Theresa Vimbanayi Chowa | Staff Writer
As summer approaches many Whitworth students are in the process of applying for jobs and internships.
One such student is Senior Romulus Abantao. He wants to learn how to make his resume and cover letter stand out and he wants to be able to nail the interview, he said. He has past work experience but is still eager to learn more about job applications and opportunities to find jobs on campus and off campus.
Whitworth Career Services has many resources to help with all the aspects of job and internship applications. Sandra Nowack is the careers assistant director of internships and Kimberly Connors is the careers services coordinator .Careers Services is available to Whitworth students, alumni and post-graduates who are interested in applying for jobs and internships, they said.
Nowack and Connors gave a few tips about writing an effective resume, cover letter; and doing a great interview.
1. Tailor your application to the company you're applying to
The key to getting a job is tailoring the resume and cover letter to the job you are applying to, Nowack and Connors said. Students do not realize employers are looking for transferable skills such as critical thinking, interpersonal communication and team-work. Employers are not necessarily focused on technical knowledge of the job as most employees are expected to learn on the job, they said.
The key to having an effective resume is to be specific: quantify and qualify skills. A student who is applying for a job that requires organizational skills can say they were an RA and state how many people they oversaw as an RA, Connors said. Students should also dig into their coursework and use the principles and techniques they have learned, Connors and Nowack said.
“I have heard employers say they will take someone with a 3.5 GPA and experience over someone with a 4.0 GPA and no experience,” Nowack said..
2. Write a persuasive cover letter
Students should practice writing cover letters and perfect their grammar and writing skills, Connors said. Students should show passion in their cover letter and add lots of detail. The main aim of the cover letter is to show the employer what makes the applicant the most qualified and explain the unique experience they have, she said.
‘’In the cover letter applicants should make it poignant and include something unique that the employer will remember; and how it ties into the job or internship,” Connors said.
3. Before an interview, do your research
The third major concern that students have is how to tackle interviews. Nowack and Connors said students should do research about to the company that they can bring up in interview.
“One the day on the interview one should show up on time and be respectful of the person in the front desk because their opinion does matter,” Connors said. “Don’t be a snob to the person working at the front desk because believe it or not their opinion does matter and you want to make a good impression.”
4. Practice, practice, practice
It is advisable that students contact careers services and prepare for mock interviews as they will get help on how to get rid of distracting behavior, Connors and Nowack said.
“Body language is important and you should greet with a firm handshake no flimsy hands or aggressive handshakes,” Connors said. “The way applicants dress also matters.”
“Dress for the job you want not for the job you have, and know your industry,” Nowack said.
Applicants are encouraged to stay calm during the interview and ask questions when they do not understand what is being asked of them. It is okay for applicants to ask to take a moment and think about questions, Connors said.
“Always ask provocative and difficult questions such as why is this position available and ask open ended questions,” Connors said. “Think of the interview as a date, both sides want to know if they are compatible with each other.”
5. Be confident
When answering questions applicants should take the STAR approach, which is look at the situation, the task and action they took and review the results, Nowack said.
Studies have shown women tend to undervalue themselves and men tend to overvalue themselves but applicants should assess themselves fairly, Connors said. Avoid using "I think" and "I feel" and just state what you know. When concluding the interview applications should simply ask for the job and show confidence, she said.
The Whitworth Career Services will be hosting a summer jobs and internships fair on April 12 in the HUB. Students agree encouraged to go and bring their resumes to give to potential employers. Over 40 companies are expected to be a the fair.
Contact Theresa Vimbanayi Chowa at email@example.com