On March 3, 2020, Hassan Costello delivered a workshop titled 'Résumé and Cover Letter Basics'. The workshop, under the supervision of Vice Dean for Academic Development & Quality, Dr. Abdulrahman Almosa, was developed to help Bachelor of Arts in English program upperclassmen and alumni effectively communicate their qualifications to prospective employers. Many of our upperclassmen or alumni often say that building a résumé or cover letter mystifies them. To address this, Mr. Costello explained that the first step is not to treat the résumé or cover letter as a formality. Rather, he related, job seekers should understand how an Applicant Tracking System (ATS) tailored résumé and cover letter can help them land their first interview. Guidance and Counselling Unit Supervisor, Dr. Dawood Mahdi, Alumni Unit Coordinator, Mohsin Khan, and 25 students attended the workshop.
As ATS software is the standard recruitment tool for HR departments, Mr. Costello framed the workshop on how students can build their 'no experience' résumé or cover letter to get past the wall of bots and onto the desk of a recruiter.
In his presentation, Mr. Costello introduced participants to their challenge as an English major – transferable skills. "Think about how what you've learned as an English major is transferable to work situations. All companies need employees with skills in writing, editing, critical analysis, and managing information," he said. He then explained how literature, and specifically our ENG 431 Novel Course, offer stimulating examples of complex material that will develop critical thinking skills of evaluation, description, and comparison.
Mr. Costello then distributed curated handouts that provided an introduction to and the best practices of the following:
- Conveying skills and abilities to a potential employer with no professional experience;
- Writing a functional format ATS-friendly resume;
- Writing an ATS-friendly cover letter;
- Using targeted keywords.
While acknowledging that writing an ATS-friendly resume and cover letter with little to no experience is a challenge, participants were encouraged that the skills most employers report they are after can be obtained from the Bachelor of Arts in English Program at the Faculty of Languages and Translation. "Using targeted keywords matching the job description will get you to an interview. In the interview, show that you have the ability to see things through other contexts. Show them that you are flexible and adaptable, "Mr. Costello said.
At the end of the workshop, Mr. Khan announced, along with Dr. Mahdi, that eligible students will be able to put themselves up for nomination to the new LinkedIn Learning program. They both explained that 50 Students will be selected, noting that enrollment is on a first-come, first-serve basis. With over 13,000 courses to enroll in, LinkedIn Learning represents an exciting new development to hone the top three 'soft skills' wanted by employers: creativity, persuasion, and collaboration.
Source: Faculty of Languages and Translation