At the start of your career getting your foot in the door with the right company can be tricky. We recently sat down with college recruiter Mychele Riddick as she shares her top advice for recent grads.
Title: Lead College Recruiting Manager
Bio: Based out of Sacramento, CA, Mychele has been with AT&T since November, 1996. Mychele is responsible for attracting and sourcing top talent for AT&T’s Leadership Development Programs.
She is an active member of several AT&T Employee Resource Groups, including the AT&T Aspire Mentor Program. In addition to AT&T activities, she is an active “Dance Mom” for her two daughters in Vacaville, CA.
College students don’t have a lot of job experience just graduating college. What other kinds of experience do you look for from college students?
I know it seems overwhelming to do well in school and take on extra-curricular activities, but leadership is so important. We want to see that you can be a future leader at AT&T. Get involved with what you are truly passionate about and the leadership will come naturally. Even if you are not the president of a club, take the lead on a committee or a community service project.
Sometimes you have to work some pretty unflattering jobs during college to help pay for school. How can college students speak to four years in an entry-level position when graduating and applying to a new field?
This is a great opportunity to show an employer that you are motivated and willing to work hard to accomplish your goals. This also shows that you are able to multi-task. Be sure to highlight any leadership at your part-time job, how well you work in a team or how you made a change to a process to make your place of employment more efficient for you and your team.
What tips do you have for networking as a job seeker? What’s the best way to leverage connections without asking too much?
Networking opportunities are all around you. Just be ready. For example, you never know if you are going to meet a friend of your parents who happens to be in the career field of your choice. Ask for some time – trust me, they will love being a part of your journey! Another great start is to reach out to alumni of your school. Search your school database or LinkedIn and then request a brief meeting. Remember, they were once where you are and many want to give back by sharing their wisdom and pitfalls to help you avoid making the same mistakes!
How can students stand out from other students at a career fair?
Get your 30-second elevator pitch ready. Most career fairs are packed with 100’s of students and are very fast-paced. Rehearse your sales pitch to the recruiter so that you get their attention. Come to the job fair dressed professionally and show genuine interest in the company and not the trinkets on the table. I love it when a student approaches our career fair both and shows me they have researched our jobs and found a match for them. Last but not least, always ask for the best way to follow up and DO IT! This will show the recruiter you are truly interested in them.
How can students best prepare for a job interview with your company?
Don’t be afraid to ASK! If you are scheduled for an interview, it is okay to ask the recruiter or hiring manager what type of interview you should prepare for. There are many types – behavioral, case study, etc. Connect with your career services department for coaching before the interview as well. They are a great resource for mock interviews and other types of interview preparation. Research the company thoroughly before the interview. Go beyond the corporate website, search for recent articles and have some thoughts (could be right or wrong) about how you see XYZ company being successful in the future and how YOU can play a role in the success.
Connect with me on LinkedIn – Mychele Riddick
Follow me on Twitter - @mychelee
Learn more about AT&T’s development programs.