Professional Development

Tools for the Job Hunt

Here is a range of resources for prospective and current students, as well as alumni to prepare you for success in an effective job search.


Source: LinkedIn

LinkedIn is one of the most powerful social networking tools for professionals. The evolving trend of connection-based recruitment is changing how you tell your professional stories online, find work, and develop your career. When creating your LinkedIn profile, consider these key elements for an effective profile:

  • Professional profile photo: Your profile photo is a persistent element for your audience. Consider what you are trying to convey to your audience (your network, colleagues, or prospective employers) and pick your photo accordingly. (*Note: The MLWS program provides a service to all students who would like to have a current headshot taken.)
  • Headline: This is an opportunity to show your personality by telling others what you are interested in or are looking to be a part of. Take your audience and who you wish to connect to into account. Typical headlines include your title/position/student status. Example: UBC MLWS graduate seeking… [insert position]
  • Summary: The summary is similar to a cover letter, where you can speak about your unique skills and values that you bring to the workplace. It should encourage people to read further into your profile.
  • Experiences: List all your work experiences (part and full time). Follow each experience by a brief description of your accomplishments/responsibilities in those roles. Use this section as an e-portfolio to add some media. Examples: writing, infographics, videos and website URLs.

Making Connections on LinkedIn

Below is a list of easy ways to connect professionally and actively build your network on LinkedIn:

  • Like or comment on their posts
  • Join LinkedIn groups
  • Ask for specific advice
  • Request an informational interview
  • Post content (articles, videos, job postings)
  • Send someone an article
  • Conference, association, event connection follow-up
  • Endorse them (and their skills)
  • Write a recommendation
  • Use personalized connection requests

Now that you’ve built your profile and made some connections, you can use LinkedIn as a tool to start and/or further your career! Remember to add Master of Land and Water Systems in the Education section (@ubc-mlws) and join the UBC Faculty of Land and Food Systems Alumni group on LinkedIn so you can connect with other alumni.


Learn how to network using this easy guide by Student Services with the help of their tips for success, how to give an effective introduction and how to have an informal interview.

(Information retrieved from How to Effectively Use LinkedIn via UBC Student Services.)


Most employers spend approximately 7 seconds scanning your resume in their first pass through job applications. In those few seconds, you must clearly demonstrate how your skills, experience, education and characteristics match what they are looking for. Seven seconds isn’t long to make that kind of impression. Here’s how to do it.

Tailor your resume:

Ensure that you have reviewed and tailored your resume to the job posting. To begin tailoring the resume you could: 

  • Review the accomplishment statements under each role on your resume, and make them relevant to the job to which you are applying. 
  • Ensure that you have a “highlights section” in your resume speaking to the value you bring to the role to which you are applying.

For further information on how to tailor your resume to an employer, please watch this video.

Accomplishment Statements:

Accomplishment statements are the foundation of an outstanding and competitive resume. For further information on how to write effective accomplishment statements, please watch this video. This video will also provide you with a step-by-step guide for creating powerful accomplishment statements that uniquely reflect your skills, abilities and potential.

Formatting & Readability:

It’s important to ensure that your job application documents are professional, consistent and error-free. For further information on resume headings and formatting, please watch this video.  While some of this can be subjective, key elements include:

  • Reviewing your documents for spelling and grammar.
  • Formatting your documents for easy reading (pay attention to fonts and white space) 
  • Keeping formatting consistent across your documents

See resume samples here.

What is the difference between a Resume and a Curriculum Vitae (CV)?

A CV is used to highlight education and accomplishments to persuade someone to offer you opportunities like a place in a graduate program, funding, a role as a professor or post-doc, etc. If you are applying to graduate/professional programs, or for research-related funding opportunities or academic postings then you should create a CV. To read more about the guidelines for CVs, visit here.

(Information retrieved from Resumes, Cover Letters & Curricula Vitae via UBC Student Services.)

Cover Letters

A cover letter personalizes your application and is an opportunity to emphasize your most relevant qualifications and make a case for why you’re a great candidate. Try to limit your cover letter to one page. Be sure to include the following in your cover letter:

  • Contact information + date
  • Employer’s information
  • Specific greeting (i.e. “Dear Ms. Smith.” Avoid general statements like “To Whom It May Concern”)
  • A brief opening paragraph
  • Follow-up paragraphs that identify your strengths and examples to support your claims of why you’re the best for the position and state your interest in the position
  • Closing paragraph including your contact information

Tip: When applying for positions in Canada, avoid using flowery language and over formality, i.e. “Dearest Mam/Sir.” Visit the link below to see examples of appropriate terminology.

View sample cover letters here.

(Information retrieved from Resumes, Cover Letters & Curricula Vitae via UBC Student Services.)


In an interview, an employer is looking to determine skills and abilities, experience, company fit, personal qualities and interests. When it comes to preparing for the interview, remember to:

Do Your Research

  • Review the position description and highlight specific skills or personal qualities that the employer mentions
  • Research the company or organization to gain a better understanding of who they are and what they do
  • Prepare questions about the organization to ask during the interview


  • Interviewing is a learned skill that can be improved with practice
  • Practice your responses to typical interview questions with a friend or family member; get comfortable telling your stories and answering questions about your experiences

Plan Ahead

  • Plan your route to the interview beforehand and arrive 5-10 minutes before the start of your interview
  • Arriving too early can be bothersome to employers, who may have other interviews and appointments before you

Dress the Part

  • First impressions count!
  • In general, dress one step up from what the organization’s employees wear on a typical day (i.e. polished shoes, dark socks, neat hair, no colognes or perfumes)

Come Prepared

  • Bring extra copies of your resume and bring a list of your references on a separate sheet of paper
  • Bring a pen and notebook to jot down any important notes

General tips to help you with the interview process:

  • Greet the interviewer(s) with a firm handshake, good eye contact and a smile
  • Monitor the messages you send with your body language (i.e. hand gestures, slouching, fidgeting, etc.)
  • Monitor the body language of the interviewer(s); if they stop writing notes and look ready to move on, finish your point quickly
  • Be honest with your responses
  • Avoid slang expressions
  • Seek clarification if you are unsure what the interviewer is asking
  • Ask to have a question or parts of a question repeated
  • Request a moment to think about your response or to return to the question later on in the interview

Salary Negotiations

Visit UBC Student Services for tips on what to say and how to build your case when negotiating salary, as well as how to respond once an offer has been made.

(Information retrieved from Interviews via UBC Student Services.)

Additional Resources

  • Book an advising appointment with UBC’s Centre for Student Involvement and Careers. The Centre offers online advising through Zoom, Skype, phone and webinars. Same-day career advising is available daily from 1 pm – 3 pm.
  • CareersOnline is a job and volunteer board for UBC students and alumni.
  • To learn more about potential career paths for MLWS graduates and job listing sites in BC and Canada, visit the MLWS Career Opportunities page.

Download this Professional Development information in a convenient PDF format to refer back to!

Follow MLWS on social media for postings about relevant career opportunities.