Tips for Getting to the Interview Table

Over the past few years we have been able to collect great information from our peers and colleagues in the field of career services and human resources.  Below is a blog originally posted to the Bi-College Career Development Office in November 2011 by guest blogger and recruiter Gerard  Lanning of G. X. Clarke & Co.  Take a moment to read these tips from the recruiting perspective – valuable indeed!


As a College Recruiter, I see hundreds of cover letters, resumes and unofficial transcripts each year. Often what I’ve seen happen is that bright students make stupid mistakes and don’t get invited to interview for a position they may be well qualified for. So here are my suggestions aimed at helping you get to the interview table:

Carefully read the job posting on your college’s Career Services job posting system. Note all the key information: the job title, the job description, desired majors, GPA requirements, required documentation, i.e., cover letter, resume, unofficial transcript, and any experience the employer is looking for. If you are truly interested in a specific job and honestly believe you possess the qualifications for it, your next step is writing your cover letter.

The three key points for every cover letter are (1) explaining your reasons why you are applying for the specific position, (2) describing the relevant skills, abilities and experiences you can bring to the specific position and (3) thanking the firm for considering your application.

Explaining your reasons for writing (applying) gives you the opportunity to showcase to the employer why you should be interviewed. Briefly and succinctly specify the following information: where you learned about the position and why you are interested.

The next step: describe what you can bring to the company and the position and why they should hire you: your education (major), personal achievements, problem solving skills, internships and any work experiences you’ve picked up along the way that qualify you to apply for the position. Always link what you say in your letter to what you write in your resume.

End by thanking the firm for considering you and reading your documentation; mention you are looking forward to an interview to reinforce your solid interest in the position.The essential characteristic of every effective cover letter: be brief! State the facts about yourself and your qualifications in a clear, orderly, concise way and how they directly relate to the position you are applying to interview for. Limit yourself to one page.

Finally, use a standard font like Times Roman size 12 pitch, no smaller. If you make it easy for the recruiter to read your letter, you will make a friend. Correctly spell her/ his name and
position and the firm’s name. Check your spelling and grammar! Don’t cut and paste from
previous letters to employers for similar positions. That technique only increases the possibility for errors. If the position is one you really want and are serious about applying for: start from scratch. And before you press that send button make sure you have included all the required documentation and materials mentioned in the posted job description.

Gerard J. Lanning
Human Resources
Consultant G. X. Clarke &