7 free marketing strategies that can lead to job search success was originally published on College Recruiter.
Are you a recent college grad trying to figure out how to best market your skills and fit your job search into an already busy life? Are you concerned that it’s summer and you’re still trying to find a paid internship? Are you wondering how parents can appropriately – or inappropriately help your job search? Are you a female college grad who aspires to become a leader in your field?
If so, then read on. Because we have tips and advice for all those questions – and more.
1. Develop a focused job search
Many recent college grads simply read job ads and send in resumes, without a plan. Francis says coming up with a job search plan, which includes a list of requirements one would like in a particular job/field, can help created a more focused job search, and target specific jobs or employers. Making a chart that outlines previous experience – part-time jobs, college coursework, clubs or organizations, project work, or previous internships, and jotting down successes from those experiences can help a job seeker realize the successes they have, and then, when they understand those successes, they can start perfecting how they discuss them with employers.
That also builds confidence.
Don’t think that part-time college job in retail or the restaurant industry, or other field, matters? Think again.
“Check back in with previous managers and colleagues to brainstorm all the things you’ve done and skills you’ve developed that may allow you to feel more confident in your abilities,” says Francis.
Once you have a clearer sense of your own experiences, what you desire in a job, company and what job titles to look for, now you can start your search. If you start before then, you’ll be wasting time.
2. Ask your career development center for advice
Meet with a career counselor at your college or university. Even if you have graduated, these professionals are here to assist with job search tips, connecting graduates to a mentor, interview prep, and more.
“Different schools have resources that are specific to their students and their majors,” says Christine Francis, Career Counselor at Hamline University’s Career Development Center. For example, if you graduated in data science, “the counselor may be able to connect you to alum who studied data science who may be able to help brainstorm next steps and get you connected to companies of interest or great internship programs.”
Francis offers these tips for recent grads seeking to find an industry specific internship:
- Post on social media that you’re seeking a paid internship in data science. “The more specific you are in your request, the better your networks will be able to help you,” says Francis. The key is to be as specific as possible, no matter the industry/career one is pursuing.
- Check job boards to search for internships and job like College Recruiter, recently named #1 job search site for students and recent grads.
- Use LinkedIn to connect with your school’s LinkedIn alumni group, and see where students or current alums are interning, or currently working. If there is a connection at a target company, reach out to that person and connect.
- Once connected, start to develop a relationship. Don’t make it all about your needs, and be willing to return any favors to help the new connection. Eventually though, the goal should be to meet with these connections to conduct informational interviews.
3. Practice, practice, practice, to develop career confidence
It’s easy for recent college grads to be timid in the job search. That’s only natural. In addition to writing a great resume, practice interviewing, conducting mock interviews (many college career centers also offer these services), informational interviews, or getting involved in networking events and industry associations can help a recent college grad develop confidence in the job search. Many people are timid or fearful because of the newness of being in the job search for the first time. Getting involved and becoming active can help recent college grads develop confidence over time. In addition to working with career development professionals, recent college grads could also consider working with a career coach.
“Figuring out where your low confidence is coming from is essential in determining how to overcome this,” says Francis.
4. Start building a professional network
The first steps to marketing your skill often starts by understanding what employers want. Unfortunately, in some instances or fields, women need to figure out how to get past male-sounding job descriptions. In addition, many female college grads may be timid if they are not finding other females, or leaders, within their chosen field, to learn from. This is where networking, or finding organizations/opportunities to volunteer or participate in industry-related events can help make connections and open doors, while also building career confidence. For example, a new grad seeking a data science career may not know where to find a female data science mentor or leader.
“There are plenty of women in leadership types of groups or roles for STEM occupations,” says Francis. “These groups are set up to give women support and to feel more confident in their roles.”
Remember, good old fashioned networking is still very effective. Inviting professionals in your network for coffee or a quick lunch is good for building relationships and getting others interested in working on your behalf to help you find your next position says
“You can start small, with just a few people and ask them to consider introducing you to others you may connect with and send your resume or portfolio to,” said Melissa Greenwell, Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer of national retailer The Finish Line, Inc., and a certified executive coach who helps women understand how they can leverage natural strengths to become business leaders, discussed how female college grads can become future leaders. “You will be surprised at how quickly your professional network will grow,” said Greenwell. “It will also take time. People are busy, so be patient. And don’t let your new networks go stale after you’ve landed the job. You may very well be able to repay a favor and you never know when you may need to reach back out to them in the future.”
