BPRW- If you are a future college graduate, you face a challenging job market, but you are not alone. In fact, you will likely be competing with hundreds of your peers also fresh out of school and willing to do whatever it takes to slide through that narrow opening of corporate America. Just getting noticed out of that large pool of applicants is difficult enough, and some corporations still carry over prejudices based on ethnicity, gender, age, disability, physical appearance and educational background. It is important to give yourself every advantage possible.
Your first advantage comes with sending an effective résumé with a cover letter. These two items won’t get you hired on the spot, but they are the main factor in getting you that interview. Since a résumé can’t reflect your body language, impeccable dress and respectful demeanor, you must advertise yourself effectively with the written word. Many books and websites exist to help you write an effective résumé and cover letter, but it will be of greater benefit to show a draft to your professors in the subjects that relate to the field you are entering, or to professional acquaintances in that field.
As an upcoming college graduate, you will have to tailor your letters differently than you would if you had extensive work experience. Internships, volunteer work, fraternity/sorority positions, extracurricular activities, campus activities, foreign travel and research projects are all valid college experiences to emphasize along with your coursework and previous employment. If you live in student housing during the school year and live at home during the summer and winter breaks, make sure employers have every possible means to reach you. Make sure your résumé has both your campus and home addresses, phone numbers, cell phone numbers, fax numbers, pager numbers and email addresses, if applicable.
Speaking of email, take a look at the email address that you give to interviewers. “Cute” addresses like “email@example.com” appear juvenile and will not get you taken seriously. Search engines like Yahoo! and Google offer free email accounts that you can use if you don’t already have a professional email address. The best account name to use is something simple, preferably your full name or your last name and an initial or number, such as “Jane.Doe@domain.com.” This type of email address gives the added benefit of reinforcing your name in an interviewer’s mind.
While you’re on the internet, do a search of your name. Is anything potentially embarrassing attached to your reputation on the internet? Keep in mind that employers are aware of the same technology you are, and they can use it to screen applicants. If you have a personal blog, homepage, or post on newsgroups, keep in mind the principle regarding professional email addresses. Don’t post anything under your name you wouldn’t want an employer to see. Save writing about your political beliefs or your weekend activities for posting under a username, before and after you are hired.
Using common sense and good advice from those with experience can help you get that first foot in the door with the right résumé and cover letter. If you can sell yourself on paper, imagine the impression you can make in person.
Source: Black PR Wire
This was printed in the October 19, 2014 - November 1, 2014