In today’s competitive job market, having a degree and doing good work unfortunately may not be quite enough to land you the job you want after you graduate. In order to get yourself one step closer than other graduates to your dream job, you have to stand out from the crowd and make a good impression on your potential employers. Here are 5 tips to help you set yourself out from your competition.
1. Build soft skills
Yes, for some careers you will be required to have achieved a good degree in a specified area, however a lot of the time employers are looking for more than just a great set of exam results in their prospective employees. Instead of merely looking at academic scores, employers look for candidates that suit their company culture and they feel will fit in well with the team. They want candidates with personality and the right combination of soft skills, in areas such as interpersonal and leadership. Therefore, in order to stand out from the pack and show your uniqueness, try to market your strengths and let your personality shine through.
2. Develop your professional presence
Research the leading professional organizations in your field of study and join them. Many of these organizations not only can provide you with information about the field, but they can also offer career advice and even mentors to help you with your job search.
In addition, if you do not have a LinkedIn profile, do yourself a favour and sign up now! Having a presence on LinkedIn automatically makes it easier for employers to check out your professional background and some hiring managers won’t actually consider applicants who do not have a profile.
Make the most of LinkedIn by listing all of your past experience and skills and a summary outlining why you are such a great employee! It’s great for building a professional network by connecting with people in your desired industry, maintaining contacts and following organisations you are interested in. LinkedIn is a great place to find out about jobs, as well sharing your existing experience, so be sure to keep your eyes peeled in groups, company pages and the jobs section for all the latest vacancies.
Other social media platforms such as Twitter and Facebook can also be great for networking and finding out about job opportunities.
3. Break some rules
Many college students have no idea how to write a good resume and cover letter. Most use the same resume template and end up having resumes with similar format, including headings and the choice of words, so as tempting as it is, it’s probably best to steer clear of the ready made templates online.
To make yours stand out, you should break the mould and be creative. This doesn’t mean that you have to sacrifice the focus and readability of your resume. Just make your cover letter and resume are interesting and concise. Grab your potential employer’s attention by breaking a few rules!
If you’re applying for a creative industry, you may wish to opt for something a bit out-of-the-box or visually impressive that will really make it stand out from others.
4. Get business cards
You may think that business cards are out-dated because we are in a digital era. Well, not really. Business cards are still the currency of business relationships. Some colleges even offer free or deeply discounted business cards to students. Even if yours doesn’t, you can get one done and printed at a very low cost.
Business cards are great for networking and don’t ever underestimate the value of your industry contacts when on the hunt for a career opportunity! Make sure you attend networking or industry events when you can and distribute your business cards to those who you would like to stay in contact with.
Make sure that you list any social media accounts that you have on there, as well as an email address/ phone number, so people are free to connect with you in whichever way they feel fit.
5. Be your own PR agent
Once you are out of school, you are responsible for marketing yourself. Keep your resume and business cards with you all the time because you never know when opportunity will knock. Be ready to showcase yourself and make the most of any opportunity you have to build your network.
If you haven’t already, you may want to clean up your social media a bit or create new accounts for professional use, as employers will frequently turn to these profiles to check out an applicant.
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