Career Resources

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Desperate times call for non-desperate measures

Their tans are starting to slowly fade as seniors return from tropical sojourns to resume classes and finish the home stretch of their college experience.  For some, the reality of finding a job is hitting them hard and causing a lot of anxiety.

Admittedly, the stakes are high since most seniors need to make money to start paying off, in many cases, exorbitant tuition loans.  Then there's the whole issue of moving back home.  After four years of freedom from parental rules, many college seniors dread the thought of this.  This issue is particularly critical for international students who need to find a job within a year of obtaining their OPT status, or else move back to their home country.  Times like these can cause students to take desperate measures.  The purpose of this post is to prevent you from being one of them.

A senior from China recently came into my office to show me a resume that he had paid $80 for through a resume writing company.  The $80 was actually a bargain since he had used a Groupon - the real price would have been $200. He suspected that his new resume wasn't worth the $80, and that's why he brought it in to show me - and it wasn't.  He also wanted me to warn other students not to do this. Essentially what the company had done was to slap a "Summary of Qualifications" on top of his existing resume and thrown in a ton of key words, some which were not an accurate representation of who he was. His new resume went onto two pages and his "Education" section was buried at the bottom of page two.  This approach is not appropriate for a new grad seeking an entry-level position. I was simultaneously feeling sorry that he felt the need to take such a desperate measure and upset at the company that had taken advantage of him.

That same week, another student came into my office for a resume review.  This time it was a junior seeking a finance internship. She knew that she was late in the game and was getting desperate so she literally threw everything on her resume, whether it was relevant or not, resulting in an overly crowded resume that presented her as a "Jack of All Trades, but Master of None." She had taken this approach based on advice from a peer. While it's great to get advice from your peers about the job search, it's probably also a good idea to meet with a career counselor at your school.

For sure, Gen Y'ers have become used to instant gratification, so it's understandable that the relatively long process of looking for an internship or job might cause them to take desperate measures. However, if I had one word, and only one word of advice to provide to these students, it would be to "persevere," to stay the course and continue to do the the things they have been taught to do by their college career centers and online career resources.  These resources will provide you with the right career advice which has been developed through years of experience.  The counselors at your career center have your best interest at heart and want to see you succeed.  Take advantage of them, as opposed to unscrupulous businesses taking advantage of you.

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