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The Smart Program X The Typical Twenty Something

Hi! I’m Becky. I’m so glad you’ve come to my site (and are in the SMART Program). I actually used to volunteer with The SMART Program and LOVE the organization.

After noticing that there was a total lack of great content to help teens and twenty-somethings with their careers, I started this site to help others get jobs and position themselves for great careers. By being here, you are already way ahead than so many others. 🙂

If you have any questions at all you can always email me at [email protected] OR DM me on Instagram, @thetypicaltwentysomething. Yay! I can’t wait for you to get started.

Oh, and if you want to subscribe to my newsletter for all sorts of great career goodies, you can click here!

Here’s what you’ll learn from this page:

  • How to craft an amazing LinkedIn profile
  • What you should (and shouldn’t) put on your social media
  • What to put on your resume and a downloadable template made just for you
  • How to prepare for a job interview
  • Tips on staying sane (and having a great mindset) as life gets more stressful

Training 1: LinkedIn

In this section, we’re going to go through an entire checklist of what you need on your LinkedIn profile. Let’s do this!

Choose the right profile picture

IMO, every LinkedIn profile should have a great profile picture! Make sure this is a professional picture, no Instagram beach shots. If you don’t have a good picture already (and that’s ok!), get your friend to take a picture with your smartphone against a whitewall (you can even use portrait mode) in a plain shirt. You don’t need a super fancy blazer or anything, just something plain.

Whenever you are dressing for a job, you want to avoid making people think about your outfit – and have them think about you as a person. This means you shouldn’t wear something in your LinkedIn profile picture that’s overly catchy.

Fill out the right demographic information

Just because you are a LinkedIn profile doesn’t mean you need to put a place of employment, you can put student as your place of work. Put your college in where you work, and your location! You don’t need to put your personal email (you can if you want!), if someone wants to get in touch with you, they will contact you on LI.

Your headline

LinkedIn profile allows you to put a headline. For me, because I work full time – I have this in my profile. You’ll see in the picture above, I don’t have my exact title, but I do have what I do and my company.

However, for you, you can put something Student @ X university, with your major.

Your experience section: Now I know what you might be thinking, I’m a teenager, I have no experience! That’s a-ok. I promise. You don’t need some massive slew of experience in order to have a great LinkedIn profile. Try doing some deep thinking regarding your skills and experiences. You can even put smart as a common experience! And list it on your profile – you’ll be good to go.


Training 2: Social Media & Your Future Career

Figuring out what you should/shouldn’t put on your LinkedIn profile as a future professional is E A S Y. Just ask yourself this: what would I want my grandma to see?! Keep everything illegal off your social media, nothing too “party party”, etc. Know that employers are checking, and they will make snap judgments about you!

Also, even if your social media is private…PEOPLE CAN STILL ACCESS IT.

Ok…go ahead, go check your social media profiles…!


Training 3: The SMART Program Resume Template (Downloadable)

Making a resume without a ton of job experience is hard – I’ve been there! Here is how to create a resume template with no experience, and here is your template.

ADD AN OBJECTIVE STATEMENT

Normally, I’m pretty against summary or objective statements in your resume. When you have tons of experience, I believe your resume can showcase your experience with what you did.  That being said, when you are just starting out, adding a summary/objective statement is a great way to take up some space, provide context for your background and show what you are looking for. 

Make sure to do these three things in your objective statement: 

  • What you are doing now (are you a student? a recent graduate?)?
  • What are you looking for?
  • What are you looking to get out of this experience?

USE TRANSFERRABLE WORK EXPERIENCE (A FANCY NAME FOR ADDING YOUR SCHOOL PROJECTS)

If you have no relevant work experience (like an internship or a job) to the role in which you are applying, then use these two methods to add experience to your resume.

School:

Have you taken a class in school that’s relevant to a course you are applying? Did you do a project in one of these classes, or do some sort of analysis or research that is relevant? If so, add it to your resume! Often when I tell friends to add projects, the question, “What if the project wasn’t real? What if it was a hypothetical situation or company?” My answer, “Who cares!” No boss in the working world expects you to have done real projects for real companies by the time you are 21. Maybe in an internship, but even then! The fact that you have relevant and more importantly, transferable work experience with making you stand out.

Leadership:

Everyone likes a leader. I’m serious. There is always some value in finding a way to be proactive and own your work. Even if you didn’t lead something massive, you likely have had some sort of leadership role in the past. Did you hold a position in your sorority or a club at school? Use this experience to show how many people you led and the results that came about after you lead a project.


FIND A WAY TO USE NUMBERS

When talking about resumes, you’ll hear me say this over and over. ALWAYS FIND A WAY TO QUANTIFY WHAT YOU’VE DONE. If you lead a project, talk about how many people you worked with. If you made a fake business plan, how large was your business plan? For how much money?

I can’t say it enough, find a way to quantify. This will make you stand out.


