Creating a resume is tricky, and deciding what to put on one, how to talk about past experiences, and getting it all to fit on a page is an art we will forever be attempting to master.  But often the most difficult part of our job, at Career Services, and as students, is trying to create a solid resume out of experiences that we simply have not had.  Many of us were involved in high school and had the occasional house sitting type jobs, but now that we are past our freshman year and can no longer include this information on a resume, we feel as though we are left with nothing.  It is absolutely important to enjoy yourself in college, and to focus first and foremost on your studies, but it isn’t enough to be just a good student anymore.  We need to build a collection of experiences that can strengthen our resumes and give us valuable examples of how we apply the things we learn in class.

Thankfully, Oregon State University is equipped with an overwhelming number of opportunities, big and small, for us to get involved and add to our experience list.  But where can we find these opportunities?  Below is the start of a basic list, and following are tips to search for more on your own!

For those of you who have not explored OSU’s website in depth, now is the time!  Click through all the links and pages, and opportunities will start pouring out:

  • Academic clubs in your major can be found on your college’s webpage.  There are usually brochures lying around in the main offices, as well.
  • OSU has a long list of clubs and organizations around campus.
  • ASOSU (Associated Students of Oregon State University) is the student government.  They have many positions available to students among the various branches, as well as task forces and committees for students looking for a smaller role.  You can also get involved with the Center for Civic Engagement.
  • MUPC (Memorial Union Program Council) provides many opportunities for leadership and involvement through event planning and activities.  You can keep an eye out for conferences, festivals, and other events occurring around campus.  Attending a leadership conference, for example, is totally something you can put on a resume.
  • There are six cultural centers on campus: The Asian & Pacific Cultural Center, The Lonnie B. Harris Black Cultural Center, El Centro Cultural César Chávez, The Native American Longhouse, The Pride Center, and The Women’s Center.  There are numerous ways to get involved at each of these centers, so go check them out!
  • Student Media runs the Barometer, KBVR –FM and TV, Prism, and Yearbook.  They have job openings and volunteer opportunities calling for a wide array of expertise.
  • We have many religious groups on campus, a long list of which can be found at: Religious/Spiritual Organizations
  • The Greek system is a great way to get involved.  There are 21 fraternities and 19 sororities, both social and academic based.  These are organized through the IFC and Panhellenic and recruitment, although mainly done in the fall, goes on all year.
  • The Student Sustainability Center is the hub of all things environmentally conscious and green on campus!  Involvement in organizations such as this looks great on resumes.  They offer jobs, internships, and volunteer opportunities and activities.
  • Interested in unique volunteer opportunities around campus and Corvallis that require little long-term commitment and fit well into any schedule?  Get on the mailing list for the Community Service Center, and be notified about volunteer opportunities.
  • The Disability Access Services office offers opportunities for involvement both paid and unpaid including note taking and mentoring.
  • A fun way to build a resume and learn about teamwork and strategic planning is through the various intramural sports offered each term, and for a more competitive environment, there are numerous sports clubs that compete against clubs from other schools.

If you are looking for some bigger commitments that are incredible experiences and really shine on a resume here are some ideas:

  • Apply to the University Honors College
  • Visit the Study Abroad office and plan a term or a year abroad
  • Become an RA –live right on campus, have your housing paid for, make a significant impact on first year students’ college experiences
  • Join ROTC
  • Start a Corvallis chapter for any significant cause or organization that you are passionate about
  • Get a job or internship.  If you are sick of your summer job, want to earn some extra money, or try out a career path, then look on Beaver Job Net, and see what opportunities are available!

Do not forget to utilize your professors as a resource.  They will have tons of ideas for ways to get involved, as well as be in the know for opportunities coming up.  Many professors look for students to help with tutoring and many recruit their own teaching assistants.

This is the time to get creative!  What unique things have you done, even just for fun?  Taking classes at Dixon, the Craft Center, Community Centers, etc are places where you learn, and any information you gather or regular activity you commit to, can be tailored into a valuable resume builder.  Also, if there are any hobbies that you enjoy that offer certifications, then take the little bit of extra time to do the paper work!  (Many of us are bloggers, or very computer savvy –think about Druple training.  There are periodically sessions offered on campus.)

Some things to remember: coursework and group work are valuable learning opportunities.  You can talk about these things on a resume.  Work experiences DO NOT need to be paid.  Many students think that if it’s not an official job it doesn’t count, but just about any experience does.

