3 Job Search Tips: Advice from a College Recruiter

by Chris Woolery on December 7, 2016

3 Job Search Tips: Advice from a College RecruiterWhether you’re searching for a job or internship, you want to do everything possible to help showcase yourself as the best candidate. If you’re in college, there are several resources you can maximize to help increase your chances of landing an offer.

I work with hundreds of college students every year, so consider this firsthand experience from a Burns & McDonnell college recruiter. While there are a number of things you can do to make yourself a more valuable job or internship candidate, the following three areas are, in my opinion, among the most important. Consider this your pre-search checklist.

  1. Update Your Resume

Nothing can kill a job search faster than a poorly laid out resume. Spend time formatting so it’s easy for a recruiter to read. Your professional experience should be easy to follow. Chronological order certainly helps.

Close gaps. Never make someone question whether or not you did something. Even if you spent the summer mowing lawns or doing another type of work that may be irrelevant to your ultimate career path, put it on your resume. At a minimum, I know you didn’t spend your summer doing nothing.

Proofread, proofread and proofread. Misspellings or typos on a resume are huge red flags to recruiters.  No matter the job or company, we’re all looking for individuals that pay attention to details. This is your first opportunity to prove that you’ve mastered this vital skill.

  1. Use Your School’s Career Center

A career center may be the most underutilized office at any university in the United States.  The good news? Because most of your peers aren’t using it, it’s a quick and easy way to get a step ahead during your job search. You’re paying valuable money for your education, and your school’s career center is a part of those resources. Take advantage of what’s available to you!

Your career center can critique your resume, provide advice on career paths and, most importantly, hone your interviewing skills. While in college, I remember thinking that interviewing would be easy. After all, all you have to do is answer questions, right? I changed my mind after I finished my first job interview and swiftly received a rejection letter. Maybe they noticed the way my hands shook throughout the whole conversation? The next day, I visited the career center and went through my first mock interview to receive feedback from career center staff, possibly the most valuable thing I have ever done for my career.

  1. Get Involved on Campus

Some people believe leadership is a natural gift, while others view leadership as something that’s developed over time. Either way, the best way to cultivate your own leadership experience is by getting involved on campus in a variety of clubs and organizations. This sort of experience allows you to practice some of the skills you learn in the classroom, and you’ll also have a chance to interact with and lead your peers, often the most difficult group to lead.

My recommendation? Participate in at least one organization that’s directly tied to your major, plus one club or organization that isn’t. That way, you be able to apply classroom material and knowledge and pursue something you enjoy, escaping the rigors of college coursework.

The recurring theme of this post? Make the most of the opportunities available to you as you finish your education — and write your resume so that it reflects the breadth and depth of your experience. There’s no denying that the job and internship markets can be competitive, but focusing on these areas can help you differentiate yourself from other applicants — and, ideally, increase your chances of receiving an offer.

What other advice would you offer to young job or internship seekers? I’d love to hear your tips in the comments!

As a Recruiter at Burns & McDonnell, Chris Woolery recruits for professionals with 1-3 years of professional work experience.

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