The entry-level job market is a competitive place. A perfect GPA, a polished resume, and a strong network are now the norm instead of the exception. That means they may not be enough to make you stand out in a crowd. What can you do to land your first entry-level job?
Don’t Skip the Internship
There are so many benefits to doing internships. One is that it lets you get your foot in the door. They also gain you real-world experience and connections that will serve you well in the future. Still, only 6.6% of college students completed their first post-graduation internship. That’s according to a recent infographic by InternMatch. You can stand out by finishing one (or even several).
Volunteer Your Time
Here’s another interesting fact from the InternMatch infographic. 81% of employers said volunteer work makes graduates more attractive as job seekers. Volunteering can give you valuable hands-on experience. It can also help you make connections. Since many students skip it altogether, it can make you stand out as well. Look for something in a relevant field for maximum impact.
Build Your Personal Brand
Did you know that 1 in 6 job seekers surveyed in InternMatch’s infographic said they found their current job through social media? In the online world, it’s easy to create a brand of you. Be consistent, professional, and helpful. With some careful work, you can leverage your personal brand to find a job, too.
If you can’t find a job but you have a useful skill, give freelancing a shot. It allows you to build your portfolio, gain experience, and sharpen your skills. It also allows you to earn money while you hunt for a job. More and more people are going this route. As a result, companies are beginning to employ freelancers more often. Employers may even appreciate your entrepreneurial spirit when you do apply for a job.
Enhance Your Skillset
A great way to outshine the competition is to have a skill they don’t. The usual route is to go to graduate school. People with master’s degrees earn a higher salary and have a lower unemployment rate on average than those who stopped at a bachelor’s. If you’d rather leave the beaten path, look for other ways to enhance your skillset. What skills do the most in-demand jobs require? How can you learn them? The Internet is a great place to add to what you can already do.
These tips aren’t a stand-in for the basics. It’s still vital to have a great resume, prepare for interviews, and network well. However, when paired with the essentials, these ideas can help you stand out in the competitive entry-level job market.