Graduating class of 2020, our condolences go out to you during this hectic time. As unfortunate as it is that each of you may have lost out on truly experiencing your final semester of college, your accomplishments are still valued and respected.
On a less serious note, our team at BrandResumes would love to wish you a big congratulations on graduating! All of your hard work and dedication have made you a college graduate and have not gone unnoticed. For many of you, you’re probably beginning to enter the job market, and what a time it is for that! Finding a job right now is difficult for everyone, let alone those of you looking for entry-level positions right out of school.
As we, hopefully, begin to head towards some normalcy, the job market is going to be fiercer than ever. But don’t panic! Although the job market may be more difficult, it also is going to be filled with opportunity. We’ve outlined 5 tips to help you be ready to set yourself apart from the competition.
1. Start a personal project
Did you think you’d be done with projects once classes ended? I hate to be the breaker of bad news, but you should never stop working on side projects. Beginning your own personal project that is relevant to your desired industry is a great way to gain experience and to show future employers what you are capable of.
The type of industry you’d like to enter will determine what type of project you’re working on. If you’d like to be a journalist, create a blog and begin writing your own stories. If you’d like to go into advertising, start to develop some campaigns for companies you’d like to work for. It will keep your skills sharp and it can show employers the value you can bring to their company.
2. Network with alumni
We cannot stress this one enough, but networking is incredibly important. According to Austin Belcak, founder of Cultivated Cultures, around 40-80% of hires come from referrals but only 7% of applicants are referred. The numbers speak for themselves. One of the best ways to get your foot in the door with a company is to know somebody.
Using your school’s alumni network is one of the best ways to do exactly that. More often than not, alumni truly do want to help other graduates from their own school and see them succeed. Look for alumni groups on sites like LinkedIn and start connecting and reaching out.
Even if they don’t know of job opportunities themselves, the people you network with have networks of their own. They could know someone who knows someone who has the perfect position for you. It all starts by simply reaching out. For more on growing your virtual network, check out our article here.
3. Do some research
Whether you’re preparing for an interview or not, it is always important to keep up with the latest trends and news in your desired industry. Many of which even have free daily newsletters laying out all of this information for you. For instance, those interested in the publishing industry sign up for Shelf Awareness, which is a publishing news site that sends out emails every morning laying out and explaining all that is happening in the field, good or bad.
While it’s important to know what’s happening in your field, it’s just as important to know what is happening within the companies you’d like to work for:
- Visit Glassdoor to research company culture
- Visit The MUSE to learn more on companies
- Follow them on social media, including LinkedIn
- Research their vision, mission, and even check their earnings reports if they’re a public company
- Follow the CEOs of the company and listen to any interviews or podcasts they have released to learn insider information
Doing your research is important, so don’t cut corners or be lazy. Look into the company, its leaders, and its competition. You’ve probably written many research papers during your time in undergrad, so you already have the skills necessary to conduct a thorough research session, and this part is no different.
4. Learn a new technical skill
If you’ve recently graduated and now have more time on your hands, use it wisely! Thanks to the internet, it is easier than ever to learn new things and acquire new skills. Take some time to look into what technical skills are most desired in your industry and try to teach yourself how to use those softwares.
While some of the top industry softwares such as Adobe Photoshop may be a little less accessible than others, check to see if the provider offers any free trials. If they do, download your free trial, use it and familiarize yourself with it while you can, and then add it to your resume. If they don’t, there are still plenty of online tutorials and free substitutions to choose from. There are also a handful of standard skills that any job seeker should know. For more guidance on what skills we’re talking about, you can read our article here.
5. Update your resume
Your resume is your first step into the job market, which should come as no surprise. Perhaps one of the most difficult aspects about a resume is the fact that there are so many varying opinions on how to perfect it.
Your resume should be a document that you consistently work on and edit. Keep it up to date and keep it professional. When applying for jobs, look at the descriptions of the responsibilities and tailor your resume to align with what that company is looking for.
Using these 5 tips, you can begin to separate yourself from the competition and begin your dream job. All your hard work has put you on your next path to success. So once again, we’d like to congratulate you on your graduation and we wish you luck!