As college graduation edges nearer, students become more and more anxious about entering the job market. While worrying about the future is natural, it’s important to take action to increase your marketability before you graduate. Here are some tips to get you started.
Build your resume.
Getting internships and other relevant experience is the most obvious way to do this, but involvement in campus and community organizations definitely helps as well. You can build the skills section of your resume by expanding your expertise through your college courses. Good research, writing, oral communication, computer software, and foreign language skills are always attractive to employers.
Making a good first impression is essential. Employers have your resume, but this is your one chance to set yourself apart from all of the other applicants. Make sure to impress them. Be confident (but not cocky) and professional. Always research the company to show your interest, be prepared for any question they may ask you and ask questions of your own at the end. And don’t forget to follow up afterward!
Be a leader.
While leadership skills are an obvious asset in any workplace, they’re also capable of highlighting other important qualities. Good leadership displays dedication and enthusiasm. If you take on the challenge of creating something that no one has done before, it shows that you’re an innovator. It makes you unique and gives employers confidence in your ability to complete any task they throw at you with great success.
Network, network, network.
I cannot stress this one enough. A lot of the time finding a job comes down to who you know instead of what you know. Social media is an easy way to connect with businesses, employers, and anyone else who may aid you in landing that first big job. And be careful not to cut ties with internship sites because it’s not unusual for companies to offer their interns jobs in the future!
Know how to sell yourself.
Keep in mind that you are entering a market. You’re the supplier and employers are the demanders. Your goal is to make your product—your labor—desirable to potential employers. Being able to take your skill set and mold it to employer needs will help you tremendously. This especially comes in handy when applying for jobs that aren’t directly related to your degree or that you’re not entirely qualified for. For example, analytical and research skills obtained from a social science degree can be easily applied to other fields. So make sure that you focus on selling your skills rather than your degree. You may prove that you’re still the best candidate for the job if you learn how to market yourself properly.