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WGU CAREER & PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT

Resource Library

OVERVIEW

Get the Job


 

After developing a career plan based on self-assessment, research, and goal setting, you should have a better understanding of yourself and your desired career path. With these career goals in mind, you are ready to secure the job you want with a targeted job search approach.

The following sections provide information, tools, and resources to guide you in developing strong marketing materials, implementing strategic job search strategies, leveraging your network, and acing your interview.

Resumes


 

Your resume is a living document that you will update and share with employers and connections throughout your career. Our goal is to educate you on strategies and best practices in resume development, equipping you with these critical lifelong career skills.

We’ve created several resources to support you as you develop and refine your resume. Each step builds on the knowledge and skill acquired in the previous step, so please follow these steps in order.

*Note for Education Students: For resume resources to apply for a teaching position, visit the Teaching Resources page. To build your clinical experience resume, view the CE Resume Best Practices Workshop or visit the Clinical Experience Resource page.

Summary

First, complete our Developing an Effective Resume course.

Completing this course allows you to request a written review of your resume by a career advisor. To request a review, complete the Resume Self-Review document found on the “Additional Resume Resources” page in the final module of the tutorial and email your resume and completed self-review form to careers@wgu.edu. Students who request a review without completing the tutorial will be directed back to the tutorial.  

This course is appropriate for job seekers of all levels as it covers fundamental resume best practices as well as how to take your resume to the next level by customizing it for the role you are seeking.  

In the course, you will learn about the following topics: 

  • What a resume is and how it’s used by job seekers and employers during the hiring process
  • Basic components of an effective resume and best practices for each component
  • Resume formatting and design guidelines for creating a polished, recruiter-friendly document
  • Customizing your resume for specific industries and job opportunities 

 

Supplemental Resources

Use this resource and resume templates below to create a draft or further develop your resume:

Summary
 
Second, attend a resume lab to further enhance your resume and apply what you have learned. 

Once you have completed the Developing an Effective Resume course, attend an interactive Resume Lab to get your resume questions answered by a career advisor.

To attend an upcoming lab, check out our Events page.

 

Supplemental Resources

Use these supplemental resources to further refine your resume:

Note: You must be logged into your WGU Student Portal to access the links above. 

Summary

Most employers use Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS) for their hiring. Applicant Tracking Systems scan resumes for keywords and skills from the job description and assign each resume a match rate. Recruiters use this match rate to determine which resumes to review. It is critical that you customize your resume for each role that you apply to.

Once you have refined your resume and practiced customizing a resume in a Resume Lab, use the resources below to tailor your own resume for the role you are seeking. It can mean the difference between a recruiter offering you an interview or not reading your resume at all.


Supplemental Resources

  • O*Net-SOC AutoCoder - Instantly provides a high-quality occupational classification based on your resume or job description, identifies key words critical to include on your resume, and confirms that your resume is targeted toward your career goal/s.
  • TagCrowd - Use your resume and a job description to create your own word clouds to visualize word frequency and ensure your resume aligns with the job description.

Do you have any remaining questions regarding your unique resume?  Want to speak with a Career Advisor?

Please call 877-214-7008 and leave us a voicemail. We make every attempt to return calls the same day, but sometimes due to volume are unable to do so. If you do not receive a call, we will add you to our queue for the next business day. Calls received after 2pm MT will be returned the next business day. You can also send any questions to careers@wgu.edu. 

Cover Letters


 

The purpose of the cover letter is to briefly expand upon the skills and experiences in your resume and to link them to the position that you are applying for. A cover letter is a one-page document targeted to the specific position you are applying for and directed to the company offering the position. When employers read your cover letter, they will be evaluating your writing ability; therefore, spell-check and proofread the cover letter multiple times to avoid grammar and spelling errors.

The cover letter:

  • Showcases your writing style and ability
  • Tells the employer why are you uniquely qualified for this position
  • Gives you an opportunity to describe related skills and accomplishments in more detail
  • Lets the employer know that you are professional and proactive

Creating a Cover Letter

Stand Out with a Cover Letter 
View a webinar which walks you through the process of creating a customized cover letter.

Cover Letter Guidelines
A document which provides a step-by-step approach to drafting a cover letter.

Send it for a Review
Once you have utilized the above resources to craft and revise your cover letter, you can send it to our office for a review. To submit your cover letter, send an email with your cover letter attached (in Microsoft Word format) to careers@wgu.edu.

Portfolios


 

Whether you are a new or experienced professional, you will want to document your professional accomplishments throughout your career journey. Employers are seeking employees who add value and make a difference, so a professional portfolio can help distinguish you from other applicants.

Having your accomplishments, skills, awards, and endorsements in one place can help you to:

  • Create and update your resume with specific accomplishments
  • Prepare for interviews with confidence
  • Show your value during performance evaluations
  • Demonstrate measurable successes for the purpose of salary negotiations
  • Move forward and feel more prepared in the event of a reorganization or restructure

The Value of a Professional Portfolio Video
View this recording highlighting how building your portfolio can help you stand out with potential employers.

