Monday, May 28, 2007

Primp My Resume with Facebook

Hard Sell on 'Soft' Skills Can Primp a Resume; Experience With Facebook, Class Projects, Juggling Activities Can Impress Employers
By Dana Mattioli.
Wall Street Journal (Eastern edition). New York, N.Y.: May 15, 2007. pg. B.6

For many students, the joy of graduating from college is quickly replaced by the stress of trying to find a job. Because they lack relevant on-the-job experience, many new graduates figure they lack the skills required in the corporate world.

"Students don't think about what skills they developed during their college careers over and above what's on their transcripts," says Joan Brannick, president of Brannick HR Connections in Tampa, Fla. "It's not just about the class work they did."

In addition to expertise in a variety of academic fields, college provides "soft" skills that many employers seek. "Students have the ability at 2 a.m. to write a paper while instant messaging their friends and watching a TiVoed version of 'Grey's Anatomy,' " says Brad Karsh, president of, a career-consulting group based in Chicago ... .

Recent graduates do need to translate the skills they developed in college into business language that relates to the positions they're seeking. Thus, notes Microsoft Corp. recruiting manager Warren Ashton, working on class projects might become "cross-team collaboration," proficiency in Facebook and MySpace would probably sound better as "connecting with customers through new technologies," and study abroad might be called "global exposure and cultural savvy."
Recent students also tend to be tech savvy, so it takes less time for them to learn to use employers' tech gear. A Gallup Panel survey found 30% of those aged 18-21 agreed that they try to keep up with the latest styles and trends for electronic products, compared with 18% of those 45-54, and 15% of respondents 55 and older.

Microsoft's Mr. Ashton says he is also impressed by how comfortable students are connecting with people through a variety of resources. "They come through the door and tell us about new ways of reaching people," he says.

Maria Jose, a senior at DePaul University in Chicago, says she recently brought up her use of Facebook, a social-networking Web site, during an interview. Ms. Jose, who is looking for a job in marketing, suggested she could raise awareness about the company's events by reaching out through the site.

... "Do not assume recruiters already know you have these experiences and abilities," he says. "Sharing them up front will help set you apart from others who are interviewing."

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