An Open Letter To Recruiters From A Frustrated College Senior

A harsh reality exists for all senior students out there: The end is near.

This fantasy land (a.k.a college life) that you have lived in for the past four years has run its course, and unfortunately it’s time for you to enter the real world. Writing cover letter after cover letter, searching the thesaurus for all the ways you can describe leadership; that’s a post-grad’s idea of a Friday night turn up.

Can’t companies see how great you are? How can 500 volunteer hours not be enough? A 4.0 GPA doesn’t cut it?

THIS IS A RANT TO RECRUITERS.

The unfortunate truth is that senior students probably spend more time searching and applying to jobs than they do on any school-related work. If you’ve been on top of your shit for the past four years, were involved in volunteer work, and worked on finding a solution for world peace, congrats. You MAY just get an interview.

I think the irritation of every college student on the job hunt can be best described by struggling to get experience in order to get experience. The pressure to land the best internship or negotiate the most lucrative offer is point-blank ruining the student experience. I understand the purpose of attending college: you’re there to obtain an education. But at the same time, you shouldn’t develop an anxiety disorder while developing your brain. Today, if you were to ask majority of students involved in extracurricular activities at school why they chose to be involved, it’s usually for their resume and not because they are genuinely interested in the endeavour.

The argument can also be made that the number of students graduating from university has been on the rise, so how else are employers expected to screen candidates? If the number of jobs available for these new grads is not increasing at the same rate, there is going to be an unavoidable shortage. Understandable, however, times have changed. I think it’s fair to say that we all know someone who seems like a genius on paper, but is actually a dud in real life.

Students are more than just test scores. There are certain life skills, such as being personable or trustworthy, that can’t be quantified by a GMAT score.

So what’s my suggestion?

Let candidates show they are more than just their GPA. Some positions are going to have certain academic requirements, and that’s not something that can change. What can change however is how employers weight these requirements or how students who all have these basic requirements can differentiate themselves. Recruiters can place greater emphasis on networking events or corporate nights. Instead of investing in these online application systems (receiving quantity rather than quality applications) use those HR resources to invest into events where students can come prove themselves in person.

Students love opportunities to network with industry professionals, however many say that the correlation between event attendance or involvement and employment offers or opportunities is weak. The students who really care about the role will not mind the additional effort or travel required to attend such events. And those students who do mind? They clearly don’t have that same passion for your company and therefore are candidates that should not be considered anyways.

Lastly, as much as certain universities have certain levels of prestige and success, don’t judge a candidate based on where their fancy paper came from. I think it is absolute bull shit when students say the reason they didn’t apply for a position at a specific company is because that company doesn’t recruit from their school. I would love to ask that company how they know that student doesn’t have the potential to succeed in that role.

Just recently I went through quite the humbling experience as I interviewed for an extremely competitive summer internship at a tier one consulting firm. The firm rarely, if ever, recruited from my university, and as a result I had no idea what I had gotten myself into. Unfortunately I did not receive an offer for the position, and I will be the first to admit that the other candidates were all more experienced in this process than I was; an aspect that my non-target-school self could only control to an extent.

So what am I getting at here? Well, I think I can speak on behalf of most students when I ask: How do you stand out without seeming conceited? How do I real in that recruiter?!

I’m not sure if this will ever cross a recruiter’s desk (probably not, but hey there’s a first for everything) but if so take this rant as more of a plea, from college seniors everywhere.

Like a wise man/woman once said, “Don’t judge a book by it’s cover”…

Don’t judge a student based on their GPA.

Featured Image by Lewis Paige

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