Potential Content
Review the list of potential content to include in your portfolio. Remember that a portfolio is a compilation of your best work as a student and a professional. It will be a little different for each person but it should highlight your growth, your strengths, professional references from peers and managers and provide examples showcasing your career accomplishments and work product.

Two essential documents that must be included in a professional portfolio are a resume and cover letter. 

Resumes
Learn how to tailor your resume to a specific position/occupation and target the employer’s needs with clear information detailing your most relevant skills, knowledge, and accomplishments.

Cover Letters
Learn how to effectively tell an employer why you are uniquely qualified for a position while showcasing your writing ability and style.

A portfolio is a compilation of your best work as a student and as a professional. It will be a little different for each person but it should highlight your growth, your strengths, professional references, credentials and provide examples showcasing your career accomplishments and work product.

Ways to Showcase Your Portfolio:

Social Media
“Don’t just say it, display it!” LinkedIn is the perfect place to visually enhance your professional story. This is a great opportunity to illustrate your greatest professional achievements. Review the blog Create a Professional Portfolio Utilizing LinkedIn to get started.

Personal Websites
You might consider creating your own professional website (via WIX and WordPress) to showcase your professional qualifications, projects, personality, and achievements. Building a website allows for a bit of creative freedom to express personality and brand development across different online platforms. More and more employers are researching job applicants online and owning your own website can increase your chances of showing up when someone searches for you. 

Hard Copy
Although we are clearly in the digital age, it is also recommended to have a hard copy portfolio. Having a hard copy portfolio available to reference at an interview can leave a positive, impactful impression with an employer. Hard copies can also serve as a backup whenever technology challenges arise.

Interview Preparation


 

"Never wear a backward baseball cap to an interview unless applying for the job of umpire." -Dan Zevi

WGU Career & Professional Development is pleased to offer WGU students and alumni access to Big Interview, a free and comprehensive interview preparation and practice system.

Big Interview Highlights

Enhance your skills. Utilize Big Interview’s extensive curriculum to help you learn today’s best interviewing techniques!

Anticipate Questions. Visit the Question Library (within the “Practice” tab) and choose from dozens of interview sets sorted by industry and occupation to help you anticipate and prepare for those tough questions.

Practice. Record, review, and share your answers to help you gain feedback and improve your skills before your next interview.

Big Interview is now located in Handshake!

To access the system:

  1. Log in to your WGU Handshake account using your WGU sign in credentials.
  2.  After you have logged in (or created an account) go the "Resources" under the "Career Center" menu at the top of the site to access all of the career-related online tools. You will find the login for Big Interview under "Interview Resources."

Once you are signed up, check out some of these helpful links:

Dress For Success
Wondering how to dress for your next interview or career fair? This resource provides great, concise recommendations to help you look the part. Credit to Stetson University.

AssessmentDay.com
Review free up-to-date advice, tips, tutorial videos, and practice tests to help you prepare for the psychometric tests that may be a part of the application process. 

How to Succeed at a Job & Career Fair
Job and career fairs are a great way to network with employers and learn about different companies. This is also a great way to learn about different hiring opportunities, and potentially interview for a position. 

 

Be sure to practice your interview skills and get constructive feedback from a knowledgeable expert before your next interview. 

Share Your Practice Interview 
Once you record your practice interview in Big Interview, email it to careers@wgu.edu and one of WGU’s career advisors will review your recording and share feedback with you.

Request a Mock Interview
In addition to recording a practice interview, schedule a mock interview with your career advisor for additional feedback and tips on interview best practices. You can email careers@wgu.edu or request a mock interview.

Salary Negotiation


 

Salary negotiations can feel awkward and scary but don't let fear stand in your way! Negotiating your salary or a raise can have a large impact on your life-time earnings. With a little preparation and shift in perspective, you can remove the awkwardness from the conversation. You are taking control of your financial future, which is an admirable and necessary skill.

  1. Getting Started
  2. Covering the Essentials
  3. Putting It All Together

Networking


 

"If you want to go somewhere, it is best to find someone who has already been there."- Robert Kiyosaki

Upwards of 85% of open positions are filled through networking (payscale.com). If you are looking for work, focus your time on building your network rather than pouring through online listings. Networking is simply establishing and leveraging relationships through conversations with people who are and will become your friends and community of colleagues as you go through your career. Developing your network is easy because you know more people than you think you know.

Start developing your network today by following these steps:

Networking Guide: Download the guide for clearly defined steps on how to expand and leverage your network. To access LinkedIn Learning videos, please first login with your WGU credentials

The guide will teach you how to:

Apply networking strategies and identify networks, industries and companies of interest.

Develop your brand and professional introduction.

  • Giving Your Elevator Pitch/Professional Introduction (LinkedIn Learning course, 13m total)
  • Info-mercial Worksheet
  • Utilize social media/LinkedIn to help get you connected.

    Develop your network.

    Reach out to your network.

    Take advantage of all of the perks that come along with being a student or alum and leverage your WGU network!

    WGU - Western Governors University Alumni & Students - LinkedIn Alumni/Student Group

    Night Owl Network - Alumni Networking Group (currently for Alumni only)

    As you complete the activities described in the guide, a Career Advisor is available to answer questions, provide clarification, and offer support.

