As someone who recently made the transition from Recruiting to Career Counseling, I can give first-hand verification to the advice you hear from your professors, parents, counselors and advisors!
If you are sitting at home sending out your résumé online with a generic cover letter, no follow-up and no connection within the company, the chances of your résumé getting a second look (or even a first!) from an employer are slim.
Below are some strategies for STANDING OUT to a Recruiter during your internship or job search!
At Employer Info Sessions
- Do research on the company (read their annual report!) and use this information to ask relevant questions during the session.
- Talk to the employers afterwards (have your elevator speech prepared!)—ask if they would be willing to do an Informational Interview (or if they could connect you with someone within their company to meet with you).
- Email the employer to thank them for their time.
At Career Fairs
- Practice your elevator speech AND your handshake.
- Gather business cards and email employers afterwards to thank them for speaking with you.
- Connect with employers on LinkedIn if you had a good conversation (write a personal message to remind them of where you met).
- Bring mints!
On Your Résumé and Cover Letter
- Include keywords from the job description (some companies use software to screen your resume for these words before it gets to a real person!).
- If you have the hiring manager or recruiter’s contact information, email materials to them directly after you apply online.
- If you know someone within the company, mention him or her in your cover letter, but make sure it’s alright..
- Include your LinkedIn URL in your contact information.
- Follow up! Call or email the company a week later to ensure they received your application materials or ask where they’re at in their hiring process for the position.
- Request recommendations from supervisors and professors.
- Create an accurate, detailed title and be sure all sections are complete.
- Be sure your city and state reflect where you’re actually hoping to work.
During Your Interview
- Demonstrate the research you did on the company—talk about their values, mission, etc.
- If you know who the interviewer will be, look up their LinkedIn profile to get some information on their background prior to your interview (but don’t connect with them until you meet).
- Prepare numerous relevant questions that are specific to the company.
- Send thank-you cards to everyone in the office with whom you interacted.
Things to Make Yourself Stand Out in a BAD Way
- Ask an interviewer personal questions.
- Wear jeans to a career fair or employer information session.
- Mention in your cover letter that you’re going to follow up and then don’t do it.
- Leave in the middle of an interview because you decide the job isn’t a fit.
- Use a “serious” picture, a picture of a landscape, or a picture of an inanimate object as your LinkedIn picture.
- Arrive to your interview “fashionably late”.
- Wear a ton of fragrance to your interview.
- Chew gum during your interview.