While it's no secret the job market is
extremely competitive, especially for recent college graduates, there are a
number ways in which you can drastically increase the chances of landing your
dream entry-level job. By blending sheer ambition and determination coupled
with my secret sauce, I'm confident you'll have the necessary tools and tricks
to be well on your way.
We live in a digital world. The notion of individual, digital brand health (IDBH) is more important than ever before; a simple resume and cover letter won't cut it any longer. The purpose of a resume is to offer up a concise self-marketing tool. The word concise is the key here. Resumes should be no longer than one page, must look aesthetically pleasing to the eye and require font large enough that the reader does not need to strain. All the in all, you get the point; your resume cannot possibly fit your entire life story and all your "unique" experiences that go along with it. The good news, professionally focused social media platforms like Google +, Linkedin and About.Me give you the opportunity to efficiently and effectively promote yourself without bounds. If you're going to utilize social media, transform yourself into an active contributor; get noticed and earn the respect of others.
While you're most likely familiar with G+ and Linkedin, About.Me is a wonderful free, self-marketing tool I highly recommend you take advantage of. With it, you have the ability to custom tailor your professional profile in the blink of an eye. Include your custom link on your resume and I guarantee employers will be impressed. G + is trending upwards and will become increasingly popular in the years to come. If you have not created a G + profile just yet, don't procrastinate, get it done. Be sure to have the theme "professional" planted in your mind when creating and optimizing your social media profiles. In my opinion, Facebook is all about social...not professional. Be sure to maintain strict privacy settings, only accept friend requests from people you know and do your best to unfriend people you are no longer close with. Doing the following will decrease the chances an employer will be able to successfully locate and view your profile. One of the simplest and most popular tricks is to alter the spelling of your name so it's more or less unsearchable.
Professional Networking Offline
There are just as many networking opportunities offline as there are online; the downside, real world opportunities take up substantial time and resources ultimately requiring much more from the individual. The good news, if you're willing to put in the effort, in-person networking can be extremely effective. A quick piece of advice, if you're ever conversing with someone you'd like to get to know, be sure to ask for their business card. Within a few days after, add them on Linkedin and remind them where and when you met in addition to a very brief summary of the discussion that took place. Doing so will ensure they accept your invitation to connect and you won't have to worry about misplacing their card or keeping it at all for that matter.
There are a number of niche-based networking groups focused on facilitating introductions among like-minded people. One of the more notable networks is Meetup.com which specializes in local meetups. If you live in a well populated area, there is a good chance you'll find a meetup near you. For those looking to enter the workforce, pay special attention to groups that are focused on business networking or information sessions on topics you're interested in and be sure to attend; you'll be surprised at both the quality and caliber of the people you will meet. When I first moved to Dallas, Texas, I joined groups such as Linking Together DFW North Dallas and Texas Young Professionals in addition to countless others. Many of the more influential connections I've made have been through these type of groups. A number of organizations and associations exist solely for the purpose of networking; don't be afraid to reach out to them.
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In the end, securing employment will be stressful, time consuming and at times, frustrating. With that said, be sure to exploit your age, it's an irreplaceable asset that will surely depreciate over time. From my experience, more experienced professionals are more eager and willing to help out younger inexperienced individuals because they pose little threat in the short-term. If you're going to reach out, be sure to do so by phone and leave brief, but detailed message if you are unable to reach anyone; follow up with an email.
Daniel Black graduated from Claremont McKenna College in May of 2011 and serves as an education outreach advisor for some websites. As a thought leader in the education space, Daniel enjoys providing prospective students, students and recent graduates with advice, suggestions and recommendations.