    To request an appointment: Send your questions, areas for clarification and a copy of your Networking Guide (complete with your own notes and progress) to careers@wgu.edu and a career advisor will be in touch shortly after your email is received. 

    We look forward to working with you! 

    Social Media


     

    LinkedIn is the world’s largest professional network with hundreds of millions of members. It is the go-to resource for professional networking and will help you:

    Social Media & Branding

    Showcasing your "brand” helps set yourself apart for a potential employer, marketing who you are, the skills you bring and the value you add. We encourage you to review the resources below to gain deeper insight into personal branding and marketing yourself.

    To access LinkedIn Learning videos, please first login with your WGU credentials

    LinkedIn is the world’s largest professional network with hundreds of millions of members. It is the go-to resource for professional networking and will help you:

    STEP 1 - Download the LinkedIn User Guide

    The LinkedIn User Guide provides clearly defined steps on how to develop a strong LinkedIn profile, develop your network, job search, and brand yourself. The guide will teach you how to:

    STEP 2 - Stay Connected

    Take advantage of all of the perks that come along with being a student or alum and leverage your WGU network!

    • WGU - Western Governors University Alumni & Students - Be sure to make this group one of the first LinkedIn groups you join to connect with other WGU students and alumni!
    • WGU – LinkedIn Alumni Tool – Gain career insights on the 209,000+ students and alumni. You can do a search to see what  types of positions fellow WGU students and alumni hold, what companies they work for, where they are located, and more!

    STEP 3 - Reach Out to Career & Professional Development

    As you complete the activities described in the guide, a career advisor is available to answer questions, provide clarification, and offer support.

    To request an appointment: Send your questions, areas for clarification and a copy of your Networking Guide (complete with your own notes and progress) to careers@wgu.edu and a career advisor will be in touch shortly after your email is received. 

    We look forward to working with you! 

    • LinkedIn Webinars - We invite you to join a LinkedIn webinar where you will get up to date strategies and tips to ensure you have a strong and professional profile!
    • LinkedIn Alumni Tool Career Guide - A comprehensive guide to help you incorporate this powerful tool into managing your career or searching for a job.
    • LinkedIn for Students - Resources to let you know the benefits of a LinkedIn profile and presence, and to help you get started!
    • LinkedIn Help - Comprehensive resource to get answers to your LinkedIn questions directly from the source. 

    Employer Research


     

    "Research is formalized curiosity. It is poking and prying with a purpose." - Zora Neale Hurston 

    Researching employers can help you identify companies that are a “good fit” for you, network effectively, target your resume, and prepare for an interview. A company’s website is a great place to start your research – but don’t stop there.

    The following resources offer additional insights into organizations that will be helpful to your job search:

    Download the Employer Research Guide for clearly defined steps on how to expand and leverage your network. To access LinkedIn Learning videos, please first login with your WGU credentials. The guide will teach you how to:

    Research Organizations Online to Target Potential Employers

    Browse Employer Job Postings
    Explore available opportunities and gain understanding of qualifications/skills required for positions of interest

    Utilize LinkedIn and Social Media
    Identify connections and expand knowledge on targeted companies

    Leverage Your Current Network
    Build professional connections (friends, family, previous co-workers, etc.)

    Conduct Informational Interviews and Learn Directly from Company Employees

     

    Take advantage of all of the perks that come along with being a student or alum and leverage your WGU network!

    WGU - Western Governors University Alumni & Students - LinkedIn Alumni/Student Group

    Night Owl Network - Alumni Networking Group (currently for Alumni only)

    As you complete the activities described in the guide, a Career Advisor is available to answer questions, provide clarification, and offer support.

    To request an appointment: Send your questions, areas for clarification and a copy of your Networking Guide (complete with your own notes and progress) to careers@wgu.edu and a career advisor will be in touch shortly after your email is received. 

    We look forward to working with you! 

    Webinars


     

    "You can observe a lot by just watching." - Yogi Berra

    WGU Career & Professional Development offers ongoing webinars covering career topics such as resumes, LinkedIn, job search, career planning, and more! Check out our complete listing of upcoming Career Events, and sign up today!

    Recorded Webinars

    • ResumesLearn about the process of writing a compelling resume that can beat the applicant tracking system and showcase your experiences.
    • How to Build a Powerful Portfolio: An effective portfolio can illustrate your academic and professional accomplishments and serve as the platform for your next career move. View this webinar to learn how to create powerful academic and professional portfolios.
    • Tips for Career Changers: Looking to make a career shift? Join this webinar for tips on how to identify your strengths and interests, network and gain experience to successfully land a position in your new field.
    • Interviewing with Authenticity: Nerves can make it hard to connect with your interviewers, but employers want to know who you are before they bring you onto the team. View this webinar to learn how to overcome anxiety and be your authentic self during interviews.
    • Building Your Career Community: Networking is an integral part of the job search and professional growth, but how do you get started? View this webinar to learn how to create and leverage your career community, whether you’re just getting started or looking to grow your existing network.
    • Career & Professional Development Webinar Recordings: Check out our complete listing of available recordings to explore more career-related topics today!