5 Ways You Can Stand Out From Other Graduating College Seniors

January 16, 2008

Girl in suit with wine

We just saw this today and had to post about it:

Fall Internship Pays Off With Coveted Winter Internship

NEW YORK—New York University student Dave Werner announced Monday that he has successfully parlayed an unpaid fall internship at the magazine GQ into a long-sought-after unpaid winter internship at the ESPN network.

“After three months spent fetching coffee and making copies, all my hard work has finally paid off,” the 21-year-old communications major said as he dropped off executive assistant Matt Sullivan’s dry cleaning at a local laundromat.

“These days, I’m totally in charge of taking lunch orders, and some of the people I work with already sort of know my name. What an invaluable experience.” Werner added that his main goal is to use his connections at ESPN to secure a highly desirable spring internship that could possibly offer school credit and a modest travel stipend.

(the Onion)

For seniors graduating this year you’re probably now already into your 2nd or 3rd week of the winter quarter and starting to think seriously about what you want on your graduation stole, err what you want to do after graduation. Alright that was a shameless attempt at a plug, we apologize.

But back on topic, are you planning on staying in the area? Moving back home? Moving out? Or even traveling abroad? Without a doubt money is probably on the top of your mind, not to mention career goals and your financial security.

We’ve talked to a few seniors over the past few weeks, some of whom graduated this fall quarter and some who still have 2 more quarters to go. Some of the biggest concerns they raised were questions of how to land that great job straight out of school, and for some with little to no work experience.

We’ve compiled a list of 5 simple but effective tips any student can do to strengthen his or her chances of standing out just a little more at their first job interview for “the real world.”

5. Start Building Up Your Professional Social Media Profiles.
facebook

  • A. Limit access of your facebook profiles and who can browse it. If you’re in the “Los Angeles, CA” network and planning on getting a job there after graduating, it’s probably a good idea to make private or even untag all those drunk pictures of yourself, not to mention wall posts from your fraternity brothers. Simply work on your limited profile (http://www.facebook.com/help.php?page=9) and who you want to see what.

myspace

  • B. Make your myspace profile private. No need to broadcast your life to strangers and potential bosses! Make it private or at least areas you wouldn’t want your boss seeing.

linkedin

  • C. Start a LinkedIn profile. If you haven’t heard of LinkedIn, think of it as facebook’s bigger successful brother who drives a Mercedes convertible. Start your professional profile here and keep it classy. Add family friends, friends, and others you know. Why is this so important? You never know what business connections your friends or even your roommate have. What if your roommate’s old high school buddy is the CEO of a company hiring in the exact industry and city you are looking for a job in? Talk about a lead.

alarm clock

4. If You Don’t Have Enough Work Experience, Stop Being Lazy & Go Get Some!
Find that courage to wake up a little earlier each day and for 20 minutes just focus on the job hunt. There is plenty of time left to go find a worthwhile job. Go find that great one-quarter internship, or even start-up your own company. Besides something to put on your resume, it may lead to a great letter of recommendation from your supervisor as well. And you never know, maybe you’ll be hired there after you graduate!

To start getting those wheels in your mind cranking, check out these great websites on business trends:
www.inc.com
www.startupnation.com

3. Build A Portfolio & Website.
If you’re an artist or photographer, this is a pretty straight forward task. Select your best works and go at it. But if you’re a history major or business-economics major, it may seem a bit more daunting. This is where a lot of students tend to give up and where you can gain the upperhand. Think of the projects you’ve worked on, the papers you’ve written, and much more. You have a lot of material to work with and it’s what you choose to put out there that demonstrates your skills and knowledge. Register your domain name, post your resume online, or even your contact information. At minimum this can be added to your resume and subliminally gives your potential employer the idea that you know about technology.

Concert Crowd

2. Do This Now, Not in May!
There are about 1,000,000 college students graduating a year. Now let’s put that into perspective and the flood of new talents that will be entering the job market. If you want to beat out this crowd, you need to do it before them. Lucky for you the majority of college students procrastinate, so as long as you can do this before them you should be good. Start looking into online job boards as well. We recommend:
www.indeed.com – Indeed searches multiple job sites and concatenates all of the results into one search results page.
www.careerbuilder.com – Great!
www.craigslist.com – Great for local searches & random gigs. Becareful, there are some weirdos on that site.
We would have recommended Monster.com but after their security fiasco last year we’d recommend you stay away.

parents with son at graduation

1. Ask Your Parents & Relatives!
Not many students think to do this, but really your parents are probably some of the best connected people you know at this time in your life. Ask them, ask relatives and ask family friends. You never know who they know and what job opportunities lie ahead.

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