Whether you just enrolled in a degree program or you’re almost to the finish line, you’ve taken a wonderful first step on the road to career success. Now, take the next step. You’ve been learning what it takes to succeed in your field—now do what it takes to succeed in landing the job. 

There are a number of tips and tricks to a successful job search. Networking and knowing how to get past gatekeepers on the phone are high on the list. But at the very top are two incredibly important essentials for landing a job—the resume and the interview. 

It has everything to do with first impressions: The on-paper impression that answers all the questions regarding work and educational experience … and the in-person impression that lets hiring managers know you’re someone others will want to work with. From resume submission to face-to-face meetings, a good first impression is the critical foundation for successful employment. 

The good news? You don’t have to face this alone. Your friends at University of the Cumberlands would like to offer for your job-hunt consideration the following do’s and a few don’ts: 

The Resume

You’ve been at it for hours—writing the perfect resume. You may have even spent time on a cover letter. Good, take your time, get it right. One more thing, double-check … everything. 

Grammar and Spelling

Before you hit “send” on that resume submission, review your content one last time for any obvious grammatical errors. Run a computer spellcheck but conduct your own internal spell check, too—don’t solely rely on your software to save you from spelling or punctuation faux pas.


Another resume misstep is poor formatting, including:

  • Fonts that are too big, too small or are difficult to read
  • Long, unbroken content blocks that are not conducive to a quick review
  • Strange font or background colors

DO use white space and bullets to break up content so your resume is easy on the eye. Additionally, use adequate margin space, and make sure everything is aligned.


The length of a resume can also be a vital consideration. Younger candidates fresh out of college or a career training program should keep the length at a page, while those with more experience may be able to get away with up to two pages. 

That said, before you throw two or more pages of background information, review the content once more and ask yourself this question: Are these the right details to sell your capabilities for the job in question? Take another look at the job description. If it’s very specific to supervisory skills, maybe the 15 projects that you successfully completed offsite and alone, while impressive, are actually taking up too much valuable resume real estate.


Clarity in your professional objective is critical. On the other side of this, it’s important to encapsulate this objective succinctly in one or two sentences near the top of your resume. Your objective should be specific to the job you are applying for. Vague objectives might leave a hiring manager wondering if you are really interested or understand the particular role you are applying for.


Accuracy is the backbone of your resume. Whether you are outright falsifying your experience to get a leg up on the competition or just sloppy or vague in your employment dates or contact information, inaccuracy in your submission package can come back to haunt you and potentially cost you that dream job role.

Overall impression

One more tip for your resume writing: Get a friend to read over it for you. Does anything strike them as odd or out of place? What is their gut reaction? This is gold for getting it right with potential future employers. 

Acing the Big Interview

Your resume was green-lighted, and you’ve been invited to meet with the hiring manager in person. The question is: Are you prepared to avoid these five common interview pitfalls? 

1. Don’t overdo or underdo it

If you are nervous and tend to become quiet or shy during interview situations, practice beforehand so you can express yourself confidently and articulately to a hiring manager. On the other side of this coin, if your personality tends to be overpowering, tone it down. If you have a tendency to turn a dialogue into a monologue, make sure the interviewer has the opportunity to speak in between your responses and/or questions.

2. Do dress to impress

How you dress is a critical part of your interview presentation, so make sure you understand individual company dress code expectations so you can leave your interviewer with a good impression. Some companies or fields tend to be more casual while others are very formal in their expectations for professional attire.

3. Don’t lie

It seems obvious but stretching the truth—a little or a lot—during an interview can boomerang to bite you in the long run. Hiring managers have easy access to your education and professional experience background and will most likely discover if you were fibbing.

4. Do maintain a social media presence

An estimated 80% of recruiters and hiring managers use social media to identify job candidates, so it’s important to maintain a professional profile on sites such as LinkedIn. This goes for Twitter, Facebook and Instagram accounts as well, so if you’re constantly posting inflammatory remarks or sharing controversial information, a potential employer could be turned off. Cleaning up your social media could mean improving your shot at that dream job role.

5. No mudslinging

Leave the backstabbing and bashing to the political arena. Don’t speak negatively about a former employer or coworker as you will come across as indiscreet and even a complainer who could potentially depress morale in a new job setting.

Whether you’re crafting your resume or dress rehearsing for your audition across from the hiring manager, invest the time in preparing for both.

Please visit the resources below to find out more about how to be successful in your employment search: