Economic crises are a hot topic among many university students, including those who study at Weber State University.
Pat Wheeler, coordinator of the Goddard School Career Center spoke on the topic of having the tools to find a job in tough times on Wednesday afternoon.
WSU has a high success rate for placing graduates in varying disciplines. According to Barbara Trask, 80 percent of medical school applicants from the 2010-2011 school year were accepted compared to a national acceptance rate of 40 percent.
Wheeler also said the Goddard School of Business and Economics places almost 100 percent of graduating students in workforce positions. At least in the case of business and economics students, Wheeler said she confidently instructs students in successful methods of gaining employment.
Wheeler provided advice on resumes and interview actions. Though common tools that have been used in the work force for years, they remain integral and often improperly executed. Wheeler identified 10 reasons as to why applying students aren’t getting interviews, let alone being hired.
One of these reasons is a narrow job pool. Often, students will only apply for large, household, brand-name companies, when often there are more benefits to becoming involved with a starter company or a growing business.
Wheeler said if students only apply for big-name companies, their applications often will not be looked at.
“You don’t have to worry about whether you don’t want to commute to Murray until you have a job offer located in Murray,” Wheeler said. “You may as well apply. Just go for it.”
In her speech, Wheeler also encouraged students to be open minded when applying to jobs. She said that rather than choosing to disqualify from a position, allow the hiring manager to make that decision. Even if a student doesn’t get the job, experience can be gained in applying.
However, another of the top reasons students are not getting interviews is because their application materials aren’t perfect. Wheeler cited an experience where a student applying for Goldman Sachs sent a cover letter addressed to Flying Jay. She said these types of mistakes show employers that a student may lack attention to detail and becomes a red flag that he or she is not right for the company.
Students in attendance at the conference were given an opportunity to ask Wheeler questions regarding experience. Several students were concerned that they would not be able to get a good position due to a lack of experience in previous positions.
“This is when you need to draw on relatable work skills,” Wheeler said. “There are things like work ethic and problem solving that are applicable to all situations.”
Wheeler also advised that the skills listed on a resume look better quantified.
“Give things numbers: list that you’ve managed six employees, increased sales by 40 percent and give a number to your achievements,” Wheeler advised.
One student in attendance, Kirk Barlow, said he wanted to come to the meeting and learn what can help him find a job after graduation.
“I really just haven’t been sure how to apply my experience in a resume set up,” Barlow said.
There were many more sources of information and polishing resumes, cover letters and practicing interview skills which were covered in the short presentation. All of these services are available through department career servicing contacted through the student services.
“My best advice is to practice your interview skills with a friend or even a mirror,” Wheeler said. “In an interview you have to be a marketer. You’re selling yourself to the company.”