When Employers Give Advice Students Listen!

Curious about what makes a job candidate stand out?

At Employer Insights on September 25, 2019, Lindsey Patruno and Ashley Martin, Senior Account Managers and Field Recruiters from Amica Mutual Insurance Company shared perspectives about strong job applicants, great interviews, and settling into a new job.

Hearing directly from our employer partners built confidence, contributed to clarity, and helped the graduate students in attendance to discern fact from fiction. Here are some of the key takeaways from Lindsey and Ashley:

 Interacting at career fairs

  • Stay off your cell phone when attending the career fair and especially while standing in line.
  • Bring a printed copy of your résumé or CV and share it with the recruiter to use as a point of reference for conversation. The recruiter might not take it, but it is useful to have a printed copy for that initial conversation.

Résumés and CVs

  • A résumé or CV that comes to a recruiter by way of a current employee will be reviewed in addition to the electronic screening that occurs through a company’s applicant tracking system.
  • Always remind a recruiter where you met them when following up with your application materials.
  • Grammatical errors are a problem and it makes the employer question if the applicant can focus on detail.
  • Never overstate what you did on your résumé or CV.
  • Mostly we prefer one page for a résumé, but it can be longer if a candidate truly has relevant experience to the position for which they applied.


  • Know what is important to the company and then make sure that you address that in your interview question responses. As an example, if a company is known as a leader in customer service then the applicant wants to feature examples of providing strong customer service and solid interpersonal skills.
  • Get familiar with the one-way online video interviewing system as these are common for screening interviews.
  • During a phone interview, you have to convey enthusiasm without someone seeing you. Try smiling as it said that one’s smile can project through the phone.
  • Dress professionally even for a phone interview.
  • Recognize that during an onsite interview that EVERYONE is going to be asked about his or her interactions with you. This includes the administrative staff, and observations will be made about how you interacted with the person serving you food if a meal out was provided, etc.
  • Practice your body language along with what you are going to say. Your body language can convey your degree of interest, curiosity, confidence, etc.
  • Don’t set up a snack and beverage shop during your interview. While it might be understandable that you need water during an interview, you should not snack unless medically required.
  • Always show, through examples, what you can do and what you can contribute!


  • You never know who your future employer might be, or the next person to hire you, so connect with the people you meet on LinkedIn.
  • Recruiters do check your LinkedIn activity. It is important to periodically post and comment on LinkedIn.

 Top skills sought in a new hire (What Lindsey and Ashley often seek for the roles they fill.)

  • Communication skills
  • Conflict management skills
  • Ability to motivate others
  • Adaptability to change

Asking about work visa sponsorship

  • It is better to ask about sponsorship during a first interaction with the employer because you will be made aware of what is or is not possible.

Tips once you are hired

  • It is very important to know the people who work around you – in the space and/or offices.
  • Get involved in various activities and initiatives within the company.
  • Get used to receiving feedback and recognize that when it is provided it is usually because the person sharing it cares about your development. Also, share how you wish to receive feedback.

While each company is different in terms of what they like, need, and want, Lindsey Patruno and Ashley Martin, Senior Account Managers and Field Recruiters from Amica Mutual Insurance Company shared great career preparation and job-search advice.

It is always of the greatest value to gain this information from individuals who are in the role of hiring!

Image in post taken during September 25 Employer Insights event.

Featured Image by mentatdgt from Pexels


By Kay Kimball Gruder
Kay Kimball Gruder Associate Director, Graduate Student & Postdoc Career Programs and Services | Pronouns: she/her/hers