1. DON’T GET DISCOURAGED
At the beginning of this pandemic my initial thought was, “this is the worst time to be graduating”, but then I spoke to Jerry Amato, a member of The Huguenot Young Professionals and Entrepreneurs (HYPE) and he told me, “it could be the worst time, or it could also be the best time to be graduating”. It is all about perspective. So I realized, instead of feeling discouraged, I could choose to feel empowered to cultivate new skills, stock up my resume for job hunting, and start to brand myself. I encourage you to do the same. Just start. Just go for what you want. Think of this situation as an opportunity to re-evaluate what you want for your future. You can learn new skills or take on opportunities that you may have not had the time to otherwise.
2. BUILD CONNECTIONS THROUGH SOCIALS
Being a student is a powerful tool. If you mention you are a student or a recent graduate when reaching out to professionals more often than not, they will help. You know the saying when I say jump, you say how high? Well, when you say you're a student, they’ll say how can I help. Go on LinkedIn or another career-related platform and reach out to professionals tied to the companies you have an interest in. Message your connection and tell them that you are a student and are seeking advice. Refer to their work history or something that stands out to you and ask them a 'this or that' question. For example, if you are a marketing major, mention that you noticed how they have worked for an agency and in-house. Then, ask which they would recommend for something starting their career. Be sure to only ask about something you are wanting to know about a particular industry. Just start the conversation and build that connection. It's not about jumping the bandwagon and hitting up people for jobs, it is about networking. Networking is about getting to know someone, not upfront asking for a favor. So get to know them and want to get to know them so you can build an effective network. LinkedIn is a great resource for connecting and building a professional network. I’ve reached out to alumni and industry professionals that have provided me with a resume, cover letter, and job search help. The best way to get that help is to build a relationship authentically.
3. KEEP UP ON INDUSTRY NEWS
The world is rapidly changing from one viral video to the next. I find it helpful to stay current by setting up news notifications on my phone with relevant hashtags related to marketing since that is my profession. There are many other ways to keep tabs on your industry's latest news such as following your favorite companies on LinkedIn or subscribing to blogs or youtube channels made by professionals. Staying relevant is key to coming into your niche. It is also an impressive interview discussion point to showcase your interest in your craft. I find that professionals I’ve spoken with enjoy a light debate on the latest news or a conversation on the latest technology or hack for their industry.
4. PURSUE JOBS OUTSIDE OF YOUR COMFORT ZONE
I’ve been told again and again; your first job may not be the perfect one, but as long as you start that is what matters. If you keep trying to find the perfect one, then you may never start. It is when you just go for it that you will learn what you like and don’t like. Learning about what you want in a job and getting experience is more important than waiting for the perfect one. Maybe we all will get the job of our dreams right out of the gate, but if we don’t, know that any job is a chance to learn. There is a lesson in any experience we can get. Sometimes you have to start from the bottom to get to the top.
Company’s Hiring During COVID-19
5. FINE-TUNE APPLICATION ESSENTIALS
Optimization, optimization, optimization! Create a full job profile with your skills, accomplishments, experiences, certifications, and a clear summary. Your job profile is YOU. Showcase your skills and interests in your summary and make it personal to you. When a recruiter is searching for you, you want them to read your job profile like a story, not just a list of your accomplishments, so be sure to add your own flair when creating your summary. Your headline should be thorough. The more detail, the better; instead of saying “Recent graduate seeking marketing position”, say “Digital Marketer with a recent graduate degree and experience in social media strategy and content creation seeking a full-time position”. The more you personalize your profile the more you will stand out.
*click to view more tips for your LinkedIn Profile*
6. ATTEND VIRTUAL NETWORKING OPPORTUNITIES
Many companies and organizations are creating free networking opportunities for students and industry professionals. It is a great way to meet recruiters, learn about your industry, and where there are jobs available. You never know whom you may meet. Who knows! Maybe you will end up connecting with someone who works for the company you want to work for. But even if you don't, it is a great way to build your network. The purpose of building your network is so that you will always have someone to call or get in touch with to help you with any industry or personal-related questions. The Huguenot Young Professionals and Entrepreneurs (HYPE) of The Chamber always have networking opportunities available. I have met great community influencers through their events in which I have built lasting relationships.
If you have never networked before or are afraid to start, read this blog by a fellow HYPE member; These Heels are Made for Talking to get inspired.