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Career fair at my university

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  • Thread starter DR13
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So I have gone to a career fair at my university and there is another one coming up (I am currently a freshman in engineering). One question I have is how to deal with those questions about leadership experience? I am having trouble coming up with how to answer it. The thing is I am a leader. Whenever I am in a group project I like to take the lead. It's just my personality. Im not president or treasurer of some organiztion (but I tend to think that those are BS positions anyways). The problem is that it is tough to convey this to the recruiters because they like to see those figure head positions on one's resume. Any advice?
 

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  • #2
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Tell them that you take the lead in group projects.
 
  • #3
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Tell them that you take the lead in group projects.
This is what I did the first time around. I dont think that it is a great answer (my personal feeling). Plus, they didnt seem too impressed with it. I mean anyone could just say it. They ask for specifics and it is tough to come up with.
 
  • #4
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The problem is that it is tough to convey this to the recruiters because they like to see those figure head positions on one's resume.
Why on earth would you think that?

I think your problem is what you said later - a lack of specificity. "OK, so what have you led?" is a natural follow-up to "I'm a leader".
 
  • #5
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Why on earth would you think that?

"OK, so what have you led?" is a natural follow-up to "I'm a leader".
Ive been told by counselors that they like that stuff. I may be wrong about this (I hope I am).

I agree that it is a natural follow up. Do you think if I come up with a couple in-class situations then that will be enough?
 
  • #6
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Just like many other skills, you need to be able to quantify and articulate specifics. If I'm hiring someone, statements like "leader by personality" - particularly combined with comments along the lines of executive offices being "BS" positions - raise some red flags.

In an interview you need to be able to articulate leadership skills, particularly if you're looking for a leadership position. Have you completed any workshops on leadership or management? What books have you read related to the topic? And perhaps most importantly, what are some clear examples of how you've been successful in a leadership position.

Holding an executive office is one thing, but recruiters are pretty good at seeing through people who've simply held offices as chair warmers. They will ask questions like:
- give a clear example of a case where you took the initiative
- give an example of a conflict you mediated and explain the outcome
- what does leadership mean to you?
- how have you dealt with a volatile situation
- give an example of a time you decided to break the rules
- how have you dealt with someone on your team who is not pulling his or her weight?

You get the idea. So the way you answer these questions is simply through assuming leadership roles in different aspects of your life. Some examples:
- playing the role of team captain or team manager on a sports team
- starting a club on campus
- running for student executive offices
- volunteering with organizations such as the Red Cross, St. John's Ambulance, Boy Scouts, Big Brothers or Big Sisters
- military experience
- summer work experience such as a camp councillor
- teaching
 
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Ok. I think that I have a better idea of what I want to do now. Thanks all. Your advice has been very helpful!
 
  • #8
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Come up with a story. I was in this situation, I did this, this happened. Formal titles are bogus and everyone realizes this. What matters is that you got something done.
 
  • #9
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Ive been told by counselors that they like that stuff. I may be wrong about this (I hope I am).
Employers can recognize resume padding. If you write on your resume that you were president of X club, you will be asked what you did as president of X club. If you write that you were president of ten clubs, this actually looks pretty bad, because people realize that you can't really effectively do that.

I agree that it is a natural follow up. Do you think if I come up with a couple in-class situations then that will be enough?
Two or three. Quality is better than quantity. Out of class is better. Also the reason employers ask about leadership skills is that they don't want to hire people that have perfect grades but can't get anything done.
 
  • #10
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Two or three. Quality is better than quantity. Out of class is better. Also the reason employers ask about leadership skills is that they don't want to hire people that have perfect grades but can't get anything done.
Do you think it would be good to draw from experiences I have had this year doing research? This would also be a good leeway into my research.
 
  • #11
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Do you think it would be good to draw from experiences I have had this year doing research? This would also be a good leeway into my research.
Absolutely. If you were in a group situation and you did something to help other people in the group this would be a good example of leadership. Also if you did something that helped people out that you weren't specifically asked to do, this would also be a good time to mention that.
 
  • #12
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Absolutely. If you were in a group situation and you did something to help other people in the group this would be a good example of leadership. Also if you did something that helped people out that you weren't specifically asked to do, this would also be a good time to mention that.
Ok. Thanks a lot! I think I got enough to go on now :)
 

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