Download our free Resume Ebook

Asked by Kate on August 17, 2015

When most companies highly prefer people with experiences, as a fresh business major graduate, how can I stand out from the crowd with no intern/job experience and with just a few volunteering activities while in college?

Answered by Stephanie, Hiring Expert at AT&T Inc., on August 18, 2015

When your work experience is a little on the lighter side, it can be a really good idea to think about some non-traditional ways to demonstrate your leadership, problem-solving and strategic thinking skills.  Have you been the head of any groups? Ever organize an event? Did you come up with innovative ways to manage your personal projects?

As you seek out ways to show you've got what it takes...think about talking to some people already in the industry you are targeting. Network, participate, got to meet and greets.  Find some opportunities to get that experience that can launch you. Make sure people know you are looking for a foot in the door and be prepared to elevator pitch in unexpected places.  This is also a great time to work on your personal brand!  Good luck!

Was this answer helpful?

Answered by Ashlyn, Hiring Expert at Worthington Industries, on August 19, 2015

Finding a job directly out of college can be stressful and sometimes frustrating, but there are a few things to keep in mind while on the search. The good news is that there are many other people in your shoes, and just like everyone else, we all had to start somewhere.

  • First, be sure to apply for positions that are entry level (or even full-time internships) where you will have training opportunities.
  • Read job descriptions; highlight how your skills relate to those that the employer is looking for.
  • Spend time thinking about how you can stand out from your peers; what from your volunteering experience can you directly relate to the positions in which you apply?
  • Keep volunteering and learning, take courses or go to seminars in which you will gain certifications; this will add a positive touch to your resume.
  • Be sure to grow your network; link to people at companies or in the industry of which you’d like to enter and make yourself visible at professional events.
Remain confident and realistic throughout your search. Ensure you look for jobs that are appropriate to your scope of knowledge and ones in which you can prove you’ll succeed; as AT&T said, it’s important to let people know you’re looking to get your foot in the door. Best of luck!  

Was this answer helpful?

Answered by Bryan, Hiring Expert at IBM Corporation, on August 19, 2015

Congratulations on your academic accomplishments! While professional experience is important, it is not the only criteria that employers are looking for, but rather is one of many attributes that go into the screening process. Do not underestimate your hiring potential due to your lack of professional experience, however, you should redirect your focus on highlighting the key characteristics about yourself that will set you apart from the other potential job candidates that also do not have relevant work experience or even from those that do have respective job experience.

Leadership and volunteer roles held within campus organizations are great examples of skills that employers are seeking in their potential hires as earning and holding a leadership position shows great dedication, time management and also hard work to obtain such a position while also maintaining your academic responsibilities. Emphasizing such traits should be your main focus as well as highlighting any accolades/recognitions that you may have received during your collegiate career that showcases your leadership skills and/or specific area of expertise.In addition, your confidence will resonate well with employers as highlighting & framing your strengths, accomplishments and leadership roles / skills earned will affirm that you are a well rounded individual that can transition into a new employment opportunity.

Was this answer helpful?

Answered by Ashley, Hiring Expert at Textron Inc., on August 19, 2015

I was actually struggling with the same dilemma you are now when I first graduated. The best piece of advice and change I made was making an “Academic Partnerships” section which included key projects I worked on in different classes. If you have any major projects that may have had a long paper, presentation and/or group work; make sure to include it. This is a great way to market yourself, your experiences and skills you have gained while attending college. 

Was this answer helpful?