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How do you land that all-important internship or first big job out of college?
“Put yourself out there and take every chance you get to have a conversation with someone,” says Brandon Key, a senior in management at the Harbert College of Business. “Whether it be a guest speaker in your class, a potential employer at the career fair or the receptionist at the place you’re having an interview while you wait. You never know what could come from making that connection and, if nothing else, it just helps you become more comfortable having professional conversations.
“Also, whenever you make a connection with someone, always follow up within 24 hours, and if you are sending a follow up email to a recruiter/potential employer, attach a copy of your résumé and tailored cover letter.”
Conversations and persistence paid off for Key, an Auburn, Ala., native who grew up wanting to become a physical therapist. Instead, he recently accepted a position after graduation in August as recruiter/account manager at staffing firm Insight Global. There, he will filter through candidates to fill positions for companies that are using Global Insight’s services.
Key recruited Insight Global before Insight Global recruited him.
“Developing a relationship wasn’t as easy as simply going to the career fair and shaking their hands,” he said. “I tried reaching out beforehand on LinkedIn. I went and spoke to their recruiter at the career fair. I sent a follow up email, but I didn’t hear anything back.”
But that changed when the company’s recruiter visited Key’s MNGT 3010 class.
“I reintroduced myself … I sent a follow up email again and attached my Harbert College of Business templated résumé and cover letter,” he said. “After I followed up, I heard back from the recruiter, had a phone interview and two onsite interviews.”
Key also encourages students to take advantage of the annual career fair. “It is a perfect way to kick-start your job search,” he said. “It really helps you become more comfortable talking to professionals, prepares you for the interview process and develop a powerful network.”
Other than his persistence, Key credits Harbert College’s Office of Professional and Career Development for securing the job.
“I highly encourage others to take full advantage of the resources that they offer,” he said. “Everything from résumé help to mock interviews, to sitting down and having a one-on-one meeting with a student’s respective career development professional. If it weren’t for the OPCD, I wouldn’t be in the position I am in today.”