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College Student: How do I get Corporations to Notice Me?

Now I'm finishing my senior year in college, it's time to think seriously about my career. The Career Center at my university places at lot of students in their first jobs. That's good news and bad news. I'm glad there are many companies recruiting at my school, but I'm concerned I will fade into the crowd competing for the same openings. How can I get noticed when I have very little work experience and a degree in history?

It's human nature to want to feel special. Believe it or not, employers enjoy being pursued just as much as you do. If you focus your interest on them, they will be inclined to return the favor. Here are some tips for getting their attention:

Select Companies You Want to Interview

If you haven't already, go to the Career Center and scan the list of companies recruiting on campus. Sign up to interview for the most intriguing entry-level jobs in your intended career. While you're at the center, pick up recruiting literature from the firms with whom you've scheduled appointments. When you get back to your room, read their material carefully and note the ones who impress you.

Research these Companies on the Internet

Before your interviews, head for the library or your computer to checkout the websites of your targeted employers. Find out their mission, products and services, revenues, number and type of employees, locations, community activities, latest initiatives and key managers. What are three things that attract you about each of these companies? Now you know more about them, do you prefer some versus others? Why?

If you want to take your research a step farther, use an internet search engine to find articles pertaining to the employers in national publications or newspapers. Reading just a few pieces will provide you with substantial insight.

Talk to Your Contacts as well

You might also want to talk to your professors and school alums about the firms you'll be interviewing. They may have insider information on corporate cultures and directions you can mention in your cover letters and interviews. Ask your contacts for their perceptions of these companies' goals and how you might help achieve them.

Research Gives You a Competitive Edge

Finding out about an employer in advance will give you a tremendous edge over the job seekers who write resumes and interview cold. You will tailor cover letters to highlight your specific interest in the company. Your competition won't. You'll be asking interview questions about issues only informed people know. Few other candidates will. If you were a corporate recruiter, would you hire someone who's clueless or an enthusiastic young professional who's done her homework?

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