Peirce students and alumni had the opportunity to speak with seven panelists who have extensive experience the hiring process and understand what it takes to get a job today:
- Eric Birkelbach, Senior Technical Recruiter from CSS Technical Services
- Deborah Branden, Senior Human Resource Executive
- Dawn Bruno, Director of Employee Relations from McCormick Taylor, Inc.
- Joyce Feinstein, Legal Recruiter from Abelson Legal Search
- Racquel Kelly, Manager of Staffing and Recruiting from Philadelphia Gas Works
- Ruth Roberts, Director of Human Resources from Big Brothers Big Sisters, SEPA
- Bonnie Sermons, Program Manager of Healthcare Administration from Peirce College
Don't rely solely on the Internet. Eric Birkelbach stressed the importance of networking and making relationships. He said, “five minutes of networking makes more of a difference than five hours on Monster.com.” Look for local networking events where you can rub shoulders with professionals in your desired field.
Use your cover letter wisely. When transitioning to a new field, it's crucial that you're candid with potential employers about the change. This is often done in the cover letter, where you have an opportunity to discuss your background, highlight skills that are transferable to a new career, and explain why you want to make a switch.
Review your resume as if you were the one doing the hiring. Read the document critically. Is it free of spelling mistakes and typos? Is the structure pleasing to the eye? Is it easy to find relevant experience and impressive accomplishments? Does the objective match up with the job you're applying for? If you wouldn't be interested in meeting the person behind your resume, neither would employers.
Never plan to "wing it" in an interview. Just because you know what experience you have, doesn't mean you know how to talk about it. Practice very specific, concise responses to interview questions like: What were some of your accomplishments in your previous position? Why are you interested in this opportunity? And where do you see yourself in 10 years? Racquel Kelly suggested the acronym S.T.A.R. to discuss your accomplishments: Situation, Task, Action, and Result. Refer to a situation that reflects your work experience, the task that was set before you, the action that you took to achieve it, and the end results. The more you practice your answers, the more confident you'll be during the interview. Also, research the company and prepare your own set of questions. If you have nothing to ask the hiring manager, you might not seem very interested in the job.
Even if you have a ton of experience, a great GPA, and the degree employers are looking for, you can compromise your chances of landing a job if you don't take these tips to heart. Is there anything about the interview or job application process that you didn't get to ask the panel? Leave your question in a comment here or visit CDS for a one-on-one counseling session.