Today we have a guest post by Benjamin Kim of RedHoop, a super helpful site that helps self-directed learners search for online courses across different platforms. Ben’s job-hunting tips are not to be missed! Read on!
For us recent grads, getting a job in this economy is tough.
The unemployment rate may be around 7%, but according to the Center for Labor Market Studies at Northeastern University, 36.7% of recent grads are “mal-employed,” meaning they hold jobs that don’t require a college degree.
If you’re like me, you didn’t go to college and accrue tens of thousands of dollars in debt to wait tables or bartend, but that’s the unfortunate reality facing many young people today. During my year of cover letters, job fairs, and interviews, I struggled to make myself stand out – a fancy degree from a private university meant little without substance to back it up.
Simply put, a one-page resume is no longer enough for today’s job search. Spending hours upon hours on job boards may have worked for people in the past, but for those of us who are entering this rapidly changing workforce we must make ourselves stand out.
Here are some job hunting tips to help you put your best foot forward:
1. Display your passion and present it well!
Websites like LinkedIn and Accredible are great ways to get started. If not, consider making an online portfolio – while it may be perceived as a resource for artists, aspiring professionals should consider getting one as well. This way you can display your work from classes, volunteering, freelancing, passions, etc. in a medium that truly highlights your personality.
One note about social media: as it becomes an integral aspect of the job search it’s easy to forget that a simple Google search can reveal more information than you’d like! So before anything, clean up your social media. Toggle your privacy settings. This is not to scare you, but instead I’m stressing the importance of finding ways to separate your personal social life and your professional work life.
2. Hone your knowledge and skills as often as you can
A regular course load won’t be enough to impress an employer. Make it apparent that you’re doing more than just the minimum. Skill-based courses will provide you the practical experience that transfers well into the work force. However, I’m a big proponent in taking a wide range of topics that may interest you, so I recommend taking additional courses or learning valuable skills like online. (You can use RedHoop to find more than 4000 online courses, 1500 free online courses).
3. Create genuine relationships, don’t network
One critical mistake many people make is not conducting a deep, insightful research on your prospective employer. If you’re at a job fair, don’t ask questions like “so what do you guys do?” or “what would I do at this job?” Instead, you should be asking questions that really showcase your deep understanding of the company, as well as its industry. Be ready to emphasize why you think you’d be a great fit by relating your previous experiences with the company’s core competencies.
Recruiters get tens, if not hundreds, of unsolicited emails every day from job seekers. People often forget recruiters are not only responsible for bringing talent to their respective companies, but also making sure new hires fit the culture. If you’re shooting off random emails with your resume attached, those emails will likely go straight to the trash or receive one my favorite replies: “I’ll send this to the right people,” only to never hear from them ever again.
Be genuinely interested in not only the job position, but also be genuine to recruiters. After dealing with hundreds of hungry, ambitious job-seekers, they’ll appreciate someone without a giant “Please give me a job” sign posted on their forehead. Of course, your goal is to get a job, but your relationship with a recruiter is a long-term investment that will pay great dividends if you build a genuine personal foundation. Instead, ask great questions and avoid talking about yourself. After meeting them for the first time, follow up via email and briefly explain again why you’d be a great fit – professionally and culturally. Also, to keep the conversation flowing, consider asking a question to further highlight your interest and knowledge. By knowing whether or not you’ll be a great culture fit, you can separate yourself from the students who interview for the sake of interviewing. Instead, you’ll be a job-seeker that is determined and prepared to tackle the challenges ahead, making yourself stand out from the crowd.
Ben is a recent graduate from the University of Notre Dame, where he majored in Television and Media Studies. He is currently interning at RedHoop(www.redhoop.com), a website that helps self-directed learners further their education by making it easier to search for online courses. For any questions, clarifications, or comments, he can be reached on LinkedIn (benk.im).