When it comes time to find a summer internship, or a full-time job when you’re fresh out of college, it takes a lot to stand out from the pool of applicants who have the exact same goals as you. So make yourself unique, and try these five steps in order to significantly increase your chances of getting hired:
1. Update your Resume
Make sure your resume includes all relevant information that pertains to where you are applying. Sometimes you might need to make multiple versions in order to suit various applications. Instead of labeling your previous employment “Work Experience,” try calling it “Professional Experience,” especially if it is in your field (perhaps from a previous internship, a work study position, etc.). If you have worked in retail or food service, sometimes it’s better to leave that out to save space, unless the skills you gained are relevant to the position you are seeking. Remember, try to keep your resume down to one or two pages; the employers are looking at many at a time, and if you have more information on yours than necessary, it could be too overwhelming for them to really focus on.
2. Create a Personal Website
This is a great option, especially if you have a portfolio. Rather than turning in just a resume and cover letter that lists your achievements, provide a link to your website where the employer can view your actual work. That way, if they are truly interested, they can better familiarize themselves with what you do. This will also increase your chances of being contacted, based on the professional presentation you have given them to work with.
3. Show Demonstrated Interest
Don’t be so persistent to the brink of becoming an annoyance, but if you have a genuine interest in a specific company, try to meet up with recruiting representatives at job fairs or campus visits. That way, you’re able to get your name on the table and show that you would really like to work there. Give them a reason to think you would be a great addition to the company.
Whether it’s after a job fair conversation or a formal interview, you should always follow up (an email is best) and thank the person/people you spoke with. For example, let them know you enjoyed talking with them and learning about the company, and that you look forward to hearing from them soon. After that, however, you need to leave it up to them for a while. It is unprofessional to inquire about a position if you are still within the decision period that they specified.
5. Stay Interested
Even if you don’t end up getting hired for that specific position, you can inform the company that you would be open to having them keep your resume on file (especially if you are very set on working with that company). This is not a guarantee, but having already interacted with them at this level can push you ahead of other applicants for newer positions.
In these five ways you can put yourself out there, showcase your abilities in a unique way, and make those companies remember you. As always, nothing is guaranteed in today’s job market, but repeating these steps as many times as it takes can certainly project you further. Good luck!