Trying to set yourself apart in the entry-level job market can be a challenge. Although the number of jobs are increasing, employers are still looking for talented candidates with in-demand skills.
Are you a college student wanting to go above and beyond the rest? Here are some tips for students who want to be marketable college grads:
College students who want to truly want to stand out will make sure they have several internships on their resume. Internship experience connects to personal branding because it provides the foundation for what makes you an ideal entry-level job candidate. If you can learn in-demand skills during your internship, this will provide you with something unique for your personal brand and make you a marketable candidate.
Employers are looking for entry-level candidates who already have industry experience. By building up your resume with a variety internship experience, you will be ahead of the game. Most college grads already have one or two internships on their resume – but if you can have three or four solid internships – employers will automatically put you at the top of their list of potential candidates. These internships will give you the extra push in the job market and contribute to your personal brand.
Employers want to know what makes you unique as well as your marketable skills. Students who want to be marketable college grads can build their brand through a blog or personal website. This will allow you to add something to your portfolio that showcases your personality and experience to recruiters and employers.
However, this can be hard to do for college students in their first year of school. If you’re only a freshman or sophomore in college, you may not know what kind of career you want. When beginning your personal brand as a college student, start building it around a hobby you are passionate about. This will be one of the easiest ways to find inspiration for your personal brand.
For example, let’s say you enjoy baseball. Start up a blog about your experience going to games and your favorite players. As you develop your brand, evolve your blogging into news and opinion pieces focusing on the latest trends in baseball. After having a few internships in sports communication under your belt , you are able to provide industry advice in your blog. By the time you graduate college, you will be known as the passionate, baseball-loving college grad ready to work in sports communication.
Type your name into Google and see what pops up. Do Facebook photos from last weekend’s party appear or does your professional photo on your LinkedIn profile show up? It’s common sense what to post on the internet, but many college students aren’t concerned about their online presence until they graduate college. Hopefully, there won’t be much damage control you have to do, but make sure everything you have online is clean and professional.
It’s time for college students to start thinking about how they want to be perceived online. No matter what field you are going into, recruiters and employers are going to search for you to discover what your online reputation is. If college students can provide a strong and positive online presence, including social media profiles and online portfolios that portray their brand, recruiters will be impressed and most likely contact you for an interview.
If you do these things, you will have a leg up on your competition. You can’t just apply for jobs during your last semester of college; you have to put some effort into it. By having valuable experience, a strong online presence, and a strong personal brand, you will be a marketable college grad and land a job after graduation.
What are your tips for college students who want to be marketable in the entry-level job market?
Heather R. Huhman is a career expert, experienced hiring manager, and founder & president of Come Recommended, a content marketing and digital PR consultancy for job search and human resources technologies. She is also the instructor of Find Me A Job: How To Score A Job Before Your Friends, author of Lies, Damned Lies & Internships (2011) and #ENTRYLEVELtweet: Taking Your Career from Classroom to Cubicle (2010), and writes career and recruiting advice for numerous outlets.