In my career as a hiring manager through VP, I have reviewed approximately 100,000 resumes, conducted more than 10,000 interviews and hired more than 2,000 people at all levels. I have found that there is a consistent missing key for college students and recent grads in their job search.
What is it? Most entry level job seekers approach the job search from a “me” and “my” and “I” perspective. Focused on self, instead of focused on the employer’s needs. Focused on what I want, what I need, what salary I want to make, what benefits do I get. Me, me, me…
This “me” perspective is often reflected throughout the entry level job search, from the resume to the interview to the offer negotiation.
So the simple missing key to success in entry level job search is to simply turn the “me” perspective into the “them” perspective. The “them” is the employer and, more specifically, the people working at the employer who are part of the review process. From initial resume review (Sourcers and Recruiters) to interviews (the interview team consisting of both HR/Recruiting and operational professionals along with the hiring manager) to the offer (hiring manager or HR/Recruiting), focus on serving the needs of others before self.
So how do you implement this approach? Simple. Switch from “What can the employer do for me?” to “What can I do for the employer?” View your job search from the other-side-of-the-desk perspective. What are the employer needs? If you don’t know, find out. Make sure your resume is outward focused instead of inward focused. Demonstrate your results and deliverables. At the end of the day, that is why an employer will hire you, to achieve further results and deliverables. If you are having trouble getting started, use our Quickstart Resume Generator to enter your education and experience into our bullet-proof resume format.
Employers take time to write accurate and detailed job descriptions. Take the time to read the job descriptions fully to understand the employer’s needs. Study the employer and the job before you apply for a position. Always have a ready answer to “Why are you interested in our company?” and “Why are you interested in this position?” Know yourself, know the employer and know the job. And have a prepped and ready answer to all of the standard entry level interview questions we have at CollegeGrad.com. Then practice in advance with a mock interview (or two or three). The actual employer interview is show time, you should be fully prepped and prepared in advance.
And when the offer comes, that is when you can begin focusing on your needs. The best job offer is one that both meets your needs and the employer needs. That is when the needs will intersect, but not before. Without meeting the employer needs, you will not get the offer.
So the missing key is to focus on them instead of on you. In serving the needs of others, you end up serving your own needs as well. It is only in serving the needs of each of the people at the employer who are part of the job search process that you will get to the offer and the eventual job.