This article ran today in Northern Michigan Universities North Wind Newspaper. If you would like to see it online please visit www.thenorthwindonline.com/?p=3856355
The heat is on, only eight weeks left of the 2010 winter semester and roughly 1,000 seniors from Northern Michigan University will be entering the real world. Everyone knows we are in a recession and the word “job search” is enough to send most soon-to-be graduates into a tailspin. So what is a college kid to do? Two words; get creative. According to collegenews.com, a Web site dedicated to reporting news related to college, a 22 percent drop in hiring of entry level jobs is expected in 2010. With reports like these coming out daily, it’s very easy for recent grads to pack up their apartments and move back in with mom and dad.
Let’s make the assumption that most of this year’s graduates aren’t comfortable with moving home and picking up their job at the local movie theater or restaurant. If the thought of that makes you shutter and you are determined to get a job in your field then you’ll have to find creative ways to get your foot in the door.
The bad news: There are literally thousands of people out there vying for the same job that you want. Now is the time to get creative and set ourselves apart from the heard. A good way of doing this is by looking at what we’ve done that is unique to our career field. A great way to make your unique experiences stand out is by having great descriptions in your resume. . And, no, this does not mean that padding your resume is the way to go; it means getting creative in how to explain what you did in a creative, professional manner.
That takes care of standing out against people your own age, but what about the many experienced people in your field that have been laid off and are searching for jobs as well? This is when your age does pay off. Using social media seems to be the general advice. Sarah Evans, a self described “social media freak” and voted by Forbes Magazine as one of the 14 most powerful women on Twitter, recently wrote a piece on how to stand out in the social media world. She suggests making your Twitter account another branch of your resume, creating an online CV (resume) and putting the link on your Twitter account.
It’s also important to keep track of who you are following on Twitter. They don’t care if you follow Kesha or Ashton Kutcher but rather, who in your field you are following?
A final note on social media, be respectful; to yourself. Delete those pictures from keggers of the past months before you start applying for jobs. Stay on top of what people are posting on your Facebook wall and how you are tweeting, even what is on your bio on Pandora or Google. On the same note, be polite.
I recently had an interview with someone I’m following on Twitter and I sent out a thank you tweet with his handle in the tweet. He then sent me an email thanking me for the Tweet. Not only was I polite, but by tweeting his name his business got more exposure in to a different audience than it normally does. Basically, remember what your grandparents told you about manners, then translate it to the social media sphere. Potential employers could very well love your old fashioned sense of etiquette and manners and be impressed that you’re able to send a tangible thank you card and a thank you tweet. Just remember, make it personal it’s your life. Let your creativity flow and find a niche in your field. Hope to see you out there.