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Asked by Amanda on October 1, 2014

I'm 23, just graduated from IU this past May with a BS in Informatics, and had a cumulative GPA of 3.5, 3.6 in my Major GPA. I have had leadership experience: project manager for a tech project, on a leadership board for a group within my school, and did a presentation about my project manager experience at an on-campus conference. I have been offered several interviews, and with some companies I have been through 2 or 3 interviews. However, they always end up with an email saying they are pursuing more experienced candidates, or candidates with qualifications that fit the position more closely even if I had all the qualifications they listed. I have been going to career fairs at my school as well, staying for the whole career fair and talking to several companies. I have a little over a year in tech job experience as well. My resume is full (I actually had to shrink the margins a bit to keep it to a page) and looks clean and polished, and I have had it reviewed several times by the career services office and made any changes they suggested. Is there something I am missing? Any help would be appreciated, thanks!

Answered by Nell, Hiring Expert at Pitney Bowes, on October 6, 2014

I don’t think the resume is the problem, because it is getting you the interview. Something may be happening in the interview process that is working against you. You were qualified at the time they invited you in for an interview, but somewhere in the interview process something might be going wrong. I have a few suggestions for you to think about.
1) Make sure that you are applying for 30 jobs a day that is the volume of applications that need to be going out in order to get employment in this economic time.
2) Take a critical look at your appearance, are you wearing appropriate clothes that are ironed? Are you properly groomed? Do you have any tattoos or piercings that are showing?
3) Practice! Practice! Practice! Practice speaking about yourself and your strengths and weaknesses. This was something that I struggled with early on in my career, I wasn’t sure what I was good at, I wasn’t sure what I wanted out of a job., etc.. And all of these made me insecure and uncomfortable talking about myself in an interview. The companies I was applying with picked up on this, and I wasn’t getting hired.
4) Be comfortable making small talk, these people want to know that they will enjoy spending 40+ hours a week with you. Remember eye contact and smiling are key!
5) Show enthusiasm and excitement over the position. That is something that sets applicants far apart. I much prefer an applicant who shows excitement and passion for their career.
6) Make sure you are sending thank you emails to everyone involved.
Finally, the best two pieces of advice I would give you is: 1) Make sure you are applying for 30 jobs a day and 2) make sure to practice interviewing with someone and alone. It takes time to find fulltime employment, but stay focused and work hard, and you will find just what you have been looking for! Best wishes to you!
Nell

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Answered by Ellen, Hiring Expert at Hospira, on October 6, 2014

You have graduated from a great school.  With a great degree.  It does not seem that your resume is an issue as you are getting interviews.  A few thoughts for you to consider. 

1.  Do not apply to roles that you do not meet the minimun qualifications.  This will help eliminate any emails you get that state they are pursuing more experienced candidates.

2.  Bring in examples of your work.  It will help the interviewer better understand your capabilities. 

3. Do your homework on the companies you are meeting with.  Have questions to ask at the end of the interview.

4.  Give good eye contact during the interview.  

Keep looking at what the career office is posting for companies.  You should be applying to as many roles as possible.  Coming out of college you will need to continue to send out resumes.  There is a lot of competition so the more jobs you apply to the better. 

Best of luck in your job search.            

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Answered by Bryan, Hiring Expert at IBM Corporation, on October 8, 2014

You have graduated from a wonderful university, seem to have a good deal of project management experience and are involved on campus, taking leadership roles in on-campus organizations.

I definitely do not think your resume is the issue. Often times, the resumes that hiring managers receive look so similar to each other (high GPA, good experience, volunteer work, etc.) that the interview really becomes the most important component of the hiring process.

Here are a few things that I would suggest doing that may help your chances of success not only in your interviews (congratulations on being interviewed by the way ... many candidates do not even get that far) but throughout the hiring process:

(1) Apply to as many jobs as you can that interest you and that you meet the minimum qualifications for
(2) Take an improv class. It will help you loosen up when speaking / presenting in front of others and will teach you to shake off embarrassment and fear
(3) Use psychology in your interviews. By this I mean a few things: (a) Use eye contact, (b) Mirror body language (ex. if they lean forward, you lean forward), (c) Use humor to differentiate yourself when possible
(4) Research the companies you are interviewing with. Nothing is more impressive than a job candidate who knows almost as much about a company as the recruiter / hiring manager. Go into the interview able to ask good, tough questions.
(5) Write hand-written thank you notes to those you have interviewed with. In this electronic / internet age, we forget about the power of pen and paper. You will probably be the only candidate who wrote the interviewer a hand-written note. This gives you the opportunity to supply additional information they may not have learned about you in the interview but also shows that you cared enough to take the extra time to write and deliver a letter rather than copy and paste the same "thank you" note you have sent to every other interviewer.
(6) Participate in practice interviews! Engage your friends, parents, mentors, professors, etc. No one wants you to succeed more than these people ... leverage your connections as an opportunity to practice. No harm as ever come practicing; in fact, you usually get a better!

As you know, there is a lot of competition in the job market right now. Continue to apply to as many jobs as you can and continue to hone your interview and conversational skills. People oftentimes overlook the aspects of emotional intelligence and focus only on detailing their experience and skill set ... don't be one of those people. Congratulations on your graduation and I wish you the best of luck in your employment search!

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Answered by Emily, Hiring Expert at Fifth Third Bank, on November 3, 2014

It sounds like you have been working very hard on your job search and have had success in scheduling several interviews. From what you have shared, there isn’t an immediate item that I notice is missing. This may be a situation where it will take many interviews and opportunities (possibly even with the same companies) before the job offer materializes. Make sure to stay in touch with the people you met and the HR contacts so that if an opening comes up again, you are the first name in the pipeline of candidates to consider. Some other ideas that may help you add to your credentials or provide another avenue of entry – look at temporary staffing firms or contract opportunities as many companies might be fulfilling their needs through these sources. Another idea is to keep looking at internships since you are still in an entry level stage and this might help you gain entry into a company.

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