Recent College Grad?
By Deborah Shane
If you’re a recent college grad, you know that your education is a gift, asset and tool. Education gives anyone an edge in the job and career world but what makes the difference is how you use it and what you do to get hired, get ahead and succeed.
You make the difference.
The most important thing you can do post graduation is to put a Marketing Yourself Plan into motion. This plan paints a clear picture of your assets and values. How well you market and articulate that plan will determine if you stand out, get noticed and are remembered.
Competition for jobs these days is fierce; making smart connections can help you cut through the clutter. Social media marketing and showing up at events where you have the opportunity to meet key players — even for just a few minutes — can be a game changer. A lot can happen in five minutes if you are prepared.
Having an education, degree or certification is not enough: Your college degree is just a starting point — not enough on its own to secure most jobs today. Your Marketing Yourself Plan lays out how you are going to get yourself out there to let the right people know you exist and are someone they should seriously consider.
Don’t send a generic cover letter and resume that doesn’t tell your story: I have participated in several virtual and in-person job fairs and many of the cover letters and resumes I see don’t market their owners at all. That’s a shame, since an effective marketing plan can really get people’s attention and interest either as an introduction or a follow up. Generic resume templates are job search killers. Every resume should be customized to spell out your accomplishments and how you achieved them in a highly personal way. Resumes should be short and focused to generate interest in you.
Waiting is not a strategy: You posted your cover letter and resume on several of the job sites and now you’re waiting to hear back, right? Wrong. Chances are good that your resume has gone into a deep black hole and you’ll never hear from anyone. Did you research the companies before you sent your resume and cover letter to really get to know more about them and their leadership? Did you use that information to customize your cover letter and tweak your resume to show why you are a great fit? Did you connect with the key players via LinkedIn? Hope is not a strategy without action. The more you do to market yourself, the more activity and interest you create.
Go to in-person networking events to build connections: You may communicate with all your friends via text, but don’t expect to get a job without talking to someone face to face. Or multiple people in person. Few companies hire based on text or email exchanges. There is nothing that will ever take the place of meeting people in person and making a connection. The online world is an amazing bridge and compliment, but meeting in person can leave a lasting impression about you and your personality. Preparing your “what do you do” answer, having a business card, or getting theirs and following up in 48 hours through email and LinkedIn shows savvy and initiative.
Take social recruitment very seriously: You goal should be to blend your in-person networking with online networking to grow relationships and market yourself. What is your online footprint right now? Google yourself and you will see. Update and professionalize the social profiles you are active on. (LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook and Google+) Make sure your pictures, data and activity are current. Focus on the social networks that fit best for you and who you want to be connected to. Many jobs are not posted on job boards, but among people engaging online, so be there and benefit.
Deborah Shane is a Florida-based career and small business coach. DeborahShaneToolbox.com
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