It feels surreal that four years ago I started my college journey. Although I don’t want it to end, I have come to terms that it is time to start thinking about life after college.
Sure it’s always been in the back of my mind, the whole “career” thing. I was just having too much fun to think about becoming a (gasp) real person. In reality, it’s the premise for why I’m here paying for an education in the first place. The more I think about it, the more excited I am to put everything I have learned to work.
However, before I can get too excited about starting my dream job, I need to search for it. The idea of job searching for a full-time career can sound daunting and exhausting. There is no doubt in my mind that competition for entry-level positions intensifies each year. The number of qualified college graduates to do the job makes me feel lost in a higher-education school of fish. So the question of the hour (quite literally): how do I stand out among my also talented peers?
Well, I’ve begun the process and it seems like one big chance to put my pubic relations skills to use. Here is some advice on how to properly promote yourself during your job search.
1.) Use Key words in your resume
It’s no surprise that the internet has made the job search process much easier. However, it may be easy for a resume to be lost among a stack of electronic resumes. To search through this stack, most companies will use key words to filter the qualified and not qualified (or at least in their eyes). Take a moment to think of strong action verbs or adjectives a recruiter may look for. Some words to consider may be “leadership” or “multi-tasked”. It is also important to consider the industry of the job you are applying. For example, an ad agency may look for key words such as “designed”.
2.) Know your strenghts
The most important tool to promote yourself, is understanding your skill set. There is no way to create good PR without knowing what you’re good at, knowing when you’ve displayed these strengths. Sell the recruiter not only on what you’ve done, but who you are and how these two match up. Unsure of your strengths? There are plenty of resources like StrengthsFinder to help you pin point those key strengths.
3.) Network, network, network
In an impersonal digital online based job search, knowing or meeting a person in the company face to face is increasingly valuable. Use your school’s resources to connect with recruiters at job fairs. Attend as many information sessions about the company as possible. Reach out to friends and family to see what contacts you may have to land you that first job.
4.) Don’t settle
Okay, so you may not get your dream job right out of college. It’s important to be realistic, but don’t jump at just any job. Your first job out of college may be the most important job you take. It will be a place where you’ll master failure and develop your foundation.This blog agrees with me.
So relax, take a deep breath. (I need to take my own advice). The job search process isn’t as scary as it might seem. Just a little personal PR, and you’ll have them convinced you’re the best candidate for the job.