Landing internships and early career jobs: A recruiter’s perspective
Anna Kate Bills ’18, university recruiter, offers some do's and don'ts.
College students often think obtaining an internship or job right before they graduate is an easy task. In a world where the student talent pool is vast, how can one stand out?
“We put a lot of pressure on students at an early age to pick a lifelong career path. I am looking for someone who has a passion for what they do, so I recommend finding what that is first,” said Anna Kate Bills ’18, university recruiter for KPMG.
Bills’ recruitment efforts span three universities - American University, George Washington University, and Virginia Tech. She oversees events, job fairs, classroom presentations, and other initiatives that put her in direct contact with potential hires.
“I come across many qualified students. I look at how they interact with my colleagues and me and how their resume tells their story,” said Bills.
To help decide whom she recommends for next step interviews, she suggests the following tips to stand out with do’s and don’ts for that perfect resume.
How to stand out
- Start your search early.
- Attend career fairs and start the networking process.
- Be prepared. You need to know the company you are interviewing with, so visit their website, read press releases, and visit all their social media outlets. Know what they do!
- Look at the job description you are interested in and come prepared with questions.
Tips for the perfect resume
- Make sure to include your name and current contact information.
- Check your grammar and spelling. For example, there may be a word spelled correctly but used the wrong way. Make sure you are not using ‘pour’ grammar.
- Chronological order is key. Put your most recent experience at the top and include the name of the company, the title, and the month and year you worked.
- Use short bullets, no longer than 1-2 lines describing job duties. Use quantitative details (e.g., supervised three employees) where possible.
- Include activities or organizations you have been involved with in high school and college.
- Include your specializations. For example, any special software or skillsets.
- There is no reason for your resume to go over a page while in college.
- Make sure your qualifications or major match the position you are applying for. If not, do not apply.
- Handshake has over 750,000 employers recruiting via the platform. Bills highly recommends that students create a profile and make sure their information is always current.
Following her own advice
Bills, who graduated with a degree in agribusiness management from the Department of Agricultural and Applied Economics, didn’t know what she wanted to do when she entered college. It was her family of Hokies who guided her.
“My mom and dad reminded me of my love for Future Farmers of America (FFA), which I was part of in middle and high school, and suggested I pursue a degree in agricultural economics. I did just that; however, I later changed my major to agribusiness management with a marketing specialization,” Bills said. “It is okay to do what it takes to find your passion. For me, it was a change of major.”
While in college, she held an internship with Smithfield and for two years was president of the National Agri-Marketing Association, also known as NAMA. Bills suggests students get involved if they can and emphasizes that these experiential learning opportunities help make industry connections and provide invaluable experiences.
“I love being a Hokie and am proud to be able to help pave the way for students to find their purpose outside the classroom. I am fortunate to get to do what I love,” she said.
Students and employers can visit Career and Professional Development for a list of job fairs and relevant resources and to join Handshake.