October 15, 2015 |

Land the Perfect Job or Internship: Be True to Yourself and Your Experiences

CareerTips

Who are you?  This may sound like a big, philosophical question.  But it is something that is essential to think about when beginning your job and interview search process.  Knowing what your values are, combined with a clear understanding of your experiences and how they have impacted you, will help you land a position with an organization that is satisfying and rewarding for you.  Overwhelmed on where to begin your journey?  Start here.  By defining goals for yourself and molding your personal brand, you will be able to make the search process much easier.  Then you will be ready to dive right in at our Online Job and Internship Fair from October 26-30!  We spoke with Dave Thoma, Senior Developer and Software Development Supervisor from Therapy Notes and Laurie Mellon, Vice President, Talent Acquisition Programs at Publicis Healthcare to give you insight on what companies look for during the hiring process.

Own your experiences.  It is important for you to be able to explain the significance of the experiences you have been a part of.  Laurie advises, “Focus on the “so what?” factor. You organized a fundraiser on campus? Be able to explain why that’s a benefit to your potential employer.  What did you specifically do to ensure success of the event? How did it go? What were the results?  Be prepared to tell me this story and show me that you know your skills and value to our company.”  To do this, think of experiences that have been the most impactful in terms of skills you learned, challenges you overcame, or accomplishments that helped push you forward on the path to your desired career.  Make sure you can explain how your role in this experience can directly apply to the company or organization you are looking to work or intern with.

Showcase these experiences in your resume and cover letter.  As Dave notes about resumes, “It is the most important thing that you can work on.”  This will be a company’s first impression of you and what you have to offer.  First, make sure it is edited to perfection and contains no grammatical or spelling errors.  Then, make sure it is tailored to the position you are applying for.  That experience you have from being a dog walker in high school?  Maybe not the most relevant use of space.  Laurie explains, “We are looking for experiences and key learnings, not just coursework. We want to see that you are eager to gain a wide variety of experiences that will help you to be a contributor to our business and our culture. These may be on campus, in the community, at part-time or summer jobs or on sports teams.”  Whatever the experience may be, the way you explain the transferable skills in your resume and cover letter are key.  If you get stuck, go back to owning your experiences.  Why are these experiences worth telling?

Find an organization you can picture yourself with.  When you are frantically looking for a job or internship, you may have the impulse to apply for any position that you qualify for.  And although this is ambitious, it is not the best approach.  You want to find an organization that aligns with your goals and values that we discussed earlier.  If you can relay your passions and how you see yourself fitting into a company, the better your chances are at landing the position.  Dave believes, “Regardless of the nature of the position, nobody is hiring an intern and expecting them to arrive at a job with all the skills and knowledge they need to succeed.  Is this somebody we can see growing into this position and really being able to provide value what will be a good fit culturally for the team?”  In order to know if you will be a good fit for a team, you will have to do research.  I know, research can be a lot of work.  Start at a company’s website; learn their mission and what they are currently working on.  Then branch out to a wider search; look for publications that may have been printed about their company, work someone on their team recently completed, or find something that you really connect with that they value.  Dave suggests, “One thing that can make you stand out is to go above and beyond just going to the company’s website, anyone can do that.  Going further and doing more online research and finding something that isn’t super obvious, that can make you stand out.

Be confident to talk about yourself.  Now that you owned your experiences, showcased them in your resume and cover letter, and have found a few organizations that you can picture yourself with, it is time to put it all together.  Go into the job and interview search process with the confidence to be true to yourself and your experiences.  There is nothing more attractive to a company than someone who talks about their experiences and how they can be applied to their organization with passion in their eyes.  Laurie says, “We want to know that you are as invested in learning as we are in providing you the experience.”  You do not need to have all the answers or expert experience in the field.  You do need to know what makes you unique and how that it is valuable for the positions you are seeking.  

Don’t forget to find a job or internship that is right for you at our Online Job and Internship Fair from October 26-30!

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