I’m in the midst of a campus recruitment drive with my employer, and I find that some of these up and coming students could use a little help. They are all very smart, but their problem lies with real-world job hunting experience.
So here are some tips on campus recruitment and finding a job after university:
- I appreciate that you invested the time and money to get your Master’s, unfortunately in most fields, a Master’s Degree does not equal 5-7 years of job experience. Don’t get huffy; you’ll thank me when you don’t blow up an oil refinery.
- Please treat every meeting with a potential employer like an interview, whether it’s a career fair, pizza party or orientation meeting. Dress for success.
- Show up on time for your interview. If you can’t, notify them immediately. I will make every effort to work with your schedule, but saying you got lost on your own campus is not an acceptable excuse.
- Make sure you have a copy of your resume and transcripts at the interview. It shows preparedness and that you give a damn if the interviewers know your relevant info.
- ALWAYS INTERVIEW. Even if you’ve accepted another position. Interviewing with other companies benefits you in several ways. You can tell if your current offer is mediocre or super-awesome. You might find an even better career fit. You can take into account benefits and other non-monetary compensations. YOU GET EXPERIENCE, which is something most students are lacking. Considering you are likely still in school, so additional interviews cost you little more than your time, this is a good investment of it.
Please do not include ridiculously outdated software as a skill on your resume. Technology evolves and changes, once a technology becomes obsolete, evolve with it. Don’t hold on to some little nugget of the past thinking it makes you look savvy.
Some examples of technology you should NOT include on your resume are:
- Word Perfect
- Harvard Graphics
- Print Shop
- Windows 3.1
- Anything you can remember loading on your PC with a floppy disk
Also please don’t list Internet Explorer as a skill. My daughter mastered web browsing at 4, I am not impressed by your ”expert” working knowledge of IE.
On a related note, I remember my uncle had an old Commodore that loaded games like frogger on a cassette tape. It took approximately 30 minutes to load the game, but it was fun as hell when I was 6. He didn’t get rid of that thing till about 5 years ago, because it still worked, and he’s like that. Don’t look to him as an example for job hunting though, he owns a successful business so he can put whatever he wants on his resume.
If you are applying to a company, and they request that you apply on their website, DO IT.
Odds are, that they pay a lot of money to use their online system. They do all kinds of fancy things like analytics reports, and allowing you to link and track a candidate’s profile. Not to mention, these sites can provide important legal back up when you are dealing with recruitment agencies etc.
Don’t call, fax or drop off your resume. It doesn’t prove how tenacious, hard working, eager or persistent you are. It proves you have the mental retention of a goldfish because you have likely read, been told on the phone and then again by the receptionist to apply online. Your resume gets no special treatment if I have the hard copy in my hand. What happens is one of two things:
- I will upload it to the website myself, deleting your email address in the process (as per policy) and your profile will sit there in never-never land, not applied to a specific position and you will have no access to it in a created profile unless you upload it yourself. Or,
- I will send out a batch email to all the people who have dropped off their resumes in a week and politely ask them to upload their resume to our website.
For a little change of pace, I’m going to give you a list today to aid you in your job hunt.
Don’t be late.
Don’t eat, drink or chew gum
Don’t discuss your divorce/ex/custody battle/gambling problem (past or present)/Relatives deaths or failed business ventures
Don’t ask to take a picture of your interviewer.
Don’t bring your lunch to the interview and eat it while you talk. (see #2)
Don’t nap in the building lobby.
Don’t nap in the interview.
Don’t talk about your extensive Star Wars action figure collection, or how you have them laid out in battle scenes, grouped by episode.
Don’t pass gas and try to blame it on the interviewer. Or a “rocky mountain barking spider”
Don’t ask where the bathroom is and say, “I need to drop the kids off at the pool, if you know what I mean”. Unfortunately, I do know what you mean, and it makes me want to scrub my brain with bleach to erase the mental image.
It is pretentious and annoying.
Unless you are famous enough to have an unauthorized biography written by a true-crime author, have the movie rights sold and narrated by James Earl Jones, you are not cool enough to pull this off. It is not quirky or gimmicky. And quirky, gimmicky things rarely work to get your resume noticed (in a positive way)unless you have some phenomenal experience to back it up.
While we’re on the subject of quirky ways to get your resume noticed, be very careful when selecting one of these methods. Some go over well, specifically in certain industries, and other go over like a lead balloon. If you are looking for a position in marketing or advertising, by all means, go all out. Think of it as a mini portfolio, include graphics and examples of your successful campaigns, its a great way to get your resume noticed when the average resume is looked at for about 2 minutes before a decision is made. If you are looking for a job in accounting, not so much. Nobody wants to see a spreadsheet of your household toilet paper budget with a pivot chart showing the rise in cost per square over the last 5 years.
Similarly, if you have a specially formatted resume, or one that includes graphics, always have a plain Word formatted copy for uploading to RTF websites. I will tell you from personal experience that uploading these resumes does not have a desirable end-result for the recruiter reading them, usually they come through so garbled that you can’t make heads nor tales of it. Also, more and more, hiring managers are viewing resumes on portable devices such as blackberrys, so a text only version could be read by your next boss while they are waiting for their next meeting, as opposed to when they get back in the office. They could be making a decision about hiring you, instead of wondering which graphics didn’t load in their email. They could be skipping over your resume to go on to the next candidate because yours took to long to load. By all means, bring your fancy resume to your interview with you, printed on nice paper, like you care about being hired.