Increasing Your Hit Rate with Invitational Interviews

The current trend at many schools is the invitational, pre-screened, pre-select or "closed" interview. Resumes of all interested students are forwarded to the employer, who then selects those who will be interviewed.

The key to mastering the invitational interview game is to make each and every submitted resume specific to that employer. This is no time for the "generic resume," the one that speaks to everyone. This is the time to take the extra half hour to write your resume specifically to the needs of that employer. You might think that thirty minutes is a great deal of time to commit to gaining just one interview. It is not. Consider the amount of time it would take you after graduation to hunt down all necessary leads in order to garner your own live interview. Thirty minutes now is cheap insurance.

Speak to my needs in your resume and you will get the invitation.

Ask the Career Center at the beginning of the semester which companies will be holding invitation-only interviews. Then ask for as much information as possible about each of these employers and the position requirements, including any minimum requirements for inclusion (such as GPA or major). Also ask when the screened resume packet will be mailed to the employer. Prepare your resume to emphasize those aspects of your background that meet or exceed the requirements. Remember, you should not lie or exaggerate about personal features that do not exist, but emphasize the positives in your background in relation to the specific employer. Then submit your personalized resume to the Career Center for inclusion in the employer's resume packet. While it may be "standard" for the Career Center to send out the on-file generic resumes, requests to use a customized resume will usually be honored. Make sure your generic resume is on file for short-notice responses, but customize whenever possible.

As a final touch, you may want to consider adding "with _____" to the end of your Objective section, giving the name of the company as the final qualifier on your objective. If they know you are serious about them specifically, you are much more likely to get a positive response.