Francine Fabricant | CAREER COUNSELOR
Resume Checklist: Resume Tips to Beat the Screening Process

Francine Fabricant | 29 May 2017 | no comments

Ready to hit send?

Getting a resume ready for employers in today’s job search may start with clearly written job descriptions and spellcheck, but today’s most successful resumes also get past high-tech recruiting tools such as applicant tracking software (ATS) and online job boards.

Today’s best resumes are written for people and robots.

The time you spent on font selections and spacing will pay off later on. Real people will read your resume once it makes it to their computer. However, if you can’t get your resume past the robots “screening” it, employers may never see it. Effective resumes now work just as well with the latest, high-tech recruiting technology as they do in the hand of a hiring manager.

Surprisingly, this is easier than you may think.

This list will help you make sure your resume is attention-grabbing for robots and also sets you up for a great interview in person.

Want more resume-writing tips for today’s high-tech job search, or resume-writing tips for an internship search or your first resume? Click here for tips on your first resume, and here for more advanced resume-writing tips and samples.

If you’re ready to share your resume with employers, but just want to check it over . . .

Use this resume checklist to hit “send” with confidence!

Resume Writing Checklist-page 1Resume Writing Checklist page 2


career change, career launch, Internship, Job Search
5 Tips for a Strong Student Resume

CCS_authors | 24 November 2014 | no comments

Are you preparing to write a student resume (maybe it’s your first resume) for an internship or a job search? You can write a strong student resume even before you have relevant work experience by understanding what employers are seeking and designing your resume to highlight assets you gained as a student.

Here are five tips to get you started!

Tip # 1: Employers care about student experiences!

If the first thought that fills you with pre-resume-writing jitters is: “But I don’t have any experience!” then it’s time to better understand the assets employers expect from students. You might be surprised to learn that employers are hoping to hear about your student experiences.

A student resume should include relevant courses and course projects, student activities and leadership roles, part-time jobs, and volunteer roles, as well as any internships or work experiences—if you’ve had them. All of these varied types of experiences show your interests and also provide evidence of transferable skills, such as teamwork, critical thinking, and reliability.

Tip #2: Review great sample resumes for free!

Sample resumes are a great resource, and can provide inspiration for resume sections and formatting. They are not intended to be copied directly, but can help you better understand resume sections, formatting, fonts, and content. Most colleges have sample student resumes online or printed in the on-campus career center.

We have a number of case study student resume samples in Chapter 8: Tools of our book Creating our bookCareer Success. These include a target position selected for each case study student plus cover letters and more. An example can be found online, in our student resume and job search case study online career portfolio. Along these same lines, some students ask if a resume template is a valuable tool. I generally suggest writing the resume without a template, because templates include embedded formatting that can be difficult to remove.

For resume samples that highlight student experiences, check out this sample chronological resume and more from Quintessential Careers. Your career center may also offer samples that reflect the specific courses and majors at your school. I was pleased to find a large number of very high-quality, well-designed free resume samples shared online by Blue Sky Resumes, a resume-writing business. These are written for experienced candidates, but they also can offer insights into what your resume might include in the future and demonstrate some of the most current design elements and layouts.

Tip # 3: Try a technique that gets results: Write your resume backwards!

Now that you’ve considered what you’ll include in your resume and reviewed some well-written samples, it’s time to start think about how to organize the sections of your resume and how to highlight your most relevant assets.

To incorporate employers’ needs, try “writing your resume backwards.” Rather than think about your assets first, start by looking for internship postings or job listings that interest you, and use these as your guide. You can start by browsing your school’s internship or job listings. A job search is a lot like creating your own advertising campaign, and with this approach you’ll be thinking about your customer (the target employer) the whole time you create your marketing materials (your resume, cover letter, and interview responses).

First, choose a job or internship posting to serve as your target job position. Next, write down the experiences, activities, and courses that you believe qualify you for the opportunity. Finally, build your resume around these assets. You may find that this leads you to divide the sections of your resume differently, or to include more details about a student activity or volunteer experience that is more relevant to the position’s requirements than a part-time job you held. You will still need sections for education, activities, and work experience, but this approach will give your resume a focus, since it will be designed specifically for the positions that interest you most. To see how this works, take a look at the target position in this case study from Creating Career Success, and the resulting targeted resume.

Tip #4: Make your resume stand out for the right reasons.

