What Today’s Recruiters are Looking for in College Grads

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Whether you regard them as skilled job finders or simply group them as “headhunters,” recruiters can guide your IT career success. This is especially true if you’re a recent college grad with only a few summer jobs and internships peppering your resume. If you’re ready to launch your IT career and work with a recruiter, it’s a good idea to know what they’re looking for and expect in a candidate. Here are some tips to make you stand out:


In an article from Forbes, Carol Watson, CEO at Tangerine Watson Inc, suggests job seekers use social media sites like LinkedIn as a personal branding tool and to include a decent photo. She notes that busy recruiters inundated with resumes now routinely use social media to filter out winners from “also rans.”


Lynda Fraser, Vice President of HR Contract Division at Solomon Page, also advises Forbes readers that job candidates should treat their resumes like marketing collateral. Rather than a list of tasks, she prefers to see tangible and specific results you’ve achieved in the internships or summer jobs you've held. She also advises that each resume be fine tuned to the specific job for which you’re applying. The lazy, “one size fits all” IT resume won’t cut it.


According to an article on ERE.net, the recently launched candidate-matching feature on LinkedIn Recruiter includes a “People You May Want To Hire” option that recruiters will increasingly rely on to find the right candidates. “It recommends relevant candidates for roles by analyzing previous recruiter behavior—like past searches, InMails sent and jobs posted—and identifying candidate commonalities and patterns that traditional searches might overlook—like career trajectory, job-function similarities and propensity to change locations,” explained Parker Barril, who heads up Linkedin’s Talent Solutions. LinkedIn Recruiter also notifies recruiters whenever you update your profile, when you contribute to the groups you’ve joined, and how actively you manage your career. All the more reason to have a strong presence on LinkedIn and to actively participate in its many features.


With so many graduates boasting high GPAs and advanced degrees, a growing number of recruiters are now looking at personal discipline or how committed the graduate has been in developing their work and study habits. “We recruit students based on their attitude and drive to be successful, regardless of their academic discipline,” says Ralph Brigham, global director of campus relations for Southwestern Co. “If they study hard, work hard and are coachable, generally they will be successful. For us, their personal discipline is much more important than their academic discipline.”


Recruiters believe the ability to gain a skill and be coachable is key. A study conducted by Leadership IQ entitled Why New Hires Fail revealed that 89% of the time, a new hire failure can be attributed to poor attitude, not technical incompetence. Mark Murphy, CEO of Leadership IQ, says, “You can give people skills, but it’s a lot tougher to give them a new attitude.”


Is your resume polished and ready? Is your presence on LinkedIn and other social media presentable and professional? Are you coachable? Landing that IT job is going to take all you’ve got. So get busy.


Image courtesy of Stuart Miles / FreeDigitalPhotos.net


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  • Delroy F
    Delroy F
    This is true that you can't  give a person a new attitude I study and work hard, but I find it hard to find a job in this field of IT with no experience.
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