An Open Letter to College Students Seeking Employment

To College Students Seeking Employment:

I understand that getting a job is hard and interviews are scary. I get that making cold calls to see if a place is hiring is intimidating. I’m in the same boat.

I also get that if you’re looking for a job on campus, you may not think of the application/interview process as seriously as you might somewhere else. But here’s the reality: There are WAY more people that want jobs on campus than there are jobs. That means that the hiring supervisors on campus get to be choosy about who they hire. Tiny little things can tip the scale in or against your favor.

Now that I’ve been on the other side of the hiring scenario, I have some advice for you. Advice that has nothing to do with your resume, skills, experience, education, passion, or personality.

  1. Ask for the job yourself. If you send/bring your parents into my office to ask me for a job, or if you have your mom call me, I automatically don’t want to hire you. See, when your parents deal with your issues for you, I assume that you are incapable of dealing with them yourself. I want to hire capable people. I need to know that if I tell you to do something, you can do it without having to call your parents. You only get one chance for a first impression: don’t let my first impression of you be that you are incapable.
  2. Be complete. If you turn in your application or initial questionnaire with blank or unanswered questions, I’m going to think you can’t follow directions. I want to hire people who can do something correctly the first time, and that generally means following directions. If a question doesn’t apply to you, write “N/A” (not applicable); that way I’ll know you read the question and are being thorough.
  3. Be prompt. If you get an interview, be on time. My time is valuable, and I have so many better things to do than sit around waiting on you.
  4. Be polite. If you get an interview, stand when I approach where you’re waiting. Offer to shake my hand, and then do so firmly (there’s nothing worse than shaking a limp fish). I’ll hire a polite person with less skill/experience over a rude person with great skills/experience every single time. Skills can be taught, experience can be gained, but a sour person I shall not deal with.

I can’t guarantee you’ll get a job if you don’t do these things. But I can guarantee that you will remain unemployed if you do not do these things.

Sincerely,

An Employer Who Wants You to Succeed.

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