Whoooo Hooooo!! It’s summertime!!! A time for students to take a break from their studies to focus on different activities that will better prepare them for the next step. Of course the next step will vary based on your passion and future goals.
As I sit back and reflect on the last semester’s recruiting season and my not so distant college experience, there are a lot of suggestions that come to mind. Being a University Recruiter, I get a chance to meet a lot of students in varying disciplines all interested in vying for a career or internship opportunity.
Some students have the personal branding game all figured out and will have no trouble securing employment. For others, finding a position can be quite difficult. This post is designed to be an informative way to improve your chances of being moved through the recruiting process. You may be graduating and seeking full-time employment or have a few semesters left and looking for a summer internship. There are similarities in both scenarios, and although you may have heard some of these things before, you’d be surprised at some of the common mishaps I still see.
1. Your strongest tool – a stellar resume
Your resume is your introduction and foot in the door all wrapped in one. It could also be the reason for your untimely exit. If you’ve applied to numerous places and no one seems to be contacting you, you may want to start there. Your resume should sell your best attributes and relevant experience or activities to a recruiter. It should be tailored specifically for the position in which you’re applying.
It is a great practice to have several different resumes that highlight different positions or experience you have. In order for your resume to be considered stellar, please list only relevant information. For example, if you’re applying to a sales position, include previous sales experience, goals or quotas, awards achieved, or any student organizations related to sales. It is not necessary to list every position you’ve ever had! Unless you’re applying to be a child care provider, your babysitting experience when you were 12 can be excluded. As a recruiter I’m asking myself “Can this person do this job.”
2. Practice makes perfect
Interviewing is a lot like driving, it looks easy, but takes practice. Please don’t make the mistake of coming to an interview unprepared. Prior to your interview date, review your resume and past experience, the job description, and research the company. Many Career Service Centers allow you to come in for Mock Interviewing. This is a great way to practice your skills and get feedback. You are even able to do internet searches to find interview questions to practice. The questions that are being asked in an interview are designed to determine several things, including motivational fit and specific skills and attributes relevant to the position.
Do you really want to work here, or will you take anything? The latter should never be a response to an interview question. A common mistake is not answering the question that is being asked. It is really easy to start talking about a previous position or situation, get totally caught up in your story, and forget what the original question was. A great way to combat this is by keeping a specific situation, action, and result in mind. Practice doing the following: Describe the situation; what action took place; what were the results of your actions. This will keep you mentally organized.
3. A bird in the hand…
All of us have very specific images of our dream job, from the commute to work, what we’ll wear, and the job duties. It is always great to have a plan and work towards a goal, however, we have to understand our first, second, and possibly third job may not be our dream job. The jobs you seek should put you on a path to ultimately reach your goal. Career development is a never-ending process that requires being open and flexible. I’ve seen a lot of students turn down opportunities because it is not exactly what they want to do, missing the fact that it is a step in the process.
Please don’t miss the bigger picture of obtaining valuable work experience to hold out for something in which you may not be prepared. Take time to evaluate the offer in hand and ask yourself, “What can I learn here?”, “Does this position have certain attributes I’m looking for?” and “Is it a step in the right direction?”
No one knows you better than you! Sell yourself! Take some time to reflect on your past experience and pick out skills that may be transferrable for the position you’re seeking. Enjoy it; this is the time of your life!
Desiree is a University Recruiter at T-Mobile USA. She is currently responsible for developing and implementing effective recruiting and branding strategies related to short and long term needs. She does this by partnering with business line leaders to build relationships and establishing realistic expectations. A big part of being a recruiter at T-Mobile is striving to position T-Mobile as an “employer of choice” and facilitate a world class recruiting experience for candidates. Desiree is also responsible for training managers and recruiters on the University and Internship Program. Desiree spends her free time spending time with family and friends, traveling, and volunteering with various groups. She also loves to read and trying anything that is new and fun.