How to Write a Great College Essay

Writing your college essay is one of the most important parts of your entire application. This can cause a lot of frustration for you, which is the last thing you want when you are working on something that can affect your future!

In writing your essay, you are not just writing a page full of words. You are sharing a part of yourself with people who will decide if you are a good fit for their school. This is not a time to slack off on your efforts. When you prepare to work on your college essay, there are many things that you need to keep in mind.

Look at the Requirements

Most colleges will have a set of guidelines that you must follow when you write your essay. It is important to make sure that you read their instructions carefully. The people reviewing your essay will be looking to make sure that you hit on all of their requirements in your essay.

There is likely a word limit that you need to abide by, so make sure that you do not go overboard. This length will be approximately two double-spaced typed pages.

Pick a Good Topic

Most colleges will give you a few different topic ideas to choose from. The topic that you choose will be a reflection on you, so choose a good one. You want to give the admissions team a real look at who you are but you don’t want to choose a hot-button topic that could have a negative impact.

Bad topics might be your sex life, past drug and alcohol use, jail time, political or religious rants, pity parties (woe is me), or your summer abroad. Choose a topic that you are confident about, something that you can turn into a “wow” essay.

Be Unique

Admissions people read through huge stacks of application essays. You need to find a way to spark their interest right away and make them see you as an asset to the college. Imagine what everyone else will be writing about and choose something else.

Many students will want to write about their summer in Europe and give a summary of all the things they did along the trip. These types of essays are, as they say, a dime a dozen. If you had a life-changing experience while you were on vacation, that is something to write about. Don’t gush about the Eiffel Tower- they’ve already read that essay. If, however, you volunteered in an orphanage or hospital over your vacation, then that is a topic to focus on.

Give Details

An excellent college essay can be compared to a short story. Give the reader enough details that they will see and feel what you are saying. Give names to all the people you talk about and the places you go. These things will give your essay more depth, which makes the admissions officer feel that you care about their reading experience.

Be Likeable

A college is a community, one of which you want to be a part. This essay is the glimpse into your personality that you are giving to the admissions team. They need to see you as a person that is great to be around, someone who they would enjoy having a discussion with on a daily basis. Find a way to communicate “This is me!” into your essay.

Proofread and Spellcheck

It might seem like a no-brainer, but you might be surprised at how many people forget to do a simple spellcheck on their writing. Any small typo that you fail to catch is a strike against you.

You will also want to have one or two people proofread your essay before you seal it up and send it off. Spellcheck won’t always catch mistakes. You need a person to look for any mix-ups between homonyms, such as there, their, and they’re. Common mistakes can be the difference between an excellent college essay and one that gets passed over.

Writing a great college essay is in everyone’s power. By following some simple guidelines, you can make sure that yours is one that gets the nod of approval from the admissions office.

Tips to Make your Online Job Application Powerful

In today’s market, most employers searching for potential candidates will use online job boards, create online sourcing efforts and post job ads – all online. Gone is the traditional newspaper search on Sunday mornings, sitting at your dining room table with a cup of coffee and combing through the want ads.

Due to today’s technology and company recruiting efforts, it is imperative that you create a resume and job application that will get you noticed.

When a company posts their job opportunities online, they typically receive hundreds of resumes and applications within minutes.

Recruiters will then start combing through all those resumes looking for specific keywords, skills, credentials and educational accomplishments.

As a potential candidate, you need to grab their attention in an instant.

The following are tips to do just that.

Create a Subject Line that gets their Attention As a recruiter begins to go through their emails, the first thing they notice is the subject line of your email.

Put something in that subject line that coincides with the job opportunity and your experience.

If you are applying for a Sales Management position, these subject lines would grab the recruiter’s attention:

AT&T National Sales Manager – 15 years of experience Sales Engineer – acquired $1 million in sales last year Sales Management – $250,000 in new business generated Branch Manager – B2B & Major Account Sales

Be sure to read the job description and the specifics of what it entails and creatively add that to the subject line of your email.

The Meat of your Email This is another chance to get the attention of the recruiter. Put some thought and originality into your first sentence and then the first paragraph.

You want to convey the most persuasive information in an efficient manner. You do not want to lolly-gag around about it either. Be quick to state the most important facts right away.

If you have been referred by someone the recruiter may know, be sure to mention that quickly. There are times that that simple statement can get you through the hiring process much faster. Or at the very least, get your résumé viewed and passed to the next stage.

Recruiters don’t have a lot of time to read every word of your email, therefore, stating your most powerful points arranged in a bullet format makes it much more efficient.

Keep the Body of your Email Short You are so eager to tell the recruiter all about you and your past accomplishments and how you would make an excellent part of their team. You want to go on and on and on like the Energizer Bunny.

Don’t do it.

The best rule of thumb is to have 3 to 4 paragraphs. If you can convey everything in only 3 paragraphs, then stick with that.

Hiring personnel and recruiters don’t have a lot of time to read every single email they get. Make it as easy on them as possible and keep it brief and concise.

When you get the interview you will be able to go into many more details of your credentials and experience.

Create an Appealing Resume You want something that appeals visually; however, you don’t want to go overboard.

Using a computer to draft your resume is of course the best option. It also allows you to get a bit more creative with graphics, fonts and style.

Furthermore, you don’t want to do anything that makes your résumé ugly and hard to read. So don’t get crazy here, just be mindful of everyone that will be reading your resume and more important, you want to convey your job talents and expertise, not how pretty you can draft a resume.

Attaching your Resume to your Email You want to look computer-savvy and attach your cover letter and resume in a professional manner.

Therefore, the best rule of thumb is to attach it as a PDF file, instead of a DOC file. Of course you want to be sure you’ve followed their instructions for attachments, cover letters and references.

Don’t worry if you don’t have a PDF converter. There are many free sites where you can convert your word document into a PDF document. If you Google, “Free PDF converter,” you’ll find many resources.

If you are going to email your resume, cover letter and possible references, just put all those into one PDF attachment. Don’t make separate attachments.

Again, make it as simple for the recruiter as possible.