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A Diploma Is Not a Resume

By Robert P. Poindexter

Ah, college.

That institute of higher learning where last year’s seniors are this year’s freshmen. Four years of all-night study groups and 20-page term papers. It is the first real taste of freedom for many an ambitious young person yearning to spread their wings and fly beyond the horizons of their wildest dreams.

Some will adapt quickly and do well, while others will barely leave the ground. Some will take seriously the money being spent or the scholarships that got them there and work diligently to succeed. These will accept nothing short of all they have to offer themselves, their classmates, their parents and the society they hope to serve upon graduation.

Unfortunately for even the hardest working of this group, society may not be as willing to be served by them as they had hoped.

After graduation, the reality sets in for many of them that the college diploma they so proudly wave beneath the noses of hiring managers, doesn’t guarantee a set of keys to the executive wash room. As a matter of fact, the only keys they’ll be handling are their own car keys as they drive from interview to disappointing interview.

But take heart, Mr. and Ms. Recent College Grad. There are many ways to get that set of keys. Read on, and you will discover ways to get there without having to break out a window.

First of all, get yourself a resume. I know you may be wondering what you would put on a resume, and that is a fair question. Just remember, this vital career document, properly executed, will most likely be your last chance for a first impression. This is your introduction, as slim as your career portfolio may be at this time; do not underestimate the power that can be wielded by this humble piece of paper.

Secondly, invest in yourself by hiring an interview coach.  A common mistake when it comes to the interview process is the idea that the interviewee is simply there to answer any additional questions the hiring manager may have before handing them the Golden Key.

This could not be further from the truth.

The fact is, because of the slim, but outstanding resume you turned in, the hiring manager wanted to meet you in person in order to find out if you are as wonderful in person as you are on paper.

An interview coach will give you the verbiage and skills you need to successfully navigate what can be a nerve-wracking experience if you are ill-prepared. They will provide you with questions (not how much do you pay and when are my days off) that will not only prove your interest in the job, but will show your familiarity with the expected duties as well.

Practice interviews are another tool the coach uses to help instill confidence once you are faced with the real thing. These practice sessions will help to uncover points of weakness you may not have even been aware existed.

You should be proud of your accomplishments up to this point. You have invested your time, your life, and in most cases a great deal of money to earn that college degree. Don’t be afraid of investing a small bit more to make it all worthwhile.

Or as the old-timers used to say, “Don’t step over a dollar to pick up a nickel.”

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