Chuck Reutlinger

Career Resources Series: Use Vault.com to Score Points with Employers

By Chuck Reutlinger, Associate Director, Career Services

“Why are you interested in us? What do you know about us? Why are you interested in this position and this career path? What are your strengths? Where do you see yourself in the future?”

Employers ask questions like these to see how much you really know about their organizations, their products or services, their work cultures, and, of course, the actual tasks, challenges and preferred qualifications of a specific job. Why? They are trying to identify that candidate who has an accurate grasp of the realities of working in a specific role; is confident that their knowledge, skills and attitude can produce desired outcomes; whose personality and work style will fit easily into their work culture; and who will be energized by the work they do now and in the future. This will be the candidate with whom they will want to form a relationship and to whom they will gladly make an offer.

VaultIn order to properly impress an employer, motivated job seekers have come to depend on a number of resources that capture and publish information on industries, employers, specific careers, and the tactics that employers use to evaluate candidates in the various stages of consideration.  Foremost among these resources is Vault.com.  Through its various profiles and lengthy guides, Vault provides the kind of information that networkers, cover letter writers and interviewees can use to compete successfully for an offer of a job or an internship. Familiarity with such information has become an employer’s expectation of their best candidates.

For the general public visiting Vault’s web site, some information is presented free of charge but most of the truly valuable information carries a cost.  Fortunately for students, Vault makes arrangements for colleges and universities to pay an annual fee that affords their students access to a great deal more crucial insider information on industries, careers, employer cultures, preferred qualifications, interviewing styles and formats, and much more. Syracuse has such an arrangement whereby students can log on to Vault through a Syracuse portal, set up their own accounts on Vault, and use the resources without the restrictions that non-Syracuse users would encounter.

Access Vault via the Syracuse University portal and create your account using your @syr.edu email address.

Counselors at SU Career Services can help students to grasp how Vault information can help them.  Resources similar to Vault include Wet Feet and Glass Door although SU does not currently have specific arrangements for student usage.

Headhunters and your job hunt

By Chuck Reutlinger, Associate Director

“All you need to do is find a good headhunter who will find you a job.”

I’ve regularly heard young alumni, new grads and some students cite this piece of advice that they have usually received from peers, friends and family members. While there certainly are employment services out there that play a role in job seekers’ successes, there is a lot of confusion and unwarranted expectations about just what these various services really do.

They won’t be your agent. They don’t work for you!
Basically, headhunters, staffing agencies, consultants – whatever they may call themselves – generally make money by finding, screening and referring potential employees for specific jobs that the employer needs help filling right away.  If they are successful, employers give them new assignments and they spend their time working on these and trying to get new assignments from new and old employer clients. Been there, done that!

They may seem encouraging, but…..
To meet an assignment quickly (which means a quicker fee), they need to have an inventory of candidates ready to present.  Hence they’ll encourage you to submit resumes, and they might even have a quick conversation with you to determine salary needs, geographic restrictions, etc. What they seldom do, however, is launch a wide ranging search on behalf of a specific job seeker. They can’t by law accept fees from you to undertake such efforts, and why would they? Once you get a job, you’ll be off the market!  By serving employers well, they build solid relationships and ensure return business.

They seldom handle entry-level job assignments.
In this cost conscious economy, why would an employer pay them healthy fees to find entry-level candidates when they have so many free or certainly less expensive sources, notably fairs and listing resources at campuses near and far (e.g. OrangeLink), social network posting sites like LinkedIn, and college-specific sites like these?

So when are they valuable? You might score if……

  • You are available to work immediately.
  • You have a skill and experience set that is in short supply, probably in technology, healthcare, some areas of business, some foreign languages, etc.
  • You are more than an entry-level student or new grad; the more experienced you are, the rarer you may be, and the more likely an employer is to pay an outside agency to find you.
  • You have identified those who serve specific industries or career fields (headhunters usually emerge from specific settings and use their knowledge to bring value back to employers in the same settings.)