MAKE YOUR AMAZING RESUME BEAUTIFUL

Make sure your resume is perfect from an aesthetics standpoint. Your resume should be the Beyonce in a sea of Ed Sheeran’s…all your content may be the same, but yours just looks neater. And therefore, better.

The same goes for spelling and punctuation. If you can’t even write your own resume perfectly, how is an employer supposed to expect you to work for them with any sort of accuracy?

I use Grammarly for the spelling on my blog and it helps immensely. It’s FREE.


ADD YOUR SKILLS

Lastly, even though you might not have a ton of ‘work experience’, you still have skills. I know you do. You can totally add a section in your resume listing these skills. Do you know Microsoft Office? What about Powerpoint or Excel? These are all VALUABLE skills that will set you apart from the rest of the workforce.

If I were you, I’d look at the skills listed in the job you are applying to – and find which ones you have and put those in your resume. Got it?!


Training 4: How To Write A Resume (Downloadable)

Do you want to know how to create a resume? When applying for a job, the first thing that a company will usually ask for is a professional resume! This one simple piece of paper totally defines your aptitude for kicking butt at your job, so it’s utterly importantly you create it well. – even without a ton of experience

PICK AN EASY TOOL TO CREATE YOUR RESUME WITH

You’ll hear me say time and time again, one of those most important things you can do is make your resume ascetically pleasing.

Think about it this way: if someone is going to hire you for their company, they don’t want to hire someone knowing they can’t line up their one most important piece of paper!

If you are good with Microsoft Word (or Google docs) you can EASILY make your resume there. In fact, mine is created that way,  just make sure you pull out your margins so you can fit more on the page. There are tons of resume samples out there. If you want my resume template, you can click the button below!

resume template - making a resume

Personally, I wouldn’t use a free resume builder – you can just make your own with one of these templates. – I created a resume template for you HERE so you can just easily download it. but don’t forget to make it a PDF later!

MAKE EACH RESUME SECTION: EXPERIENCE, EDUCATION & SKILLS

So that your resume is easily digestible, you’ll want to make sure you have different sections throughout your resume. Creating a professional resume needs several steps. Make sure you have an experience section (for your work experience) and then you can choose between skills, education, and awards.

Now when you’re choosing your sections, make sure you are NOT MAKING YOUR RESUME MORE THAN ONE PAGE. I can’t stress this enough. Unless you’re a CEO (and even then!) keep it to one page! No one has time for that.

When I’m creating a resume, I like to think about each section and put some of the experience and supporting points for each section.

If you are new to resumes or can’t decide what sections to put, use work experience, skills, and education.

See number 3, to get you started on your work experience section.

WRITE THE SUPPORTING POINTS IN YOUR WORK EXPERIENCE SECTION

You want your work experience to be robust and really paint a picture on how amazing you will be as an employee. Start by brainstorming your last 3-4 jobs! Under each job, list out your roles, responsibilities, and accomplishments for each role. Try to include as many NUMBERS as possible.

Here are a few questions to help you start brainstorming on what to put under each role:

  • What were your primary roles in this job?
  • Did you cross-collaborate with teams?
  • What accomplishments did you have?
  • Did you finish, create or come up with any still-standing ideas and projects?

A few tips to create a resume: 

Tip #1: IMO, it’s more important to have WHAT you did in the job in each section, rather than simply a ton of experience that doesn’t show that you did anything. Show your experience and education! That’s why I don’t love online resume builders, instead, write it yourself so you can include all of this amazing information.

Tip #2: You also want your work experience to be recent! Don’t put something from high school if you are like 25, even if it was REALLY cool. Save that for your interviews!

Tip #3: If there are gaps in your resume (like year’s without work), be prepared to explain it in an interview. You can always phrase something as a positive, just be prepared to talk about it!

NEXT, CREATE YOUR SKILLS AND EDUCATION SECTION TO CREATE A RESUME

Follow these steps for similar for your skills, and school experience! For these sections, you don’t need a ton of explanation, simply just what skills you have and where you went to school, etc.

Your skills section…

For skills (and this is very important), don’t LIE. Don’t even fib. Like, not even a little!

Only put skills you are competent in. Employers are starting to see through the BS and might actually test you in the interview on a skill. You don’t need bullet points for this section! You can list it out as I do in my example above.

If an employer isn’t willing to let you learn software or something in terms of starting a job, you probably wouldn’t succeed in that role anyways. And in that case, you don’t want it!

PUT IT ALL TOGETHER

Once you have all your materials on your resume, it’s time to put it all together in one of the tools listed in #1. Time to build a resume!

Make sure your work experience takes up at least 70% of the page, while your skills and education take up 20% of the page, and 10% is your name. Download it here! 

When reviewing and editing your winning resume, make sure it’s perfectly lined up and has no typos. That is what hiring managers are looking for!


Training 5: How To Prep For An Interview

Here are the 6 steps you need to ace any job interview:

KNOW THE ROLE INSIDE & OUT

This may seem intuitive but you’d be surprised at how many people just barely understand the role they are interviewing for. You should pour over the job description when interviewing for a role, understanding which qualifications you do/don’t have.

