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Advice for a Productive, Virtual Job Search

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Given the current COVID-19 pandemic, many employer engagement events have become virtual. With fewer recruiters on college campuses, candidates will more likely apply for positions via a hiring website. That means the resume is that much more important because it needs to stand on its own.

By Sarah Harrison, Intel Campus Relations Manager

Just as it’s my responsibility as campus relations manager to strategize and engage with universities, you should create a plan with your college. It’s important to strategize how you will use your university’s resources to elevate your brand and career search. A college’s career services center is an important resource because it’s often among the first sources university partners go to for recruiting. It is likely the career service center will have insight into a company’s presence on campus as well as information about positions where they’re looking to hire.

Here are a few tips to make yourself stand out more during a virtual recruiting season.

Fine-tune Your Resume
Resumes should be tailored to each position you’re applying for. If a job calls for a certain skill set, the resume must demonstrate that knowledge since a recruiter will not be probing for additional information. If you are wondering whether your resume is being seen by the right people, it’s a good time to lean into any networks you’ve built. Perhaps there is someone at the company who may have the ability to share resumes with their internal networks. Or if you have engaged with recruiters or hiring managers at prior campus events, now is the time to connect with them. As a prospective new hire, it’s always good to let a recruiter know you’ve submitted a resume and that you look forward to engaging with them again.

Employer engagement is all about how prospective employees brand themselves — from their resumes to their interactions at recruiting events. To start any job search, whether it’s for an internship or a full-time position, an up-to-date resume is a must. A resume is your opportunity to tell your story, which includes education, graduation date, and any relevant experience or projects. If you’re looking at a position that doesn’t match your experience, consider listing relevant coursework so that the recruiter recognizes there is some knowledge and understanding of the necessary components. Most important, a resume should not be a laundry list of tasks. Anybody can potentially do the work, but recruiters want to know why you are the right person to do the work.

Additionally, be mindful of design templates and make sure that the design doesn’t take away from the content. Sometimes less is more. If you are an undergraduate student, a one-page resume is recommended, and if you are graduate student two pages is appropriate with proper publications and research included.

Do Your Research
Your time is much more limited during this virtual environment, so it is vital to know what type of job opportunities you are interested in pursuing. When checking out a particular company, it’s important to research the basics about the organization and know what positions are available before meeting a representative at a career fair. Doing some homework helps you better understand a company’s hiring needs and provides talking points for recruiters. While being “open to anything” can show that you are flexible, in large companies like Intel “anything” leads to a vast amount of options. Instead, provide the recruiter with a clear idea of what type of work you do or don’t want or have experience with, so they can better assist you.

Build Your Network
Companies are still engaging with universities during this time either via university-sponsored events or corporate-sponsored events. There are still many opportunities for you to engage and connect with corporate campus recruiters. Be sure to use video and audio when possible. Be willing to talk and engage in those conversations. If we can see your face and hear you talking, recruiters can make that connection to your resume.

Prepare for Interviews
Many interviews are being conducted via video. Be sure to do a dry run with someone to test your device, audio, video, and lighting prior to the interview. Make sure that you do not have a lot of things opened on your device that would compromise your bandwidth during the video interview. Just because interviews aren’t in person, your appearance still matters. When choosing your location for the interview, check your surroundings to ensure that you avoid undesired visuals. Lastly, be sure to verify the time zone of the scheduled interview prior to the session.

These are unprecedented times that we are experiencing, and companies recognize that this recruiting season may be difficult for college students. Everyone wants to see you succeed, which is why there are a number of resources in place. That said, it’s important to remember that it’s a partnership. Corporate recruiters, universities, and people like me are here to help, but students must put in the work in spite of the challenges. It’s your career — it’s up to you to decide how you will leverage the opportunities available to catapult your future.
About the Author
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