Researching headhunters et al.

Use Indeed, Simply Hired and other “aggregators” to find position listings from these external agencies and then visit the web sites of these organizations to find more opportunities.

Check out the Online Recruiters Directory and RON, the Recruiters Online Directory to find who serves your field or industry.

Happy hunting!

Interviewing: Four Minutes to Shine

By Chuck Reutlinger, Associate Director, SU Career Services

Interviewers are famous for making up their minds about considering someone further in the first four minutes of an interview.  Doesn’t sound fair, does it?  Much as they may be trained to do otherwise, they may still do it.

So, how can you insure that you make the first four minutes count?  As someone who has conducted hundreds of real interviews and more than a thousand mock interviews, here are some thoughts.

Positive image.  Make sure your visual and non-verbal impression is flawless, from your hair to your clothing to your accessories to your shoes, from your eye contact and smile to your firm, confident hand shake and upright posture.

Set a tone of confidence and enthusiasm.  When asked how you are, say more than most people’s automatic response of “Fine. How are you?”  Are you glad to have this interview?  Say so!  Have you researched the employer and its sector?  Say so! It might yield a chance to score points right away.

Score big points in the small talk. Interviewers want to see your composure, and your communicative and interpersonal skills, so respond to their remarks, take an interest in them and ask questions in return.  This is critical if your role will involve teamwork or contact with customers or others in the organization but outside your group.  Be ready to talk about current events, your extracurricular activities, and other things seemingly unrelated to the job since life is what you will discuss when you are on the job!

“So tell me about yourself.” First, expect this invitation to talk.  Second, realize that how you present your content is what they want to observe, but that, thirdly, what you relate can score points by making the content of your response relevant to their goals for the interview.  Instead of articulately relating what they already know, e.g. your recent history as shown on your resume,  consider telling them about your future goals or how you became interested in the field you have chosen to pursue or which elements of the job you are particularly keen to take on.  Tell interviewers what you mean to relate, keep the response focused so you hold their attention, and don’t ramble into other topical areas.  Wrap it up with an upbeat remark and let them get on to their next item of business.

Why are you interested in (this position, our organization)?  Expect this early in the interview, too.  It might substitute for “Tell me about yourself.”  You should be ready to score big points here IF you have done your homework on them, positions of this type and know how your own interests, skills, work style preferences, etc. will relate to their situation.  If you haven’t role played these responses with someone else to insure that they hit a target, then you could lose points early in the interview.

These are the common elements of the beginning of an interview.  Give them your attention and practice this stage of an interview as you would the later stages of any interview.  A good start can make a big difference!

Interviewing: Four Minutes to Shine

By Chuck Reutlinger, Associate Director, SU Career Services

Interviewers are famous for making up their minds about considering someone further in the first four minutes of an interview.  Doesn’t sound fair, does it?  Much as they may be trained to do otherwise, they may still do it.

So, how can you insure that you make the first four minutes count?  As someone who has conducted hundreds of real interviews and more than a thousand mock interviews, here are some thoughts.

Positive image.  Make sure your visual and non-verbal impression is flawless, from your hair to your clothing to your accessories to your shoes, from your eye contact and smile to your firm, confident hand shake and upright posture.

Set a tone of confidence and enthusiasm.  When asked how you are, say more than most people’s automatic response of “Fine. How are you?”  Are you glad to have this interview?  Say so!  Have you researched the employer and its sector?  Say so! It might yield a chance to score points right away.

Score big points in the small talk. Interviewers want to see your composure, and your communicative and interpersonal skills, so respond to their remarks, take an interest in them and ask questions in return.  This is critical if your role will involve teamwork or contact with customers or others in the organization but outside your group.  Be ready to talk about current events, your extracurricular activities, and other things seemingly unrelated to the job since life is what you will discuss when you are on the job!

