The Ins and Outs of LinkedIn as a Student

By: Heidi

As a business student who is in the stage of actively job seeking, using LinkedIn seems like an everyday occurrence for me at this point. After having conversations with friends and colleagues about how I use the website as a student, I wanted to share some of my personal favorite tips I have acquired over the years.

When to connect with people
There are several occasions when it would be beneficial to connect with someone on LinkedIn. Different examples consist of after a Job Fair, after meeting at a Tabling Event, post Informational Interview, as well as connecting with your Professors. When you do connect with someone who either has a professional career or is a Professor of yours, I challenge you to send a personalized note when connecting with them, which can only be done when sending an invitation on your computer.

Image: looking down on white wood desk with iphone, mac laptop keyboard, and cup of coffee
Text: The ins and outs of LinkedIn as a student.

What type of message to send
When sending a message on LinkedIn, the type of message you send depends on if you’re currently connected or if its a new connection you’re adding. If you’re sending a message to someone you want to connect with, it’s important to note that you’re limited on the number of characters you can send. Typically, when I send out a message to recruiters after a job fair or someone to conduct an informational interview the message starts out like this:

Message after a Job Fair:

Hi Candace,

It was so nice to meet a fellow Bulldog at the job fair on Friday. I loved getting to learn more about the position and how you have the capability of working on your own projects and meet with clients of fortune 500 companies. Thank you so much for answering all of the questions I had. Looking forward to keeping in touch.

Thanks, Heidi

And because of the character limit it typically gets cut down to something like this:

Hi Jordan,

It was so nice to meet a fellow Bulldog at the job fair on Friday. Thank you for answering all of the questions I had. Looking forward to keeping in touch!

Thanks, Heidi

Message to a Recruiter for a position you’re interested in:

Hi Olivia,

My name is Heidi and I’m currently a senior studying at the University of Minnesota Duluth. I’m interested in relocating to Nashville once I graduate in May and I’m extremely interested in working for The Creative Group. I was hoping I could learn more from you or point me in the right direction of who I could talk with for an internal position.

Best, Heidi

After Revision:

Hi Olivia,

My name is Heidi and I’m currently a senior at UMD. I’m extremely interested in working for The Creative Group in Nashville. I was hoping I could learn more from you or if you could point me in the right direction of whom to speak with about an internal position.

Best, Heidi

Perks of LinkedIn Premium
Having a Premium account isn’t essentially necessary to have if you’re not actively seeking employment. I personally chose to save my free month of premium until second semester of my Senior year when I knew I was ready to get serious about applying to jobs. Different perks I have learned about after having my Premium account are:

Having access to insights for a job you’re looking to apply to. As long as there are 10 applicants, you can see how your skills compare against other candidates, the seniority level of different applicants, as well as different companies and schools they’ve hired from.

If there is a recruiter attached to the job you’re applying to, after hitting the bottom to “apply” through LinkedIn, your profile gets shared with that recruiter which is a great way to get a set of eyes on your profile fast!

To follow that, when you apply to a position through LinkedIn, you get notified when you application was viewed and when it was last seen. This can be a helpful tool when deciding if you need to reach out to recruiters if you’re concerned about not hearing back.

Use Your Connection’s Connections
Before you think you’d be creepy for doing this, remember the purpose of LinkedIn is to network! You can go to a Professor’s page or previous colleague and view their connections. It’s helpful too to narrow it down if you’re looking for a job at a certain company or a city you’re interested in relocating to. There is a LinkedIn feature where you can request that your connection introduces you or you can reach out over email and explain your situation.  