In the movie Legally Blond, Elle’s pink, scented résumé won over her TA and professor, but, in the real world, employers expect your resume to lack flourishes, and focus on how your assets meet their needs. There is no need to spend hours debating fonts or choosing elaborate details to create stylish borders or accents. Resumes are best when the content takes center stage. That said, choosing a font and layout for your resume can be confusing. While there are some design elements that are more common, one of the best ways to discover the fonts, layout, and design options that suit your industry and career goals is to review sample resume. Again, check with your career center for samples or use samples from the links in Tip #3, above!

Some of the additional content that you may want to consider are links to your social media, such as a LinkedIn profile (make sure it’s complete and consider creating a custom public profile) or a link to an online portfolio (if you’ve set one up and it’s relevant for your job search). Saving your resume as a .pdf will ensure that the formatting you selected so thoughtfully will show up exactly the way you intended!

Tip #5: Before you send it to employers, ask for feedback!

After you have written your resume, ask someone to look it over for content, grammar, and spelling. Consider sharing it with a career counselor, a mentor, a professor, or your networking contacts. Offer to share your target job listing, and possibly some of the sample resumes you used when you prepared your own.  This will make it easier for others to offer feedback that is directly related to your career goals.

Once you’ve prepared your first resume, you will feel more comfortable getting started with career and recruiting activities offered at your school. To learn about upcoming events, check with your school’s career center. They may have upcoming activities that will interest you, such as a career and internship fair, networking night, or on-campus recruiting. With your new resume, you’ll be ready!


About The Author

Francine Fabricant_headshotFrancine Fabricant is a career counselor and the lead author of Creating Career Success. She has an extraordinary passion for career development, and is a frequent speaker on career topics. She has worked at the Columbia University Center for Career Education and FIT’s Career Services. She received an MA and EdM from Teachers College, Columbia University and a BA cum laude from Barnard College, Columbia University. Visit her website at

Internship, Job Search
3 Steps For Personal Branding

CCS_authors | 04 February 2013 | no comments

McDonald’s, Wendy’s, and White Castle are brands, with powerful marketing and promotional efforts to  help you differentiate and desire their products. Even though they all serve burgers and fries, most people would not mistake one for another. We’ve learned about them from their advertisements, our personal experiences, and their marketing choices. Somehow, we get a different feeling from each of them and we may like one over another.

Yes, You Have A Personal Brand!

Personal branding is a lot like branding in the business world. The big difference is that personal branding often happens to you, rather than by you, because many people donut make the effort to learn about personal branding and learn personal branding techniques.

Why do people like you? What skills and talents do you offer? Why do people rely on you? For instance, are you a good listener, are you good with technology, or do you know how to take photographs? These are the types of talents that may attract others. Whatever you’re known for – that’s your personal brand. Personal branding is the process of becoming more aware of your reputation, then shaping and promoting it intentionally.

With personal branding techniques, you can take charge of your reputation and improve your job search and career success. These three personal branding tips will get you started!

Step 1: Ask yourself how others see you.

The first step to building your brand is identifying some of the assets you could most easily brand, because they are already part of your reputation. To find out the best qualities you offer, ask the people you know why they would go to you for help, support, or advice. Ask them what special personal qualities, talents, or skills they think you can offer, and why they think you would be the right person to offer that assistance. Ask your friends, family members, a former boss, or your roommate. If they can’t think of something, ask them what they think is your reputation. Using different words or phrases, such as “go-to person” or “reputation,” can lead to new insights.

Step 2: Consider whether these are the qualities you want to brand for yourself, and then develop them further or make some changes!

Now that you’ve learned how others view you, decide if these qualities are important to you and if you’d like to be known for them. With this self-exploration, you’re deciding how you want to shape your personal brand.

Are these assets being honed, utilized, and enhanced through experiences?

After you decide which qualities are the ones you value, examine your activities, courses, and experiences to see where you use or build these strengths. If you aren’t developing them, consider adding new activities that make them part of your current experience. For instance, if you’re the one your friends go to for advice on their dating relationships, consider becoming a peer educator, taking a psychology class, or writing a column about dating in the school paper.

Step 3: Now, share your brand.

Look at your social media, and see if the message about your greatest assets comes through. Examine your resume. Look at your course list. As you go through all of the information and documents you have for yourself, look to see if these qualities you value come through. If not, consider if you need more experiences that back up these strengths, or if you just need to highlight them more.

As you better understand your personal brand, and choose activities that support it, you will find that your message starts to shine through, and soon you’ll have even more people seeking you out for the assets you want to use most!

