Make Yourself Stand Out In the Job Market

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College Graduation is almost here for many of you. While you’re probably excited, I know you’re also a bit anxious. Having spent the last four years in school has given you a sense of routine and comfort, and now you’re looking to enter the newest chapter of your life. I’m sure you have tons of questions. One of the things that may be worrying you is whether you’ll find a job in your field. Now’s the time to begin the search, if you haven’t done so already. Let’s look at some ways to make yourself stand out in an ever-growing crowd of job seekers.

Consider Your Contacts

The old saying goes, “It’s not always what you know, but who you know that matters.” Unfortunately, in the job search, this can often ring true. Most people don’t find their jobs through the classifieds alone; the skillful job hunt relies on networking. Tell everyone you know that you’re looking for a job. Enlist your parents, friends, and relatives to help. You don’t want to simply inform folks that you’re job hunting. It’s important to target your outreach to those who may be influential or able to help. For instance, if your dad’s best buddy from college works in your prospective field, you’ll want to have your dad talk to his friend about your upcoming graduation. It’s likely you’ll at least get some advice on where to look for a position. You may even get some potential leads.

Accentuate the Positive

Now is not the time to be modest. If you’ve earned achievements related to your intended line of work or have relevant experience, be sure to include this information in your cover letter and resume. Hopefully, you’ve done an internship in your field. This is a phenomenal way to get experience and also to make connections. It’s even quite possible the internship could lead to a position with the company. If you’ve never done an internship, think about volunteer work you’ve done that applies to your future career or transferable skills you possess that will impress employers. Be sure to discuss these attributes at any interviews you happen to score.

These things may seem obvious, but I’ve talked to countless students who don’t know the first thing about making themselves memorable to employers. Selling yourself is not a skill that’s taught in school, and you’ll have to work hard to learn it if self-promotion doesn’t come naturally to you. Sit down and brainstorm your list of selling points and share them here in the comments. What sets you apart from the crowd?

Comments

Your advice is on target. I would add that rising/current college grads need a boost of optimism, confidence, targeted job search skills and connections. Yes, who you know REALLY matters. The majority of jobs are found via networking and introductions. Try to attend College Career Boot Camp NYC June 3-4, 2009 to get the right jumpstart on your post-grad career (www.careerbootcampnyc.com). Early bird savings through April 15!

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