Congratulations new grad (or parent of a grad)! You worked hard, you put in the effort, and now comes the critical time to complete a couple of self marketing essentials that will help you cut down how long it takes for you to find the right job.
Even though headlines tell us it's a "candidate's market," finding the right job is not easy. There are millions of people – of all ages, education and experience levels – searching for their next opportunity. Smart, talented people are on the hunt for roles at good companies offering the best flexibility, competitive pay, attractive benefits, and healthy company culture.
Post-graduation is the time to start to market yourself to gain a competitive advantage.
No matter where you’re at in your job search process, here are five things you need to prioritize now.
Develop a strategy. Regardless of whether you’re hungry to get started or want a little time off, it’s important to visualize what you want and figure out the steps and timeline to make it happen.
Take a few uninterrupted hours to reflect on what’s important to you in a new job, which tools you’ll need to find opportunities, and any “dream” companies or sectors you want to work in.
From there, plan to figure out what a resume and cover letter would need to look like, research the companies you find most desirable (hint: they may not have an opening when you decide you’re ready), and see if there are any hiring events for graduates, informational sessions, etc. so you don't miss any critical deadlines.
Create or update a LinkedIn profile. If you don’t already have a LinkedIn profile, now is the time to create one and begin to figure out what information to include. Equally important, is to start connecting with people you know and slowly start to engage with the professional network.
Personal Branding Tip: Be sure to include a professional photo on your LinkedIn profile. This is very easy to accomplish with phones today. Wear a nice top, make sure any accessories are kept to a minimum, and pick a nice background that isn’t too busy. Have someone take a couple for you so you have some options to play with.
Take inventory and clean up any personal social media.
Start by going through all your social media accounts to make sure that anything that is public is aligned with your job search strategy -- think industry-related or school-related events, volunteering or internship experience. If your content does not reflect this, be sure to change your privacy settings for friends only. Additionally, you may want to do some clean-up of who you follow and who follows you.
Be sure to Google yourself a couple of different ways (name, name and location, name and school, etc.) both on a regular search tab and using an incognito search tab to see what type of content might show up for you. Nowadays, so much from our past can be found by searching our names and it’s essential that we get ahead of anything negative a future employer might discover.
Have a realistic timeline. Finding a job can take months so make sure your timeline reflects that. Even if you’re not ready to find a job right now, understanding what you need to do to prepare for your future search will allow you extra time to accomplish some of the harder, more tedious tasks at a slower pace before the time comes to hit the ground running.
Use our resources to get ahead. For tips on virtual interviews, optimizing your LinkedIn profile and more, read our 2022 Special Report: Navigating the Modern Job Search and Emphasis on Your Online Personal Brand. If you're looking for a more direct impact on your search or want to gift a graduate with something they can use throughout their entire career, drop us a note to learn about 4-week program tailored to teach new graduates how to market themselves to gain a competitive advantage.