Students need more than a good resume when job seeking.

Natalie Gray

You didn’t get the job. After hours of prepping your resume, picking the perfect outfit, researching the position and whitening the hell out of your teeth, you still didn’t get the job.

Having previous work experience, education, good work ethic and a happy demeanor should be an ace in the hole. Unfortunately in today’s job market, having a pretty smile and a laminated resume just isn’t cutting it. In a competitive job market, it’s imperative to have qualifications outshining the next interviewee in line.

Job-seekers get overzealous applying and setting up interviews. Often, they overlook one of the most important parts of the process – having a spotless application.

“Students treat applications like they don’t matter,” said Nancy Blanton, human resources representative for University Enterprises at Sacramento State. “But the reality is, if you don’t have everything perfect on your application, forget about ever getting a call to interview.”

Crucial to the actual interview is having background knowledge of the business and what it does. It’s insulting to employers when someone comes to interview for a position and hasn’t done research. An employer won’t hire someone who didn’t care enough to explore the company and position applied for.     

“You should always look at the business’s mission statement and goals,” said Jason Molay, Student Services and training coordinator in the Sac State Career Center.

There are obvious actions that instantly shut down the interview such as showing up late or dressing tastelessly. If the job is for exotic dancing, maybe being dressed inappropriately isn’t an issue but when in doubt, always dress with class.

Employers aren’t just looking at the qualifications on the resume, but the qualifications and personality shown during the actual interview.

If an interviewee meets all the expectations of the position, but isn’t showing enough interest or engagement, it is obvious to the employer and can be off-putting. Just the opposite, though, is arrogant.

There’s a fine line between showing the employer why you are right for the position, and shoving information of unrelated personal accomplishments in their face.

Students often become too sure of themselves in an interview and employers resent that. It’s vital to show the interviewer appreciation for the opportunity. Not responding to calls (even rejection calls) ruins the chance of recommendations and referrals in the future.

Succeeding in an interview is crucial, but don’t forget the small details. Make sure the cover letter to the resume has good content, make sure the job fits your qualifications and don’t be shy.

“The best thing you can do in an interview is be yourself, be accepting of the learning opportunity, and know the business,” Blanton said.

Best advice? Read the book, “What Color Is Your Parachute?” by Richard N. Bolles. This book includes chapters like “Great Strategies for Getting Interviews and Landing a Job,” which includes helpful tips on how to have the best interview.

Students looking for interview, resume, application advice and more should set up a meeting with a career counselor. They offer training, mock interviews, reviews and give detailed feedback on what needs improvement. 

“The great thing about the Career Center is that alumni and the community can also take advantage of the resources here by purchasing a package deal,” Molay said. 

Job opportunities are everywhere for those who are prepared and well researched. Get ahead of the competition and get out of unemployment.

Natalie Gray can be reached at [email protected]