We are a small marketing firm located in Dublin, Ohio with 16+ employees. Kristi Simone, CMO, handles all career searches and hiring needs for our company. And, we see hundreds of resumes each year for the entry-level positions we offer – primarily Digital Marketing Specialist. So, the majority of resumes we receive for this position are from new grads.
Here is our interview and resume advice for new grads applying to a small business:
Hard Rule #1: Clean up your social media pages.
This is the most important rule, so take this to heart.
After we have reviewed a promising candidate’s resume, we immediately search for him/her on social media sites – Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram.
- If we see images that don’t reflect a professional demeanor, we remove that candidate from our “maybe” list. Images that seem really cool in college – partying with friends, sexy pics, etc. are red flags for us.
- Also, review what your posts are “saying.”
Unfortunately, when we see images or posts that are questionable in our eyes, we don’t take this candidate seriously, regardless of how incredible the resume looks. To clean up your social pages, categorize all images and posts into yes, no, maybe groups. Then, delete all of the maybe’s and no’s. And, start adding images and posts that are yes’s.
Rule #2: Design your resume
We receive lots of unique resume layouts and designs. Graphic-designed resumes absolutely stand out from the crowd, and make us stop, look and read. But, keep the design clean and simple. Too many graphics and visuals can be distracting.
Rule #3: Organize your resume
While the design may help your resume cut through the clutter, the content will be what really makes your capabilities resonate.
Be specific about what you did. List your actual responsibilities, not a broad, vague description.
Interns, its okay to be clear that you handled the day-to-day, rather than the big strategy. That’s what internships are for and prospective employers understand that. So, be accurate.
Rule #4: Be direct during your interview
During the interview, be very honest about what you are looking for. Employers want to hire employees who will be fulfilled and challenged. Even though there can be a sense of desperation about looking for your first job, you don’t want to take just anything to be employed. You will not be happy and will, most likely will leave that company within the first year to 18 months.
Be confident, friendly and enthusiastic during your interview. Simple things like
Rule #5: Send a follow-up note
In the past, interviewees were expected to send a handwritten note. It’s still a great idea, but we recommend sending an email to every person you spoke with during your interview within 12 hours of leaving the company. When we receive thank you emails from prospective employees, we forward them to each other as an FYI. It is important to us to see them and know that you are a serious candidate. It counts towards our hiring decisions, so make sure you remember to do it.
Rule #6: If you don’t get the job, follow-up with an email and ask for feedback
This may be a difficult email to read, but in many cases, prospective employers will be very candid with you about how you can improve your interview skills. And, you will be armed with knowledge about what you need to do differently to win the next job interview.
Rule #7: Negotiate your salary and benefits
Research your desired salary before you interview. When salary is discussed, be confident in stating what you want to earn. Give a range, knowing that the “middle” is what the prospective employer will most likely agree to.
If you are offered the position, it is okay to negotiate your salary and benefits, including vacation. You don’t have to just accept the first offer an employer makes you. If you are offered one week vacation after a year, communicate that the industry standard is two weeks vacation in the first year. If this is a hard line for you, make sure to communicate it professionally and clearly. In many cases, the employer will accept your negotiation.
Interviewing can be a great and rewarding experience. So, go into the next phase of your life and professional journey with confidence and excitement. Good luck! You’ve got this!