6 tips for students on the job hunt
On-the-job experience is top of mind for nearly every undergrad and graduate school student today –especially with graduation right around the corner. A solid resume has always been critical to getting your foot in the door at a company fresh out of school, but this has never been truer than it is today.
So, how do students on the job hunt ensure they are prepared not only for the “real world” but also for the recruiting, interviewing and hiring process?
Here are six tips I found were critical landing a full-time position right here at General Mills:
Take time to define what your “must-haves” are in a company and a job
When I started business school in the fall of 2012, I was unsure about what I wanted to do once I graduated. However, during orientation, reality struck that I needed to figure out where I wanted to focus my recruiting efforts for my summer internship and fast. After all, the on-campus company visits would be well underway within the first few weeks of school.
I was clear on one thing: I wanted to work for a company that had great people, who would inspire me and had opportunities to excel and develop professionally no matter your job title or level.
Network, network, network
Take advantage of on-campus career events or networking opportunities to meet with representatives from companies that align with your “must-haves.”
I also recommend spending time reviewing each company’s website and global responsibility reports to understand what the company and its leadership value and practice.
Reflect on your previous job or leadership experience for relevant skills
Going into an interview ready to share details on successful projects you worked on or examples of problem solving is critical. To do this, I combed through my resume and professional and personal experiences. I knew my ability to deeply analyze issues, creatively solve business problems and be an effective leader would be critical to any marketing position. Thus, I needed to be prepared to point to specific instances in which I leveraged my leadership, analytical and decision making skills during my interviews.
Skills are not developed solely in a business setting. I was involved in a number of extra-curricular activities while in business school, which I leveraged during interviews when speaking to my leadership and teamwork skills.
Secure an internship
An internship is a great way for the company to get to know you and for you to get first-hand experience of what it’s like to work there.
After networking with as many company representatives as I could, more networking followed by some interviews, I landed a summer internship at General Mills as an associate marketing manager intern. Needless to say, I was thrilled!
In this role, I would be responsible for coming up with strategies on how to grow brands, executing on those strategies and, in the process, managing numerous cross-functional teams. I would be expected to share an educated point of view and recommendations on how to move forward. I knew the internship would be challenging, but also exciting — exactly what I wanted in a job.
Seek candid, real-time feedback from your team throughout the internship
Once I started my internship, I found out I would be working on two major projects with the Pillsbury biscuits team: Executing on a Pillsbury campaign strategy for the holiday season and developing the strategy around how and why Pillsbury biscuits should play in the breakfast space.
These were projects with real business questions to solve. I was looked at as an expert for these projects despite my intern title.
However, no matter what your title is, candid, real-time feedback is central to professional and personal development. Set up ongoing coffee meetings with various members of your team to get their take on what’s working and what’s not.
Take note of your experience
What did you learn on the job? What skills did you gain or enhance? Do you see yourself at that company or in that job for the long-run?
My entire internship experience was exhilarating and instrumental in developing the skills and experience I needed to succeed in a career in marketing. Today, I am a full-time associate marketing manager at General Mills working on the Totino’s brand.
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