Of Possible Interest:
Social Media & Digital Identity – all our blog posts on the topic
The Student Job Hunting Handbook series on LinkedIn
Social Media & Digital Identity – our Pinterest board filled with articles & resources

Read Heidi’s other posts

Photo Source: Unsplash | Alexander Mils

What I Learned as a Recruiter’s Assistant: Part 2

By: Logan

Read Part I

One of the most valuable experiences I’ve gained in my professional life, so far, was my experience as a Recruiter’s Assistant with a staffing agency. We have all been in the job seeker position and we know what it’s like. You try to get all of your professional documents perfected, you send in multiple applications in person and online, and you try to make yourself stand out from the hundreds of other applicants in the pool. I have been in both positions, the person looking for a job and the person looking to fill a position. I think the information I acquired from the other side of the spectrum has helped me gain a new perspective on job seeking.

Before I had my position as a Recruiter’s Assistant I was not sure how to make myself get noticed from all of the other potential candidates. Once I was on the other side I found it very interesting to look at what impressed me about the candidates applying for the positions we were staffing for. There were obvious big pieces that impressed the recruiters, such as presenting a well-formatted resume and having the required experience, but I found there were many small things candidates could do to make them stand out, even slightly, from all of the other candidates with the same experience.

tips-from-recruiters-asst

First of all, I learned you are already being evaluated as soon as you apply for a position. Once you hit the send button, the game begins. From the beginning you need to be sure to complete all tasks on time and as efficiently as possible. In my experience after the candidates applied online we would conduct a phone screen. I would ask the candidate questions about their experience and answer their questions about the position they applied for. Most candidates had to complete general office testing for our positions, so as soon as we finished with the phone screen we would tell them we needed them to complete the testing before our in person interview (if they were given an interview). Completing these tests on time was a very important piece. For those who did not complete it as requested it reflected poorly on them as a candidate. This is a very important piece to remember during your job search, finish any tests or additional applications they ask you to, and do it as soon as possible. The earlier the better, people who completed the testing right after their phone screen were viewed more positively than those who completed it an hour or two before our scheduled interview.

There were many other pieces that impressed me during this job. One of them being when applicants would call in to ask about the status of a job. Personally, I always hated doing this during my own job searches. I felt like I was annoying the person if I kept calling them but this is very incorrect. As a recruiter it was very reassuring when the candidate would call back. Don’t overdo it, but one call a week lets the recruiter know you are still interested and still available. One thing that always impressed me was when candidates would be slightly over prepared for the interview. We would usually just ask for a resume, but if the person came with a resume, cover letter, references, and other credentials I was immediately impressed they went above and beyond what we asked for. Another piece I found very assuring was the thank you email. There were many great interviewees who added the “cherry on top” by sending a well thought out thank you note. This always left me with a positive impression of the candidate.

There are many things you can do to help yourself stand out from other candidates. For me it was a mixture of being prompt and punctual, as well as presenting yourself as professionally as possible. Personal interactions between me and the candidates was also a big factor for me, so it is important to follow up and send thank you notes when necessary. I hope this post can help job seekers out there who are wondering why they are not receiving a call back. Use these tips, get your resume critiqued, and visit our office for a mock interview and you will be shocked at the difference it makes in the job seeking process.

Read Logan’s other posts

Photo Source: Unsplash | Jordan Whitfield

What I Learned as a Recruiter’s Assistant: Part 1

By: Logan

Writing the first blog post of my senior year I found myself reflecting back on my first semester of working at Career and Internship Services as a Peer Educator. I was a young sophomore still trying to figure out what I wanted to do and I had a lot to learn. Looking at how far I have come in my professional development, as well as my personal development, I am proud of my accomplishments. My most recent accomplishment was my position as a Recruiter’s Assistant with Pro Staff, staffing agency. My experience as a Peer Educator with C&IS greatly helped me in my position at Pro Staff. I also gained many valuable skills and learned a lot about the business of recruiting and staffing. Over the course of the year I will be releasing a series of blog posts about the things I learned in my position as a Recruiter’s Assistant and how it has helped me as a Peer Educator.

