Struggling with landing interviews?
by Rachel Kaschner | November 20, 2008
How is your job search going? If you have been active in your search and you aren’t getting any invitations to interview, then it’s time to assess the situation.
You haven’t applied to enough jobs. I don’t want to put a number on the optimal number of resumes you should submit, but when I hear students tell me they have only applied to three jobs, it does make me cringe. You need to aim high...that doesn’t mean apply to everything, but it does mean that if something sounds somewhat interesting…you should apply to it and then plan on learning more in an interview to determine if it’s a good fit.
Your resume objective is too limiting. “Seeking a summer internship dealing with renewable energy, specifically wind power, with a focus on design located in Smalltown, Ohio” is an objective that includes too many limiting factors…internship only (What about co-op?), specification of quarter (Summer only? What about winter?), narrow interest area (Not just renewables…but wind? Locking yourself in may not be such a good idea), and lastly geographical limitations (Most employers will help out with housing…so could you be a little more open location-wise?). Bottom line: An objective should highlight your interest areas…but not alienate possible employers that you might be open to working for. Have a broader objective for your default resume and use a very specific one only when it matches a specific employer.
Your resume has errors, problematic formatting or needs other content improvement. The slightest resume error may turn an employer off from contacting you for an interview. Typos and sloppiness convey laziness and poor attention to detail. Poor formatting could also be distorting your resume if it’s faxed, scanned, or entered into an applicant tracking system. Perhaps your resume’s content could be better. Make sure your resume has been reviewed by an advisor in Engineering Career Services—we know what engineering employers are looking for.
Your resume doesn’t market you and what you have to offer. It’s not enough that your resume is neat, readable, and totally free of errors. Do the headings fit you? A surprising number of students use standard headings (like “Honors and Activities”) instead of something that really fits them (just “Honors” if they have no activities or “Campus & Community Activities if they’re really active and don’t have honors to list). Is the most recent and relevant information shown first? Do the bullet points in your job entries tell what you were responsible for and accomplished (be sure to include task plus purpose or task plus results) or just list your duties (what you had to do to keep your job)?
The bottom line is that if you are having difficulties…don’t struggle in silence. Set up an appointment with an advisor to make sure you are putting your best foot forward.
"There are two primary choices in life: to accept conditions as they exist, or accept the responsibility for changing them."