Seniors are looking for full-time jobs. Sophomores and juniors are wanting for internships. And, freshmen can’t believe they are almost finished with their first year of college. Campus is buzzing with activities and career centers are chocked full of recruiters. Though, with people everywhere … how do you stand out during your job search?
According to a new study by the National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE), employers are looking for ten key attributes on college graduates’ resumes. So, double click the Word icon on your desktop and open your resume. Does yours include relevant accomplishments that focus on these areas? If not, start … editing … now.
- Leadership, initiative, ability to work in a team, strong work ethic
- Problem-solving skills, analytical / quantitative abilities
- Verbal and written communication skills
- Technical and computer skills
Most career centers will post a list of all attending companies prior to the career fair. Before you attend, review the list and jot down your top 10 – 15 ideal employers. Then research each one of them.
Check out their corporate and career websites, conduct a Google search to see what you can find out, and review Indeed or Glassdoor to see what others are saying. Most importantly, know the positions that they’re hiring for and create company-specific resumes. On the day of the career fair, bring your A-game to your “A-list.”
Confidently, approach these companies and demonstrate that you’ve done your research. This alone will make you stand out from about 95% of all other college job or internship seekers!
From the time you enter the building until you leave it, your candidacy is being evaluated. Everything that you say (and don’t say), everything you do (and don’t do) will factor into whether or not you get an offer. So, arrive 10 – 15 minutes early, dress to impress and be prepared.
Preparation is key to a successful interview. You should research the company and position ahead of time, and have a few solid questions to ask each interviewer that you meet. Be prepared to stay longer if needed; don’t seem like you’re in a hurry to leave. And, lastly be engaging, friendly and … just be yourself … a professional version of yourself.
Three ways that you can stand out from all other potential applicants include: connecting with the company or individual recruiter via social media, sending thank you letters or emails after interviews, and having strong follow up.
These seemingly little touches will help keep you front of mind, create an additional emotional connection, and continue to build rapport with people with whom you’ve met. In a recent LinkedIn group discussion, many recruiters from all over the country admitted that if all things between two candidates were equal … thank you letters ended up being THE deciding factor!
Job hunting and interviewing are a lot of work and currently, within many industries, professions and towns, there is a greater supply of job seekers than jobs. Therefore, the best piece of advice that I can give you is this: utilize all of the resources (resume boot camps, mock interviews, etc.) that are offered by your campus career center! It is important for you to do everything within your power to positively stand out from the crowd, and there are people there that can help you.
Best of luck in your job and internship search!
ARTICLE BY SHANNON SMEDSTAD
Shannon Smedstad spends her days leading social media and employment branding at GEICO and has more than 13 years of HR experience. Her company is currently hiring interns in select locations and college seniors for accelerated leadership programs. You can connect with her on Facebook, LinkedIn or Twitter. (Opinions are her own and not those of her company.)
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