2012 is here. New year. New goals. New resolutions. Finding that killer internship or landing an excellent first job was probably on the list for many of you. But how do you actually get there? Here are four suggestions you can implement today to help you stand out as a candidate for that first job or coveted internship.
1. Update your resume at the end of each semester.
Even if you’re a freshman, prepare a resume the minute you get to school. But this is not just about having a resume–it is about building your resume. You should have new work experience, internships, research projects, community service or activities to add to your resume EACH semester. Think about this: You want to be concerned about how you are going to fit everything on one page, not how big the font has to be so you fill the page. If you are simply going to class and getting good grades, you are not doing enough. Potential employers want to hire people who have demonstrated energy, passion and commitment. It is not enough to say you are hard working and ambitious–you have to show it!
2. Look for appealing job descriptions.
Do this regardless of whether you’re actually going to be looking for a job soon. Reading about these job openings will help you understand what employers are looking for in terms of academic coursework and skills. If you don’t have the relevant qualifications, you can be sure to get them before you graduate. The same is true for internships – see what relevant background you need to be a competitive candidate and make sure you meet their requirements.
3. Become a social media expert.
Probably all of you are comfortable with Facebook. But from working with a lot of Millennials, I’ve noticed that many just use Facebook for social reasons and their understanding of social medial seems to end there. The reality is that almost every business is utilizing social media to a greater degree each year and anyone who is knowledgeable in this area will definitely attract more attention as a potential hire. And in terms of the application for your current and future job searches, social media is a key component for anyone who is looking for a job or a job change. If you ignore this as a resource, you are missing out on a tremendous amount of valuable information and opportunities to network.
If you really want to show your passion, learn as much as you can by reading. You can even use LinkedIn to browse various news sources and sign up to receive a digest of articles in your area of interest. Know about breakthroughs and innovations. Learn which companies are growing and relocating–all valuable information to fuel your search and to show your desire and commitment.
So get started now and good luck! That job or internship is certainly within reach.
Lesley is president and founder of Priority Candidates, which prepares college students and recent graduates nationwide to get hired for their first jobs. Previously, Lesley spent more than 25 years in executive search, working with candidates from entry level to C-Suite executives in organizations ranging in size from small, family owned businesses to large international organizations. Her fundamental knowledge of what hiring manager’s look for is the core of what Priority Candidates does to prepare college students/recent grads to get hired now. An alumnus of Duke University who is based in New York City, Lesley has been featured in USA Today, ABC’s New York Viewpoint with Ken Rosato, ABC News with Art McFarland, The New York Times, NY Nightly News with NBC4’s Chuck Scarborough, eCampus News and John Tucker’s Small Business Report on Bloomberg Radio. Lesley always welcomes connections via LinkedIn, on Twitter or by email or phone, available on her website.