The statistics are finally beginning to look up: the National Association of Colleges and Employers’ Job Outlook 2010 Spring Update shows employers expect to hire 5.3 percent more new college graduates in 2009-10 than they did in 2008-09. But competition is only going to increase as the job market improves. Not only will the unemployed be looking, but so too will the currently employed.
With graduation only days away, what can you do right now to improve your competitive edge in the job market?
Know what you want and what you bring to the table. This may sound silly, but sit down and write out what you’re looking for in a job and what unique elements you would bring to the position. After all, if you can’t articulate those points to yourself, how are you supposed to explain them to a potential employer?
Polish your cover letter and résumé. Let me make one thing clear: your cover letter and résumé will not land you a job. Period. The point of these documents is to land you an interview, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t important!
Brush up on your interviewing skills. Friends, family and your career center staff can be great for serving as the interviewer in a mock interview. If possible, tape your interview and review it afterward. You’ll be surprised at all the little things you do that might come across as irritating or distracting! (If you’re preparing for a real upcoming interview, don’t forget to check Glassdoor to see if the organization’s interview questions are listed!)
Enhance your online presence. Clean up your Facebook profile. Start a professional blog. Create an online portfolio. Set up a Google Alert for your name. The list goes on and on, but make sure you are showing up (positively!) online when hiring managers search for your name.
Network – online and off. It almost goes without saying these days, but 80 percent of jobs are secured through networking. But, you need to do more than tweet and update your Facebook status! Check out Meetup.com for groups in your area, as well as your industry’s professional association and alumni chapters.
Research your worth. Even before I started blogging for Glassdoor, I was shouting their praises from the rooftops. I hate it when companies ask new graduates for salary requirements, but it happens quite often. Use Glassdoor to help make sure you provide an appropriate range.
What else would you add to this list?