I have had the privilege of working with college students for most of my career either in a university career services or recruiting capacity. While I have had tons of fun, I have also learned many things that are typical questions of every student each year. Here, I will try to answer some common questions and give some tips for how to be one of the best student job seekers:
- How do I network when I don’t have one (and what is networking anyways)?
- Networking basically accomplishes helping you be an informed job seeker (important for you as well as makes you stand out) as well as one who is able to reduce the risk adverse activity which is recruiting. If a role has 200 applicants, often times the recruiters spend very very little time looking at each net new applicant. They are looking at a paper trail of the candidate in terms of how they match the industry, company and role. Every student (no matter how much work experience he or she has) will be looking for a job that they have technically never done before. So, if a recruiter or hiring manager has a choice between an unknown and a known, they will choose the known. That means that they will either choose someone who has done the exact same job before or someone who has greatly reduced the question around the fit for the industry, company, and position. Students can do that by telling their story, getting information/advice, modifying their print and verbal communication accordingly, and maybe even perhaps have someone working at the company recommend them. This is all done through networking. Networking is leveraging all avenues from which you derive a network (university alumni, previous colleagues, classmates, professors, university staff members, family, friends, clubs/organizations, community work/leaders, and the list goes on and on) to gather information that allows you to know what risks you need to mitigate, what skills/experiences you need to talk about or add, and how to make what you write and talk about the best match to what you are seeking. While I have posted this link before, I will underscore the value of this interactive informational interviewing and networking tool.
- What if a company I wish to work for does not recruit on my campus?
- This is a reality for every student, and a necessity for companies to create a structure, have the ability to properly resource, and provide a measurable ROI for leadership. Any given company (even the big ones) only go on about 10-15 campuses. Smaller companies and start-ups may never engage in on-campus recruiting. So, what do you do when a target company(ies) do not recruit on your campus? Organize yourself. Get a target list of 10-30 companies that you would really like to work for. There are many ways to do this depending on your priorities. If you are focused on a very specific location, you can do so with many company databases like OneSource, Hoovers, and ReferenceUSA (many schools and public libraries have these). Decide if you would rather filter first then go with what you have, or end up with ordering doxycycline online 200ish companies and download the spreadsheet to really filter. Get specific in the geography (many allow you do to a radius of a zip code), industries, size of company, public or private, etc. Another way would be to follow what is written in the 2 Hour Job Search. Once you have the list of companies, get to know them. Network with people that work there – use your studentness to ask people you don’t know for an informational meeting to learn. Learn how the company recruits and what is required for the roles that you want. If the roles you want are not truly entry level, learn what you could do as an initial step into the company. There is lots more that go into this and lots more that can be said about strategy to get to where you want to be, but this should get you started.
- What are the top things I need to put on my resume to get the interview?
- Take a pause here. How to market yourself on your resume really depends on the industry, company, and role that you want along with what you are able to bring to the table. So, there really is no one answer to that. Also, if you are relying on your resume to get the interview, that means you are missing the most crucial step to an effective job search – making yourself more than a piece of paper, reducing the risk to hire, and standing out as an informed job seeker. Yes, a resume is important, and yes you need to make sure it speaks to your target industry, company, and position. However, for a student, a piece of paper will always have its limitations. If you are asking yourself this question, think more about your overall strategy. Then, consider your resume as a piece of real estate of your information. You need to maximize the percentage of relevant information to your target audience. You are not writing a resume to tell everything about you. You are writing a resume to showcase what about you matches well with the target industry, company, and position. This may mean elaborating more on certain areas you did not plan on detailing out as well as eliminating content that is not relevant to the reader. A resume that speaks to a recruiter or hiring manager that has 80% relevancy speaks leaps and bounds more than a resume that speaks only 50% to them.
So, this just touches the tip of the iceberg on the topic of getting hired as a student, but hopefully it is still a good foundation and starting point. Really, the more seasoned job seeker has an easier time of understanding how this makes a difference as they have already experienced quite a bit of hiring within their organization(s). It is harder for students to fully understand this until they experience it. I welcome your questions via firstname.lastname@example.org so that I may build out more thoughts based on your questions.