It is finally spring again. The snow is melting (except for a few springtime flurries), birds are coming back, flowers are blooming—and graduation is approaching. For some, it may be a bit scary to enter the real world and get a job or search for an internship. We have some tips on improving interview skills, resumes and cover letters.
Deb Robinson, director of alumni and parent relations, said interview attire is extremely important. Your clothes are first thing your potential employer sees and the first picture they get of who you are.
“If I don’t look polished and professional when I walk in, then that’s probably not how I’m going to do things,” Robinson said.
You should appear clean and groomed. You should also cover up things that may be inappropriate for the work environment, like tattoos, piercings and unusual hair color. It is important to know the company’s culture and go from there.
“Research the company, know a little about their history and the purpose of what they do. . .it shows you’re an individual who can see the big picture and employers are looking for that,” Robinson said.
The Job Hunting Handbook by Harry Dahlstrom advises connecting to employers and people you admire through social media (like LinkedIn). Dahlstrom also suggests mailing a letter or calling the hiring manager to ask for an interview.
Career Development Coordinator Jen Vannest said, “Tips for interviewing would be preparing: knowing the background of the company, knowing good questions to ask about the company, being able to discuss the company and pieces of it during the interview, being on time, confidence, sell yourself.”
Resumes and portfolios
According to Vannest, resumes should be one page and easy to read. Recruiters give an average of seven seconds per resume, so spacing and font are important.
Students can add a leadership experience heading to their resumes where they can list resident assistant, student senate, internship and athlete experience. Other leadership skills would go under this heading as well.
“The resume is like the written part of a book and a career portfolio is like the illustration of the book,” Vannest said.
Students can send a career portfolio of all the work they have accomplished and show the employers what they are capable of doing.
The Center for Student Success and the Office of Alumni and Parent Relations offer many services to help improve students’ resumes and interviewing skills that are available to all students, alumni and their families.
The Center for Student Success is willing to review a resume or cover letter as long as it is at least started.
The website collegecentralnetwork.com/malone has a resume and cover letter builder, interviewing tips, and job and internship postings.
The Office of Alumni and Parent Relations has an app that you can download to any smart device or computer. It has tips on job attire, what to eat at work, and even what all those fancy forks and spoons are for at business dinners.