Ask Deb: Preparing Recent Grads For The Workforce
I recently interviewed four candidates for an entry-level position on my team. One thing that is absolutely clear at the end of this experience is that college career centers are giving their students bad, outdated advice! All four of these young people had objective statements on their resumes, and presented themselves in the same bland manner. They talked about their academic achievements, and how great they were, but they never sold me on what it was that they could do for me. In fact, they didn’t even touch on it! I’ve rewritten the job description so that it focuses on the business problems that I’m looking to solve, and I have another crop of students to interview in two weeks. I hope they are better prepared. Could you help spread the word about what employers are looking for?

Frustrated Hiring Manager

Dear Recent and Soon-to-Be Grads:

Please read Frustrated’s letter, and read it carefully. When you are interviewing for a professional position, your number one job is to sell the interviewer on what you can do for him or her! How do you do that? By identifying what the pain is—in other words, what is driving the need for the employer to make the hire? Once you do that, you figure out which of your accomplishments will serve to exemplify that you have what it takes. Hopefully, you have internship or volunteer experience that relates to the position for which you are interviewing. Think about what you’ve done in the past, but more importantly, think about how that can translate into helping the interviewer.

Do not call hiring managers and “ask for interviews,” show up uninvited to their offices, bring a long a copy of your master’s thesis, or offer to work for free to “prove yourself.” And please, do not include objective statements, lists of courses taken, or references from your professors on your resumes!