You’ve gotten through the rigors of academia and are ready to leverage what you’ve learned in the real world but where do you start? Job hunting is an overwhelming task no matter what stage of life. When you are coming out of college, though, ready to take your first real steps into your working lives, you want to make sure you are making the right moves. I’d like to share a few tips from the employer side that will help you snag that dream job, or at least make an impression!
Tip 1: Do your research!
Make sure you are in constant connection with the career center at your school and know when all the fairs and events are. They will let you know as companies register for Career Fairs, keep on top of that list and look into each company and shortlist the ones that you would like to target. As you research and shortlist, make sure you participate in any webinars they might host and get acquainted with their blogs and bloggers. When I represented our company at a Career Fair and spoke with candidates who knew not only what our company did but referenced posted blogs and content – those were the candidates that got the * by their name and made it to the top of our list.
It’s important to maximize your time at a career fair. You typically only have 4 hours to make the rounds and there are often 200+ companies represented. Make sure you are hitting up your short list and ready to make a lasting impression. I will always remember a candidate who walks up to my booth with purpose. “I’m happy to have the chance to hand you my resume; your’s is one of the companies I wanted to make sure to introduce myself to because…(insert technology they work with, industry, recent blog post or webinar you attended, etc.)” Companies attending Career Fairs have every intention of making hires – Be one of those!
Tip 2: Vamp up your resume!
You are your best advocate. Spend some time on your resume and be genuine about your experience. I’m more than sure your program has provided you with really relevant project and internship experience. We want to hear about it! Be detailed and focus on accomplishments rather than responsibilities. As a recruiter, I LOVE to see tech skills listed up on top of the resume. RECRUITERS LOVE KEYWORDS. I want to know up front what your tech stack is, what languages, frameworks, databases, and more that you have legitimate experience with. Avoid putting things on your resume that you have had “Exposure to” or are “Familiar with” that comes off as disingenuous and doesn’t hold much weight with an employer. If you can’t speak to your hands on experience with something, it’s not worth putting on your resume.
It’s an excellent idea to include links to your LinkedIn profile and Github account. If you have links to websites or apps you’ve built and/or a portfolio, definitely add those as well. While you may make a great impression in person, you want to make sure your resume reflects who you are and what you spoke about. Recruiters get hundreds of resumes at Career Fairs, make sure they remember you when they go through the stack. I always remember a candidate who has a little pitch. “This is who I am, what I studied and what my career goal is – based on the type of work your company does I think you would be interested in hearing about my work with this project on my resume and I encourage you to check out this app or website I contributed to”
Jobscan has a great blog post about Resume Formats https://www.jobscan.co/blog/top-resume-format-2016/
Tip 3: Dress to Impress!
No matter what the companies culture is or how the Recruiter is dressed, Business Professional is always the way to go. Wear the name tag they provide you, make sure you’re cleaned up and prepared with your resumes in a folder or portfolio. It seems simple, but surprisingly we still get candidates stop by our booth who appear to have wandered in on their way back from the Gym.
You are your best advocate! You owe it to your future career to put your best foot forward and leave a lasting impression. Take some time to prepare, be confident in what your academic career has prepared you for and go get it!