I attended the Minnesota State Universities Job and Internship Fair Feb. 18 at the Minneapolis Convention Center. Over 100 employers were present, so I embraced it as a wonderful networking opportunity.
There were only a handful of students from UW-Eau Claire compared to the multitude of students from Minnesota State schools, but every one of us had our game faces on. Student lounges were available for us to research companies and prepare questions for speaking with a potential employer or recruiter. The lounges were almost dead silent and tension was extremely high because each student was shooting for the same goal — a job right out of college. Recent graduates are aware of the challenges present in the job market at the moment, and each was trying to identify their edge or qualities to make them stand out from the crowd.
One thing I learned from the experience is that your resume is important but engaging with employers and making a memorable connection is more influential. Recruiters want to hire an individual who is driven, outgoing and compatible with current employees at the company. Companies, regardless of size, industry or work ethic, are seeking individuals who not only meet the required qualifications needed for the position, but also someone whose personality aligns with the organization’s culture.
When you pitch yourself to an employer you have to acknowledge your experience but sell them on your personality. Throughout my CJ classes I have prepared and developed my elevator speech and I can present that in a timely manner. From a student’s perspective, you must shine outside of the piece of paper you are handing them. Recruiters saw countless amounts of students during the five-hour career fair, and there is no way that they are going to thoroughly peruse all the resumes handed to them. Most recruiters jot down notes as they are talking to you and those notes significantly contribute to your initial chance for an interview.
I would love to hear from friends and alumni as to what they look for in their hire and how much personality is a factor in their decision. How much does the resume truly count compared to how candidates present themselves?