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The “Not-So-Secret” Secret to Job Search Success; Pt. II: Effectively Communicating Research to an Employer

Just in case you missed part one of this blog, we looked at an interesting paradox. Most students say they are well aware that they need to research a company/position before a job interview, yet ECS’s number one complaint from recruiters during on-campus interviews is that “students did not seem to know enough about the company or the job.”

I really do believe that most engineering students are attempting to research companies before interviews, but I think there might be two possible explanations for why this research isn’t getting through to the employer: (a) students may not know how to research effectively or, more importantly, (b) students may not know how to clearly communicate this research to the employer.  We focused on part (a) in my last blog post, so this week let’s talk about conveying that information during an interview.

Remember that the main goal of your … 

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Use Informational Interviewing to Develop Job Prospects

The holidays are fast approaching.  Hooray! Time to rest, relax, and take a break from school work and the job search. Right?? Well, almost.

Actually, winter break is the perfect time to practice networking and conduct informational interviews.  Remember your dad’s coworker’s wife who works for Honda? Oh yeah – maybe you should talk to her.

What is an informational interview?

It is a one-on-one conversational with someone who has a job you might like, who is employed by a specific company that you’re interested in learning about, or who works within an industry you might want to enter.  The purpose of this is to gather advice and information. Let’s make this clear: you are not interviewing for a job/asking for a job.  You are having this conversation strictly to learn, and hopefully, build a relationship and your network.  If you do this right, you … 

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Now Is the Time to Troubleshoot Your Job Search

The job search can be compared to a roller coaster ride, from the excitement of receiving a call from an interested employer to the letdown of finding out you lost an opportunity to a more qualified candidate. What should you do when frustration sets in and hope starts to fade? Now is the time to evaluate your strategy.  Ask yourself if you are implementing the following best practices below.  

  1. Creating a game plan?  Aim to submit a target number of applications each week. It’s important to set short term goals to avoid feeling overwhelmed. ECS encourages students to submit approximately 30 applications per semester. Yes, you read it correctly—30 applications per semester!
  2. Using a variety of resources? The job market for graduates looks like the strongest in several years, with employers looking to make significantly more hires than last year. According to NACE’s Job Outlook 2015 report, employers … 
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The “Not-So-Secret” Secret to Job Search Success; Pt. I: How to Research

Every semester I facilitate workshops on interviewing strategies for engineering students. in the presentation the following question is asked: “What do you think employers say the number one interviewing problem for our students is?”

Do you know the answer? You probably do. In fact, I have yet to lead a workshop where the right answer was not guessed right away. The number one constructive statement from ECS employers is that students are not prepared by doing simple research about the company.

Did you know that you are supposed to do research before going into an interview or a career fair? You probably did! Most students seem to know the importance of research and claim to practice this prior to an interview, but still most employers say students don’t know enough about the company and industry.

Consider that (a) students may not know how to research effectively and, more importantly, (b) … 

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Sealing the Deal After the Interview: Say Thank You!

You just walked out of your first interview for a summer internship. You did all the right things to land the interview: you tailored your resume to the job, you networked with company reps at the career fair and info session, and you prepared thoroughly; you think you nailed it!  The interviewer said that you could expect to hear from them in two weeks regarding next steps.

So, now what???? Do you just sit back and wait to hear from them? No! It’s time to write a follow-up note or email.

While a handwritten note is still nice and will certainly make you stand out, email is now the appropriate format in which to thank an employer for an interview opportunity.  Employers will appreciate that you did at least send thanks.  In fact, if you know the person is traveling a lot (this is very common for recruiters) … 

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