Did you notice all the well-dressed students walking on campus? Chances are some of them were headed over to the Bryce Jordan Center for the fall Career Fair to speak with recruiters. I caught up with a few recruiters to ask them what tips they had for you. Here’s what they told me.
Speak knowledgeably about my company. Recruiters want to know that you did your research. Read widely about the industry and the specific company before approaching a recruiter. It’s a total turn-off if you don’t even know what the company does.
One quick and easy way to research companies is to use Hoover’s ™; it’s available to you through our library and you are paying for it with your tuition. Why not use it? It has profiles of over 40,000 companies and includes key contact information too. You can read the company overview, history, financials, strategies, products and operations. Plus it lists key competitors to give you an idea of who else you might like to consider as an employer.
I linked to it on my blog (It’s in the PSU Business Library, but it can be hard to find.) After clicking “Useful Links” on my blog, scroll down and click “PSU Library Career Resources for All Majors.” There’s a lot of good stuff here. Hoover’s is ¾ of the way down the page.
GPAs are important, but slightly less so in technical sales. Generally recruiters reported having some minimum GPA in mind to use as a cut-off. Most like to see a 3.0 or above, but several recruiters mentioned that personality plays more of a role in jobs that have a strong social component. Take away: if your GPA is below 3.0 and you have a great personality, consider technical sales as a way to enter your field.
Give specific examples when answering questions, but be succinct. For example, one recruiter told me he asked the following: Tell me about a time that you were on a team that wasn’t working. What did you do about it? The prospective employee blathered on for over two minutes and never answered the question. Several made the point that your résumé is only an outline of the stories you want to tell. But practice your stories. Come prepared with effective examples of what you’ve achieved both in and out of the classroom.
Go to the Career Fair every year—even as a freshman! Recruiters agreed it’s more difficult to get a summer internship related to your major between your freshman and sophomore years, but it’s not impossible. Plus they keep records of your visit, and you’ll have established your interest in the company early. Every opportunity to try your 30 second elevator speech on a new audience moves you closer to cracking that nut of getting a job.