Get Noticed – Tips For College Students Looking For Work

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Getting noticed isn’t easy…

With today’s economy the way it is, employers have an influx of candidates to choose from. This means your ability to land the first few jobs you apply to is slim to none. You may have been dreaming of landing the perfect job right out of college, but the truth is – you usually have to go through about ten to fifteen rounds in the ring before you know how to properly pull all the right punches.

What does this mean for you exactly?

To spell it out for you… You’re going to need the right equipment and practice your pitch. You may have what it takes on paper, but in person you closing the deal is a whole different ballgame. The more interviews you go through, the better you’re going to get. Learn how to preach to the choir and you will land the job.

Our goal is to help you along the way by breaking it down for you in stages…

#1: CREATE AN AMAZING RESUME & PORTFOLIO
Having only one resume is the thing of the past. More than likely, you’ll have 3-5 resumes that describe your skills and character based on the type of job you are applying to. You may have one for a coordinating position, a clerical position, a receptionist position, and a manager position. Structuring your resume around the job you’re applying to will increase your potential with the HR department.

Starting with a basic format is where you need to begin. Once you’ve built the main pieces of your resume, then you can get creative and add personal touches (like color, side bars, or even a picture of yourself). Every resume should have at least 5 categories. They are:

  1. Introduction or Objective. A brief summary of your professional skills and goals.
  2. Skills. You can list them out in bullets points or in a table format.
  3. Education. Where you graduated, any specific classes that may apply to the job your applying to and or special awards you may have received. 
  4. Work history. Even if it’s the Yogartini shop down the road, it’s a starting point. Researching the positions responsibilities you previously held on that company’s website is a good way to enhance your language for the job descriptions. 
  5. References. Anyone who can give you a positive rating is a good referral.  Letter or recommendations can be added here as well and/or attached to your resume. 

You may or may not have the job experience yet. If you do, you’ve got somewhere to start from. If you’re starting from scratch, then you can structure your resume around your accomplishments, school history and examples of how you meet the expected qualifications listed on the job posting. This is generally where an introduction letter comes in handy.

#2: HOW TO STAND OUT
As mentioned before, competition is stiff in the job market right now. That means that not only should your resume look good, but so should your presentation. Business cards, online portfolios and follow up thank you cards or emails are three ways you can look your best and present yourself in a new, unique light.

#3: PRACTICE YOUR SALES PITCH
Although you may not call it a sales pitch, selling your skills and what you can bring to a new team is just that. You’re selling yourself – so from nonverbal to verbal communication, you gotta know how to shake what your mama gave you like it ain’t no thing.  Don’t worry, we’re not referring to the street walking kind of shakes, but we are referring to the tried and true practices of perfecting your own unique pitch to land the job.

Interview questions to be aware of…

  1. What is your greatest strength?
  2. What is your greatest weakness? 
  3. How do you handle stress and pressure?
  4. Describe a difficult work situation / project and how you overcame it.
  5. How do you evaluate success?
  6. Why are you leaving your current job? 
  7. Why do you want this job? 
  8. Why should we hire you? 
  9. What are your goals for the future? 
  10. Tell me about yourself. 

It helps if you…

  1. Massage your message. After reviewing the top 10 QUESTIONS MOST COMPANIES ASK, practice your own replies in a mirror, at the gym in your head or with a friend. Practice makes perfect, and if you can maneuver through the questions with little to no hesitation the interviewer will feel more confident in your abilities. 
  2. Know what the details are before hand. Don’t wing it. Read up on the company, who their clients are and what their expectations are relating to the position.
  3. Have back up. This means references (NO – mommy and daddy don’t count, sorry kids no hand-holding here).  Academic advisors, professors, your RA, your parents friends, or even you friends parents will all help. Don’t forget to ask before you put them on your resume. Inform them that you are searching and give them the low down on how they can help you. 
  4. Engage with the interrogator. Any valid interviewer is going to be aware of how stressful the situation is so they’ll be lenient up until a certain point. Engaging with them will help the transition and flow of questions. Even if you feel like you’re in a line up or waiting for your mug shot, you’ve got to stand up and face the music. Inquiring about their desk items like, “hey, cute kids” or “I like your watch” will ease the tension. Building a rapport with the person who is interviewing you is a great way break the ice.  Humor helps too, but just remember to keep it clean!
  5. Know your strengths and know them well. The job you applied to is looking for a specific criteria. If you match it and landed an interview, focus on how you can use that to your advantage by inserting those strengths at key points in the questions. Such as the “why do you want to work here” question. The interviewer isn’t just asking about your skills, they’re looking to see how you view yourself.  Be humble, but let them know you know how to navigate through the murky waters as well by replying with something like “Well, I graduated from <school name> recently and I’m looking to get my feet wet with an established company such as yours.  I’ve been following your company for some time now and feel like it’s a right fit because based on your qualifications I meet A, B, and C.” 

Be patient, be persistent and knock them out with your best shot. Good luck to you on your job hunt! As a Dorm Room Movers Author, feel free to leave your comments. 


Peace,

Miki

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