In a previous College Recruiter article, 6 rules for women who want to become corporate leaders, Greenwell said some job seekers, especially those just starting their career, focus on job titles versus opportunity. Don’t sacrifice doing what one loves for the sake of a title. Instead focus on the work itself.
“People who succeed in whatever they’re doing are people who have aspirations and goals, are willing to work hard and put forth extra effort, communicate clearly, consistently and often, and most importantly, work for the good of the enterprise and bring others along,” says Greenwell, also the author of Money On The Table: How to Increase Profits Through Gender-Balanced Leadership. “Women specifically are driven to work for a purpose and can capitalize on that special drive.”
5. Ask for helpful parents, not helicopter parents
Many college grads have parents who are ready to help their child with the job search. That’s great, if done correctly. The main thing to remember is, this is the real world now, and employers expect recent college grads to take initiative, and own their career/job search. Read this article to learn how helicopter parents hinder college grads in detail.
“Believe it or not, recruiters and hiring managers are seeing a surprising influx of parental involvement in the job search, recruiting, and interviewing process,” says Brandi Britton, district president for OfficeTeam, the nation’s leading staffing service specializing in the temporary placement of highly skilled administrative and office support professionals. “As a staffing firm, we’ve heard our share of helicopter parent stories and experienced some unique situations with moms and dads ourselves.”
The reasons for mom and dad getting involved are simple, says Britton: Recent college grads may not have as much job search experience and therefore turn to their parents for guidance.
“The job search process can be extremely challenging and daunting,” says Britton. “Parental support and advice throughout the process can help you stay positive and on track.”
“Although most parents mean well with their efforts, they need to know where to draw the line to avoid hurting their son or daughter’s chances of securing a job,” says Britton.
6. Find a mentor to develop as a professional
Anyone can learn from a mentor. However, there are students who can especially benefit by having a mentor help tap them into a network that might normally be just beyond reach. For example, some studies show that entry level women with a mentor show faster career growth than women without mentors. How can one find a mentor?
“Think about past professors, staff at your school who have supported you, or maybe a new contact – someone you admire in your field,” says Francis. “Set up a meeting to ask for help and tips on how to market yourself.” And when you land that first job, ask if the organization’s has mentorship program.
7. Try something different: Find a way to stand out in the job search
Don’t be afraid to try something different in the job search. Employers like creativity, and those who take risks. And while this seems old fashioned, it’s inexpensive, and different. In addition to applying online for a job, mail your resume to the employer too. (Don’t skip the online part–following the directions of every job ad is important.)
“I’m often asked if sending paper resumes is a thing of the past,” says Greenwell. “In general, it is. However, you never know when one will make it to someone’s desk and cause them to take notice. It’s a relatively low effort and low cost marketing strategy to implement, so my advice is to send them.”
Once the resume is mailed in, take it even further.
“The follow up is important, which I would recommend come in the form of a follow-up email,” says Greenwell. “That email shouldn’t necessarily ask for action to be taken, but rather an invitation to reach out to you if they would like to learn more about your qualifications. Personally, I believe phone calls are relatively ineffective, though leaving a voice mail message to thank someone for reading your resume can’t hurt. Again, the goal is to stay visible.”
Another option to consider? Build your own web site. It’s a built in marketing tool.
“Building your own website is another interesting marketing strategy,” says Greenwell. “There are many tools available to build your own in a cost-effective and simple manner. This is a good way to display your experiences and interests, and to bring your resume to life. Highlighting educational accomplishments, learning adventures and volunteer experiences is critical. Aside from email, phone and a link to your LinkedIn profile, other personal information should be omitted.
It’s normal for recent college grads to fear the unexpected, or not know how to approach the job search soon after college. Follow these tips, and over time you will become confident, connected, and in time, hired!