Years of experience as a corporate college recruitment director inform Tom Matlock’s one-credit “Skills to Succeed” elective course that prepares students for job searches and career readiness.
“I teach the course from a marketing point of view,” he says. “My students need to get into the mindset of telling their stories and selling themselves – through their resumes, cover letters, and answers to interview questions.”
According to Matlock, the familiar sports adage, “championships are made in the off season,” applies equally to job hunters, who use their off seasons – or winter and summer breaks – to hone their skills to market and position themselves for success in the next recruiting season.
That’s why he actively encourages students who may not have secured desired internships to consider leveraging their off-season time by taking steps such as:
- Creating a new “living document” resume that can be readily revised and updated
- Enhancing a resume by taking online courses to gain skills and earn certifications to support career goals
- Creating an “online resume” website with links to projects and supporting documents to provide potential employers with a fuller picture of your accomplishments
- Attaching printed business cards with a URL and QR code that accesses the website resume to print resumes
- Realizing that finding any job is a numbers game – and the odds increase with each new application
- Keeping a spreadsheet to stay on track
- Update LinkedIn profile and use the off-season to make connections, join groups and market yourself as a top candidate to the LinkedIn community.
- Developing interview skills by watching YouTube videos, completing LinkedIn learning courses, and participating in mock interviews
Dakota Rosell, who received his BS in electrical and computer engineering in 2021, had spent the summer before his junior year following these steps. His hard work paid off, resulting in an interview with his top choice company, General Motors, during his senior year.
“Fortunately, I was a student in “Skills to Succeed” during the fall of my junior year and Professor Matlock taught exactly what I needed to succeed in an interview,” he reports. “He taught me how to build my personal brand and market myself, which led to a successful interview – and a summer internship that turned into a full-time career as an engineer in the General Motors Technical Rotation and Career Knowledge (TRACK) program,” says Rosell.
Matlock recalls, “Dakota’s impressive work over the summer before his junior year prepared him for the fall campus recruiting season and ultimately positioned him to land his dream job,” says Matlock.