As a professional resume writer, I work alot with new graduates who have come to me after endless and failed attempts at trying to secure a position in their chosen profession/industry. It amazes me how many clients ask me to lie or falsify information on their resumes (which ofcourse I talk them out of). Generally, these individuals have been studying full-time and work part-time in an un-related industry to support themselves throughout their University studies.

Is it asking too much to expect graduates to have industry experience when they have spent the last 3-5 years in full-time study? I recently browsed through various job search engines for graduate positions in various industries and did find quite a few ads asking for a minimum of 1-2 years experience. Some graduates are lucky enough to obtain internships or even employment experience that is directly related to their studies, but what about the large percentage that aren't as fortunate? As a graduate myself (a long time ago now) I know first hand how it can feel to receive rejection after rejection. 

So I ask...Are recruiters and companies expecting too much from graduates? Do Universities need to encourage students to seek employment or industry experience early in their studies and is there a need for companies to look at training and development programs for current students, to nurture and groom our future graduates?

The sad truth is graduates are getting pushed in a corner with more and more of them lying on their resume and at interview to secure a that what recruiters and companies really want?

Swift Career Solutions is dedicated to assisting jobseekers in obtaining the career they deserve by offering a range of career services

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Comment by Valentino Martinez on October 27, 2011 at 2:46am

Hello Chrissy,

And welcome to the RBC.

You ask some important questions starting with, “Is it asking too much…?” And what do “recruiters and companies really want?”  Unfortunately for students who don’t do their homework and wait until the last minute of their last semester to “get cracking on their job search”—it’s too late (it’s never too late—but it’ll be all up-hill for the lazy or late bloomers). 

Employers and recruiters, as you know, want the best of the best out of college hires.  The bad news for the procrastinators is the Best are recruited first.  If the Very Best (have great grades, direct experience and degree) are all picked-off, then employers pursue the Next to the Best (Degreed, good grades and related experience)…until they’re all picked-off.  If employers procrastinate and get into the college recruitment schedule too late (it cuts both ways) they then start picking the Best of what’s left (degreed, C+ grades with unrelated experience but with transferable skills).  So “Best” become a relative term…as in the Very Best to Nearly the Best 2-3 tiers down. Obviously, in a down economy the jobs are fewer and employers are even more selective. Hope this makes sense. 

Word to the wise…students should start building their experience base as early as High School (pre-college) in terms of getting work experiences.  In college, good grades matter; and work study jobs and internships are important.  Work experience is the great equalizer even in the face of not so good grades (any thing below a 3.0 on a 4.0 scale).  Strong communication skills are a Big Plus; and volunteer work, directly and through student organizations, is a BIG PLUS if it has relevance in terms of demonstrating leadership, project management and RESULTS.  And never let a student look down on or feel menial jobs are irrelevant.  All jobs have value and all jobs can be done well.  Getting into the habit of doing “A” work and working hard to getting “A” grades will pay off in the future.

Finally, NEVER EVER lie on a résumé.  It’s good that you discourage it. It’s not worth the outcome of getting caught in a lie—and the odds are high that it will be discovered.  Anything and everything put on a résumé and/or job application must stand-up to and pass inspection.  If you’re lucky enough to get to the finalist stage you don’t want a lie on your résumé to kill your chances for a viable job opportunity.

Comment by Tom Dimmick on October 27, 2011 at 1:24pm

Hello Chrissy and welcome to RBC.  I echo Valentino's excellent post and would add a bit to it.  First, regardless of what recruiters seek or companies require, a candidate must take the responsibility for the content of his or her resume.  Falsification on a resume is grounds for termination.  If one of my candidates are replaced within my guarantee period for falsification, I must replace them with no additional fee.  Consequently, I NEVER want a candidate to lie.

Secondly, Valentino's point of gaining work experience is excellent.  There are plenty of ways to do it but it requires going above and beyond. I would encourage any undergraduate student to find appropriate Summer work or to find appropriate work after the BA/BS and before graduate school.  The graduate degree will be more meaningful to the student and to future employers.


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