We all know the basics that most everyone will need to land a decent job out of college: Good grades, a solid internship, networking, relevant major, and impeccable resume/cover letter writing skills. These are givens. However, there are some intangible skills that I personally believe will catapult one graduating college senior over another when it comes to the job market. In tonight’s blog post I would like to share with you my three quick tips for college students who want to stand out to prospective employers.
1. Develop Your Personal Brand – I have this in the leadoff spot because it is the best advice I can give. Once you reach college, start building on your identity so that it extends through and then beyond whatever university campus you are on. Start a blog, set up your own YouTube channel, and/or network virally with people near and far. By all means maintain Twitter/Facebook/Instagram/Pinterest accounts, just start being mindful of what you post. Before tweeting or posting, ask yourself if whatever you are sending out will either help or hurt you in the future. Have a consistent message run through your various social media mediums. Strive to develop your personal brand in a way that if someone Googles your name all search results on the front page will be about you and employers will know what you look like, what you stand for, and what you have done.
Employers want to see that you are relevant. Gone are the days where college students felt shame if they had social media accounts. It is important to show that you are in touch and, most importantly, that you exist. People handing out jobs will hire someone who has an established identity before someone who is an online ghost.
2. Know Design, Know Technology – In this digital age, every business has needs or expectations for employees with design skills. If you are in any type of creative profession, especially if you are young, the need to create something visually appealing every now and then will be expected. If your design skills end at inserting clip art, take a class or educate yourself on the Adobe Creative Suite. Learn basic photoshop skills and know your way around basic video editing software. This will come in handy.
We live in a tech world and the weight falls on the shoulders of new college grad hires to lead us through it. Keep up on all of the latest trends and know how to work smart devices. Employers won’t hire applicants who are dumb-dumbs when it comes to technology. Embrace it and be excited about it. Know that you will most likely be the resident IT person in any office that you are hired in.
3. Know the World You Live In – As I mentioned in my first point, it is important to know you. However, you also must know the world around you too. Keep up on current events, know societal trends, and always keep up to date on the landscape of your industry. Be a knowledgeable, respectful citizen. When employers interview you, they will want to see that you are well-rounded. Make sure to follow news-based, informative accounts on Twitter but also read the physical newspaper each day. Be engaged with what is going on around you. Decisions you make in the work place will sometimes need to be made in consideration with what is going on in the real world. If you are ignorant to it, you could make a costly mistake.
Remember, in the battle between two equally qualified candidates it will always come down to the intangibles. The person who shows more relevancy, more digitial skills, and more respect for the world around them will win. Just my two cents. Don’t Blink.