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My name is Kipp Ramsey, and I’m a recent graduate (class of 2009) of The University of Georgia with a degree in Sport Management…  Goodness, I hope I’m still allowed to use the word, “recent”.

When asked to present on a topic for the UGA Career Services blog, I had a hard time coming up with one that didn’t come across as a Do’s and Don’ts of finding a solid job.  I’m not big on lecturing or claiming my way is the right way by any stretch of the imagination.  Anyway, I figured I could just talk a little bit about my story and some things that I’ve learned along the way, hopefully helping someone else in the process.

Currently I work as a Global Recruiter in an HR Department of a marketing automation software company, called Pardot, which is located in Buckhead.   If you haven’t heard about us, then shame on you, because we’re awesome!  I get asked constantly how to go about getting a job with Pardot or, for purposes of this blog, any company that you find desirable.  Being in HR, especially on the recruiting side, I’ve had the privilege of interviewing hundreds of candidates.  Here are a few things I look for in a candidate and a few things I’ve learned:

Your first job doesn’t have to be your dream job.  This may sound a little counter intuitive, but despite what all your friends say, you may have to actually work your way into finding that ideal situation.  Gone are the days of getting your first job and staying there for the next 30 years of your life.  However, one thing I would caution you about is jumping from job to job, especially within the first couple of years of entering the work force.  While it’s okay not to remain in a job for 30 years or even 5, it doesn’t look good when you’ve just graduated and within the first 6 months to a year, you already have had 3 or 4 jobs.

Don’t be afraid to let your personality and style shine.  I tell people all the time that we hire way more on culture and attitude than on ability.  Yes, you need to demonstrate the expertise you have for the job, but it’s more critical that you are someone we want as a colleague.  It’s understandable and completely okay to be nervous during an interview; however, don’t let that stop you from showing the interviewer the real “you” that cannot be seen through a resume.

BUT remember,

This is not a party.  It’s an interview.  Please don’t call me “dude”.  No matter how comfortable the interviewer makes you feel, it’s not okay to tell jokes or start talking about your tailgating shenanigans.  A good interviewer will do everything he/she can do to help you relax because as mentioned above, the interviewer wants to get a true picture of who you are.  The fact he/she is  trying to make you feel comfortable should not be perceived as an invitation to start talking as if he/she is your best friend.  I know this seems like common sense, but you’d be surprised how many interviewees fall into that mode.

Be able to talk about anything on your resume.  If you’re going to put something on your resume, you better be able to answer questions about it.  This tends to present itself more when it comes to technology, but it can apply to anything.  If you put in your resume that you have knowledge in “HTML”, be prepared for an in depth technical assessment of your specific HTML capabilities.  If your only answer is that you took a course in college 5 years ago but don’t remember much, that becomes a big strike against you.

Be Positive!  Nobody wants to work with a “Negative Nancy” or a “Debbie Downer”.  It’s completely acceptable if there were aspects of your previous job that weren’t particularly appealing.  You’re looking for a new job for a reason, right?  A potential employer wants to see how you handle adversity, stressful situations or difficult environments and/or changes you would like to have seen made in your previous role.  It’s okay to discuss scenarios in which you provide constructive input.  It is not okay to give anyone the idea that you are defensive and making excuses as to why you weren’t able to do your job well.

Ask Questions about the job, about the company, about the interviewer.  Even if all your prepared questions were addressed during the interview, ask additional ones.  Get creative, have fun with it, but just don’t say that all your questions were answered.

Network.  I had a hard time with this one at first.  I hate the idea of someone thinking I am only being nice or carrying on a random conversation because I want something from that person.  However, if you’ve known me for 10 minutes, then you know I’ve never met a stranger.  I had never heard of Pardot until one day a previous colleague of mine told me to check out Pardot because the culture sounded like a perfect match for me and my personality (and they were right).  However, none of this would have happened if it wasn’t for networking.  It happened to me, and it will probably happen to you.  Maybe not now, maybe not even 10 years from now, but you’d be surprised what opportunities may and will present themselves with just a friendly conversation with a complete stranger.  On the flip side, who knows what 22 year old kid (I mean grown adult) you may be able to help one day.  I can’t think of anything more gratifying.

COMMON SENSE.  I’m starting to think that the word common means something else nowadays.  I think this one speaks for itself, but I suppose I should never assume anything.  So, here goes.  Don’t say anything stupid; dress up (even if the recruiters all wear jeans and flip flops as we usually do at Pardot), have your resume with you, smile, and enjoy the journey. You will do well!