PRESENTATION IS EVERYTHING.
If you’re a college graduate finding it hard to get a job, my question to you is:
How are you presenting yourself to stand out from the crowd?
Of course for every job opening, somebody won’t make the cut, but it doesn’t have to be you every time.
If you apply for 10 or more jobs and don’t get called for an interview, then something is not right with the first impression you present with your application. Likewise, if you are getting interviews but no job offers, you need to tweak how you are presenting yourself in person.
Applying for Jobs Online
In this day and age, everyone applies for jobs electronically online. This usually means that for every job opening, a company can get up to 100-300 resumes and applications or more, depending on the size of the company. And, the larger companies will use an Applicant Tracking System (ATS) to weed out applicants so that they can narrow down the candidates. But no matter how a company does this, usually, only about 7 to 10 people get called in to interview for a position.
Your goal is to be in the group that gets an interview. But how can you stand out?
BEFORE you submit your resume, be proactive and make contact first. Here are some tips on a way to do this:
Make contact through LinkedIn: More than likely, the company to which you are applying has a LinkedIn presence. Do some research to identify recruiters, HR personnel, hiring managers, etc., and see if you can find a person from these categories to connect with on the company’s LinkedIn. Making first contact will help make a cold contact a warm contact when you apply for the position.
Reach out to the contact: Note, before you do this make sure your LinkedIn profile is up-to-date, complete, well-written, and creatively formatted. If you do not know how to do this, have a professional LinkedIn writer/developer do it for you. If your LinkedIn profile is suitable, go ahead and send the person or persons an invitation to connect. Be sure that your message is clear, professional, and brief. And don’t make it a sales pitch about yourself. Just simply introduce yourself and let them know that you are a qualified professional who is interested in a position with the company and that you would like to learn a little bit about the company culture. When you get a response, be sure that you use the opportunity to pay attention to what they write in the message or if you get them on the phone, be sure to really listen to what they have to say. Be prepared for any questions they may ask you about your skills, qualifications, and experience. And, don’t think of this as an interview but rather a way to break the ice and get your name out there, so that the person remembers you when your resume comes through the process. So, let them know that you will be applying and that you are interested in being interviewed.
Thank the contact: If the communication was through messaging, be sure to thank them at the end of the message. If by phone call, be sure to send a follow-up through messaging or email.
Use the information: Be sure to include any pertinent information you learned from the contact that stands out as important points for the role, and highlight this in your cover letter, including what you will bring to the table and how you will add value related to the relevant points. Reaching out to a hiring professional in the company prior to sending your application and resume turns the impersonal nature of a cold contact into a personal one when applying for the position.
Present the best resume and cover letter: As a professional resume and cover letter writer, my advice to you is to be sure that your resume and cover letter are flawless, engaging, and compelling. It is your presentation and it should make an awesome impression!
So, the bottom line answer to why it is difficult for college grads to find a job may be the way they are presenting themselves to job opportunities. And, it could be that depending on your field, some college graduates may need to relocate.
That’s what my daughter did when she moved to Atlanta from Louisville and was hired immediately in her field.
Seek out the opportunities and when you do, be sure that you come across as the candidate to beat with a polished and professional resume, cover letter, and LinkedIn profile because you must make a positive impression before the prospective employer even sees you in person. Your first objective is to get the interview.
Hope this helps!