Dear 2013 Graduates: Here’s Some Advice From a Friend in HR

It’s that time of year when college and universities around the world will release onto us the great minds of the graduating Class of 2013.

This always makes me think of the popular advice given at a commencement a few years ago – “Wear Sunscreen.” (see below)

While this advice might be from 1999,  it still rings true today. But like everything else in the world, this advice can be added to and expanded upon.

Article Continues Below

More advice for 2013 graduates

Here are my additions to the advice above for the 2013 grads from an HR Pro. Listen up:

  • Don’t buy into the thinking that a paper resume is no longer needed. Most people who are making hiring decisions are old – they like paper to hold on to while they ask you pointless questions that will tell them nothing about what you can do as an entry level candidate, it makes them feel comfortable. Make it white paper and black ink, and don’t get creative – old people don’t like creative.
  • Have a story when interviewing. In almost every single interview process, you’ll get a moment to tell your story. People will hire your story, not your skills – because you don’t have any skills, but you might have a story.
  • Over dress for your interview. While you might feel out of place to their business casual, it shows people that you care about your appearance and that you are really trying to get this job. They’ll laugh about you afterward, but they also appreciate the effort. Don’t wear your Dad’s suit – that’s tacky – unless your Dad has extraordinary taste and wears your size.
  • Don’t go to work if you’re not ready to go to work. You can be young and poor only once in your life. Then you get older. Being older and poor, sucks. Being young and poor is like being in college without classes.
  • Big companies are cool for your resume, but do very little to teach you anything about running a business. A small company will let you do more than you should. Both experiences are valuable, so don’t think one is more important than the other. But too many new grads think big firm experience is key to success and crap on smaller companies. Tt=hose people miss out and what it really takes to be an executive in the future.
  • If someone at your first job offers you a chance to get together after work as friends (drinks, softball, coffee, movie, etc.), do it – unless they’re creepy. Having strong work relationships will move you forward in your career faster than your skills will.
  • Learn how to drink in moderation. You’re not in college anymore, and when you drink with work associates you need to be able to have a drink or two and be good. Don’t become the office story about what not to do. If you do by chance do this,  find another job because you will never outlive this story.
  • Don’t be the weird person in your office. How do you know if you’re the weird person? Do others invite you to lunch, or do you invite yourself? Do people stop by your cube, or are you always stopping by everyone else’s cube? Corporate success depends on your ability to fit into the culture. Companies like inclusion as long as you fit into the “inclusion” they’ve decided for their organization.

This was originally published on Tim Sackett’s blog, The Tim Sackett Project.

Tim Sackett, MS, SPHR is executive vice president of HRU Technical Resources, a contingent staffing firm in Lansing, MI. Tim has 20 years of HR and talent background split evenly between corporate HR gigs among the Fortune 500 and the HR vendor community ? so he gets it from both sides of the desk. A frequent contributor to the talent blog Fistful of Talent, Tim also speaks at many HR conferences and events. Contact him here.

Topics