The Most Important Document Ross Career Services Gave Me
By Lindsay Allen, MM ‘15
In talking with friends around Ross, I’ve gotten the impression that some of my peers believe if you don’t have an “in” with a company you’d like to work for, then you shouldn’t even waste your time applying. I disagree.
I recently accepted a position (So excited!) that I will start full-time after graduating from the Master of Management program in May, and I have to say: If you properly market yourself, I believe that you can get noticed anywhere. And a great start at that is with the resources that Ross provides to us through career services.
Career Services offers basically all Ross students (including MM students) access to on-campus recruiting - that’s meeting with visiting companies, pre-arranged interviews with recruiters, etc. But, I decided to conduct my own search off campus because the retail companies that I was interested in for purchasing roles weren’t going to be recruiting at Ross.
I’ll be honest, because I went out on my own I was pretty skeptical about whether or not career services could help me. I was skeptical because I didn’t believe that they could properly help me conduct a job search in the fashion retail industry. To me, I always thought they focused more on finance and consulting because those were the type of companies recruiting inside the school. However, without career services I would not have been able to properly tailor myself to my desired field.
Since I conducted mostly an off campus job search, I applied to jobs on company websites, crossing my fingers that my application wouldn’t get lost in a black-hole somewhere in HR archives.
The only way I knew that I could set myself apart was to make sure that I had a strong resume and cover letter. That’s where Career Services came in. The most important document they gave me to help me add strong diction to my resume was the action words handout [PDF Download] . So, rather than elaborating on my work experience by saying things like, “worked on...” the handout helped me find more robust explanations like, “collaborated with.”
I also met with career services on multiple occasions to ensure that my resume and cover letter contained the right “buzz” words for retail buying. For example, my resume emphasized exceptional “customer service,” but I received help to reword that to “Customer Relationship Management” (CRM) which is a key phrase in the retail industry. Without industry specific help like this, I don’t think my resume would have made it through the automated application filters and lead me to accepting a job offer.
In my opinion, the most overlooked resource that the school provides for us are the Mock Interviews. The best Mock Interview that I had was with a fellow Ross student. It was good because he was able to truly understand what I was going through in the recruiting process. It’s tough! So he helped me refine my behavioral interview answers to ensure that I was powerfully and succinctly describing why I was the perfect fit for a merchandising position.
It was so helpful, and I am grateful that Ross offers it, and I can’t wait to start my new job in June. Wish me luck!!
I’d love to talk more to anyone who would like further help with an off campus search. Just leave a comment below or look me up in iMpact and send an e-mail my way.
Lindsay Allen is a student in the Ross Master of Management program and recently accepted an offer to work with the TJX Companies, Inc [owners of retails chains TJ Maxx, HomeGoods and others]. She graduates in May 2015.