If you need help brainstorming or professionally organizing your ideas to polish off that resume, do not forget about Career Services.  We are here to help!


Career Services offers many workshops throughout the year. It is very important to take advantage of these workshops and all of the information provided by both Career Services staff and company employers. With two career fairs right around the corner here are just some of the workshops that we have coming up.

Brand Yourself into the Job of Choice

Tuesday, February 21, 2012 11:00 AM – 12:00 PM

This is a new workshop that we are offering this year and will be presented by Rachel Mendell of State Farm Insurance. Have you ever wondered what you can do to set yourself apart from other candidates through the pre-employment process? It’s easy!! By taking the time to create your own personal brand, you can set yourself apart from other candidates at career fairs, on your resume, and during the interview.  Not only will you be able to set yourself apart, but you will also realize through the branding process what opportunities are truly the best fit for you.

Creating a Stand-Out Resume

Monday, February 20, 2012 12:00 PM – 1:00 PM

This is a great way to learn about different formats and how to best set up your resume for success. At this workshop you will learn how to tailor your resume to individual employers and find out what appeals to them. One of the main recurring themes seen in resumes is lack of information. Learn how to take a dull resume and fill it out with content so that it will truly reflect your skills and capabilities. Check out the resume section on our website for more information on resumes.

How to Ace Your Job Interview

Tuesday, February 21, 2012 12:00 PM – 1:00 PM

In this workshop you will gain great insight on typical questions that interviewers ask and how to respond to them. You will be given tools like the S.T.A.R technique (Situation, Task, Action, and Result) which will help you give thorough responses. Knowing how to present yourself in an interview situation can be tricky but this is a perfect way to improve your skills. A good way to prepare in the mean time is through the interview section of our website which gives you tips for several situations.

Success at the Career Fair

Monday, February 20, 2012 3:00 PM – 4:00 PM

If you are planning to attend the Winter Career Fair this is a great workshop to attend. During the Success at the Career Fair workshop we will go over many details that can be looked over.  This presentation will give you the tools needed to make a great first impression at the Career Fair. We will go over many things, from how a resume should look to how your body language is an interview all in itself. Find out more information about our Career Fairs and how to prepare!

These are just some of the workshops that we are offering leading up to next week career fairs. We also offer many more that aren’t listed! For more information check out our website!

Posted by Silver Trujillo, Career Services Assistant

Question: Where would I put overseas experience on a resume?

Overseas experience can go under many sections, depending on your experience and the position you are applying for. If you mainly took classes abroad, I would put it under “Education” listed as

Study Abroad – Country – length of time (you could include the university if you want)

If you did an internship abroad, then I would put it under “Experience” and highlight what you did and the skills gained. If you studied abroad and did research, that could go under “Research Experience”. If the trip was more based on activities and travel, then it could go under “Activities”.

Overall, it really depends on what you want to highlight from your overseas experience  but whatever you decide, you only need to mention it once on the resume, you don’t want to list it under multiple sections.

Posted by Jen Busick, Career Advisor & Outreach Coordinator

So, you’re graduating! You only have weeks, 19 days to be exact, until you are done with school. How exciting! Have you thought about where you are headed after OSU? No? It’s never too late to get started with the job search process.

First, you have to know yourself and what you have to offer as a professional. Take time to reflect on past experiences such as jobs, internships and volunteer opportunities that have allowed you to gain skills that are transferrable to the workplace. We have put together a WORKBOOK to help you get started on this important step in the job search process.

Once you have an idea of what you bring to the table, start putting it down on paper. If you don’t know where to start, take a look at our website, including the link to our CAREER GUIDE, there are great tips and formats that will get your creative wheels churning. After you have completed a resume draft, come down to Career Services to have one of our Career Assistants review it and give you feedback. We offer drop-in hours every week from 1-4pm Monday through Thursday.

Finally, once you have your resume complete, its time to start applying for jobs! Here are a few things to remember:

  • You should always tailor your resume to specific jobs. Employers can tell when generic resumes are submitted and they often get discarded immediately.
  • References: Always ask before submitting. Be sure to ask anyone you would like to list as a reference that they feel comfortable giving you a positive recommendation and keep them informed about what jobs you are applying for by providing them with the specific job description and a copy of your resume.
  • It’s all about who you know. 70 % of jobs are gained through networking! Talk to professors, mentors, and your parents or their friends to see if they know of any jobs that are available.

If you need more assistance with the job search process, you can also make an appointment with a career counselor/advisor at 541-737-4085. We can help you brainstorm some ideas, provide resources, and get you connected with others.

