In today’s competitive job market, college graduates are wondering how to maximize their job search.
So how can the class of 2015 best navigate the complexities of today’s job market? Here are five simple, yet effective, personal branding tips for upcoming grads:
- Be clear about your goals
Focus your efforts on the jobs and companies best suited for you and your career goals. Research everything there is to know about the positions and companies you are interested in. This showcases your level of passion and commitment to your job search. Identify the set of skills, experiences and personality characteristics you possess that bring value to these positions.
Only apply for positions that match your career goals and level of experience. Applying to multiple positions in different departments suggests you are uncertain about your career goals.
- Identify your target markets
You are most likely not tied to a specific city. Consider other cities, regions or even countries to begin your career. There are great international opportunities with Fortune 500 companies that offer the ability to transfer to a US office after a designated time.
Identify the largest employers in your field and apply for the positions that align with your career goals; and identify companies outside your industry hiring for the position you are seeking. Research as much information as possible about the company and its leadership team.
Build a track-able list comprised of each of the positions you’ve applied for. Include the name of the company; the human resource and hiring manager’s name and contact information; and the company’s website, LinkedIn profile and twitter account. Stay abreast of relevant insight or news affecting the company. Provide a brief weekly follow up with both contacts until you are called in for an interview, or receive notification that you are no longer a candidate for the job.
- Develop impactful marketing materials
Highlight your academic accomplishments, extracurricular activities, past internships, jobs or leadership qualities that differentiate you from the competition.
Your marketing materials should include a strong resume, a completed LinkedIn profile and your elevator pitch. Your elevator pitch is a 30-second infomercial to a potential employer, industry leader or influencer. Imagine the conversation you would have in the elevator with the CEO of an organization you’ve dreamed of securing a position with. If you are not applying for a position as a weather girl, don’t discuss the weather.
- Maximize your social network platforms
Make your social media an extension of your job application. Completely fill out your profiles, include relevant work and volunteer history, past internships and career interests. Join alumni groups and industry associations on LinkedIn; and participate in group discussions. Several times a week, engage your social platforms by sharing articles, blog posts, industry insight and content that is relevant in your desired career path.
You don’t have to establish a profile on every platform, but do branch out to maximize your exposure.
- Network off and online
Networking remains the most effective job search strategy. Due to the prevalence and ease of use of online career sites, publishing and social networking, it’s easy to think that using these channels exclusively is the way to go.
If you network only online, you’ll alienate your local circle of impact. Attending in-person networking, industry organizations and speaking events can connect you face to face with influencers. The most successful job seeking strategies incorporate both online and in-person networking.
Courtney Rhodes is a brand strategist, consultant, keynote speaker and trainer on marketing, personal branding, digital and social strategy. She’s the publisher of http://www.TheBrandistaGuide.com. Find her on Twitter and IG: @TheBrandista.