Tell us how you are building your personal brand.

About The Author

Francine Fabricant_headshotFrancine Fabricant is a career counselor and the lead author of Creating Career Success. She has an extraordinary passion for career development, and is a frequent speaker on career topics. She has worked at the Columbia University Center for Career Education and FIT’s Career Services. She received an MA and EdM from Teachers College, Columbia University and a BA cum laude from Barnard College, Columbia University. Visit her website at

Job Hunting During the Holidays

CCS_authors | 09 December 2012 | no comments

A question I get asked frequently around this time of year by job hunters is: “Should I even bother looking now or should I wait until the New Year?”

The answer I give is: “Yes, you can start or continue your job search during the holiday season!”

Fiscal Year End

You may think that since the calendar year is about to end that the company’s fiscal year is ending as well. There are two reasons why you should not be concern about this issue.

(1) Many companies have a fiscal year that does not coincide with the calendar year. So, the fact that the calendar year is about to end may not matter to the employer.

(2) When a company needs to fill a position, it doesn’t matter what time of the year it is, they will fill key positions as needed.

It’s Party Time, Not Decision Making Time

Another concern is that during the holidays, companies may be more laid back than usual. Many companies will have a party for employees, and some departments may have a party as well. With all that fun, is anyone really selecting candidates and interviewing? Yes. Although people may appear less focused on work during the holiday season, make no mistake, important decisions are still being made.

Vacation = Decision Makers Are Not Available

Another concern often voiced is that if an interview goes well, will the people needed to sign off on a job offer be available? While this is a great time of year for many to take a vacation, there will always be someone left to mind the fort. Also, in this digital age even if someone is out of the office they can be contacted if needed. However, one exception is that some companies close between the Christmas and New Year’s holidays.

End of the Year Job Search Projects

Throughout December, and especially during the last two weeks, you may find that reaching employers is more difficult. You can prepare for your job search during this quieter time by giving yourself projects that do not require an immediate response from employers. Conducting online and library research, revising your resume, creating or updating your social media presence, writing cover letters, sending out resumes and cover letters, and preparing for interviews are all tasks that can be accomplished during this time.

How will you make the most of the last weeks of this year?


About The Author

Jennifer Miller_croppedJennifer Miller, MBA, MSED is an Associate Professor and Counselor in the Career and Internship Center at the Fashion Institute of Technology (FIT) since 2001. She is very knowledgeable and passionate about sustainability and social media. In addition to counseling she taught Career Planning for several years and currently teaches internship courses on Career Exploration and Career Planning. She holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from Binghamton University in Binghamton, New York and she has two masters degrees; one in Guidance and Counseling from Hunter College in New York City, and one in Business Administration from Binghamton University.


Job Search
4 Networking Tips for the Holiday Season

CCS_authors | 29 November 2012 | no comments

With the holiday season here, there are more opportunities to meet up with friends and family, and these can be great networking opportunities for your developing career. Whether you’re looking for a job after graduation, an internship for next summer, or have some big questions about your career direction, networking is an invaluable resource.

Set your goals on getting to know the people around you, and taking steps to expand your network. Here are some tips to get you started, and make networking feel more personal.

1. Ask questions that help you learn about others.

Getting a conversation started can be tough, and asking questions is a good way to get someone to start talking. The best questions are the ones that really interest you and that the person to whom you are speaking can answer.

For instance, if you see your aunt over break, and she is a businesswoman whom you respect, you may want to seek out her advice. Asking Aunt Kaye what you should do with your degree in communications certainly involves a question that interests you, but she may not know about careers in communications or which resources to recommend.

Instead, try asking her questions that help you learn about her and her network. You might ask how the media she uses in business has changed and what sources she goes to for news, or if she knows anyone who works in communications, PR, or marketing at her firm or elsewhere. All of this information can help you make connections between her experiences, her network, and your career interests.

2. If you learn something helpful, explain how you will use that information.

If you have dinner with a friend’s family and learn that your friend’s brother’s girlfriend’s brother is a chef, and you want to become a chef, consider asking if you could speak with him about his career to learn more. Despite the distant connection, you can bridge this gap by asking for an introduction.

Then, follow your request with a simple explanation of how that can be useful to you, such as, “I’d like to learn more about how he found his first job, and what advice he could give to me.” This honesty makes the request sincere and easier to relay.

