Potential employers get bombarded every year with resumes from recent college graduates. You need to do everything possible to stand out from all the others.
1) It’s about more than your resume
Not only do you need a good looking and well-designed resume, you need a top-notch resume, too. Click here to download a great resume template to ensure you have just this. A cover letter gives you the opportunity to stand out. You’ll get the chance to show a little more of who you are in ways your resume can’t. Finally, you’ll be able to more easily tailor a cover letter toward the particular job for which you are applying.
All of this will make it more likely that your potential employer will stop and look more closely at your resume.
Be sure and find out who, specifically, will be receiving your resume and address the cover letter to that person. This will automatically set you apart from all the people who are too lazy to do this step and just use something generic like “To Whom It May Concern.”
2) Research is important
Don’t just take the information from the ad. Do some research on the company. Visit their web site and see what they are about. Learn something about them and include that type of information in your cover letter and even in your resume if it’s appropriate.
This will make your cover letter and resume more relevant to the position and to the person reading them. You can even write your mission statement using this information. Not only will this help you stand out in the first stage of the process, but you’ll also be more prepared for the interview, should you get one.
3) Be well rounded
What makes you different? What do you have that can bring value to the company besides your skillset? Is there anything in terms of your life experience, such as volunteer work, or even your courses at school, that set you apart from others, which would help your appeal as a candidate?
Yes, this even includes hobbies or groups you belong to outside of school or work. Even athletic team experience matters. There are many important social and life skills that can be learned from being part of an athletic team that will be needed at a company.
If you don’t think you have anything, you can start now. There are lots of groups and activities, or even online courses, that you can take or join.
4) Remember that it’s about you
A degree might be needed to even apply for a job, but it’s you that they are considering. You have to sell yourself and what you can bring to a position, not your degree.
In fact, many degrees are not directly relevant to jobs people end up applying for. So think about what skills, both technical and personal, that may help you do the job.
This could include things like being able to make deadlines, doing extensive research, preparing and giving presentations, as well as analytical skills or interpersonal skills. Don’t underestimate interpersonal skills. Navigating an office can be tricky at times and interpersonal skills can be really important in helping an office and company run smoothly and efficiently.
You have so much more to offer than you might think at first. Don’t limit yourself to the obvious college degree and associated knowledge.
5) Confidence goes a long way.
Confidence and a positive personality matter a lot. This isn’t just about your attitude. It also applies to your language, both verbal and body language. How you present yourself can easily change someone’s perception of you, for better or worse.
You need to sell yourself. Forget language like “I feel I can.” Selling yourself is not being arrogant. No one is going to support you the way you will. If you know you have something that is unique and important to the employer, make sure you let them know very clearly. Confidence and presentation matters.
A great example if with your cover letter if you are applying for a position for which your degree may not be relevant. Don’t focus on that. In fact, don’t even mention it. Focus on your skills and attributes that you know you have that will help you do the job well. That’s all that matters. Focus on how they’ll benefit from hiring you.
Networking really is important. Most job opportunities are filled before they are even seen by the public because somebody knows somebody who would be perfect for the job.
Go through your friends and family and even friends of friends. It’s important to get your name out there and letting them know you are job hunting. You never know what might come from it.
7) Don’t pass up experience
Too many college graduates feel they should start at the top. But the real world doesn’t work that way. You need to be prepared to start at the bottom and take that opportunity to get some very valuable experience.
This will only help you improve your attractiveness to a company as a potential employee. If you do it well it can lead to bigger and better things that you hadn’t even thought were possible.