People are the foundation of any organization and are essential to the bottom line. I began my career in finance, but after taking a few Human Resources contract roles, my passion grew because of the value it brought to an organization.
As a campus recruiter working with universities and colleges to help students with their careers, I have seen many resumes! Here are some tips for those looking to kick off their careers:
Want a competitive resume?
- Look at each qualification within a job posting and make notes on how you have used it. This allows you to assess your skills for the job.
- The skill section of a resume tends to become a laundry list. Instead, include the skills you have used under a particular job, as it gives a point of reference for when you actually used it.
- Keep your resume at a maximum of two pages and format it according to your industry (each has a preferred resume format). Research industry standards online and via experts in your sector.
- Volunteer and extracurricular activities are really important for individuals with limited work experience and demonstrate an ability to give back to the community.
- Your resume is a potential employer’s first impression of the quality of your work so ensure it is polished and free of grammatical or spelling errors.
Want to ace your interview?
- Research the company – visit their website and search any mentions of the organization in the news.
- Prepare questions to ask the interviewers to demonstrate your interest in the role and company.
- Practice in front of the mirror, friends or relatives to ensure you’re communicating well.
- Treat Skype interviews as though you are going to an in-person interview, as you’ll still be visible, of course. Dress presentably, and do a technology check to ensure everything is working both a day before and two hours prior to the interview.
- For telephone interviews, arrange to be in a quiet, business like setting . This will reduce background noise and allow you to focus.
Insider’s tip on a common interview tactic
As a campus recruiter, I interview students who are early in their career and may not have experience with interviews. Behavioural-based interviews, which assess a candidate’s behaviour, are a common type of interview used by many organizations. The idea is that past behaviour is the best predictor of future performance in similar situations. This gives candidates the chance to showcase their competencies such as skills, abilities and knowledge through specific experiences.
A good way to prepare for these interviews is using the STAR Model, which is the acronym for:
- What is the specific situation?
- What was the task?
- What action was taken?
- What was the result of the action taken?
An example would be, “Describe a time you had to deal with a difficult colleague.”
Interviews are a two-way street. Employers want to get to know you and whether you will be a good fit for the company. However, it’s also an opportunity for candidates to assess whether this is the type of employer they want to work with by asking questions about the role and organization. Take the time to find a job you enjoy and want to devote your time and expertise to. Happy employees are the most productive.
Monika Monga (Business Management ’00; Human Resources Management MA) is a HR professional who has worked in both the public and private sector where she gained experience in recruitment.