Congratulations to the Oregon State University Class of 2011! GOOD LUCK and GO BEAVS!!

Posted by Linsey Baker, Career Services Assistant

Here at Career Services, not only do we offer professional one-on-one career counseling, resume/cover letter critiques, mock interviews, and career assessments, but we also house a new well-renovated, cozy space that serves as the Career Resource Library. The new Resource Library has been a great addition to the lobby of Career Services and it offers a variety or career-related resources that specifically help with career development, career decision-making, and career exploration.

If you have  an interest in exploring the world via an internship abroad or volunteering in another country, we have information that helps you to explore many different types of career related work that you can do. Peace Corps is one of the programs that is supported by OSU Career Services and we have a Peace Corps Representative who specializes in helping students who have a passion in gaining an experience aboard. Peace Corps information can be found in our Resource Library along with information about Teach for America, the JET Programme, AmeriCorps, and the IE 3 Global Internship program. Come check it out!

We have many books and guides that allow you to do career exploration, occupational researching, and gain information about the job search process. There is a great series of books that is currently on our shelves published by VGM Career Horizon titled Great Jobs. These books are tailored specifically for an intended major, ranging from Art, Business, Engineering, Psychology, and everything in between.  These books focus on how you can:

  • Discover all your career options
  • Target your ideal career
  • Set a path to advance your career
  • Assess your strengths and interests
  • Explore unusual career paths
  • Set strategies for getting the job that you want.

If you are interested in careers that focus on environmental issues, we have Green Careers resources that can be beneficial for your success. Special career focuses such as Non-profit organization work, Social Services, and Entrepreneurship are all great resources that we offer for those that are interested in these career fields.

We have the Job Choices magazine series that allow you to focus on the job market of certain types of career fields. Its features tips on how to succeed in interviews , job search techniques, things that employers are looking for in an employee, resume and cover letters tips, along with the ins and outs of certain career pathways.

If you’re looking for a place where you can sit and relax on a comfy couch and read about your career of interest, our Career Resource Library is the right place for you!  Resources are updated  frequently, therefore you’ll get the latest news in the job market and information about your career of choice. These resources are super useful in terms of helping you gain confidence of obtaining the dream career that you’ve always wanted.

Posted by Phi Vu, Career Services Assistant

Working for the federal government can be a pretty sweet deal, as it is usually stable work and has attractive pay and benefits.  When most people hear “federal jobs” they probably think of the military, or “something in Washington D.C.” but the fact is that there are more opportunities available in a wider range of careers than you might expect, all across the United States and abroad.  Examples include jobs like museum curators and dental assistants, as well as more traditional analyst or administrative positions.  The trick is being able to GET one of these jobs.

The first step in federal job hunting is  This website is a huge repository of information on federal jobs, and you can search or browse postings by agency, location, or occupation.  For those who have not had much experience reading federal job postings, it can be intimidating, but do not despair, you can get through it!  Federal job postings are often much longer and more detailed than postings from the private sector – the federal government is such a huge employer that a rigid hiring structure helps ensure a smooth and fair process for all parties involved, even if seems a bit daunting on the applicant side!

Your job posting will contain all the information you need, but it can be hard to decode at first.  According to a high level 30 year veteran of government human resources management who wanted to remain anonymous, understanding a federal job posting is like diagramming a sentence in elementary school – you need to break it down to its base components and address each one of them in your application materials.  Postings generally have a job summary, duties, required qualifications, how to apply (and how that application is evaluated), as well as other logistical information like salary, location, and when you can apply.  Make sure you read the entire posting.  I cannot stress this enough, MAKE SURE YOU READ THE ENTIRE POSTING.  If you miss even 1 piece of required information in your application, it will be considered incomplete and you will not make the first cut.  Many postings talk about required KSA’s – Knowledge, Skills, & Abilities.  Be sure to fully explain each aspect of your experience and qualifications because the person screening your application on the other side may know nothing about the job you are applying for, and is evaluating applications based purely on a criteria sheet.  Don’t assume that a vague statement like “kept balance sheets” is going to fully communicate the nuanced complexities of developing and maintaining a budget for your organization, or that “ran cash register” will fully explain how you were the first point of contact and customer service for the majority of clientele at your previous position.  Be explicit when describing how your experience addresses the required KSA’s.  Most application materials are run through a computer to count how many keywords are used before a person even looks at them, so make sure you are using industry-related terms and the vocabulary found in the posting.

