In today’s market, there is growing concern about unemployment upon graduation. However, according to professionals and experts, graduates have better chances of landing a job with solid work experience and a good resume.
When Roger McCarty, director of experiential learning in the Marriott School of Management, first came to BYU there were no programs to help undergraduate students gain valuable internship experience, something he said they were seriously lacking. Four years ago, he helped develop an on-campus internship program, specifically to help undergraduates gain experience and become more competitive in the workforce.
“Your major and GPA only open the door,” McCarty said. “Jobs come based on work experience.” He added that flipping burgers or restocking shelves don’t count.
Anyone can register for on-campus internships, and there are no prerequisite classes required. McCarty said they are currently forming teams for the internships in the fall, so the time to apply is now. These internships may be operated virtually, however, they are hardly different from internships that students at top school participate in.
“The difference is instead of going to the Dell offices in Austin, we get them to bring the internship here to campus,” McCarty said.
Make a resume stand out
Solid work experience means nothing if it is not communicated well on a resume. According to Tim Brown, a partner at Richter7, a student looking to land a good internship and job should put some time into their resume, and suggests that those who don’t are usually that ones that do not impress.
Another thing to help a resume stand out is stating more than just responsibilities. Show impact and change. Although listing job responsibilities may seem sufficient, McCarty said that he wants to see how someone made the company a better, more efficient workplace.
“Focusing on results and success is the strongest thing you can do to separate yourself from others,” McCarty said. “Companies like people who makes things happen.”
According to David Allred, director of corporate communications at CREngland, a cover letter is also key to helping differentiate oneself, especially in world where so many resumes are submitted electronically.
“(We) get hundreds of resumes for every job,” Allred said. “It’s oftentimes the cover letter that makes the difference, that’s where you can be a little more creative.”
Ace the interview
Although a resume is of crucial importance to recruiters, the interview is also valuable in the ultimate deciding factor. Allred states that one of the problems seen in an interview is unprofessional attire.
“You can never dress up too much,” Allred said. “You need to show enough respect for the position to dress up.”
According to McCarty, another issue with appearance is one that may hurt the most: having stubble.
“Its an honor code issue,” McCarty said. “When you hire somebody, do you want to hire a liar? Do you want to hire somebody you can’t trust? Here is a person that you personally know signed a document and promised that they would not have facial hair. And yet they are sitting right in front of you, and they’ve got three days of stubble.”
Next, it is important to be natural and confident.
“We want to get to know yourself,” Brown said. “You can smile, you can laugh, you don’t have to be stiff.”
However, it is also important to not try to be somebody else, particularly the person you think a company wants to hire.
“One (mistake) is trying to be somebody you’re not,” McCarty sad. “Its really obvious when someone is trying to act like somebody they’re not. They’ve heard the company looks for this kind of person, so they try and be that person.”
Finally, do research about the company. Know what the company does and what they stand for.
“The interviewer is expecting you to at least understand the common things that anyone could figure out if they did a little bit of research,” Allred said.
This basic knowledge is helpful when figuring out what questions to ask the recruiter, something that Brown said is vitally important.
“Bring something to write on,” Brown said. “Look like you are engaged. Ask two or three astute questions. People who are impressive show up three to five minutes early, they dress professionally, they are comfortable with who they are, they have a good presence about them and they are confident but not arrogant.”
For more information about on-campus internships, go to www.marriottschool.byu.edu/fieldstudies/student, or to apply directly go to www.marriottschool.byu.edu/fieldstudies/student/ociapplication.