Free career development tool for students

Minnesota State’s Career Development Center has partnered with SkillsFirst, an AI-powered tool to build resumes, cover letters and practice interview skills.

Associate Director of Career Development Center Mandy Weister said they have been looking for an option for students that would allow them to create powerful resumes and help them get ready for professional careers. 

Weister said the decision to partner with SkillsFirst was an easy one. 

“One reason we’ve wanted to move with SkillsFirst is that it has that powerful AI tool to give instant feedback on the resume, cover letter or application materials,” Weister said. 

The tool is available for students at any time of the day. Weister said it is beneficial for students who want to receive helpful feedback and polish their resume late at night when they have enough time to create it.

“​​Students can build a resume on the platform or upload one they already have,” said Weister. “And then what used to take many hours of fighting with a Word document to get the right formatting is done in a click on this platform.”

Moreover, SkillsFirst helps in analyzing the cover letter through multiple tools. One of those is gap analysis, which allows students to see what parts of the job description should be mentioned in the cover letter. 

“Students still have to apply critical thinking and thoughtful processes and tell their own story,” Weister said. “But the tool can give them that competitive advantage to ensure they are not missing anything when submitting those application materials.”

Additional tools on the platform are pitch builder and interview questions preparation.

“Students can work on different elevator pitches. For example, see what they are going to say in a networking situation, at a career fair or an interview,” Weister said. “And that can help them have that ready-to-go pitch that they can confidently deliver and impress employers.”

Students can also learn on the SkillsFirst platform via a collection of short video lessons on various topics.

“Little intricacies of how to excel on the job in networking, how to utilize transferable skills, just a whole host of small snippet videos for that powerful career advice,” said Weister. “And then students can take an assessment which gives them results, such as what job might be a good fit for them.”

Students can access the platform from the CDC’s website or promotional materials with a QR code leading directly to SkillsFirst. All current students and alumni can use the platform at no cost when registering with their university email address. 

“If it goes well, students like it, and it’s providing the results we want it to, as far as getting people access to powerful tools to get strong resumes, then it could stay around for a long time,” Weister said.

Additionally, all data is protected on each account.

“All students’ information is private unless they choose to make it public or share links with people on the platform,” Weister said. “The company can’t see the things you’re making and I can’t see them, so just their username is going to be a part of public data.”

For additional help with registration or navigation through SkillsFirst, email cdc@mnsu.edu

Write to Amalia Sharaf at Amal.sharafkhodjaeva@mnsu.edu

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