Two Tactics for Career Success: Networking and Resume Tailoring
As students are applying for jobs and internships, their first impulse may be to go on Handshake and send the same résumé out to many different employers. However, this strategy is far less likely to bring success than other forms of job or internship searching. Students should add these tips to their job and internship searching process: networking and adapting a résumé.
Networking is the process of forming professional connections with people in a desired field of work, and it is one of the most important parts of searching for employment. Experts on Payscale.com estimate that 70-85% of all jobs are obtained through networking. Some ways to network include attending career events like career fairs; using websites like Handshake or LinkedIn to identify and communicate with Mount St. Mary’s alumni who are part of the work field; and asking family, friends, professors and the Career Center for information about job opportunities in organizations they work with.
Another important job searching tactic to keep in mind is that a résumé is not a 'one size fits all' document. Students should adjust and tailor their résumé for each job they apply to by mapping their different experiences and skills to fit the job description. Customizing a résumé in this way helps employers to see more clearly what makes a candidate uniquely qualified for a position in their company instead of seeing a general picture.
What would this job searching process look like in practice? First, students should use websites like Handshake and LinkedIn to search for job opportunities. They should do some research about the companies they find and learn as much as they can about their mission statement and the position they want to obtain.
Second, students should check to see if they have any connections at the company. Have they talked to a company representative at a career fair? Do they have friends or family in the company? Do any Mount alumni work there? Students should reach out to any contacts they have and, depending on the relationship with the contact, ask about aspects like company culture and the contact's experience working there. If appropriate, students might also ask about the application process and request a reference. The Career Center staff can assist with networking through providing services like helping students compose professional emails reaching out to connections.
Third, students should tailor a résumé to fit the specific position they are applying for. They should begin by contacting the Career Center to schedule a résumé review. Then they should consider what skills and qualities are listed in the position's description and highlight in their résumé how their experience demonstrates those skills and qualities. A person from the Career Center can help students implement these changes and polish their tailored résumé.
Finally, students should apply for a job or internship with their updated résumé. If students have any questions or need help putting these tactics into practice, do not hesitate to make an appointment or to stop by the Career Center at any stage of the application process.