9 job search items you can complete before 2013

Winter break! Time to regroup from the fall semester and relax and refocus your energy for the spring semester that starts January 10.

Additionally, in between regrouping and refocusing, scratch off some “to dos” on your Job Search To-Do List, since there aren’t any class assignments to distract you. Here’s a list of nine “to dos” to choose from.

1. Create/update your resume: If you have a resume, take time to update it. If you haven’t yet written a resume, now’s the time to do so. Check out the Career Services Career Guide for helpful hints and samples. Have a career counselor review your draft when you return to campus in January.

2. Register for employmeNC: EmploymeNC is the Career Services online job board that lists full-time and part-time positions for CPCC students and alumni. Companies post jobs on a daily basis so opportunities are always updated. Submitting a resume to be approved by Career Services staff is the first step after creating your account. After your resume is approved, search for positions that match your qualifications and interests.

3. Don’t forget the cover letter: The cover letter is your chance to personalize your application by drawing attention to specific entries on your resume. Remember that cool accomplishment at your previous job that’s limited to a one line description on your resume? Here’s an opportunity to provide more details.

 4. Create a Linked In account: LinkedIn must become a key component of your job search. Employers post jobs and look for candidates through this professional social media tool. It’s also great for making contacts in your industry. Check out the Career Services LinkedIn Checklist for tips.

5. Prepare your elevator speech: An elevator speech is a 30 second overview of your skills, professional interests and accomplishments and future goals as they relate to careers. The term comes from the average time it takes to complete an elevator ride. Practice and memorize this speech that can be extremely helpful during job interviews, at job fairs and in elevators. You never know when a networking opportunity may arise! 

6. Purchase an interviewing suit: Take advantage of the post-holiday sales and put those gift cards received to good use. You’ll need a professional suit for job interviews. Don’t wait until the night before an interview to shop for one.

7. Practice answering interview questions: Every interview is different, but common interview questions exist. The best way to prepare for a job interview is practice, practice, practice. Sit down in front of the mirror and practice your answers. Have a friend or family member role play an interview. Prepare now and schedule a mock interview in Career Services next semester.

8. Line up your references: Maintain a list of at least three professional references, or people who can speak favorably about your skills and abilities. Current or former supervisors, professors or Co-op advisors make great professional references. It’s best not to list relatives or close friends. Think about who you would want to list on your reference list. Ask them in person or through email if they would consider being a reference for you.

9. Start a job search folder: Whether hard copy or online, now’s the time to start a job search folder that contains copies of your resume, cover letters and reference list. Keep a list here of usernames and passwords created for job search sites, Linked In and company websites (many require creating an account before viewing job openings). Keep track of positions applied to (so you can follow up), networking contacts and any other job search correspondence. Organize your job search as you would a class project.  

Have a relaxing and productive break. Career Services looks forward to working with you in 2013!


Seven ways a business card can help your job search

 “Back in the day” one of the primary tools in a job search toolbox was a stack of business cards. In today’s tech-savvy world, are business cards still relevant?  The answer is yes.

 How can a business card help your job search? Check out these seven ways.

1. Summarize contact information: No one get can in touch with you unless they know how. 

2. Force conciseness: There’s no room for rambling on a card that’s 3.5 x 2 inches. 

3. Be tangible: Yes, Twitter makes you share information in 140 characters or less. But you can’t physically hand someone your Twitter account. Just be sure to include your Twitter handle on your business card!  

4. Allow for creativity: Resumes follow fairly standard formats. You have more room for creativity when designing a business card. 

5. Can be easily carried: They fit in your wallet.  

6. Are inexpensive: Websites like Vistaprint let you create cards for free. Microsoft Word has a template for designing and printing them from your own computer.

7. Help network: You never know when you’re going to meet someone who might be able to assist you with job searching. Hand them a business card with your contact information already in writing.

Even though you can get creative with business cards, don’t let your flash outshine your purpose. The dos and don’ts lists for creating business cards are fairly straightforward.


  • Include your name, phone number and email address (mailing address optional).
  • Know your audience. What design works for your target industry? Check out other business cards for examples.
  • Make it stand out. What font, card color or image can you use that will differ your card in a stack?
  • Show off your social media presence. Reference your professional Twitter and LinkedIn accounts as well as professional websites. Go the extra tech mile and create a QR Code that can be scanned by someone’s phone to immediately add your information to their online contact list.


  • Crowd the card. What’s the most pertinent information? The purpose of a business card is providing people your contact methods. If you add background information (degrees, certifications, specialties), do so in a clear manner.
  • Forget to spellcheck.
  • Make multiple designs. Any marketing expert will emphasize the importance of consistency when it comes to logos and designs.
  • Print multiple copies before testing it. Present your card to friends and peers for feedback. Add your card to a stack of business cards. Does it stand up – and hopefully stand out – among the others?

Smart phones and tablets haven’t completely replaced paper – yet. Business cards are still utilized by employers. Make yourself stand out from other applicants at job fairs and during job interviews by presenting a business card. Doing so will make a lasting impression for the right reasons.