Federal job postings will likely have some specialized terminology that might be confusing at first too, especially when discussing pay grade or wage scale.  You might see something like “GS-09 required” and wonder what it means.  Your GS-XX is your level of education and experience – If you are just starting out, you can qualify for jobs at the GS-02 level with a high school diploma or as little as 3 months of general work experience. Starting at GS-05, jobs generally require 1 year of specialized experience to qualify. When you have a degree but no specialized experience in a career field, you are eligible for appointment at the GS-05 pay scale.  In general, to qualify for jobs at the GS-07 and higher grades, your background must have included experience closely related to the work to be performed in the job for which you are applying.  Education can often substitute for experience – You can usually qualify for GS-09 positions on the basis of a master’s degree, and for GS-11 positions on the basis of a doctorate.

Applying to federal jobs can take a long time, especially if you’re applying for a sensitive job with a security clearance or need an extensive background check.  The federal government generally tries to fill positions within about 45 days of a posting’s closing date, but it can be much longer than that.  Be prepared to wait for several months to learn whether you made the cut.  Keep a file with copies of all your application materials so that when you finally are contacted to move onto the next step, you can review your materials and feel confident moving forward.  Unless the posting specifically says otherwise, follow up on your application to indicate your continued interest in the position, and learn what their hiring timeline looks like and when you can reasonably expect to hear back from them.

If you’re not quite ready to begin actively searching for federal jobs, you can still do some prep work.  Look for volunteer & internship opportunities that will give you valuable hands-on experience in your field of interest.  Cultivate mentor relationships with your faculty and current employers to help you develop personally & professionally.  Schedule an appointment with a career counselor to discuss your career goals & interests and how to best use your time at OSU to accomplish them. Start building your resume now because it is easier to continually update it as you go than it is to write it from scratch. (Career Services has drop-in resume critiques M-Th from 1-4pm!)  The sooner you start preparing for your federal job search, the easier it will be!


  • Be explicit in your application materials
  • Use job-specific terms/keywords
  • Be patient & follow up
  • Start early!


Posted by Bryon Burleigh, Career Services Graduate Assistant

The Career Fair is a great place to talk to potential employers. You know you will have the opportunity to talk to many employers, but how exactly do you turn the Career Fair into a job? Below are some ways you can stand out!

  • Dress for Success- Appearance plays a big part in the way that potential employers sees you. Body language is 55% of what employers use to select who they want to work for them. When it comes to the Career Fair it is important that you are looking your best. You want to stand out from others who aren’t looking professional and make it easier for employers to lean towards you. For men, a suit would be ideal but slacks, a button up shirt and a tie also work. For women, a suit (pants or skirt are fine) are also ideal, but you can also pair pants with a professional-looking blouse, blazer or sweater and make sure to wear a comfortable yet classy shoe (either flat or pumps are appropriate).
  • Resumes and Cover Letters– Having a strong resume and cover letter gives you a chance to stand out after meeting employers at the Career Fair. Employers get stacks of resumes after Career Fairs and you want to make sure that yours stands out. Format is important but it is more important to tailor your experience to the company or organization you will be talking to.
  • Be Prepared– There are many ways you should prepare yourself for the Career Fair. Doing research about a company or organization that you are interested in is very important. It is not a good idea to approach an employer and ask them what they do. You want to be prepared to talk to them about why you are interested in their company or organization and the different ways that you can fill their needs. You also want to prepare your “30 second spiel,” which highlights your resume, skills, and interests and it is always good to ask questions.
  • Follow up – After talking to an employer, ask for his/her business card and make sure to follow up with an email thanking them for their time and that you look forward to talking to them again in the future. You could even set up an informational interview which could get you connected to even more people.

These are some ways that you can turn a Career Fair into a job. Don’t be afraid to think about it as you interviewing employers to see if they fit your needs. You want to make sure you go in with a game plan and confidence, once you do that you will be ahead of everyone else.

Posted by Silver Trujillo, Career Services Assistant

Need a job, but no working experience?! No problem!

Every experience has its own uniqueness. Your resume is a very critical piece for you to land an interview; therefore it is important to market yourself in a way that will stand out to future employers.

Any experience can potentially persuade your future employers and therefore can be listed as a relevant experience. Students have a traditional view that if it’s not paid, then it’s not called a work-related experience. Rest assured that experience in leadership activities with an organization, volunteering at a hospital, or an internship abroad can all be listed under experience.

