Approximately 3.3 million high school students are graduating in 2015, according to the National Center for Education Statistics. Additionally, 1.85 million students will receive their bachelor’s degrees this year. While some of these will go onto further education and others will enter the military or explore volunteerships, many will be pounding the pavement in search of jobs. Unfortunately, the job market remains intensely competitive for new grads, but the good news is that there are some things you can do to position yourself for success. Read on to learn four top tips for today’s job-seeking grads.
1. Narrow Your Search
Sending out hundreds of resumes and hoping one will stick is not only a giant waste of time, but is also unlikely to produce meaningful results. Instead, apply only to those jobs which are a match for your background, skills and interests.
This will also give you the time to customize each resume and cover letter for the job, increasing your chances of getting hired.
2. Use Social Media to Your Advantage
According to a recent Wall Street Journal article, as many as two out of five companies use social media to screen candidates.
While cleaning up your Facebook and Twitter accounts is the bare minimum, it also pays to go the extra mile and create a professional profile on LinkedIn. Or, consider building a personal website amassing all of your social media into one central, easily accessible place.
Social media also offers the invaluable opportunity to network. By joining Facebook groups and “liking” various industry organizations, you can keep up with the latest news and trends.
But don’t forget the power of face-to-face networking, which can also help you make important connections.
3. Be Pitch Perfect
In an era of instant gratification, it’s critical to be able to express yourself. Practice a pitch that’s concise yet compelling, conveying who you are, what you do, and why it’s important. Try to keep it to 30 seconds or less.
Not sure where to get started? Your high school or college career center can offer valuable insight into crafting the perfect pitch, in addition to offering other helpful job search-related advice.
4. Refine Your Resume
Think your resume is perfect? Think again. Rather than viewing your resume as a necessary evil, consider it a tool to help you get a dream job.
Spend time going over your resume looking for everything from grammatical mistakes to skills gaps. If and when you identify any issues, take swift corrective measures to ensure that your resume makes the best possible impression.
One great way to fill a skills gap? Volunteer or intern. This offers the opportunity to try your hand at something new while strengthening your resume. For example, if you’re interested in marketing but lack marketing training, these skills can be acquired through a volunteering or internship opportunity.
While finding a job takes time, finding the right job involves an even greater investment for today’s freshly minted grads. These four tips can help you improve your marketability and make a positive impression on hiring managers.