Magazine article Diverse Issues in Higher Education

Preparing Students for the Job Hunt

Magazine article Diverse Issues in Higher Education

Preparing Students for the Job Hunt

Article excerpt

Students need help before going to the Help Wanted ads.

It's a common story among recruiters. A job seeker shows up at a jobs fair less than ready for prime time, walks away empty handed and puzzled as to why.

For many job seekers it's not just the economy that is costing them the job they want. It's bad preparation, even after two, three, four years of college.

There is no magic formula or silver bullet strategy for getting hired in good times or bad, say recruiters, employers and others who help people prepare for the Veal' world. Still, there are several key indicators on the checklists of more employers as they sort and prioritize job candidates and comply with an assortment of legal rules and workplace goals. Students who are strong in these areas stand a better chance of getting a second look:

* Language and Speaking Skills: At a jobs fair last fall, an energetic and well-poised student from a high-profile school in the Midwest made the rounds at a jobs fair. Once she opened her mouth, slurring and chewing up her words, she began to fall further down the prospects list. Speaking and writing English clearly and correctly may not be in vogue for many students today. Its importance cannot be over emphasized, however, as long as English is the principal language of commerce and legal documents.

Good speech and language use are essentials, and schools that have their students' interest at heart make sure the teachers and students work on the students' communication skills before they go to job interviews. It's obvious who needs work, even if teachers and advisers won't say it.

* Résumé: Objective: To obtain a position in a company that will utilize my educational and life experiences.' Nothing turns recruiters and employers off like boilerplate résumé language such as the sentence you just read. Too many student résumés read as if they are cut-and-paste lines from Internet résumé writing sites. Résumés need to be brief (one page), specific in details, highlight what makes the job seeker distinctive, and include work examples that attest to one's drive and ethics.

"A lot of a person's personality is reflected in a person's résumé," says Christi Day, spokeswoman for Southwest Airlines. The company hired 4,200 people last year from a pool of 329,000 applicants. Day says Southwest looks for evidence of "extra curricular activities, volunteer work, maybe the style of the résumé and how it's laid out." Those extras say a lot about a person's work ethic and care for others. …

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