Hi all, my name is Ben. I'm a new member on this site, but a long-time listener to the career tools podcast, which has helped me develop professionally while in school.

I have a question (or set of questions) I'm really hoping someone with more experience can give me some insight on, as it's something that has me stumped. I'm job hunting as I finish my M.S. in disaster science and management, and I've put a lot of time into career development and learning about the job market, but I just can't figure out where my expectations should be.

I've compiled a list of openings and researched many companies, but as I apply to jobs, I don't know:

1) Do I need to match every single requirement? Just most? Match them and then some?

2) Can my 26 months of relevant part-time work during grad school count as a year of experience? Professional experience?

3) Jobs I consider offer anything from 40-75k/year... that's a huge range! What's a realistic expectation?

Here's my resume in case anyone wants to take a look. I really appreciate any help someone with experience can offer me.


gehrhorn's picture
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Hi Ben,


1. No, not ever single requirement. Try and focus your energies on jobs where you match most. In my job I have now (I have a little over 10 yrs experience) I was about 2/3 on point for what the hiring manager was looking for.

2. Kind of and not really. It will be close enough that someone won't bounce your resume because of "no experience" but there will likely be comments in wrap-up meetings like, "All of his work experience was during school". At some point everyone has 0 or limited experience. You'll be over this part soon enough.

3. No idea. Check Glassdoor and any industry groups that people in your field participate in that may have surveys.

Resume: looks pretty good for a new grad. I'd recommend checking out this if you haven't already. I think you can reclaim some space for expanding upon your coursework and experience by removing / reworking the "Skills" section. Here are my thougts if you'd like to pursue that route.

  • Emregency management - move these pieces into coursework or experience as nececary. 
  • Project manaagement - I recommend getting rid of this entirely. It doesn't do anything for you right now. It says, "leadership, team-building, etc", but those are just words on a paper. Work those concepts into the experience section by expanding on experiences where you demonstrated leadership, team-building, etc. You have elements of this already.
  • Communication - same as above. This doesn't really help you here. Think about times where you used / built these skills and how you could work those examples / achivements into the experince section.
  • Computer - also recommend removing or reworking into other sections.

Stylistically I think it's very good. The hanging indents look weird to me, but that may not be a widely held opinion. The MS and BA lines should be aligned with the word "Education" and the bullets are good where they are because the match up with the other bullets.

If you make changes and want me to take another look send me a PM through the site.

Good luck!


benthinksit's picture

Hi George,

Thank you very much for your reply. Sorry it took me a while to respond, I expected an email if someone replied, so I didn't actually see your message until I came back to the site and checked.

You were right about Glassdoor, it was an excellent resource that gave me a good idea of what to expect. In fact, I went into an interview and it turns out my range lined up very well with the recruiter's range (roughly 55-70k).

I hadn't head that podcast yet, so I listened to it - fairly useful. Also, I made some changes to my resume based on your feedback. I've revisited it a few times and am working on developing this skills section.

Again, thank you very much for the feedback. It feels a little uncomfortable asking people for help like this (also networking, informational interviews, etc.), but it's certainly an important part of the job hunt, and I really appreciate it.



gehrhorn's picture
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Good luck Ben. I'm under no obligations. I am just happy to help. 

tlhausmann's picture
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Career Tools Rule of 75%

Ben, check out this cast providing guidance when you have "enough" qualifications to apply for a position!