Unfair Advantage

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January 2014 Articles:


Alumni Advantage is a newsletter for current students written by members of the National Professional Advisory Board and their colleagues. It provides insider advice, insight and inspiration so that when our graduates enter the real world, they are ready to rock it.


Never Give Up During Your Job Search
Daniel Sneed
Daniel Sneed

Daniel Sneed

The old days of handing someone your resume and exchanging cards are a rarity today. The job application process has gone almost completely digital through the Internet. Networking is a huge plus, but a majority of the time you are going to be filling out an online application for a job. Start your job search early — I suggest during your last semester before you graduate — and keep going. The key is to never give up even though it may take a while before you get any responses to your applications.

After completing hundreds of online job applications, I started to do more research on how the online job application process works. I found it works one of two ways: either a computer is going to scan your resume and highlight key words that fit the job description, or a human will actually read your resume and recommend you to the hiring manager. The challenge here is overcoming the computer program that scans your resume. Smaller companies can't afford the staff to read thousands of resumes, so they use third-party computer programs to filter their job applicants. No joke! One time I applied for a job in the early morning and received a rejection email by noon. It was that quick the computer program spit me out of the running.

When applying for jobs online, make sure you read the job description and then have your resume tailored for that specific job. What you may call a graphic design position, a company may call a marketing coordinator, and will use different key words to describe the job duties. But in reality, it would be a graphic design job. The challenge is making sure your resume is using the same terminology as in the company's job description. In some ways it becomes a game to try to predict what the application scanner will seek out in your resume for key words. Make sure to have them on your resume.

When highlighting your skills on your resume, make sure you're well-rounded. Simply putting “Adobe Creative Suite” as your skill set isn't going to be received well by a computer program. List all of the Adobe programs you know, e.g., Adobe Photoshop, Adobe Illustrator, Adobe InDesign, etc. Even if you don't know a specific program, highlight that you're willing to learn it.

The job search process can be daunting. You have to treat the job search as a full-time job. Keep a log of which jobs you've applied for, and create a file system of every job you apply for so you can refer to the job description if you're given the opportunity to interview. Never give up on your job search!





Daniel Sneed is a proposal coordinator for the in-house marketing team at Satterfield & Pontikes Construction, Inc., which is a privately owned general contractors and construction managers firm headquartered in Houston, Texas. Prior to S&P, Sneed was marketing coordinator for The Hunton Group, the official Trane dealer of the Houston area. Sneed is also an active member of the American Institute of Graphic Artists (AIGA) Houston chapter.

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Top Seven Things I Wish I Knew in College
Doug Sanders
Doug Sanders

Doug Sanders

I sat down today to write about New Year's resolutions and making goals for 2014. You know, the whole "a new year and a new start" kind of deal. Of course, the month is almost over, and let's face it, that topic is played out. You don't want to read about how you should start exercising daily and eating healthier any more than I want to write about it. In fact, I just opened a fresh box of Girl Scout Cookies™ and can almost guarantee you they will be gone by the time I hit SEND on this article.

Instead, I would like to offer up a few key pieces of advice that I wish I could go back in time and give to myself. Cliché? Yes. Am I qualified to pass on advice to you? Probably not — but I was asked to write this thing so the least you could do is hear me out. We'll get through it together. Let's get started.

  1. Read More Books
    Not required books. Real books. The kind of books that challenge your mind and ignite your passion to be something better than you currently are (sitting there in your boxers at 2 p.m. playing “Halo”). You'll miss this free time to explore a wide range of ideas once you graduate and slowly become a corporate sellout and family man/woman.

  2. Appreciate What You're Paying For
    When I graduated I thought I would land a great high-paying job that would knock out my debt within a few years. I didn't. I scored a low-paying entry level gig in New York that had me typing up handwritten notes from a boss who never bothered to learn my name — and I loved it. I hope you will love your first job, too, with today's average student loan at an insane $70K ($17.5K a year over four years). Let's say you take the 30-year payback option. You'll likely be at about $450 per month. Only you can make it worth it. Appreciate what your "future self" is paying for and try not to skip that 8 a.m. tomorrow.

  3. Find A Mentor
    Someone who lives the life you want to build. I was never selective about my mentors in college and felt like it was a box I just had to check before graduation. Now in interviews I ask individuals coming out of college what they have learned from mentors in their life — a question 2005 Doug would most certainly fail. You need to choose the right mentor, someone you can support and who has the time to support you. That person should be someone in your industry who is living the lifestyle that you dream of having. This way, they can help coach you on tips to get you to their level. My good friend, Joe Fairless, posted a great article here last August. You should peep it.

  4. Get an Internship
    You don't have to wait to be successful, so start now. Set goals and go after them. Intern as much as you can while you're in school. It can help you land a job with that particular company, or with a related company. At the very least, an internship can offer some fantastic references and/or some life-changing connections. And don't just stop with an internship — look around for related jobs and activities around Lubbock. Being a part of the Tech Ad Team, working for the advertising department of the Daily Toreador, joining Pi Delta Alpha or TMA, assisting the marketing department at South Plains Mall – all things I enjoyed outside of my internships and all things that paid dividends after college.

  5. Find Confidence in the Fact That You Know Nothing
    You're a blank slate. Clay ready to be molded. Be confident in what you have done in college but also what you are capable of doing outside of it. When you do get out there and start interviewing, you don't have to beat them over the head with how much you've learned in college because your work experience is low. They know you're green. The only thing you need to convince an employer of is your ability to learn and adapt. The majority of candidates I hire out of college impress me with their conversation skills, career ambition, and their ability to figure out how they can immediately add value to my team.

  6. Don't forget to slide on the ice
    Be flexible. Maybe you won't be doing the work you had in mind when you first get out of college. No need to panic. Just ask yourself, “Is my first job moving me towards the career I want?” If you can honestly answer “Yes!”, you're good. The worst thing I was ever told was "Find a job you love and you'll never work a day in your life.” Nothing will ever give you the satisfaction you were always told to go out and find. Just get out there and get to work. Whatever you are tasked with, do it well and do it better than everyone else. Get to work, be flexible, and happiness will follow if you let it.

  7. And lastly
    When you get older — go easy on the Girl Scout Cookies™, bro.





Doug is now 980 calories heavier after today's cookies and graduated with a degree in advertising in 2005. His journey after Lubbock has taken him to New York and back home to Texas all while riding shotgun with agencies like DDB, TracyLocke, ClickHere and the Richards Group. With almost nine years of account management experience working with brands like Hasbro, Harry Potter, Tabasco, EA Games and Pier 1 Imports – it's a wonder he still finds time to follow Miley Cyrus on Twitter.

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