My first semester as a Peer Educator was a very busy time for me. There was a lot of information to take in and it involved quite a bit of training. A lot of the rules for writing resumes are very small details and can seem rather tedious. Certain sections must be formatted a certain way, you must list your information in a certain order, and only specific items should be bolded. Going through the training I found this frustrating at times. “Why does it matter exactly how the section is formatted,” I sometimes wondered. “All of the information is on here so it shouldn’t be that big of a deal, should it?” I often hear this from students as well. They often say things like, “My Professor said it was okay,” or “Well can’t I format it like this?” And technically they are correct. I can’t imagine an employer would completely disregard a candidate just because they didn’t bold the name of their degree at school. But from my experience as a Recruiter’s Assistant I learned a lot about why we have these rules and why we enforce them. We do not recommend this style simply because it is the way we have aways done it, there is a reason for why we have these recommendations.

In my position at Pro Staff I was in charge of reviewing Resumes submitted online, and we would receive up to 20 resumes a day. I would then make qualifying calls based on their experience and the job they desired. It is safe to say I saw a lot of Resumes every day, many good and many rather poor. This was especially painful for me because my position as Peer Educator is mainly focused on critiquing resumes. But one of the most important things I learned over the summer was there truly is a reason for why we format everything the way we do. Our resume style is formatted for the ease of the employer reading the document. We put information in order of importance, one example would be how under the Experience section we want you to put the name of your position first (and bolded), and then the organization, city, state, and dates of employment. This makes it as easy as possible for the recruiter to find what they are looking for as quickly as possible. When recruiters are looking at dozens of resumes a day you want to make sure your resume is as organized and easy to read as it can be. By following the format we recommend at Career and Internship Services you are ensuring all of your information is easily accessible and it is making the recruiter’s job as easy as possible. This will make you more attractive as an applicant, and this is one way you can put yourself ahead of the competition.

You see, when we give students recommendations on their resumes that may seem minuscule or picky, you must keep in mind we are doing it for a reason. We want your resume to be as attractive and organized as possible. Please remember we are extensively trained in the art of resume writing. We contact recruiter’s annually and ask them what they like to see on resumes and we are constantly updating our information. Moral of the story: we give you these recommendations for a reason, take advantage of our services and follow our recommendations because we are here to help you.

Read Logan’s other posts

Advice From Recruiters

By: Cameron

Recently I was a part of a group who was able to sit down and ask recruiters questions about what they want from students who are applying for jobs and internships. The following post is a list of those questions and some of the recruiters’ responses.

Is it important to have unrelated extra-curricular activities on a resume?

Recruiters aren’t just looking for a good student. They are looking for a well-rounded individual. Showing that you participate in other activities tells them a lot about you. Even interests can sometimes have a place on a resume. For example, if you live in Texas and you’re applying for a job in northern Minnesota the recruiter or employment manager is going to want to know why. Listing on your resume that skiing and hunting are some of your interests show the employer that you will fit in well with the northern Minnesota community. Volunteering is another major activity that probably isn’t directly related to the position, and it shows that you have good work ethic and values that may align well with the company’s vision. Clubs are another good source for showing off skills such as teamwork and communication. A recruiter would rather see a student with a 3.5 GPA and some extra curricular activities than a student with a 4.0 GPA who only went to class. So yes, even unrelated extra-curricular activities are important on a resume.

Is an objective necessary on a resume?

The general consensus among the recruiters was that objectives are “silly”. Most of the time they don’t even look at it. This makes a lot of sense if you are applying to a specific position and the employer already knows exactly what you’re looking for. Having said this, if you are just sending your resume to a human resources person via email they might not know what you are applying for. In this case, it may be worthwhile to include a short objective saying something like, “Seeking to obtain full-time employment related to mechanical engineering.” In general, the objective is still a subject that is debated among professionals. Most of the time including it on a resume is a matter of opinion.

What is your biggest pet peeve on a resume?

The first answer to this question was “big paragraphs of information”. Recruiters like to be able to skim resumes, and long paragraphs make it difficult to pull out the important information. A good way to avoid this is to break your sentences up into bullet points. Occasionally there will be employers who want you to have every detail possible on your resume, but more often than not bullet points are the way to go.

