Friday, May 2, 2014NEW WILMINGTON, Pa.-- Westminster's upcoming commencement on May 17 has many graduating seniors scrambling to secure a full time job. The search comes with plenty of pitfalls for both graduates and students seeking summer internships-- and some of those pitfalls start with your resume. WCN's Erin Donnelly tells us about the advice recruiters and career experts are offering for those young job seekers.
Click here to listen to the podcast produced and reported by Erin Donnelly.
DONNELLY: I'm here at a job and internship fair at Westminster College where students aren't dressed in their normal Westminster gear and backpacks but instead in their nicest suits carrying leather briefcases. I'm with Human Resource assistant Ashley Krug. She's with Summit Academy Schools. I want to discover what employers consider the biggest drawback during the job search. Krug shares what she thinks the biggest pitfall is students make when submitting their resume.
ASHLEY KRUG SAYS: I would say not having a lot of involvement, like the more involvement you have throughout school, throughout college in sports, clubs, sororities, things like that -- I think that's the biggest up fall, so if you don't have a lot of that -- that can kind of dock points.
DONNELLY: Students struggle with drafting the perfect resume. Westminster Senior Carrie Whisel has used several strategies to revamp her resume. She hopes to land a job in the field of Human Resources.
CARRIE WHISEL SAYS: I felt it was important to have only a one page resume. However, I did struggle trying to reduce my resume to only one page because I do have a lot of different extracurricular activities and experience that I wanted to add into my resume to show that I am well qualified for a job. However, I had to cut a lot of the explanation out so that my resume was only one page instead of two pages.
DONNELLY TRACKS: Director of Westminster's Career Center Jackie Meade believes the length of a resume doesn't matter as long as all experience is relevant to the job. Meade has worked at the Career Center for 20 years. She knows what employers are looking for when they're reviewing a resume.
JACKIE MEADE: It's important to put your words and ideas in the right formatting and it's really important where you put your information on the resume and to be selective and that kind of thing. But because so many people when you get in to an interview are going to use your resume almost like a menu. That they're going to talk to you or ask you questions about.
DONNELLY: Ashley Tipple is a recruiter for Glade Run Lutheran Services. She says her pet peeve is not resume length. But the order the information is listed on the resume.
ASHLEY TIPPLE SAYS: Not having their education at the top, I don't expect new college grads to have great work experience but if the first thing I see is cashier at Wendy's, I may not read all the way down to the bottom to see oh they just graduated.
DONNELLY: Mary Jane McAdams attended the job fair representing Lutheran Senior Life. She has discovered what the Human Resource department looks at first.
JANE MCADAMS SAYS: They are immediately going right to the resume. They are looking for education and past work experience, and they're looking for steady work experience, even if it has been volunteer or internship.
DONNELLY: McAdams says having a catchy item halfway down the resume helps. You can get that extra leg up that you might need to land an interview.
MEADE SAYS: They have a very important purpose in reading that resume to select the people that they are going to bring in for an interview. So what you need to think about is what they would want to see on that resume that is going to be that little fishhook that is going to keep them reading down to the bottom that is going to make them select you for an interview.
DONNELLY: Once you have your resume ready, the next step is the interview process. McAdams shares her company's biggest pet peeve when interviewing potential employees to work for Lutheran Senior Life.
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MCADAMS SAYS: Not being prepared and knowing the company that you're interviewing for. Um, I've had people literally say that they haven't gone on the website, they haven't picked up a brochure, and I have to say that during the interview that, that actually it's like alright we can stop right here, you know because that means they're not coming in having shown any initiative to actually get to know me, when we've gone through their interview, we've set up the, you know, we've gone through the resume, we've set up the interview um and we spend a lot of time trying to figure out if that person is going to be a fit for our organization.
DONNELLY: Recruiters say networking at events like this career fair is important. Students know it's part of getting a job. Debbie DiCarlo with Buhl Community Recreation Center says who you know is also key.
DEBBIE DICARLO SAYS: Sadly I do think it's very important, for me since I am an older employer it doesn't make a difference to me, but I look more for qualifications, but sadly enough I do think it's in who you know sometimes.
DONNELLY: There are no absolutes in the job search. Experts tell us young job seekers can use these strategies to avoid many pitfalls. At the end of a career fair like this one… students walk away with networking experience and some valuable tips for building a better resume. In New Wilmington, I'm Erin Donnelly for WCN 24/7.