Insider Tips from a Recruiter: How to Avoid Mistakes and Stand Out
By Elaine Fernandez with Ariadna Diaz
As you navigate your way through figuring out your career and how to showcase yourself in the best way, many questions might come up.
To get an inside scoop into career development and what matters most in job applications and interviews, I sat down with Ariadna Diaz, a Wave-Maker who graduated from UC Davis and is a current recruiter at Meta.
Ariadna Diaz, being one of our amazing Wave-Maker alumni, wanted to share with you all the best practices to engage in through the eyes of a recruiter.
What helps job applicants stand out?
Our job as recruiters is to think about who’s going to make an impact in the company. For Meta we think about that a lot, and we only take 15 seconds to look at your resume to see if you can make an impact. For interns, I look for the obvious qualifications so what year they’re going to graduate college, what internships they have had. This exemplifies that you have experience and that you will be able to be successful at a company like ours.
I hire mainly for engineering, so for that, I’m looking for projects or if they’ve been involved with a certain club organization on campus.
What are common mistakes you see on resumes?
A common mistake is having resumes be more than a page. I am a firm believer that resumes should be a page even if you have a couple of years of experience. I’ve had more than a couple of years of experience now and I can keep it a page.
Also, don’t go crazy with the formatting. There’s a lot of good formatting programs out there and one that I really like is called Creddle io. It’s really good because the IT formats it for you, so you just have to input your information.
What are some simple ways to stand out in an interview?
Do your research. I interview students and when I do, and they have researched about the company, the position, or the program that they’re interviewing for it makes it seem like they actually care, and it makes me want to like help them even more.
Along with research, have outstanding questions. As simple as the question may be, it still shows us that they care to know more about the experience, the role, the culture, or the company.
What do recruiters look for on someone’s LinkedIn?
I’m looking to see if they graduated or not. It’s crucial that you make it clear in your biography whether you attended college or are still attending.
Also, I’m looking for experience. I don’t want to see this common mistake that a lot of college students make where they have the company, and the time they were there, but they leave off the description. I like it when they have more information on what they did in the role, even if it’s copied and pasted from the resume.
What are some common mistakes you see on LinkedIn?
I would say LinkedIn is meant to be a professional network. I’ve seen people posting too much information on LinkedIn regarding their private or personal life. I believe there’s a time and place for that and LinkedIn is just not it.
Another mistake that a lot of students make is they don’t reach out to recruiters or try to make connections. I get a lot of people who constantly message me, but I feel like it’s not enough compared to what could happen from a LinkedIn message. There have been times when people have messaged me and then I’ll find their information in our system and decide if I want to continue them on to the next step of our interview process, so messaging recruiters does work.
For interviews and resumes of students who many not have had as much experience as others, do you believe transferable skills from other experiences are held to the same standard of regular experiences?
Ariadna Diaz: In my company we do look for more traditional experiences like internships. I would say that going the traditional route in that way is important, but I know that sometimes students have a lot going on and are unable to do a summer internship. I understand that and if that’s the case, then I would look for things like on campus jobs, being a TA, or volunteering with a certain organization on campus.
I understand what people go through and the hurdles they face, but at the same time part of me says that you still want to try to get those traditional experiences.
What are key transferable skills that catch a recruiters’ eye?
Ariadna Diaz: One transferable skill is definitely being able to work with a group. This is something that you can get from a class and don’t have to get from an internship or a part-time job. Post-graduation and in your career, you will always work with groups and in teams and you have to divide work and be on the same page so it’s crucial that you develop that skill early.
The other skill is being flexible. There are many times in internships when it’ll be an ambiguous environment and what I mean by that is things can change very quickly, including deadlines. What we are working towards can change from one day to the next, so you have to be able to learn that skill early on and adapt yourself.
What advice do you have for current and future Wave-Makers?
Ariadna Diaz: I honestly think it’s so important to get an internship. The specific internship does not matter if you get some exposure to the workplace and skills that you can get from any type of work.
My second piece of advice is to be part of something on campus. I worked at the Cross Cultural Center of UC Davis and that really did help. By becoming involved, you can gain experiences and points that you can talk about for interviews and post-grad opportunities.
ABOUT MAKING WAVES Education FOUNDATION
At Making Waves, we are committed to educational equity. Making Waves Education Foundation is a Bay Area nonprofit that supports Making Waves Academy – a public charter school with more than 1,100 5th through 12th grade students – and leads college and career programming with more than 500 college students.
Knowing the opportunities that come with a college degree, we partner with historically underrepresented and underserved students to help make college affordable and graduation attainable. Centering the journeys of our students, our personalized approach includes college and career coaching, scholarships, and financial planning.
Our alumni network includes more than 600 college graduates, who earn their degrees and land jobs at more than twice the rate of their first-generation, low-income peers, with 84% graduating debt-free.
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November 14, 2023