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Attention Students: What You Should Know About the Job Hunt

Businesses today are being extra cautious- even a bit stingy with hiring. That means if you’re looking for a job and have just completed your education, you’d better be prepared to face some pretty stiff competition. Finding that first job can be challenging, but not impossible. It’s true, the traditional method of pounding the pavement and handing out resumes is dead and to land a job today, you need to have more than one skill set. You need tenacity, resolve, and a little bit of luck. If you will be seeking employment in the upcoming year, here are some things you should know about the job hunt that might help you differentiate yourself.

Get Real Value From Social Media

These days, job seekers as well as potential employers are Internet savvy and well aware of the impact of social media on attracting, recruiting and screening potential hires. You have a choice. You can use social media outlets like Facebook and Twitter to send messages to college buddies, or you can also use it as a tool to help you connect with the right people and resources for landing that perfect job. Connecting with thought leaders in the field through LinkedIn and other social media channels can establish your identity, build credibility and create relationships that can help you network now and throughout your career.

Market and Brand Yourself For Success

We all know that effective marketing and branding are great strategies for selling products to consumers. But as a potential employee, thinking of yourself as the product – your own brand of one – is also a great way to get a job. How can you add value to an employer and brand yourself as someone who would be ideal for the position you want? Present yourself in a professional manner but learn to be authentic. In other words, if you’ve never worn a three piece suit in your life, don’t wear one to the interview. Employers have a way of seeing through a façade and will not be impressed. Remember your brand when creating your resume and only include extracurricular activities and skill sets that are relevant to the job you’re applying for.

Job Boards and Job Fairs Can be Helpful

The Internet is home to more than a few job boards like Monster and Workopolis. While they generally provide a good listing of jobs, more often than not, the application pools are saturated with resumes and many get lost and are never seen. In fact, modern HR software can even scan for target keywords within resumes to disregard those that don’t have them. Job fairs are still a great way to meet some of the frontline employees in your field. It’s an opportunity to engage with like-minded people by asking questions or presenting who you are. Grab their business card and make note of what you chatted about and where and when you met. Then connect with them online and/or by email. It’s not a guaranteed way to land a job, but it’s more likely you’ll get the chance to gain an interview where you can truly present yourself when the front line person can say they met and connected with you.

Finding a job has never been an easy process, but with the right tools and a little information, it’s certainly easier. The job hunt is bound to be competitive, and the trick to success lies in having the ability to differentiate yourself effectively from the pack. Take advantage of social media to help you network, brand yourself for success and use job fairs to start the networking process that will hopefully lead to opportunities down the road.

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