLab is free to all IEEE members.
You’ll also get help building a personal website where you can post the documents you’ve created with the program.
“In a 2012 survey of IEEE members about our most useful benefits, more than half the respondents chose assistance with résumés and interviewing,” says Rory McCorkle, global career resources product manager in IEEE’s Member and Geographic Activities group, in Piscataway, N.J. “We think IEEE RésuméLab will be a valuable resource, especially among students, recent graduates, and members who are unemployed.”
GOOD ON PAPER
The program’s “Create New Résumé” tool allows you to upload a résumé you may already have written or create a new one. Samples and tips on how to make the document look professional and eye-catching are also included.
“Portfolio” will help you compile a list of past projects that showcase what you’ve done in your career. You’ll be able to organize and upload the list to an existing Web page or to whatever new personal website you create. And there is nothing but space for describing what you’ve accomplished: Each project can include up to 200 megabytes worth of documents, images, videos, and audio files, plus links to other websites. Anything you’ve done for school, internships, jobs, or volunteer activities can go here.
“Letters” suggests wording for cover letters, responses to employer inquiries, and thank you notes.
SHOWCASE YOUR SKILLS
And there’s more. “Skills Assessment” helps you list your skills—such as critical thinking, complex problem solving, management experience, and systems analysis—by simply choosing the ones that apply from a checklist.
You’ll also get to choose skills specific to different jobs with the “New Proficiency List.” Industries are broken into several categories, including High-Growth, like nanotechnology and biotechnology, STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics), and Green Jobs, such as wind and solar power generation and the smart grid. Each category has a list of abilities employers may be seeking. Bioengineers, for example, can select from a menu that includes working with biosensors, calibration software, and medical device testing.
Nervous about interviews? IEEE RésuméLab can prepare you to speak with a potential employer by offering responses to common interview questions. To this end, the “Interview” tool begins with questions you might be asked and then includes suggestions on how to respond. And you can practice your responses by recording them using your computer’s microphone and Web cam. You’ll be able to see and hear yourself, as well as share the files with others for their comments.
You can also create video résumés through the same program. An onscreen teleprompter can be invoked if you want to read a script you’ve prepared.
Finally, you can create your own custom profile page with “Website,” a tool that comes with different design templates and colors. There, you can post your résumé, your portfolio, a cover letter, and even links to social media accounts such as Facebook and LinkedIn. You can then share the URL with anyone you wish, including would-be employers and mentors, as well as friends and relatives.