Last week, I spoke to a communications class focused on the art of interviewing at the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB). Good times, and I threw up some slides that talked about all the places interviewing skills will come into play in their careers – the obvious places (getting a job and interviewing as a candidate) as well as the not so obvious places (the interviewing skills they’ll need as a manager to hire, get maximum performance out of their people, coach and even investigate when things go bad).
One question you knew was going to come up – "What do you look for on a resume from a college student?".
Well, that obviously depends, so we talked briefly about customizing your resume and cover letter for each job you apply for – bringing the cool stuff you can point to up to the top and trying to show the value in an early-career experience set.
Another great idea for these early career folks? Start a business with a digital side (that’ll help me to see it on the web) from your dorm room or apartment. I don’t care how much money you made, I’d rather hear about what you learned about marketing, distribution, etc. from your efforts. More on a competition among dorm-based business at StartupNation.com from MSN Money:
While many students hunt for jobs at the college bookstore or local restaurants, a select few start and run their own businesses. Entrepreneurs at their core, they become CEOs before exiting college instead of waiting for a corporate job after graduation.
At StartupNation.com, we saw this phenomenon illustrated as never before when entries to our first Dorm-Based 20 competition piled up. We chose winners who represent a cross section of these collegiate impresarios and divided them into three categories:
- The "huge upside potential" group, whose current businesses have meteoric growth prospects.
- The "very talented" group, whose personal talents are at the core of the businesses they’ve created.
- The "blocking and tackling" group, whose capacity to tough it out with basic entrepreneurial grit, focus and business fundamentals bodes extremely well for their futures as successful entrepreneurs.
Take Jon Wood, who leads the "blocking and tackling" group and who runs a dog-poop-scooping business. You wouldn’t think of his business as one that utilizes technology. But he designed his Web site and conducts Internet marketing campaigns to drive business his way.
The same could be said of Jared Sherlock, a professional magician who leads the "very talented" group. He places a huge emphasis on online marketing; you can watch parts of his act on YouTube.
So, if you’re a student in June Mack’s communication class or elsewhere thinking about how to gain an advantage in your upcoming entry into the job market, don’t forget the opportunity to start your own business. Just make sure you promote it and even take orders on the web, because you’ll want to leave that site up as you’re looking for your first corporate job. I’d like to see it, and it adds depth to your claims of running a small business.
Even poop scooping can give you a huge competitive advantage, as long as you’ve got a digital presence…
Kris Dunn is a Partner and CHRO at Kinetix, a national RPO firm for growth companies headquartered in Atlanta. He’s also the founder Fistful of Talent (founded in 2008) and The HR Capitalist (2007) – and has written over 70 feature columns at Workforce Management magazine. Prior to his investment at Kinetix, Kris served in HR leadership roles at DAXKO, Charter and Cingular. In his spare time, KD hits the road as a speaker and gives the world what it needs – pop culture references linked to Human Capital street smarts.