“I’ve applied over and over to internships and jobs but can’t get a solid interview, how do I get my foot in the door!!!” Below is the advice I give to UM students, alumni, my own friends, and family.
1. Fix your resume:
Your resume is a living document that can always be improved and adapted so it should continually be on your mind during a job search. Most importantly, it has to be concise and to the point. Recruiters see hundreds of resumes at a time and only keep reading until they get bored. This means that your resume should only be one page (2 max for people with significant experience), no paragraphs! (only bullets and phrases), and it should be tailored to the position/organization you are applying to. They took time to write a job description so you should take time to reorient your resume to compliment the position and highlight the skills they are looking for.
And just as importantly, don’t sell yourself short. Any job experience is valuable and can relate to your job search. Worked in the student store as a cashier? Well, you have excellent customer service skills, assisting over 150 clients daily, and facilitated the implementation of a new digital textbook rental program that has saved the university over $200k annually. Just remember that bullet points for your experiences should highlight what you did, the skills and tools you used, and positive outcomes. It is important to orient the bullets to your particular job search and to use specific examples/quantify your experiences as much as possible.
The more you know about your job and internship search, the better off you will be. Research can take many forms. You may be interested in a specific field, but are not sure about actual career paths or how to leverage your major, or you may know exactly what you want to do, but are not sure how to make it happen. Either way you have to get prepared and Toppel has compiled great resources to help you such as Career Links that has important industry-specific information, Glassdoor that compiles thousands of company reviews and salary information, ONet Online that provides important industry/occupational descriptions and data, and many more guides and handouts. Also, once you login to your HireACane.com account, you can; utilize Vault Career Intelligence to get insider access to industry information and job search advice, discover information about jobs and internships abroad with GoingGlobal, and view the hundreds of jobs and internships available in the system. Simple online searches can also be useful as you try and find the major organizations in your industry or look at the prominent players in your region.
Networking may seem daunting or confusing, but it can be done in many different ways and is completely necessary to find a job or internship these days. We all know that most people get a job or internship through a personal relationship (“because they knew somebody”) so now is the time to put yourself out there and get to know somebody. Start with friends, family, and your professors. They should all know your career plans and are the most likely to help you with tips, advice, and job connections. Your next step is to get involved with student groups and organizations that give you much needed exposure to the professional world. Many student organizations bring in guest speakers, Greek organizations have professional development events, and Toppel hosts Career Expo’s, Meet-Up’s, and many other career fairs and events that are specifically designed for students and alumni to meet with employers. And if you are not ready to get out of the house, start connecting on LinkedIn. LinkedIn is the world’s largest professional network and you just need a professional picture and information from your resume to get started. Once on, you can connect with friends and family to start your network and can explore the group of over 60,000 ‘Canes who work at thousands of organizations worldwide and instantly have something in common with you.
4. Apply and follow-up: Now that you have an updated resume, did a little research, and started networking, it’s time to start applying! HireACane.com should be your first stop because you will be competing against a much smaller applicant pool and employers are specifically seeking UM interns and full-time employees. Pay particular attention to on-campus recruiting because employers making the effort to come to campus want to maximize their time by seeing as many qualified applicants as possible. Applying directly on company websites and via LinkedIn may be your next step, along with the many online employment websites.
Don’t forget that the most critical part of the application process is following-up and setting yourself apart from the crowd. Employers are inundated with hundreds of resumes, many of which come from across the U.S. and even globally, and you need them to take a second look at yours. There are a variety of ways to get their attention. If you can find out who the recruiter or hiring manager is, reach out via email or LinkedIn and say who you are, why you would be a good fit for their organization, and provide a copy of your resume (all in 3 to 4 sentences). Don’t forget about your network, including the career center, and ask anybody you know that has a connection to the organization to put in a good word for you. You can also reach out to ‘Canes via LinkedIn who work for the organization and ask to chat with them; depending how it goes they may give you some good advice or even pass your resume along. You never know what will get your foot in the door so try as many angles as possible when you are pursuing your dream internship or full-time position.
5. Meet employers on campus: Take every opportunity you can to meet employers when they are on campus. They are making a special trip to UM just to meet you so it is absolutely worth it to see what they have to say. Many student organizations and Departments across campus host professional speakers and Toppel has multiple events each semester introducing employers to ‘Canes. Major events include; Career Expo each Fall and Spring, Practice interviews with real employers, specialized career fairs, and Meet-Ups for industries such as Communications, STEM, and Healthcare. Toppel also hosts a number of company sessions and on-campus interviews that can be found on a continually updated online calendar. Make sure to RSVP for company sessions and apply to on-campus interview positions before each deadline so that you guarantee yourself the best chance at securing a job or internship.
You never know when you will get your break so every one of these items may be the key to your success. Additionally, feel free to stop by Toppel during walk-in advising Monday through Thursday from 10:00am to 4:30pm or give us a call at 305-284-5451 to discuss any of these points. Our job is to empower and connect so don’t hesitate to reach out!