With college graduations around the nation winding down, many graduates now find themselves in the unenviable position of being unemployed. If you’re one of those grads, with uncertainty sinking in, you may be wondering what is going to happen next. You attended school for the past several years and expected to get a job virtually upon crossing the stage—but it didn’t happen that way. This is an unfortunate reality that many young adults are facing or have previously faced. I have watched this familiar situation play out all too frequently in the lives of my peers. Despite your current unemployed status, I am here to help by offering up several tips to immediately make you more employable!
1. Add a signature to your email address
What may seem like a minor action will automatically cause you to appear more professional to your contacts and potential employers. Your signature should include all of the essential information that employers will need in order to contact you—name, phone number, email address, etc. If your social media pages portray a professional image (which we’ll talk about in tip #3)—then add the links to those pages in your signature as well. That’s right, LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, and if you have one—your personal website.
You should also include your job title and company information. If you don’t have this information (which is probably the case, if you’re reading this), then you can include your college and graduation year instead. If you’re feeling really ambitious, add a head shot to your signature! I know the millennial in you has been looking for an excuse to post another picture to the internet...
2. Get on LinkedIn
For those of you unfamiliar with LinkedIn, it’s basically Facebook for professionals. However, on LinkedIn, nobody wants to see pictures of your food or hear about your relationship status. LinkedIn allows you to show potential employers why you are an attractive candidate and why they should hire you. You do this by detailing your school and work experiences, listing any awards and accolades you have received, and displaying your skills/endorsements. Skills and endorsements are the peer evaluation segment of LinkedIn where your “friends”, called connections on this platform, can vouch for your ability to perform professional responsibilities. LinkedIn is an essential tool for those entering the workforce. If you are not on LinkedIn, sign up now!
3. Give your personal brand a facelift
Personal branding is important. You hear about it everywhere, but what does it really mean? Wikipedia defines it as “The practice of people marketing themselves and their careers as brands.” (Yes, referencing Wikipedia goes against everything I’ve learned in college about source credibility but luckily I’m not turning this in for a grade. Plus, I didn’t feel like scouring the internet for a better definition). Jobs come and go but your personal brand is permanent. It stays with you forever. I like to think of it as your digital reputation. When reputations are damaged, they are hard to restore. So don’t do yourself a disservice by leaving your brand up to chance. You should identify what you want to be known for and recognized as and purposefully cultivate your brand to reflect that. You will become better at it with time. My recommendation is to start by cleaning up any content on your social media pages that will have a detrimental effect on your chances of getting and retaining a job.
4. Maintain Your Appearance
After enacting the 3 following tips, you will have made your digital self more attractive to potential employers, but what about your physical self? After all, the interview does take place in person, most of the time. Whenever you step out of the house, are you putting your best foot forward by maintaining your appearance? Get a haircut! Men, throw a tie on! Ladies, do whatever it is that you do. The point is, you never know who might take notice of you and what it could lead to. I was once approached by someone at the mall who sparked up a conversation because I was dressed in a professional manner and it led to a work opportunity! When you look good, you will feel good and it’ll provide you with the requisite confidence to ace any interview.
Whether you recently graduated or have been out of work for a length of time, if you follow these tips, you will immediately become more employable. So do yourself a favor and take a moment to revitalize your online persona. It doesn’t take a great deal of effort, yet the payoff is significant.
What is your passion? Think back to your childhood, what was it that you said you wanted to be when you grow up? What about the dream that you had for yourself before outside societal pressures steered you away to a more secure & convenient lifestyle? Maybe now is the time that you revisit that dream that made you so optimistic for the future as a child. Would your 8 year old self be proud of how you turned out? This could be your opportunity to start that company you always wanted or continue mastering your craft. You never know, you may never get this opportunity again. As we like to say at the Northeastern Entrepreneurs Club—Live Your Passion!