“So tell me about yourself.” First, expect this invitation to talk.  Second, realize that how you present your content is what they want to observe, but that, thirdly, what you relate can score points by making the content of your response relevant to their goals for the interview.  Instead of articulately relating what they already know, e.g. your recent history as shown on your resume,  consider telling them about your future goals or how you became interested in the field you have chosen to pursue or which elements of the job you are particularly keen to take on.  Tell interviewers what you mean to relate, keep the response focused so you hold their attention, and don’t ramble into other topical areas.  Wrap it up with an upbeat remark and let them get on to their next item of business.

Why are you interested in (this position, our organization)?  Expect this early in the interview, too.  It might substitute for “Tell me about yourself.”  You should be ready to score big points here IF you have done your homework on them, positions of this type and know how your own interests, skills, work style preferences, etc. will relate to their situation.  If you haven’t role played these responses with someone else to insure that they hit a target, then you could lose points early in the interview.

These are the common elements of the beginning of an interview.  Give them your attention and practice this stage of an interview as you would the later stages of any interview.  A good start can make a big difference!

Job Search Secrets: A Senior Session Recap

Follow along at #GetHired12 on Twitter!

By Lauren Wannermeyer, Intern at Syracuse University Career Services

Last week, Career Services’ Associate Director Chuck Reutlinger shared his best job searching secrets.  He brings a unique perspective to the job search as a former recruiter and outplacement consultant who has worked in the Career Services office for several years. Here’s a re-cap of what we learned!

Just in Time
Reutlinger started by clarifying that most companies take a “just in time” approach to their hiring strategies. They don’t often plan in advance. Companies like to hire people they know or people they have met previously thanks to referrals. Interning allows you to meet people and build a relationship that can get you connected to companies you could potentially work for or professionals who could potentially refer you to their contacts. Not only should you be completing internships, but you should consider networking an important step to meeting people. Many companies give their employees monetary incentives for referring or recruiting new talent. Even completing a post-graduation internship can be a great foot in the door to a great company for your first real-world job.

Work Locally
Another important note about the “just in time” approach to hiring is that companies often look for local candidates. If you’re looking for a career in a specific city, you should keep in touch with friends and family in the area. They might be the first to hear about opportunities and can also help you adjust to life in a new place. 70-80% of positions are not advertised and, even then, many of them are not widely advertised. So if you know what job you’re looking for, put out feelers early. You never know when a posting might go out or a friend or relative might hear of something.

Job Advertisements
You also should be wary of job advertisements. Many times, postings are not entirely up to date; even if they are, the job might not actually be available. In order to aid their “just in time” hiring approach, companies like to have a supply of resumes on hand for potential future openings. So even if you send in your resume to an advertised position, there are still no guarantees that it will even be considered. Frustrating, right? Be sure to make sure your resume is scannable and contains the key words that companies might be looking for (hint: these works can be found in the job description!).

Don’t forget: this week’s Senior Session on Networking: Why #SocialMedia is a Must, featuring @kimincuse and @danklamm, will be held TOMORROW, Wednesday, 2/22, at 3:30pm in Hall of Languages 207. Questions? Email ttillapa@syr.edu or tweet @tracytilly. Can’t make it? Follow along on Twitter by searching #GetHired12.

There are just a few short months before graduation so make sure to stop in for a drop in or make an appointment to talk about your individual job search (or graduate school application). We’re happy to help as you transition into the real world.

Perfecting Your Career Expo Resume

By Chuck Reutlinger

Our Career Expo is Wednesday, February 8, from 11:00 a.m to 3:00 p.m. in Schine’s Goldstein Auditorium. In this blog post, Career Services’ Associate Director Chuck Reutlinger shares his advice on making your resume stand out from the crowd.

First impressions count!

Creating a positive impression at a career expo starts with a good visual impression and is frequently followed by your presentation of your resume to an employer.  Most employer representatives will likely skim the document quickly and then either ask you some questions or wait for you to carry the conversation further.  Naturally, the easier they grasp your qualifications and selling points, the more they will focus on your specific interests and their specific opportunities.

