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#WednesdayWrite: What’s Your Advice for Job Searchers?

#WednesdayWrite: What’s Your Advice for Job Searchers? published on 15 Comments on #WednesdayWrite: What’s Your Advice for Job Searchers?

This week, I am sharing resources that will help you with your resumes, cover letters, and other job application materials, based on a request included in the midterm evaluations you submitted.

Student talking with a company rep at at career fairThis week’s #WednesdayWrite is simple. You have applied for various things up to this point in your college career—jobs, internships, clubs, special organizations, colleges, and so forth.

Think about your successful applications (or your unsuccessful efforts) and share a unique piece of advice that you have gained from your experience. Read through the comments left by others to ensure that your advice adds something new to the conversation.

You can also add to someone else’s comments if you have a related tip or disagree.


Image credit: Career Fair by Carmichael Library on Flickr, used under a CC-BY 2.0 license.



This is probably a piece of advice that people hear often, but one thing I’ve learned through a few Engineering Expo experiences is that recruiters like to see examples of you taking initiative on your resume. Something we get repeated to us since freshman year is that recruiters want to see “personal projects”. Now, as a freshman with no experience, this sounds daunting and out of reach. But what I’ve learned over the years is that your personal project doesn’t have to be making a new app or physical system, it can simply be teaching yourself something new that shows the recruiter your desire to learn. After my first year, I did not have an internship so I continued working at home, but I also decided to start teaching myself Python through Code Academy. I was not an expert by the end of the summer, but when I returned to the career fair that fall and mentioned what I started to learn (it wasn’t even on my resume at the time), the recruiters were happy to see that and I landed a job for the next summer.

In the past, I have really only applied to jobs where I knew I could meet a recruiter from the company in person. Being able to talk to the recruiter in person makes a bigger impact than simply seeing a name in a list of applications online. With this, my tip would be to apply online for a position and do research about the company in order to have one or two questions ready when you go talk to the recruiter. It shows that you are interested in the company and not just wandering around wondering who you can convince to hire you.

I was going to comment about the same thing regarding asking questions and doing research. It looks great that when you can show you have knowledge about the company and can ask thoughtful questions. I think recruiters are happy when they get to talk about their company and they associate that happiness with you.

My department hosts industry visits frequently and I agree that meeting them in person helps a lot. I am still gaining experience in my industry so my resume is not as strong as it will be. I applied to tons of internships but only heard back from the companies that I met with in person. That face to face interaction speaks bounds more than any resume or job application will and I contribute part of my success to the ability to meet with the recruiters face to face.

I think sometimes the hardest part about looking for jobs is when your peers around you are successful, and already have internships, co-ops, etc already lined up, and you’re still searching for something to do for the summer. A lot of this comes with experience. After my Freshman year of college some of my friends already had jobs lined up, and I ended up going back to coach for my summer swim team again. If something doesn’t work out then doing anything (like a part time job or volunteering) looks better than doing nothing. The next summer I struggled again, I had gotten one interview with a company I really wanted to look for, but alas I was rejected. I applied to a lot of international research opportunities for the summer, but I was not accepted to any of them. However, because I applied to all of these opportunities and needed recommendations, one of my professors offered me a research position in France for 2017 summer. Even though it was not my top choice, it was an opportunity that I immediately took, and to this day I do not regret the decision I made. It has helped boost my resume, and has helped me get the internship and co-op I currently have lined up for the upcoming summer and fall semester. The biggest advice I can give, is be persistent, the more you show companies you are interested, the more you talk to them, and the more questions you ask them will help you passed the first hurdle, and will most likely get you an interview. Of course doing well and staying involved in school will always be necessary, but doing these things will help you get opportunities.

Sometimes you won’t get the exact job or opportunity you were hoping for, and you’ll feel defeated, or feel like you’re selling yourself short, but if there is an opportunity, especially one during your college career, you should take it, because it can really only help you for you future, in terms of experience, and determining what you like and don’t like.

I definitely agree with what you said (and I did read the whole thing, not just the TL;DR). The same thing happened to me my freshman year, and I ended up working two jobs while taking two classes over the summer. That experience, though not related whatsoever to my field, was definitely a determining factor in getting hired for both an internship and co-op. And once I completed those, even though they weren’t in the fields I wanted, I was able to get enough experience to be hired into exactly what I want to be doing. So I totally agree with you: take every opportunity you can, it will likely pay good future dividends.

