With more individuals than ever possessing college degrees, it is imperative to have traits and demonstrable work that distinguish you from the competition.
You need to be able to show both: personal qualities, along with bona fide examples of work. Skimping on either may allow another individual to seize upon the opportunity of taking a job you could’ve certainly have gotten.
This post will discuss both unique ways to distinguish yourself from the rest of the competition as a new grad.
Create a Website Portfolio
Building a website is a unique way to highlight both your educational and work experience. It can help create a professional appearance that is more dynamic and customizable than a simple LinkedIn profile.
Having an actual site that highlights your experience can also leave an impression upon employers in the sense that it shows web competency, particularly if the site is frequently updated.
If you build a site, adding links to your social media profiles on it is never a bad idea, provided that you don’t post carelessly on social media. Adding a QR code to link to your profiles can be convenient, show you’re tech-savvy, and come off as being aesthetically-pleasing.
While you should highlight your experience on a website, keep it fairly short. Recruiters don’t have time to read long resumes. Any information that is excluded on the main page of your site should be made evident via your social media links or other parts of your site.
Display Tech Savviness
While tech-savviness may mean the ability to code, design interfaces, or tinker with technology for some individuals, you can also show savviness through other avenues.
One simple, but vital skill that employers look for in job candidates is the ability to find information online.
Other skills you should look to master include SEO, the effective utilization of email and social media, evaluating the success of online campaigns, using cloud-based platforms, navigation within Excel and Google Docs, and using visual editors (including Photoshop and video editors.)
A more complex skill that employers will look for is the ability to problem solve. Fortunately, there are clear steps for problem solving: identify a problem, brainstorm ideas, identify a solution from those ideas, come up with benchmarks for evaluation, and create a plan for implementation.
A last thing that never hurts is having a well-made LinkedIn profile. This can help demonstrate your internet proficiency.
Present Yourself Well
The first basic standards for presentation: don’t have visible tattoos or piercings, and get rid of shirtless or risque pictures on social media. You should dress professionally for any interviews you have.
Before an interview, you will want to have prepared a 30-second elevator pitch that encapsulates why you’re a good fit for the job. Include details on what you do, what you’ve accomplished, and why getting the job you’re applying for is important to you.
Once you’re in an interview, present yourself with confidence and ask questions that show you’ve done research into the company. You should know what the employer is looking for, and you can use this to prepare for any interview questions you are asked.
Usually, any bigger firm will have interview questions asked by the company posted by job seekers online, so you can use these for guidance.
The most important thing during an interview is to never “wing it.” You need to always emphasize how your skills and values align with the requirements of the job. Asking for the job at the end of the final interview can be a good way to show confidence and initiative.
Lastly, make sure to send a thank-you letter after your final interview. Doing so can help reinforce your interest in the position.
Use Social Media Effectively
While using social media effectively can play into tech savviness, it also takes on a meaning of its own.
Employers will want to know that you know how to conduct and present yourself properly on social media channels, while being able to leverage it for your own benefit.
One way to leverage social media to your benefit in the job hunting process is by reaching out to everyone you may know— friends, professors, friends of your parents, former classmates or coworkers— to see if they know of job openings.
Social media can also be a way to reach out to former employers to let them know you’ve graduated. If the employer liked you during your tenure there during college, there is a significantly stronger probability that they’d hire you.
Knowing how to represent a brand on social media is an even bigger plus. There are a number of jobs that focus solely on social media PR and brand management.
Have a Stellar Resume
With a resume, you may want to strongly consider using a professional summary instead of an objective statement. A professional summary is broader and all-encompassing.
On your resume, it might be more advisable to highlight particular projects and assignments that demonstrated your abilities, rather than a listing of classes you took. The reasoning behind this is that successful projects help emphasize specific results achieved.
Right after graduation, you will want to emphasize education more than employment history on your resume. You can flip around these sections after a given period of time.
You will want to emphasize internships on your resume. One 2012 study found that 91 percent of employers expect new grads to have had at least one internship upon graduation.
This point cannot be emphasized enough: tailor your resume specifically for your employer. If applying for positions in different fields, have multiple versions of a resume prepared, each with different skills and experience highlighted.
You will want to emphasize involvement in student organizations and extracurriculars. Particularly highlight experience that shows off your competencies in any targeted area.