You’ve got your degree and you’re ready to go out and start a career. Now what? Whether it’s on paper, online or in person, you want to publicize your accomplishments to potential employers—don’t leave them guessing what qualities you bring to the table. It may feel uncomfortable promoting yourself but if you don’t, who will?
It’s an essential part of any job search, one that includes meeting the right people, making new contacts and building a stronger presence in your field.
Let’s take a look at a few things you can do to better demonstrate your accomplishments.
Build a Rockstar Resume
An updated resume is vital as you begin your career search.
Resumes are not uniform and must be customized depending on the particular job or opportunity you’re applying to. This is because every company, program, and organization—no matter how alike in nature—is looking for a distinct set of skills, prerequisite experience, and a clear picture to how these align to the position and will provide immediate value.
This same advice goes for your cover letter. Take time to tailor your cover letter to the position and clearly demonstrate what you would bring to the company.
To standout above the thousands of others who are applying for the same positions, you will need a resume that:
- Captures the hiring manager’s attention by selling YOUR unique value
- Delivers hard-hitting, quantifiable, and relevant achievements
- Meets the hiring manager’s needs and is customized to the job description
Virtually Launch Your Career
Are you on LinkedIn? If not, you should be!
LinkedIn is the largest professional social networking site on the web and one of the best resources to launch or advance your career. LinkedIn affords plenty of opportunities for you to network with co-workers, classmates and most importantly decision makers of the companies you hope to work for. Please keep in mind when networking that it is not about what they can do for you, but rather what you can do to help them. Whether you’re just entering the workforce or have been working for years, you want to influence people and be known as an expert in your respected field. You accomplish this by providing assistance whenever possible. Fortunately, LinkedIn affords plenty of opportunities for you to do just that.
In addition to building your professional presence online through LinkedIn, it’s also critical that you monitor your presence on other popular social networking sites such as Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Employers use social media to screen potential hires. Keep that in mind as you’re uploading photos from a night out on the town!
Depending on the type of job you want you should consider creating an online portfolio, which serves as a one-stop-shop for your work and helps illustrate your value to a potential employer. Your online portfolio could also be a good place to post blog article showcasing your subject matter expertise.
When it comes to online networking, there are several things you can do to promote yourself, including:
- Commenting in online industry groups
- Engaging with your connections
- Position yourself as an industry expert (blogging)
The old saying is often true: It’s not what you know, it’s who you know. Expanding your professional network—online or in person—is an important step in finding a new job.
To assure you’re rubbing elbows with the right people and growing your professional network, you should:
- Attend events and seminars related to your field
- Join alumni groups
- Set-up informational interviews
Networking isn’t about knocking it out of the park every time. It’s an incremental process that requires a consistent effort.
Know thyself, and know what the hiring manager is looking for. As you prepare for an interview, you should have a mental outline of your knowledge, skills and abilities—and be able to clearly convey how these things will provide value to the position you’re interviewing for.
Before you go to your interview, research the company. Familiarize yourself with the size of the organization, its products and/or services, and sales and growth. If possible, do a little background on the interviewer, as well.
Practice makes perfect. Practice your interview skills in front of a mirror or with a friend or family member. There are also coaches who can offer assistance and virtual job interviews where you can hone your skills.
Don’t take promoting yourself lightly. The job search is not the time to be shy or leave an employer asking “what it is you have to offer?” Remember, it’s not always the most qualified, best educated, or hardest working candidate that gets the job; it’s the most prepared for the job search in today’s market.