Grad Blast Highlights: Employer tips for new graduates!

Synopsis by Sheree Pettigrew, Employment Specialist Intern

For those of you who missed Grad Blast 2012, we wanted to share insights that employers from, Enterprise Rent a Car, Plantronics, Robert Half International (Accountemps), Sybase, Target, and Volt Workforce Solutions, made about five key questions on successfully landing a job in a competitive environment.

What makes a resume stand out?  It was agreed that skill set, experience, GPA (if it’s above 3.0), format, no errors and honors etc., were all very important but what puts a candidate over the top is showing your personality.  They look at the whole person, personality/character 80% and skills 20%.   Give examples of your uniqueness, perhaps by mentioning the volunteer work you do.  In addition, update your resume every six months, create a master resume, (use the most relevant information to the job description) and keep a professional journal including tools you used, projects and continuing education. Check out these additional resume examples.

Should you use an objective or subject line on your resume?  If you are applying for a specific job or sending it to the hiring manager, then yes.  It’s not needed if you include a summary statement listing your skills that are related to the role you are applying for.  Or just leave it out altogether and write a rockin cover letter.

What key things are you looking for in a phone interview?  First is accessibility. An employer schedules a select  time out of their day to contact candidates.  For example, if  35 posted positions will bring 2,700 applicants (out of 2,700 applicants, typically 1500 are viable candidates) it is imperative that the recruiter be able to contact viable candidates efficiently.  If an employer can’t reach you, it is possible that you will get cut off the list given the volume of candidates that must be contacted.  Always leave a specific time for them to call!

Be prepared; choose a quiet place to talk, no pets, kids or chewing. Stand up and smile, they can tell.  Practice by being able to answer questions with specific examples (like the time you led a team, gave a presentation, resolved a client issue etc.) and be able to elaborate on your experience.  Be ready to describe the role you applied for and research the company so you can ask great questions.

Student Questions for the Employer Panel:

  • What attire do you expect a student to wear to an interview?

 A dark suit, professional dress, jacket, ladies cover up!  Dress for the position higher than the one you’re applying for.  Take out piercings, cover tattoos, no big jewelry, purses, and conservative nails.  Fit into the culture, when in doubt, ask.

  • Should I disclose a disability in an interview?   Wait until an offer is made. (You can learn more about disclosure and requesting accommodations through the Workability IV program at the career center)
  • What are the key things you look for during the interview?

Be present, listen carefully and answer the questions, don’t say what you think an employer wants to hear.  Bring a note pad and pen, a positive attitude, enthusiasm, and good communication.  Be human, the conversation goes both ways.  Treat everyone in the vicinity with respect, the interview starts as soon as you walk into the organization.  If English isn’t your first language, speak slow and clear.  Be prepared to answer common questions like:  Tell me about yourself,  Describe your greatest impact or contribution to a project.

  • Should you send a thank you after an interview?

Yes, within 24 hours.  It also helps branding and builds a relationship–a hand written thank you is appreciated.  At the end of the interview, ask what the time frame is to follow up or what the next steps are.  Do join social networks, 80% of jobs are found through networking and by word of mouth.  *All employers on the panel checked LinkedIn but not all checked Facebook.  Bottom line is, don’t write, say or do anything you don’t want made public!

All Grad Blast employers are currently hiring and they agreed that the job market in Silicon Valley is looking up!  Check SpartaJobs to apply. 

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