5 tips for university students looking to land their next interview
For university students, it can be quite disheartening to send out a flurry of applications only to never hear back. The purpose of any job application is to land an interview (and hopefully the job!) and the one part of the process totally in your control. However, there may be aspects of that process you hadn’t considered.
Here are five tips for uni students looking to land their next interview.
1. Clean up your social media profiles.
Because people think of social media as an extension of their personal lives, it may not seem fair that a job search should influence those accounts. However, the competition for any job is fierce, and employers are likely to use any available resource to make a decision.
One resource they may turn to is social media, which can help them evaluate the validity of a candidate’s application and determine if they might be a good fit for the company. Thus, your online accounts should be updated to avoid getting your resume tossed in the trash.
While employers recognise that social media accounts represent an applicant’s personal life, they also want to make sure they aren’t hiring anyone that might raise red flags later down the road.
2. Target your resume to the jobs you apply for.
Students may worry how employers could react to a scant work record. However, hiring managers also don’t want to see generic resumes. The first resume you write should not be the one sent out to every job you apply for.
To that end, send out multiple versions of your resume. Each should reflect the unique skills and experiences that would make you the best fit for the job. This approach to the resume writing process should work well for uni students, since in the course of your studies, you’ve likely honed a variety of new skills you didn’t possess before.
Moreover, you have the chance to seek out new and exciting opportunities for work experience. Volunteering and internships are great ways for students to make their resumes more robust. The point is to be creative about how you sell yourself to hiring managers.
3. Update and include your LinkedIn profile.
LinkedIn is not a static resume that you post online. Instead, your LinkedIn profile should be a dynamic exhibition of your accomplishments, capabilities, and connections to the field you’re studying. A complete and comprehensive LinkedIn profile expands on your resume and validates what you say in a cover letter.
In fact, career service ResumeGo, found in one study that applicants with a link to a well-curated LinkedIn profile on their resume had a 71% higher chance of landing an interview. Importantly, the LinkedIn pages which resulted in the most callbacks had a lengthy profile summary, a highly detailed work section, and more than 300 connections with similar professionals and organisations.
That may seem daunting for university students new to LinkedIn, but it’s one pathway to impressing hiring managers the next time you apply for jobs.
4. Tell a story employers want to hear in a custom cover letter.
The cover letter is your opportunity to share some of the answers you want to give in an interview. It’s where you can express your interest in the job and the company and add context to your resume. In some ways, the cover letter is a story about what makes you the best fit for the job.
However, if you send out the same cover letter to every job, you’ll likely disappoint hiring managers. A generic cover letter only tells them you know how to format a cover letter, while a custom cover letter demonstrates that you understand something about the company and have carefully evaluated your qualifications for the job.
5. Follow up with the hiring manager.
Your top priority is to stand out from other applicants and make the right first impression. Taking the time to follow up on an application is one way to keep your name in an employer’s mind. It shows you’re serious about the job. However, there are a few things to keep in mind when reaching out to hiring managers.
The hiring manager isn’t likely to review your resume and application the moment it’s sent. Instead, wait about a week before following up. While a phone call may be tempting, these are busy people who may not appreciate a random phone call in the middle of the day. A good tactic is to send a professional, personalised email to whomever is responsible for hiring.
The email should be polite and professional, as well as demonstrate your knowledge of the company. When following up, take the time to show how you would be a good fit and what excites you about the company. Beyond the targeted resume, this is where you can really show you understand what they are looking for in a hire.
If you don’t hear back after your initial email, feel free to follow up again a week later. Just don’t bombard them with emails or phone calls. That will not win you an interview.
When searching for jobs, your paramount goal should be to get noticed by a hiring manager for the right reasons. Lackluster resumes, generic cover letters, and embarrassing social media posts are the wrong reasons to get noticed. By applying these five tips to your job search, you’ll certainly improve your chances of landing your next interview.
If you want targeted advice before sending out your resume or cover letter, make sure you book in for a 15 minute Virtual Drop-in session with a UTS Careers Recruitment Advisor. They’ll be able to help you put your best foot forward and hopefully land a job interview.
Featured image courtesy of Unsplash
McLean Mills is a professional resume writer and career coach at Resume Writing Services, an up-and-coming resume company that offers online resume help. He has over 10 years of experience working with job seekers to accelerate their careers and used to be a career advisor for the University of Florida. His career advice has been featured on sites such as Monster and Business2Community.