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Do you have what it takes to have potential employers fighting over you? What unique qualities do you possess that give you a competitive advantage in the job market?

During our recent visit to New York City with 16 Daniels students for City Treks, we met with corporate executives from KPMG, the National Hockey League, New York Times, Oppenheimer, Nickelodeon and Ralph Lauren. Each shared snippets of their business culture and operations. They also gave an inside look into their battle to obtain the best, brightest and most coveted new graduates.

While the representatives came from diverse backgrounds, companies, industries and held varied positions, they are all involved in the hiring process. Students were invited to ask any question. I chose to ask what students never hear from employers, but what they always want to know; why didn’t they hear back from the employer after applying for a job or an interview. Managers couldn’t wait to speak their mind!

  1. Typos – not one! Proofread your résumé and your LinkedIn profile. Have a trusted friend review as well. Having mistakes in your résumé leads them to believe that is the quality of work you would provide as an employee.
  2. “No a**holes policy.” This means, “Do I really want to work with you?” Were you pleasant to everyone you encountered during the interview process? Are you a team player? Did you leave a positive impression? Attitude is everything and there is no time for someone with a bad one.
  3. Extracurricular activities—What do you participate in outside of school? What do you do to learn about other cultures and languages? Collegiate sports are a great example of working on a team for a common goal.
  4. “Don’t Open the Kimono”—Expect that you will be googled. Google yourself first. Finding pictures of you drinking or partying was just one example that would make an employer decide not to hire you. Your Facebook settings should be private. What you AND your contacts share on social media is a reflection on you. LinkedIn is your personal brand, the impression you are leaving. Be sure to have a professional headshot included.
  5. Employers are looking for people who can identify AND solve problems. They want a dependable and consistent work product.
  6. Successful people build tremendous professional networks. Expand your network and build relationships.
  7. Read the Wall Street Journal and New York Times to gain a broad base knowledge in business and to be able to intelligently converse with people from diverse backgrounds.

“You are a Used Car and Must Sell Yourself”

There it is, straight from the hiring managers’ mouths. Are you ready? What are you waiting for?

Susan Goodwin is an Assistant Director and Graduate Career Coach of the Suitts Graduate & Alumni Career Center. Susan has seven years of experience in career services and coaches graduate students in career development, including job search techniques, networking, resume writing and interview preparation. Goodwin also creates and facilitates career service workshops and works with companies to promote graduate employment.