At the start of your career, getting your foot in the door with the right company can be tricky. We sat down with two of our college recruiters, Steve Harris and Katie Rice, to ask them for their top advice for recent grads.
Q: Many students don’t have professional job experience before graduating college. What other kinds of experience do you look for from college students?
Steve: I would say having relevant internships and volunteer experience are two main things I look for in candidates. Depending on the role, the right internship can set a candidate up perfectly for a full-time position.
Katie: I second that, a great way to get experience is through internships. Also, taking a summer job or a part-time job while in school, and leadership/project roles in student organizations.
Q: Sometimes you have to work some pretty unflattering jobs during college to help pay for school. How can college students speak to entry-level experience when graduating and applying to a new field?
Steve: Speak towards how the entry-level role allowed you to master certain skills such as customer service and/or leading by example. Most entry-level jobs still allow candidates to develop certain skills that they would not learn as quickly in a corporate role, so highlighting such skills is very important.
Katie: There is no such thing as bad work experience! Customer facing roles especially have some of the highest transferable skills. It is a great way to show you know how to work in a professional environment and represent a company or brand well.
Q: What tips do you have for networking as a job seeker? What’s the best way to leverage connections without asking too much?
Katie: Reaching out to recruiters through LinkedIn or on campus is a great way to build up your network. We are constantly doing professional development workshops, so signing up for one of those and sending a note after to set some time up 1×1 to talk is a great way to leverage those connections.
Steve: One of the most important tips I can give is to always follow up. Whether it is with a leader and/or recruiter, a follow-up email or text can go a long way when networking. Then when it comes to leveraging connections, I always say keep it genuine. Making genuine connections while networking will go much farther than giving everyone your resume.
Q: How can students stand out from other students at a career fair?
Katie: Confidence is key. Being able to speak about yourself confidently and having a good idea of what you want to do once you graduate makes a big difference.
Steve: The best way to stand out at career fairs is to be prepared with resumes and talking points about the companies you are interested in. I would also add to try and make genuine connections with the recruiters and ensure to follow up after the career fair via email. You’ll make a memorable impact after a recruiter has spoken to 100+ students that day.
Q: How can students best prepare for a job interview with your company?
Steve: Best preparation may sound simple but it’s researching the program you’re interested in. We have websites and videos explaining all our college hire programs so just reviewing those and understanding the basics of the program will allow the interview to run much more efficiently.
Katie: Back to being confident, be ready to speak confidently about your resume, and doing a little research about the role really helps candidates stand out. Make sure to come prepared with specific questions about the company or the role!
Best of luck on your career goals and we hope you choose AT&T to help guide you there.Learn more about our College Development Programs