Expert shares job, internship search tips
Andrea Blackstone | 9/25/2015, 12:49 p.m.
Many job seekers may re-evaluate their employment goals and question effective strategies to find a new position, as the end of 2015 draws near. Marsha Harris, the founder of InternStaff, works with job candidates in the District of Columbia, Maryland and Virginia. She connects prospective interns and employees with employers and helps job seekers improve their resumes.
Harris, who has worked as a recruiter for over 10 years says that some companies hire interns who are in high school. The freshman year of college is the next best time to begin an internship.
“For any student, they need to have some internships on their resume. Competition is tight. They need to have something that is going to differentiate them, and set them apart from all of the other applicants,” Harris said. “These internships can help them to find permanent employment beyond college. Oftentimes, these interns become entry-level employees at these companies [where they interned] when they graduate.”
The job expert explained that if something inappropriate turns up after Googling an applicant, an employer may not give the individual further consideration.
“People put so many things online, and they think just because it’s their personal page an employer is not going to look at it. Most of the time they don’t, but there are times where they do,” Harris said. “There are so many people out there. You kind of have to get an idea of ‘Who am I hiring?’”
A job applicant can increase his or her chances of being called for an interview. Harris noted that that a submitted resume should include relevant experience. All job requirements that were stated in the employment announcement should be addressed within the resume. Thoroughly fill out an online application and follow all instructions.
Submitting sloppy resumes to potential employers, and using inappropriate email addresses, when contacting them are common mistakes. Harris also recommends addressing potential red flags.
If job candidates have gaps in their resume, as a result of a situation such as a layoff, or in the case of a stay-at-home mother who wants to return to the workforce, Harris advises that honesty is best policy. Specifics of the situation can be explained in the cover letter. Volunteering at a child’s school or at church can be valuable as long as the experience is relevant to the position for which you are applying.
“It’s experience whether it is paid or not,” Harris said, “For any of the roles, you can always find skills and duties that you performed that match whatever job you’re applying for. It’s important to highlight the relevant duties.”
If a job seeker wants to pursue an entry-level position in a new field, transferable experience and skills should be highlighted on the resume.
“First, I would say look in their personal network. Try to contact folks, or network with folks, that are in the field that they want to work in. Then, I would say look at some job descriptions for those entry-level jobs, and pull out what they’ve done in their old positions. They may find that they’ve actually performed several of the duties that are required for that new position, even though it is in a different field or industry,” Harris said.
Harris suggests trying to meet recruiters outside of the traditional applicant tracking system, or finding an open position through an internal contact, since recruiters often receive hundreds of submitted resumes when filling a position. Reaching out to alumni organizations, church career ministries or temping can speed up job search results.
Online networking tools like LinkedIn, Facebook groups, Twitter and searching for career-focused events announced on Eventbrite, or building a networking through Meetup.com can be productive. Career fairs hosted by associations may increase job seekers’ chances of speaking with a decision maker. Companies like InternStaff can also
help job candidates locate positions.
A career and internship-hiring event will be presented by Intern Staff on Friday, October 2, 2015 at 5110 Auth Way in Suitland, Maryland from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. It will be open to students seeking internship positions and experienced professionals. For more information about the job fair or services offered by Harris, visit: www.internstaff.com.