With fall approaching, the two long-awaited recruitment events, the Student Engineering Council (SEC) Career Fair and the TAMU-SPE Career Enhancement Event (CEE) have now gone virtual following the university guidelines. The SEC Fall Career Fair (scheduled for September 1-3, 2020) is a premier program of the SEC, which provides the opportunity for students/ former students to network with 500+ companies, learn more about the companies and culture, and any internship/job opportunities available. This year SEC Career Fair will be hosted virtually on Symplicity and features: one-on-one Video Chat with recruiters, Resume/ Document sharing, Job listings, Hire Aggies compatibility, and one-to-many Live Video Chats. Additionally, the TAMU-SPE CEE (scheduled for September 4, 2020) also offers similar opportunity to students who are interested in the petroleum industry, with about 20+ companies participated last Fall. More details about the TAMU-SPE CEE will be featured in the near future once available. With both events now going virtual, The Well Log would like to share a series of articles that would be helpful for students as they are preparing for the career fair or applying to a job/ internship.
So what is a career fair?
A career fair is a recruiting event where companies meet potential employees to fill in upcoming job/ internship positions and for job seekers to learn more about these opportunities from their potential employers. It is a great networking opportunity for both sides as companies are hiring for talent. At the same time, job seekers research more about companies and current openings. Going from a job seekers’ perspective, there are a lot of preparations that go before attending a career fair, starting from tailoring resume & cover letter, researching the companies and job openings, practicing elevator speech, preparing questions, and up to prepping for possibly an interview. So, first up on the list is resume.
A resume is one of the most important documents you will need to showcase your brand and whether you are a great fit for the job and the company you are looking for. It is basically an executive summary of what you could contribute to the company. Yet, many of us typically prepare a one template resume fits all, which could be a hit and miss approach. To attract recruiters, you must do some research on what the company is currently looking for (i.e., open positions posted) and whether your skills and character match the job description. In a career fair setting, approaching the recruiters with no background research may seem disrespectful of recruiters’ time and may leave them with a lousy remark about yourself. In addition, typically, recruiters asked you to apply on-line through their job boards or hire Aggies after you met with them. These job boards use an “Applicant Tracking System” (ATS) algorithm, which helps recruiters to filter out irrelevant resumes based on the important “hidden” keywords (i.e., hard skills) specified by the hiring managers. So make sure your resume is relevant to the job posting.
So, where should I start? Most of us most likely have a resume with a complete list of work/ relevant experience. So, what I would like you to do is to use this resume as your reference to start a new tailored resume for a specific position you are considering. Now, what you could do then is the following:
- Look up job postings through hire aggies, company career page, LinkedIn, or other credible job boards
- Read the description and see whether any positions match your interests/ skills (usually you can use the filters to match your interest)
- Once you identify the positions, arrange your resume so that the most relevant experience is listed earlier in your resume. NOTE: Recruiters spend 6-10 seconds on average to screen your resume. So make sure you catch their attention more first to keep things relevant. This includes listing the most relevant software, licenses, or awards in order of importance.
- Additionally, you do not need to include every experience on your resume to avoid overcrowding and losing the recruiter’s attention. You may list them as additional experiences if needed.
- Use action verbs to describe your experiences, followed by listing your skills and quantification of the results/ tasks performed (i.e., Developed a XXXX analysis using Phyton and improve computational efficiency by XX %)
- Recommended: Look up someone who is currently holding a similar (current or past) position and review their resume or work history through LinkedIn or SPE eMentoring page. You may also ask for your friends/ colleagues/ seniors/ network who may have held the job/ internship in the past. This will help you to have a reference on how to keep your experience relevant.
- Review and refine (question to ask: Is my resume relevant to the job posting? Have I highlighted all of my relevant skills and accomplishments?)
Ask your friends/ colleagues/ seniors/ network who could provide you with some constructive feedback on your resume.
Work with the career center advisors to have your resume review one-on-one (virtually) or use VMOCK, a virtual resume reviewing tool accessible through the TAMU Career Center website
- Save your resume in PDF format, so your formatting does not change when you share your resume virtually with the recruiter.
Doing a tailored resume could be time-consuming, but it will definitely help you in applying for jobs more strategically and help you to network better with the recruiter or people who review your resume. I hope this has been helpful. Let me know if you have additional tools you have found useful that you would like to share with your colleagues. Stay well and Gig’ em!
For complete coverage of how to prepare an engineering resume, please review the following resources from the TAMU Career Center page (made available to TAMU students).