Just imagine the conversation that could follow between your friend’s brother and his girlfriend … “I went to dinner with my brother and his friend, James, and it came up that James wants to become a chef. Do you think your brother would talk to him about how he found his first job and share some advice?”

3. Share details that show your skills, professionalism, and motivation.

If you know what career information you need, you can be specific about your needs and your relevant skills, but if you don’t know what your career goals are, you may be unclear about how to promote your assets. Imagine yourself at a holiday party where you learn that someone is a physical therapist who works with athletes.

If you like sports, but never thought about this career path or taken any related courses, you may feel like you have no relevant assets to highlight. However, talking about your genuine interest, your willingness to work hard, and your eagerness to research requirements for jobs in the field are all examples of your professionalism.

Add to these the science and math classes you’ve taken or your experience from the sports you’ve played and you’ll be sharing the groundwork you’ve paved for the foundation of a new career. This can help people think of next steps or recommend you to their network.

4. Respect your environment.

Sometimes, a detailed conversation about your career isn’t appropriate or possible. You might be at a crowded party where it’s difficult to hear, other people might interrupt the conversation, or the person you want to speak with may not seem interested. If necessary, move to another topic.

However, if you feel that the person is receptive, consider asking if you could follow up to speak further or set up an informational interview. Don’t follow up by sending your resume. Instead, send an e-mail to thank the person for offering to speak and work towards setting up a convenient time for a meeting, either on the phone or in person.

Effective networking will lead to sincere, meaningful relationships

Networking over the holiday season can be fun and lead to new relationships and insights for your career. Conversations that reflect your interest in others can help you turn your holidays into a time of learning and expanding possibilities.

What relationships have you built through social events that have helped your career?


About The Author

Francine Fabricant_headshotFrancine Fabricant is a career counselor and the lead author of Creating Career Success. She has an extraordinary passion for career development, and is a frequent speaker on career topics. She has worked at the Columbia University Center for Career Education and FIT’s Career Services. She received an MA and EdM from Teachers College, Columbia University and a BA cum laude from Barnard College, Columbia University. Visit her website at

Social Media and Apps As Career Tools: How We Are Using Technology Today

CCS_authors | 12 October 2012 | no comments

Depending on how old you are, you may remember when you had to sit in front of a computer at your desk to read e-mails, look up information from known resources, and visit magazine or newspaper websites for the latest headlines. A lot has changed and continues to change!

Today, we’re connected all the time, accessing e-mails, text messages, web-based resources, and apps throughout the day. One of the big shifts in technology involves how we take in the information we need. In your career development, you will want a lot of information; about your career field or the one that you are exploring, organizations or companies where you might like to work, job listings, job search tools and advice, and networking contacts. And you’re likely to do the majority of your information gathering wherever you find yourself; whether it is at home, in the library, coffee shop, etc. using your laptop, tablet or Smartphone.

If you are launching your career, consider using social media and apps as career tools. 

Although magazines, newspapers, and the websites of brick-and-mortar resources are useful, social media has really expanded into an excellent career resource. For instance, two of the most common places to find current information about the world of work are Twitter and Facebook, where you can follow companies, organizations, associations, people, and more. Now, in addition to using traditional forms of social media for your career, you might be using apps as well! Apps are rapidly expanding to assist the internship or job seeker. As the trend toward social media, apps, and non-stop two-way communication continues to grow, employers are spending more time and money developing their social media resources, which means they are even better and more useful.

To learn more about useful career and job search apps, check out some of these articles that suggest and review mobile apps:

4 Mobile Apps to Simplify Your Life
6 Mobile Apps for Your Job Hunt
10 iPhone Apps to Manage Your Job Search on the Go
Job Search iPhone Apps:iPhone and iPad Apps for Job Searching

As technology continues to evolve, we’ll be looking for articles, resources, and tips to help you in your career.

What technology topics would you like to learn more about for your career?

(Image from:


Using Creating Career Success

I’m excited to share free resources, tips, and more to help you create your own success!

... read more


Francine Fabricant, EdD helps people rethink their opportunities and build careers that are personally meaningful and rewarding. Lead author of the award-winning college career book, Creating Career Success, she has worked at Hofstra University, the Fashion Institute of Technology, and Columbia University. Francine holds degrees from Barnard College and Teachers College, Columbia University and is a frequent speaker on career topics.


Enter your email address to follow my blog and receive new posts by email.

Get in Touch

Success! Your message has been sent.