This year millions of college graduates donned a cap and gown and reached out on that stage for the diploma they’ve worked so hard to earn. Now comes the real adventure: getting a job in their chosen profession.
Of course, before the job comes the job search. Well-meaning friends, parents, and relatives are all ready with insight and guidance. The problem is, much of this advice comes from decades ago. The job market has evolved, and some job hunting strategies have dramatically changed.
To get ahead in your career, you need to stand out in your search. This can be even more difficult when trying to get an entry-level job right out of school. To make the journey easier, the career coaches at GetFive lend some expertise.
Rule 1: Customize your resume for each application.
Previously you could have a few different resumes, perhaps one for each industry which you applied. Today you need to customize each resume you send out to perfectly match the job description. Nearly every job you apply for uses an Applicant Tracking System (ATS). This software will pluck resumes based on programmed words and phrases. This means that you need to include many industry keywords, including language directly from the job description. If you don’t and use a generic resume, you may get rejected because the bots won’t think you’re qualified.
Rule 2: Focus on quality.
Older generations may believe that it’s the quantity of applications that counts in a job search. The more you submit, the better your chances of getting an interview and a job, right? The truth is if you don’t focus your job search to industries, locations, or companies you really want to work for, you may end up disappointed in where you ultimately end up working. Instead, focus on quality of applications you submit, not quantity. Every job you apply for should be a job you want. If you’re only feeling so-so about it, don’t waste your time.
Rule 3: Enhance your online presence.
Your resume is a main tool for selling yourself, but it’s not the only one. Your online presence is incredibly important. For starters, make sure you have a robust LinkedIn profile. Use it to expand your network and learn about your industry. Furthermore, clean up your online presence completely. Hiring managers will “Google” you. They likely will poke around social media, too. Anything inappropriate may cost you a job, so make sure you present a professional image and make all personal profiles private.
Rule 4: Who you know matters.
Searching job ads shouldn’t be your only strategy. Today, networking is more important than ever. In fact, the majority of jobs are found through networking, with one survey showing 85 percent of all jobs are filled via networking. Graduation is the ideal reason to reach out to relatives, professors, and the alumni associations to make contacts. Join industry associations and fill your schedule with networking events. Finally, request informational interviews at companies of interest, even if there isn’t a job opening. This is a wonderful proactive strategy that can give you a step ahead when an opening does occur.