5 tips to help you maximize the impact of your resume:

  1. Make sure it is easy to read.  Don’t use fonts that are too small, e.g. less than 10, or too decorative.
  2. Make sure you present your sections of information in the order of their likely importance to the employer.  Not sure what will be important?  Research the positions they may be seeking to fill by reading OrangeLink profiles or using other career information resources.
  3. Take a broad view of experience and don’t arbitrarily position voluntary roles to a section down the resume if they really allowed your selling points to be revealed better than some miscellaneous job you had just to make pocket money.  Integrate them instead into your Experience section and make sure your wording conveys the right message.
  4. Consider starting with a Qualifications Summary right after your contact information wherein you place 3 or 4 bullets under this heading and briefly capture skills, experiences and traits that relate to their needs.  It can alert skimmers to what is found below and thereby encourage their closer inspection.  It might also be all they use to then engage you in a more focused conversation. You might alter your summary for employers of different types if you mean to explore different career paths.
  5. Choose your words calculatedly as you describe experiences and activities so that the lead verbs in a phrase convey the skills you used to accomplish a result.  Don’t use “helped” or “assisted” or similar lead verbs since these don’t convey skills; focus on how you assisted or helped.

Recognize that your interactions with employers may be brief and that your resume may trigger a positive experience.  Note as well that your resume will remain with an employer after you have moved on to another employer, so attention to its construction can help them specifically remember you among all the students they may see.

Good luck!

For last minute assistance with your resume from employers, visit us during Resumania in 235 Schine, on Tuesday 2/7 from 9 a.m. – 3:30 p.m. First come, first served!

Perfecting Your Career Expo Resume

By Chuck Reutlinger

Our Career Expo is Wednesday, February 8, from 11:00 a.m to 3:00 p.m. in Schine’s Goldstein Auditorium. In this blog post, Career Services’ Associate Director Chuck Reutlinger shares his advice on making your resume stand out from the crowd.

First impressions count!

Creating a positive impression at a career expo starts with a good visual impression and is frequently followed by your presentation of your resume to an employer.  Most employer representatives will likely skim the document quickly and then either ask you some questions or wait for you to carry the conversation further.  Naturally, the easier they grasp your qualifications and selling points, the more they will focus on your specific interests and their specific opportunities.

5 tips to help you maximize the impact of your resume:

  1. Make sure it is easy to read.  Don’t use fonts that are too small, e.g. less than 10, or too decorative.
  2. Make sure you present your sections of information in the order of their likely importance to the employer.  Not sure what will be important?  Research the positions they may be seeking to fill by reading OrangeLink profiles or using other career information resources.
  3. Take a broad view of experience and don’t arbitrarily position voluntary roles to a section down the resume if they really allowed your selling points to be revealed better than some miscellaneous job you had just to make pocket money.  Integrate them instead into your Experience section and make sure your wording conveys the right message.
  4. Consider starting with a Qualifications Summary right after your contact information wherein you place 3 or 4 bullets under this heading and briefly capture skills, experiences and traits that relate to their needs.  It can alert skimmers to what is found below and thereby encourage their closer inspection.  It might also be all they use to then engage you in a more focused conversation. You might alter your summary for employers of different types if you mean to explore different career paths.
  5. Choose your words calculatedly as you describe experiences and activities so that the lead verbs in a phrase convey the skills you used to accomplish a result.  Don’t use “helped” or “assisted” or similar lead verbs since these don’t convey skills; focus on how you assisted or helped.

Recognize that your interactions with employers may be brief and that your resume may trigger a positive experience.  Note as well that your resume will remain with an employer after you have moved on to another employer, so attention to its construction can help them specifically remember you among all the students they may see.

Good luck!

For last minute assistance with your resume from employers, visit us during Resumania in 235 Schine, on Tuesday 2/7 from 9 a.m. – 3:30 p.m. First come, first served!