It’s not every day that college students get the scoop from real recruiters on what it takes to get hired. But on August 31, the lucky students and alumni who attended OPCD’s panel event, “Getting From Resume to Interview to Offer,” heard about resumes, networking and even pet peeves from some of DFW’s largest and most distinguished employers.
Panelists in attendance were:
Mary Mackenzie (BA ‘14), Human Resources, 7-Eleven Corporation
Noelle Bleich, Vice President in Recruiting, Human Capital Management Division, Goldman Sachs
Mariana Zayas (BA ‘12), Corporate Human Resources Manager, Omni Hotels
Kayla Cermak, Recruiter, Campus Reach Team, Southwest Airlines
Sarah Jane Semrad (BS), Entrepreneur
Here are some of their take-aways.
Bleich: At Goldman Sachs, we want to read your story. We want to know how you got to this point. Don’t just check the boxes. We assume you have a high GPA and have been involved on campus, so show us what you’re passionate about. Did you have leadership positions at school? Did you work to put yourself through school? What drives and motivates you?
Mackenzie: You should make sure your bullet points represent how your experience matches the job description.
Cermak: We’re looking for people who “live the Southwest Way,” so we want to know what you’re passionate about and what kind of leadership you’ve shown. We’re not really looking for someone who has a 4.0 GPA but who hasn’t been involved in the community.
ON STANDING OUT:
Semrad: I don’t like looking at resumes that have the same super generic font on the same plain, white paper. Show me something interesting that will give me an idea of your personality.
Bleich: Make sure you know your audience, because at Goldman, we are actually looking for more traditional resumes that are 1-2 pages at most but still tell a story.
Cermak: Take the time to craft your bullet points using action verbs that link to the results you achieved during a job or project.
Mackenzie: Really think about the person who will be reading your resume and make sure that it matches the style they will want to see. And don’t be discouraged by online application forms. A well-crafted resume can still stand out.
Zayas: Having a profile statement–2-3 sentences on why you want to work for this company and why you want this particular job–will help you stand out against the more generic submissions.
Mackenzie: Don’t think of networking as a “dirty word.” Think of it as “who in my community can I seek advice from?” You’re not necessarily looking for a job, but talking with the people in your sphere to learn about different companies and careers.
Semrad: You always have to be open to the serendipity of who you’re meeting at a particular time. You never know who is going to be a church or who’s in front of you at Starbuck–it could be someone that could help your career now or in the future.
Zayas: If you’re nervous about going to a networking event alone, take a buddy. Set a goal to talk to at least five people you don’t know. It might seem scary but you have to be able to talk to people to get ahead in your career.
Cermak: Look all around your network or people that can help you, including your parents’ friends. They can be an invaluable resource. When you meet people, be sure to write their names and something interesting about them on the back of their card or flyer. If you can recall that information in a later in a follow up, you’re going to stand out. Set a reminder in your phone to follow up with them periodically.
ON COVER LETTERS:
Bleich: I skip the cover letter and go straight to the resume. If you include a cover letter, it better be perfect. It can sometimes hurt more than help.
Mackenzie: Organizations in Washington D.C. wanted to see cover letters as an example of your writing ability and to get a feel for your story.
Cermak: I say don’t bother with a cover letter unless it’s a writing job.
Zayas: I skip the cover letter unless the resume really intrigues me and I want to know more.
Cermak: If you haven’t had a lot of experience in the area you’re applying to, it’s OK to talk about projects you worked on in class and what role you played in any group work. You can also talk about obstacles you faced and how you overcame them as well as what kind of results you achieved.
Bleich: Don’t just say you are a problem solver, use examples to show how you approach problems. If you’re going to put something like “Excel skills” on your resume, talk about how you used Excel to solve a problem and what benefit that solution had.
ON PET PEEVES:
Semrad: When I ask someone for a resume, I look to see how long it takes them to get it to me and if there are any typos. And I look to see if they’ve put their best self forward.
Bleich: There is no need to have a resume more than 1-2 pages at most. Use your LinkedIn page to elaborate more if you need to.
Cermak: Make sure to proofread–check for typos and misspelled words. Make sure the company name is correct.
Mackenzie: Don’t put your GPA on your resume unless it was crazy good.
Zayas: Agreed! Don’t mention your GPA on your resume.
For more information on UD’s Office of Personal Career Development, click here.