FI recently had the opportunity to speak with Deborah Brunetti, the Associate Director of the Office of Career and Professional Development at Connecticut College, who has 20+ years of experience helping students achieve their dreams.
Here are some of Brunetti’s key insights on how to nail any job interview and make the transition from full-time student to full-time trailblazer.
On conducting a successful search:
Networking is the most important component of a successful job search. Employment opportunities are like an iceberg. Only 20% is visible, and the other 80% is beneath the surface. Commercial job searches constitute the upper 20%. Though they may seem plenty, just think about how many thousands of people are able to access those opportunities. Networking is the gateway to the remaining 80%. By being proactive and expanding their network, job seekers will find that they are able to find niche opportunities and pave their own way.
On job-search antics to avoid:
There are two common mistakes that job hunters make. The first mistake is putting all of their eggs into one commercial search basket. The second mistake is failure to follow-up. Again, you must be proactive. Reach out to the designated point of contact for a job that you’re interested in. In the case that there is no designated point of contact, conduct a LinkedIn search to create one for yourself.
Another important component of following up is sending a thank you letter after every interview. Many applicants forget to do this, however, it is an opportunity to not only show gratitude, but to also highlight key conversation points and reaffirm why you are the person for the job.
On getting more from your resume/CV:
Failure to target your resume is a missed opportunity and often times a deal-breaker. Steer away from generic resumes. Take the time to read the internship or job description of interest, and pull keywords to use in your tailored resume.
On finding your interests (and yourself) after college:
If the opportunity is available, I would advise graduates to reconnect with their college career advisor to talk through their passions and how they may be translated into careers. Graduates are also advised to take advantage of online assessment tools. There are a wealth of tests and surveys available to help people identify their interests. A lot of graduates struggle with this because it’s difficult to truly know your passions when you have not been able to explore them. This isn’t cause for panic. It’s important to know that the path isn’t linear, it’s a series of destinations. As long as the next destination makes sense, it’s okay. In the end, it’s the series of destinations that determine the ultimate path.
On being the big fish in a pool of applicants:
In addition to creating a targeted resume for each position they apply to, successful applicants are able to demonstrate that they have done their research on the company during an interview. Successful applicants are also able to answer the following questions articulately: why are you interested in this position at this particular company? Why you?
On showcasing your talent:
It is essential for applicants to talk about relevant skills during job interviews, keeping in mind that it is not about what the company can do for you, but what you can do for the company. When applying to an open position, rather than leading with “I really want to work here because it will give me the skills to…”, applicants should begin with their capabilities and what they bring to the table.
LinkedIn is a deep hole of organizations and people. Use LinkedIn to find people working at organizations that you are interested in and don’t be afraid to reach out. People are on the site because they want to connect with people and they want to help people.