Acing the Recruiting Process

Here are some tips to keep in mind to help you snag that all-important job offer

Full-time recruiting for second-year students begins at most schools by October, and the talent scouts generally don't overlook the first-year students who look promising. There are only a few things that you will need to manage your career search. While this list may seem obvious, you really should pay solid attention to each item.

A few good suits. Wearing a plaid sport coat to the Merrill Lynch interview seems like an obviously stupid idea, but it has happened. Get yourself several new suits that fit perfectly (this includes appropriate hemlines on skirts or cuffs on pants, and correct length of the jacket sleeves).

A sense of what "business casual" means. Fortunately, many MBA programs actually host events on how to dress for business. If you've never given this much thought, plan to attend one. Fashions change, and it's good to keep abreast even if fashion isn't your business.

Good hair, a solid stare, and a firm handshake. O.K., the world is really not that simplistic, but your personal grooming and demeanor are critical components of both admissions and placement.

Check your systems. You can't find a job if the recruiter can't find you. Make sure your telephone and its voicemail system, as well as the e-mail clients in your laptop and handheld computers, work well, and that you know how everything works. Promptly respond to the people who contact you. It's that simple.

Your résumé and cover letters. Your résumé is your calling card. Its sole purpose is to open a channel for a conversation. If it does that, you've gotten your at-bat. Your cover letters provide the situation-specific introduction that your résumé doesn't.

Adapted from McGraw-Hill's GMAT, by James Hasik, Stacey Rudnick, and Ryan Hackney. Book-only and book/CD-ROM versions available wherever books are sold.

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