Last week, recruiters representing management, accounting, finance, marketing, medical systems, and consulting organizations made a panel presentation for students, alumni, faculty, and community members. They were each dynamic presenters with useful tips for job seekers at every career level and addressed audience questions from those in career transition, those at the beginning of their careers, and those at higher levels seeking change. The following tips were compiled based on feedback from several attendees:
- Define “professional” as uniquely represented by the organization you seek employment with and adjust your dress to represent the highest level of that definition. For example, recruiters in a jeans-and-t-shirt culture still expected interviewees to dress in suits.
- Invest time in learning about the company where you seek employment and represent that knowledge on your cover letter and in your interview. This is also important to determine if the culture of the organization is an appropriate fit for you.
- Cover letters are not always required. When they are, they are used for two purposes: 1) to weed out candidates who can’t follow directions (in cases where large numbers of applicants are expected) or 2) to assess your writing ability. Adjust the amount of time that you take with a cover accordingly.
- Use the cover letter to clarify any information that is not included on the resume – anticipate the questions that the recruiter may have and answer them. For example, if the job is in Chicago and you are in San Mateo, address that – do you plan to move? Or if you have large gaps between jobs, explain them – were you going back to school? Raising a family? What did you do during that time that made your activities applicable to a future job? Have you been struggling to find work? What personal growth steps have you taken while seeking employment (classes, volunteer work, etc.) Human Services student Josué Hernandez reflected that he learned, “with thoughtful planning and strategy there is always a way to maximize my strengths and turn supposed weaknesses into strengths.”
- Should volunteer work or internships be listed on the resume? Absolutely, with clarity as to how accomplishments in those positions can translate to future on-the-job success.
- Spend time creating and keeping your LinkedIn profile current and professional.
- Create a career portfolio in which to keep all of your career related documents.
My thanks to attendees Josué Hernandez, Genna Armanini, and Sister Carol Miller with compiling this list of tips. Additional thanks to Josué, Jeff Day and Vanessa Craigshead for their work organizing and promoting the event. Special thanks to the event’s MC Maryellen Briscoe of MossAdams and to presenters Elizabeth Madden Liptak of Hutchingson and Bloodgood; Sarah Caravahlo Khan of Varian Medical Systems, and Tricia Seevers of Quinn Street for their time and shared expertise.
Photo courtesy of Josué Hernandez