Graduation is right around the corner for many college students. You may feel as if the weight will finally be lifted off your shoulders once you’ve completed all of your coursework, but then the job search begins.
Unfortunately, although obtaining a bachelor’s degree is certainly commendable, it won’t make you stand out as a job candidate in today’s tough market. In fact, for each open job, you will not only be competing with other recent graduates, but also experienced professionals, older jobseekers, and career changers. You’ll need more than your education to convince employers you’re the best candidate for the job. Here are some things to start doing now to prepare your resume:
Not every piece of experience you list on your resume needs to be a full-time, paid position. Volunteer experience, such as working with a student group, holding a leadership position on-campus, or assisting a local non-profit are also valuable to potential employers. It’s likely that you’ve learned new skills during these volunteering positions, and you may have even gotten a chance to put your classroom knowledge to work on occasion.
Haven’t volunteered throughout your college career? Now is the time to join a club that interests you or search for volunteer opportunities through your college volunteer center. This shows employers that you were active on-campus during college and can provide pieces of work to display in your professional portfolio.
2. Keep track of accomplishments/awards/honors
If you’ve held a job during school, been a leader in a group, or completed volunteer work, you should keep track of accomplishments you’ve had at each position. Employers no longer want to see your job responsibilities (if you were a cashier, we all know that you handled cash and worked with customers). They want to know why you excelled in that position and what skills you learned while working there.
Same goes for awards or honors you obtain — keep track of these and list them on your resume, space permitting. If you received an award for journalism and you’re hoping be to a writer, it just might be the edge you need to beat out another candidate.
Haven’t been keeping track of these things? Start a document listing every position you’ve held in the last several years and think back to what you accomplished at each one. Look through important papers to record awards and honors you’ve received or search your college website for articles that may have listed your name.
3. Learn new skills
Since your degree might not be enough to set you apart, you should look into learning outside of your program in order to obtain skills others likely won’t have. For instance, if you’re going to work in public relations, it might be beneficial to know graphic design or learn how to manage social media accounts. Look into free webinars or low-cost classes that you can take to become proficient with these skills and then list them on your resume.
Haven’t learned any new skills yet? There are plenty of free webinars every day that can help you learn something new. Search your favorite industry blog to see when they’re holding their next webinar, browse LinkedInevents, or do a Google search to see what comes up. You can also look into local events at a nearby community college or workshops held on-campus.
What other job search tips would you provide to soon-to-be graduates?
- Resunate: Solution to Your CV Worries (careergeekblog.com)
- Planning a Job Search Part Three: Prepare To Be Contacted (messengerassociates.wordpress.com)
- Advice From a Recent Grad: Avoid My Job Search Mistakes (wannabmarketing.wordpress.com)