Here are some key factors to help you in perfecting that non-paid work experience resume:

1.      Leadership Activities: Leadership skills are very important to your future employers because it shows that you can delegate tasks, work in a team, and can communicate effectively with your group members.

2.      Volunteer Experience:  This shows that you are a committed and devoted person in making a difference in your community. Volunteer Experience is an excellent way to show that you have interpersonal skills and employers like to see your humanitarian side as well!

3.      Internships: Regardless if they are Unpaid or Paid internships, both are good investments in your time. Internships create an opportunity for you to gain analytic skills, management skills and real-life working experience.

4.      Student clubs/Organizations: Don’t underestimate the knowledge of working with student clubs and organizations because you’re working with a diverse group of people with different backgrounds, therefore you’ll learn to be appreciative of multicultural perspectives. By involving in these clubs/organizations, you’ll be able make relationship with friends, campus faculty and staff, hence developing your network of support.

5.      Study Abroad: Studying abroad can also enhance your resume because it expands your horizon and exposes you to different cultures. This demonstrates to future employers that you are willing to learn new things and they’ll give you credit for your adaptability.

Don’t be afraid to list the above experiences in your resume because they will assist you in defining who you are and your ability to market yourself with high self-confidence. Be positive, honest, and professional when writing your resume.

Make sure to be selective, use power verbs and industrial buzz words to sizzle up your resume. YOU are the last piece of the puzzle that will connect you to success.

If you want resume assistance, don’t hesitate to come by Career Services Monday-Thursday between 1pm-4pm for feedback.

Reference: Quintessential Careers

Posted by Phi Vu, Career Services Assistant

Posted by Tim Chen, Career Services Career Assistant

With the school year coming to a close, it’s now a good time to look back and see what you have learned in the year.  Depending on your class, you might have gained a wide variety of experience.  These might include technical skills from application specific courses, communication skills from public speaking, management from working in club organizations, or leadership from group projects you were involved in.

After you have brainstormed and figured out what you’ve learned and the skills you’ve gained, take the time to apply it towards your resume.  Depending on how much information you generated, this could create an addition to your activities section, your education section, or stand out as its own section in the resume.  If you feel that you have a strong resume and cannot place the skills in your resume, then write them down somewhere (while your ideas are fresh in your mind) so that you can reference them.  This comes in handy when you want to talk about skills and experiences outside of your resume for documents such as Cover Letters or answering questions in interviews.

Overall, reflecting on your experiences and skills gained within the year allows you to not only remember all of the things you might have done the previous year, but also to figure out how you might handle your pursuit in the future.

Posted by:  Silvestre Trujillo, OSU Junior and Career Services Career Assistant

Writing a resume for a specific company is always tough. There is always the stress of trying to figure out what to put on your resume that will make you stand out. The thought of an employer going through your resume and not liking what is on there can be very nerve-racking. Companies in today’s businesses hire people to personally look through resumes and pick out the candidates that stand out. However, more and more businesses are moving to a key word screening process where technology is used to find the person for a particular job.

Keyword screening is a process that many people are not familiar with. When a resume is submitted, you don’t usually think of the screening that occurs through keywords, but it needs to be kept in the back of your mind. This is how it works:  a company has software that takes online resume submissions and (through fancy programming), it looks for specific words. These words can vary depending on the company or the position description of the job they’re trying to fill. This form of screening candidates is usually done by bigger companies but is being used by many smaller companies as well. When writing a resume or tailoring it to a specific company it is important to always keep in mind that the use of technology could be the way in which you are selected.

A way in which to write your resume so that you have a higher chance of being selected over other candidates is to look at the position description for the job you are applying to. A typical job description will look like:

Communication Skills: Strong verbal communication skills that will be applied to customer interaction, client relation and colleague interaction.

Computer Skills: Excellent knowledge of Microsoft Office 2007, Macromedia Dreamweaver, Adobe Photoshop, iMovie, Mac OS X Snow Leopard, DivX, PowerDVD DX

After seeing the position description it is important to take the key skills addressed and add them to your resume—IF you do, in fact, have knowledge of those skills stated.  For example, you could simply add a computer skills section to your resume, and then include every skill you have related to computers and technology.  This would definitely help if some of those programs you state are in the keyword database.

When writing your resume for any job, always remember that screening by technology could be used. Make sure to go through the position description and try to use keywords to describe the type of work you did in a past job. The hiring process is always changing and it is important to keep up to date in order to have a an edge on the competition.