Graduates, you will need to stand out in the crowded sea of job seekers. There will soon be many graduation caps and gowns floating in that sea of competition. We all know that a college degree is a key indicator of financial success as well as employ-ability; you have now entered the new category of the college graduate.
Remember, you are at a turning point in your life. Feel the excitement and sense of accomplishment. Keep that momentum alive. You may want to take a brief breather and relax but don't lose focus. Enjoy yourself and bask in your accomplishment but your next chapter will challenge you. Perhaps you will apply your newly acquired degree in your current job being hopeful of advancement or more money, you may look for a new career. Nonetheless, your life will change.
Be prepared. Before you conduct a job search, get to know yourself and the educated, critical thinking person that you have become; grow into your new sheepskin! Decide how to impress yourself before you present your skills to prospective employers. Research your field of interest again. Brush up on the competencies of leadership and practice those qualities.
In an ever-changing workforce, don't get caught behind the times. Spend time on prospective employers' websites. Research the current challenges of the field and be prepared to discuss your creative approach to problem solving. Remember, creativity is the number one competency employers want.
The process of searching for jobs is easy enough. You visit Career Builder, Monster, and the other job posting sites, find the jobs you want, send the resume, and wallah! you get magically considered for the job. It's a simple process but your resume goes into an abyss unless you can grab the attention of the company.
But, how do you know that you will be seriously considered for the job? And are you prepared to present yourself in the best light? There are likely hundreds if not thousands of candidates for the same job. The answer is also simple; unless you dazzle the reviewer, your candidacy will be ignored.
Months ago, I lamented about the concerns with employers refusing to consider job candidates that were not currently employed. This has continued to be a problem for job candidates but you need to make sure you are not in the rejection pile. Describe your educational pursuits as your job.
• First of all, become employed... somewhere, somehow. That's easy enough to say but find a job. If you are a student or soon to be graduate, discuss opportunities for student or temporary work at the college. Volunteer at a local organization that is in the business of your goals or a local charity. It keeps you fresh.
• Glean on to a favorite professor. Believe me, we love it when former students return to visit the classroom and ask for career advice and the latest "buzz" in the business. Listen to mentors to be able to discuss the language of the industry. Familiarize yourself with the latest news in your field. You become the source of knowledge that companies need to stay afloat and thrive. Keep that in mind when you are preparing to market yourself.
• Make a list of the most memorable learning experiences from your educational program. Don't lose those thoughts, ever. Think about how you will apply these pearls of wisdom in your job search and in your new career. Remember, with your new college degree comes new respect and expectations. Be prepared to apply your newly acquired knowledge and hold an informed discussion with prospective employers.
• Don't let them see you sweat. Of course you are concerned about the competition but the more prepared you are, the luckier you become. Practice your confidence by rehearsing expected interview questions. Your confidence will grow with your comfort zone. When you dance, the steps you learn become second nature to you, then you can concentrate on polish and flair. The same thing applies to marketing yourself. Learn those steps well and you will see your luck improve.
• Remember, your fresh degree will entice many employers. The new education methods using contemporary cases and actual experiences helps graduates to apply current knowledge using modern methodology and technology. Focus on your research and what you learned. Prepare to discuss examples of success stories that you have studied.
• Write an impressive cover letter. Granted, many employees don't read them, but many do. You may wonder how can you impress companies if you have been a student with temporary work experiences outside of your real career goals. Similar to your opening paragraph on your resume, focus on your accomplished, creative projects. Don't forget, many employers are looking for new blood and new ideas. Tell them what you have done and what you will do for their organization.
Don't forget, there are many people proud of your accomplishments. Keep that momentum going and be proud of yourself. It will translate into a sense of the very self confidence that you need to go to the next level.
Congratulations graduates, always remember the pride and confidence that you feel today and apply that to your career success!
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