Graduating? It’s Time to Turn Your Skills Into a Job

Well look at that. It’s time for another post about graduating, job searching and everything in between!

This past weekend, I had the opportunity to attend my favorite public relations event of the year, #PRSSAKC Summit. Held at the UMB Field Club at Sporting Park, it was a full-day event that involved Q&A panels, media presentations, crisis communication overviews and my favorite (and most relevant to me at the moment), job search tips from a professional recruiter.

I’ve slowing been beginning my job search and after hearing her presentation, I realized that I was kind of approaching it the entirely wrong way. But, I mean, how was I supposed to know? The only job searches I’ve performed have been for summer jobs and internship gigs. So how did I know there was a right and wrong way to go about searching for jobs?!?! And I’m guessing that I’m not the only one who’s in this predicament. For that reason, I’m sharing the top five tips the recruiter pointed out about performing an entry-level job search – or any job search for that matter!

Number One (and most important): Treat yourself like a client and your job search as a campaign.
This statement could not be more true. It actually made me start to take an entirely different approach to my job search. Start off by listing your wants and needs in a job and then the things you are willing to compromise on. Once you have this list created, you can begin fabricating a campaign. How are you going to go about finding a job? Your objective has been outlined in the client stage, so now it’s time to create the strategies and tactics for your job search. This may take a little bit of time, but it will present you with a much clearer path to finding your first job.

Number Two: Present yourself
Found a job you’re interested in and want to apply for? Don’t do it unless you can present yourself in a professional and cohesive manner. As an almost graduated student, you should have professional documentation that includes a strategically sculpted résumé and cover letter, business cards that display your personal brand and a take-along printed portfolio that contains a variety of examples of your best work.
In addition to your printed documents, you should also possess an online portfolio that has all of your best work and links to where you can find the material if it has been published anywhere. Sites such as Wix, Portfoliobox (more for design) and Clippings.me are great places to start!
Furthermore, perfect your personal marketing statement (also known as the elevator speech). You never know when you’ll meet someone, so always be prepared to state who you are, what you’re looking for, what you’re good at and how you can help their business. And remember to keep it within 1-2 minutes.

Number Three: Forge a new alliance
Now hopefully you’ve put your college years to good use, networked and created relationships with professionals in the industry (If you haven’t, let me just say this – you’re incredibly far behind the rest of your peers). Find one, or more, of your contacts that would be willing to act as a mentor to you throughout your job search. This can help you tremendously because a lot of companies look for new hires through their relationships rather than posting them on the Internet.
Another method is to find an opportunity to volunteer in your community. Companies are looking for potential hires that have a passion to help others and will often choose to hire someone with volunteer experience.

Number Four: Pick up the phone
Our generation has become so lazy. We are so used to sending text messages and emails that a phone call can actually go a long way. It’s a known fact that employers will answer a phone call or return a voicemail before they respond to an email. And if that’s the case, know how to leave clean, crisp voicemail. It never hurts to practice.

Number Five: Make the best use of your time
Spend a little bit of time on your job search each week. Research job titles and descriptions that you are interested in, so that you know exactly what you want if someone asks you what you’re looking for. Spend only 25 percent of your time applying to online job postings. Instead, spend the bulk of your time researching companies and compiling a database of companies you’d like to work for. Once you have your list created, pick up the phone and give them a call. Simply calling and stating that you’re in the job market and why you’re interested in working for that particular company gets your foot in the door. They may ask you to send in your résumé and will keep you in mind for future job openings. And make sure to keep in contact, so that you stay at the top of their minds. Lastly, reach out to your connections and ask if they know of any job openings that you’d fit the profile for. Usually professionals will bend over backwards to help you.

So to recap, take the time to figure out exactly what you want and how you’re going to go about getting it. Polish up your print and online documents. Put your connections to good use and make new ones through volunteering. Skip the email and call instead. And use your time wisely. If you take these tips to heart utilize them in your job search, I can guarantee you’ll be miles ahead of your peers/competition because more than likely, they won’t be doing any of these things.

I always enjoy learning and expanding my knowledge base, so I’d love to hear tips that helped you land your first (or current) job! Share them by commenting below!

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