I think all of these examples are very useful pieces of advice. In my experience regarding my last internship at Clif Bar I applied to it because I heard of it from a family friend. The family friend happened to know someone who worked at Clif Bar and he put in a good word for me. I got the internship, and I will say it wasn’t just because the man put in a good word for me because I have a good resume, but it definitely helped. So, my advice is that in this world a lot of times it’s who you know, not necessarily what you know so you need to be networking like crazy. Even if you aren’t looking for a job, go to career fairs just to meet people in your field, find company’s emails and start a conversation about what exactly they know and that can lead to a mentor who has connections and can help you find a job. Reach out to family members because chances are they know someone.

A firm handshake and eye contact are the key to applying to jobs via career fair. Looking like you are confident about your resume goes a long way. In my experiences from applying to jobs, I did extensive research about the company so that I understood what their mission was. Talking to a recruiter already knowing the ins and outs of the company also helps you be more confident. The combination of the previous advice will help you land an interview. I have been successful multiple times in the past and know these tactics work.

One tip I can give is to not be afraid to apply for a job that does not exist. For my internship I emailed the head of the company wand asked if I they needed help during the summer – I also attached my resume for reference. I told then I had done some research about the company and gave some specific examples about why I wanted to work with them. They asked for references and what my “goals” for the summer internship were, and finally they gave me the job. My employer told me that summer that she liked the initiative I showed and that most people do not follow that route – she was impressed. (I would caution not to sound rude when asking for a job)

Everybody’s advice so far is great and I agree with them all. Another advice that I would like to add is more focused towards the failures and unsuccessful efforts when going through job applications. I have had a lot of experience with getting rejected for a job and I am sure a lot of people have in college. Although it is disheartening and defeating at first, just remember that it is all part of the process and that you may go through 10 rejections before getting that 1 acceptance offer! Doing poorly or not getting a job only makes you more prepared for the next job interview! You learn from your mistakes and do better the next time around. Each job interview/process that you go through gives you more experience each time so it is always productive no matter the outcome. So remember, keep your head up high and continue to apply to jobs until you land a few offers.

I agree with everyone’s advice. I think from my own experience the best advice I can give is also the cheesiest; be yourself and be confident. I have found that even if you’re intimidated and really unsure of yourself you don’t want that to translate to the recruiter. Confidence is huge and in this case (and many others) faking it until you make it is an effective strategy. I would also suggest that in order to affirm confidence really do as much background research as you possibly can on the company you are speaking with. Knowing some of that information and being ready to bring it up conversationally and to have questions is huge and says a lot.

I totally agree with you Caed. Everything you said is spot on. Being yourself might not be for everyone (just because some lifestyles would not be acceptable in some companies) but you can easily fake it until you make it. Doing background research is very important because it tells recruiters how serious you are and how much you want to work with them.

My unique piece of advice is to be unique. I’ve been fairly successful in internship/co-op recruitment and I think one of the main reasons is my chosen course of study. I apply for Chemical Engineering roles, and I have the requisite classes/GPA. But what sets me apart is my History major and the research I do with it. It sets me apart from other applicants and shows that I have other passions, but mostly it highlights intangible skills that recruiters look for. Having such different majors means I have to take a TON of classes, indicating a good work ethic and time management skills. Being a history major likely means I’m a good writer since it’s liberal arts, and I can back that up with two research papers and an editor position. Lastly, it gives me something to talk about, which is important because I find most interviewers like to get a sense of who you are, and this gives them some idea. I don’t mean that it’s necessary to have some weird second degree, but having a quirky passion will highlight skills that other applicants can’t demonstrate as well as make you a unique person in the eyes of the interviewer.

I think the most important thing for a new job searcher is consistency. Searching for a job in college (especially with your first internship) can be frustrating because it is easy to get rejected by the companies you aim for. However, that should not discourage you. The more you get rejected, the more you have to keep applying. Once the job applications are done, one should give a follow up call if the the person in charge has contact information provided. Talking to recruiters and following up on applications does not guarantee a job but it can put one ahead of others in the selection process.
Building a nice resume also forms a big part of landing a job. It is usually hard to get outstanding things to put on your resume when you have not had your first internship yet. However, put things that can relate to the job you are applying for such as certain applications you have used in some classes. It is always a good idea to get expert advice on resume before using it for an application.

My tip is to do a research on companies I want to apply, and find out some topic I are really interested, and I will think about some pieces of advice for those companies, which will let me impress my interviewer. For job search, I always search some companies I really like and send my resume to them even if they don’t post recruitment advertising.

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