Advice to 2013 Grads from HR [Video Bonus!]

It’s that time of year when college and universities around the world will release onto us the great minds of the 2013 graduate class.  This always makes me think of the popular advice – Wear Sunscreen:

While this advice might be from 1999 – it still rings true today – but like everything else in the world this can be added to and expanded.  Here are my additions to the advice above for the 2013 grads from an HR Pro – listen up:

– Don’t buy into the fact that a paper resume is no longer needed.  Most people who are making hiring decisions are old – they like paper to hold onto while they asked you pointless questions that will tell them nothing about what you can do as an entry level candidate, it makes them feel comfortable.  White paper and black ink – don’t get creative – old people don’t like creative.

– Have a story when interviewing.  In almost every single interview process you’ll get a moment to tell your story.  People will hire your story, not your skills – because you don’t have any skills, but you might have a story.

– Over dress for your interview.  While you might feel out of place to their business casual, it shows people that you care about your appearance and that you’re trying to get this job.  They’ll laugh about you after, but they also appreciate the effort.  Don’t wear your Dad’s suit – that’s tacky – unless your Dad has extraordinary taste and wears your size.

– Don’t go to work if you’re not ready to go to work.  You can be young and poor only once in your life.  Then you get older.  Being older and poor, sucks.  Being young and poor is like being in college without classes.

– Big companies are cool for your resume, but do very little to teach you anything about running a business.  A small company will let you do more than you should.  Both experiences are valuable – don’t think one is more important than the other.  Too many new grads think big firm experience is key to success and crap on smaller companies – those people miss out and what it really takes to be an executive in the future.

–  If someone at your first job offers you a chance to get together after work as friends (drinks, softball, coffee, movie, etc.), do it – unless they’re creepy.  Having strong work relationships will move you forward in your career faster than your skills will.

–  Learn how to drink in moderation.  You’re not in college anymore and when you drink with work associates you need to be able to have a drink or two and be good.  Don’t become the office story about what not to do.  If you do by chance do this – find another job – you will never outlive this story.

– Don’t be the weird person in your office.  How do you know if you’re the weird person?  Do others invite you to lunch, or do you invite yourself?  Do people stop by your cube, or are you always stopping by everyone’s cube?  Corporate success depends on your ability to fit into the culture.  Companies like inclusion, as long as you fit into the ‘inclusion’ they’ve decided for their organization.

Good Luck 2013 Grads!

FOT Background Check

Tim Sackett
Tim Sackett SPHR, is the ultimate Mama’s Boy!  After 15+ years of successfully leading HR and Talent Acquisition departments for Fortune 500s and smaller technical firms, Tim took over running the contingent staffing firm HRU Technical Resources in Lansing, MI. Serving as the Executive Vice President, Tim runs the company his mother started over 30 years ago, and don’t tell Mom, but he thinks he does a better job at it than she did!  Check out his blog at Because he's got A LOT to say, and FOT just isn't enough for him.


  1. Monica Marshalonis says:

    I really enjoyed that. It was funny as well as true!

  2. Tatiana Beale says:

    Great post on your advice to the 2013 graduating class. I firmly believe in creating strong relationships at work. You never know where your friend at work may end up–they could be your next hiring manager at a future company, or you may need them to write you a glowing referral for your dream job. It’s all about who you know.

  3. Kristina says:

    oh my goodness … this is THE. BEST. ADVICE. EVER. to young grads… Now if they will only listen…

  4. Shruti says:

    Loved the post..
    Loved this part especially- ” Having strong work relationships will move you forward in your career faster than your skills will.” So true!!

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