Another recruiter said how much she hates things like using color or putting your picture on the resume. These flashy/artistic choices may look neat, but they are typically seen as unprofessional. Unless you are some sort of art, theatre, or other creative major, you should keep the resume basic and in black ink.

What is your biggest pet peeve at a job fair?

All of the recruiters agreed that a poor introduction from a student is a huge pet peeve. If you walk up to a recruiter at a job fair and just stare at them or give them a bad handshake things tend to get awkward. Have a short introduction prepared and some questions to ask them. Keep the conversation flowing and relevant to the situation.

Another major pet peeve of recruiters was dressing inappropriately. Women should stay away from super high heels, low cut shirts, and short skirts. If you can’t walk in heels, don’t wear heels. Also, men should be conscientious of sweat. If you know that you sweat uncontrollably, then wear a black shirt. Regardless of the gender, make sure you dress nice, meaning no shorts or jeans.

Other advice from recruiters…

Recruiters are one of your biggest assets when applying for the job! A lot of people have the misconception that it’s you versus the recruiters. This is false. Recruiters are your advocates. If you make a legitimate connection with a recruiter they will go to the employment manager with your resume and say, “We like this person.” At a job fair it is appropriate to ask them if your resume looks good, what you should expect at an interview with their company, how should you dress for the interview, etc. Ask these important questions and you will stand out.

Something that would not be appropriate would be to ask the recruiter at the end of an interview is what you could have done better. The time to do this would be after you have been notified that you have not been offered the position.

In summary, it is important to remember that employers and recruiters are looking for a person, and not a robot. Be conversational and showcase a variety of skills. Hopefully this blog post has given you some insight into the mind of a recruiter.

Of Possible Interest:

Read Cameron’s other posts

Resume & Career Fair Advice from Recruiters

This week we hosted our first career fair of the school year. Thank you again to all the recruiters and students who attended!

We asked recruiters what the best thing is that they like to see on a resume or have a candidate present to them during a career fair.

Recruiter Advice

Resume

  • Bobcat: Have a resume that is clean and easy to read. Have descriptive lines that are concise and to the point.
  • RFA Engineering: List internships and mechanical aptitude (i.e. working on cars or other related items).
  • Karvakko Engineering: Show that you have experience in the field through internships and other experiences.
  • KLJ: Be involved in your community (campus and the greater community) and show those experiences on your resume.
  • Boise Inc: Be involved in on-campus activities outside of your classes and major. Show that you’re a well-rounded person who will be great to work with.
  • Minnesota Power: Have a clean looking resume that has been proofread by another person. Include your GPA.
  • Barr Engineering: Show previous internships you’ve completed.
  • Graco Inc: Show that you have hands-on experience in the industry, even if it’s not an “internship.” An example is wanting work for a manufacturing company and listing an on-the-floor manufacturing job that you had one summer.
  • Cliffs Natural Resources: Spell check. Show on-campus involvement.
  • Thiele Technologies: Show that you have applicable experience related to what you want to do and that you have a focus with where you want to go with your career.
  • ICS (Infinity Consulting Solutions): If you don’t have internship experience, make sure to include projects and classes you’ve completed related to the work you’re pursuing.
  • Dristeem Corp: Highlight your accomplishments on your resume. Go beyond just listing what you did at a job.
  • LHB Inc: Have a clean and concise resume that includes dates of when you had your experiences. Be able to articulate what you want for a position.
  • Nexen Group Inc: Show your applicable experience and that you’re involved in different activities.
  • C.H. Robinson: Show that you have industry experience and that you’ve been involved in activities while you’re in college.
  • 3M: Internship experience and a GPA of 3.0 or higher.

Career Fair

  • Jennie-O: Be able to articulate what you want, such as seeking an internship or full-time position. Also be able to articulate the area of the company where you’d like to work.
  • Emerson: Be able to talk intelligently about your experiences.
  • Cliffs Natural Resources: Know who the company is that you’re talking to when you approach their table at the fair.
  • Anderson Windows: Be engaging and show the recruiters that you have communication skills.