A note to the class of 2016: From the perspective of a hiring manager

I feel like I was THE WORST at applying for jobs out of school, I wish someone told me what hiring managers are actually looking for in a candidate/interview. Disclaimer: I'm mostly hiring for marketing, design, webmaster and social roles and this is just my perspective.
  1. We know your resume probably doesn't have a lot on it.
    Internships and clubs are great but we know this is your first full-time, long-time gig. We have to make sure you've got the grit to work and preserver in a totally new environment/lifestyle. So yea, we're going to judge you on your personality and we might give you a skills test (or three).
  2. Tell people what makes you awesome.
    Don't be shy, don't think you're being too self promoting. The hiring manager wants to make a great hire, tell them why you'll be GREAT. (That way we can tell our colleagues why you'll be great.)
  3. Show you're passionate. (About anything.)
    You might not have a ton of work experience yet but you have at least 20 years of life experience!One of my best hires was super into clocks. It sounds odd but in our second interview we talked about his hobbies (clocks) and he showed me a clock app that he coded FOR FUN. This made me feel extremely confident in hiring him. People with passion like that tend to be able to find love in their work, and I want my new hire to be around for a long time.
  4. Be excited. (Because you're applying for a position you're excited about)
    There is a 100% difference between candidates that are thrilled to interview for the available position and candidates that are thrilled to just have an interview. We can tell.
  5. Email the hiring manager. And the people that work for the hiring manager! (Note: this doesn't always work.)
    When you email the hiring manager make sure it's a thoughtful, REAL letter of interest. Nothing is worse than, "I'm writing you because I'm interested in X position. My resume is attached." But if you write me and say something nice about a recent campaign, insightful about our brand on social, a new product that we're bringing to market, etc. then you've got my interest before I've even seen your resume. Some companies forbid the hiring manager from answering but they can still forward to HR!
  6. Use your alumni network.
    Even if it's just to get a coffee date, you won't regret contacting your alumni network and letting them know you need a little help in the job-search area. I've gotten lots of referrals from people forwarding on a graduate from their alma mater or their sorority/fraternity/improv group/cooking club.
  7. Ask questions. (Smart ones.)
    I already know you looked on all the job blogs that tell you: ask what you will be required to do in the first 30 days, ask what makes a employee at the company, ask about the big challenges the company faces...but ask me something that get me thinking about my industry, my company, MY job. Once a candidate asked me, "Why is marketing different in Museums than other consumer destinations?" I was like woaaaa good. question.
  8. BE BRAVE!
    Interviewing is scary, starting a job is scary, finding the meaning of life is scary. But the bravery doesn't end there. It takes some bravery to speak up in your first meeting, to bring your boss that new idea, to start up that blog, to make new adult friends, to say yes to work happy hour, to offer to take on the next project, to find a passion and follow it, to go to a work out class alone. I still constantly tell myself, "Say yes, be brave!"
  9. Don't give up.
    It is awful to have to let people know they didn't get the job. My favorite thing is when someone responds, "...Too bad it didn't work out this time. Please keep me in mind for future roles, I know you guys are growing fast!" Yes, yes, YES I will be keeping you in mind! I want an attitude like that on my team.
  10. Also this feel relevant here: 25 Ways to Get Sh*t Done by 25
  11. PS - everyone's rooting for you!
    ASK FOR HELP. People want to help! I'm always happy to talk to new grads because it sucked when I was in their shoes. But the sucky part ends, I promise. Lots of people would be happy to help you end it faster. People are nicer than you know