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Confessions of a Talent Hunter

By February 29, 2012 No Comments

I just celebrated my two-year anniversary.  And it was an all around perfect day: I had my “other half” by my side, we spent the day together, and I was reminded just how lucky I am…

… to work at Daxko.

Yes, it has been exactly two years since I first met Talent Sherpa Concetta L. at The University of Alabama Career Fair when my love for Daxko first began.  And although I have only been an official team member for approximately 5 months, I stayed in contact with Concetta over the past few years before the perfect position became available.  Given my career fair success story, Concetta recently asked me to abandon “the airport” as Air Traffic Controller for the day and join the People Team as a Talent Sherpa Hunter to recruit at the UA Career Fair…where it all began in February of 2010.

Given that I was a graduate student not too long ago, I quickly jumped at the opportunity to see the career fair from “the other side.”  After a day of hunting for UA’s best and brightest, I compiled “Confessions of a Talent Hunter: A Top 10 List” of items that I wish I would have known in college.  College students, this inside scoop is for you

  1. Your resume isn’t just collected and discarded.  At least that’s what I always assumed.  I thought, “How can all of these recruiters remember hundreds of students and keep track of each one?”  Well they do.  And each one has their own method of doing so.  So students, if you think that you can just run into a career fair, throw on a suit, shake some hands, and call it a day, you are mistaken.  You will be remembered.  It’s up to you to leave a positive, lasting impression.
  2. The true conversationalist prevails.  No matter how great your GPA, internships, work experience, etc., if you can’t keep a good conversation going, what recruiter is going to want to take a second look at your loaded resume?  The candidates that stood out to me the most had a lot of energy and enthusiasm, spoke well, and asked solid questions.
  3. Perfect your elevator pitch.  I have to admit, I probably practiced mine several hours before having the courage to approach the Daxko booth.  I was shocked at the number of students who began with the same opening line, “Hi, I’m a junior majoring in ____ and interested in _____,” (then they stared blankly at me).  C’mon folks, you can do better than that.  This is your moment to shine – take advantage of it!
  4. Do your homework.  Nearly every company has a website and a social media presence.  Combined with smart phones, there shouldn’t be any reason why anyone should ask, “What job opportunities do you have available?” or “So you’re a software company, right?”  I was continually impressed with the students who asked me to better explain our portfolio of solutions or asked me to elaborate on the culture that they read about on Daxko Nation.  Trust me, we know when you put in the extra time to research us.
  5. Put your best foot forward.  That means no sloppy outfits, weak hand shakes, or resumes lost in a sea of promotional materials that you received at the neighboring booth.  Come polished and ready to go.
  6. Leave your best friend at home.  It’s great to have friends, but if you want to stand out as a prospect, don’t visit the booths in packs.  A recruiter is much more likely to give the group a company overview, than give you the quality time that you deserve.  Have your friends join you at the state fair, leave them at home for the career fair.
  7. Four years makes a rockstar.  Most of you will spend an average of four years in college – make the most of it!  Are you doing everything that you can to prepare for life after college?  Intern, volunteer, join student organizations, have a part-time job that will give you a valuable skill set for your career path.  You’ll be competing against (sometimes) hundreds of candidates during your job search.  Make sure that you have made the best of your time and graduate ready to rock and roll.
  8. Stand Out! Jazz up your resume, make your overall appearance unique, or find common ground with your recruiter.  The students that stood out to me the most did things that no one else did.  What makes you different?
  9. FOLLOW UP.  Your professors teach you to do this.  If you are from the South, you probably were gifted mongrammed stationery at birth.  Use it!  Only a handful of students will actually take their initial career fair encounter to the next step.  Make sure that’s you!
  10. Did I mention FOLLOW UP?  I’m serious about this one.  I have been known to overnight and FedEx thank you notes before.  If you want to be considered above the rest, do something to make yourself stand out from the rest.

Whitney T. is an Air Traffic Controller known for hunting big game, killer bargains, and wild recipes.

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