For better or worse, the search for internships or full-time employment is on everyone’s mind. People are starting to look for internships earlier and earlier. The process can be intimidating, and I’ve had a few conversations with people looking for advice. For this reason, I wanted to unify my thoughts in a column. The best way to explain recruitment is a metaphor. Recruiting works like a game, say Monopoly (I like Monopoly). Everyone gets Monopoly’s basic premise just like everyone gets recruiting’s basic premise. The goal in Monopoly is bankrupting the other players. The goal of recruiting is getting a job or internship with the possibility of a return offer.
More importantly, there are unspoken rules in Monopoly that aren’t apparent your first time playing. You aren’t disqualified if don’t follow these guidelines; but not following them severely limits your chances of winning. The early game involves getting as many properties as possible for leverage against your opponents. The mid game is crucial. It involves trading for monopolies. The end game involves bankrupting the other players by developing your monopolies.
Recruiting has similar guidelines. The early game involves getting information — you attend information sessions, talk to recruiters and set up conversation over the phone. Contacts and information gives you an advantage later on. The mid game involves submitting resumes and cover letters to employers. Your resume needs to stick out in a pile of hundreds and indicate you have the necessary skills for the job. In the end game, firms vet you with interviews to ensure you have the skills indicated on your resume.
This is pretty standard information. You will probably hear it again if you’re looking for employment — be highly skeptical if you don’t hear these things. However, some information about recruiting isn’t standard. Just like playing Monopoly, everyone has a subjective spin about what the things they consider most important in recruiting. Hearing someone’s personal spin on Monopoly or job hunting can be overwhelming while learning the basic rules of the game. That being said, I think it’s worth sharing mine:
In my opinion, people overlook the importance of the early game. For Monopoly, there are certain squares that players are more statistically likely to fall on (specifically the orange properties because they’re near the jail). Acquiring these spaces can win games. Being strategic about your early job search is also key. You are good at something. Use the early-game articulate what that is and find who will pay you for it (I know they’re out there).
There is a major difference between recruiting and Monopoly that underscores the importance of recruiting’s early stages. In Monopoly it is obvious who wins. It isn’t obvious if you won when you get a job. For this reason, don’t just look for jobs that want you. Firms get to decide if they want you during the mid and late stages of the job hunt. In the early game, decide if you want them. The most fulfilling jobs don’t advertise themselves; they don’t need to. You need to find them. When looking for help, don’t just look for someone to edit your resume or prep you for interviews — there are are a lot of resources out there. Find someone to help channel your strengths and passions into a career.
To sum it up, thinking about recruiting like Monopoly is helpful. Just like Monopoly, there are unwritten rules. I should also mention just like Monopoly, luck plays an important role in the job search. Also like Monopoly, recruiting is way more enjoyable if you don’t take things personally. Most importantly, there is one major difference between recruiting and monopoly. The are consequences to recruiting. If you are reading this, I am positive there is someone who wants to employ you. I bet they are willing to pay you a lot of money too. That doesn’t mean you want to work for them. Be thoughtful about your approach; follow your dreams but be realistic. That’s my schtick and I’m sticking to it! Stay tuned this semester for more.
Eric Schulman is a senior in the College of Arts and Sciences. He may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Schulman’s Schtick appears alternate Mondays this semester.