I often joke that I don’t know what “hobbies” are now that I’m in school part-time while working full time. Of course that’s not completely true, I’ll always find time to go hiking and to scope out the newest gelato store in San Diego where I currently live. But it is true that there are less free hours in the day. Which is why it’s daunting for many part-time students to think about setting aside any time or mental capacity for recruiting, when they are already balancing work and school (and keeping children or pets alive).
While getting back into the groove of recruiting and networking is not easy, I realized that I already have the language to describe my strengths, skillset, and even what I’m passionate about. My current job, and 2+ years of Tepper coursework and Accelerate Leadership coaching have made sure of that!
So what does it mean to recruit while in school (while also working and not killing your dog)? There are a few action items to complete to take advantage of some of Tepper’s recruiting resources, but beyond that, most of the recruiting process is in your hands. This is actually a good thing because it adds flexibility and allows you to use your time as you see fit.
Caroline’s Unofficial Guide to Recruiting:
- Fill out all the necessary quizzes and questionnaires on canvas to engage with the MCC (Master’s Career Center)
- Schedule 30 minutes with your MCC counselor and help them get to know you! Tell them how you want them to help you (and saying “I have no idea what I want to do with my life” is a fair starting point!)
- Rinse & repeat as you see fit!
- Schedule a meeting with your MCC counselor if you need a deadline to complete other actions. Schedule a meeting with your counselor if you’ve hit a dead end. Remember, your counselor is there to help you with all your career needs, not just the recruiting process.
- TALK. TO. ALUMNI. – Seriously! I am a pretty awkward introvert, so if I can reach out to strangers, so can you! Having a full time job helps, because you can be honest about that fact that you’re genuinely trying to better understand what’s out there and what your options are. I personally have found it the easiest to reach out via LinkedIn or ask classmates for contacts.
- Rinse & repeat (even after you get the job and/or graduate)
- Make sure you have a resume in the Tepper format. The Tepper resume template highlights strengths/skills instead of responsibilities and I personally love this strength-based format!
- Write a cover letter! I really hate writing cover letters, but the MCC has a template that makes the whole drafting process about 35% less terrible than usual.
- Schedule and complete your mock interview with your MCC counselor.
- Attend corporate presentations, join talent networks (MBA-exchange, Handshake), and express interest in target companies on their MBA recruiting websites. (or the more technical term, “engage with your target companies”)
- Utilize the Tepper Recruiting Portal, LinkedIn, Company Careers pages, and other resources to find and apply for jobs.
- Use steps 2, 3, 7 and 8 as an iterative process to refine what roles you’re looking for, and to get better at vocalizing who you are.
- Apply, interview amazingly, and send your follow up thank you notes.
Don’t Forget to Use Your Network!
Ten steps might seem like a lot, but most steps happen on your own time so there’s flexibility built in. Steps that occur with your MCC counselor still require you to schedule a session, so you are able to make things happen on your own timeline. And while it’s true that there is an inherent timeline for full-time MBA recruitment (roughly Sept-Nov), you can always be applying for roles at pretty much any time… just remember to use your Alumni network and ask nicely for a referral.
Finally, don’t forget to lean on your fellow classmates! Classmates and friends make great accountability partners, have diverse networks that they’re happy to connect you with, and also are just nice people if you find yourself getting overwhelmed.
So to everyone beginning the recruitment process – good luck, have fun, and be sure to reach out!