Think of it this way:

It’s someone’s job to sit down and write that job description. They are going to put the details of everything you want out of a candidate. How can you show the person that that candidate…IS YOU?!

Here are some other ideas for you to research a role:

  • Find people with similar titles at the company (via LinkedIn). What is their past experience? Does it say anything about their role in their descriptions? This should give you some good interview nuggets.
  • Clearly come up with examples of what experience you DO have the job description. If you are missing experience, NO FEAR. See #7 where we address this.
  • Look at LinkedIn to see other team members, how big the team is and who else you may be working within this role. You should be able to find this by looking up a company and searching by job title.

RESEARCH THE PEOPLE YOU’LL BE SPEAKING WITH

Piggybacking on number 1, do RESEARCH on the people you’ll be speaking to. This should be pretty easy. If you can find a commonality with someone you’re speaking with (like from the same home state, was in the same sorority, etc) even better. Researching for a job interview is not creepy. This isn’t 1984. They will literally be impressed you did your job before coming in.

UNDERSTAND THE COMPANY

One of the most important aspects of a job interview is to show that you’ve done your research. Not only may you be asked questions that test to see if you understand the company, but you can always drop this knowledge during the interview.

Beyond the actual role you are interviewing for, make sure you understand the following about the company:

  • How does the company make money?
  • Has the company been in the news recently?
  • Who are its competitors?

See if you can mention that you’ve done your research at some point during the interview. You can do this in a few different ways. If it comes up naturally in a question and someone is asking you about the landscape, mention it there.

If you want to show you’ve done your research and it doesn’t up during the role, you can ask a question at the end of an interview, such as, “How does X company fit into the overall Y industry landscape?” or “I saw X, Y, and Z competitors were in the news recently. How will that affect you all moving forward?”

STUDY SMART – PREPARE YOUR ANSWERS TO THE TYPE OF INTERVIEW

This may come as a surprise, but most likely you can actually prepare for the type of questions being asked during an interview. If the company your interviewing with has an HR department and you’ve worked with a recruiter, you can always ask if you should prepare for any type of questions during the interview.

Just for your reference, there are a few types of job interview questions:

Straight – On:  When someone asks you a question about you or your knowledge

  • You should be able to prepare for these by just reviewing top interview questions and knowing your past experience. Be able to speak to your past successes and failures, times you’ve worked on a team, times that you’ve gone above and beyond, etc.

Hypothetical: When someone is asking HOW you would handle a situation if it happened to you (i.e., “Your direct report does not complete his/her task. How would you approach this conversation with them?”)

  • The trick with these questions is to answer in a STAR format. A company is trying to see how you’d solve a problem you’ve never been in before.
  • S: Situation, T: Task, A: Action, R: Result

Behavioral: These questions usually start with, “tell me about a time…” where you are asked a time you were in this scenario in the past.

You should also answer these questions in a STAR format.

The elephant in the room is and what most people ask me is…what if you were never in “THAT” scenario they happen to ask you about?! 👉

Here’s the trick: think of 5 stories from your past experience that are versatile. Think of some that can double as failures, overcoming a challenge, having a conflict with a co-worker, etc. You can even Google the top behavioral interview questions to see the types of categories here. Understand these five examples REALLY well and you’ll be golden.

ASK QUESTIONS & FOLLOW UP 

You know at the end of the interview when the interviewer asks, “Do you have any questions for me?!”. Let me tell you a secret.🙅🏻NEVER say, “No! I am good.” Always ask a question! If anything, it shows you are interested in the company.

👉👉Some easy question topics are:

  • Why that person loves working at the company
  • What the day-to-day of the role looks like
  • What an ideal candidate looks like

After you’ve asked a question, make sure to follow up and show you’ve listened and reacted to that question. It will mean a lot to the interviewer!

LEAVE SOMETHING BEHIND 

This is my job interview secret. I ALWAYS find a way to prepare something for the company it behind. I’m in sales full time, so it could be something like a sample pitch or a 30-60-90 day plan on how I’d ramp in the job. I just always try and go above and beyond and show the company I’m ALREADY doing #werk for them. 🙋🏻 🙋🏻 🙋🏻

Work it out, girl. Follow these FIVE steps and you’ll ace the job interview like you did your SATs. Expect easier and with more money.

You should also read: What to never do in a job interview

Training 6: Wellness

I completely believe you can be a BOSS without being stressed out of your mind. I’ve written a ton of posts that I want to share with you that will help you have a great well being while in college and beyond. Read them here:

Time Management Hacks

Wellness Hacks

What You Should Be Focusing On In Your 20s


If you want to learn more about T20S…

The Three Questions To Ask Yourself If You Want To Figure Out Your Next Step In Life

How to Answer The Awkward Questions Your Relatives Ask You About Your Adult Life

I kinda like you. Let’s get hang out soon!?

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