Employers are always on the lookout for college students who stand out in some way. However, when times are tough, college students should consider some additional ways to make themselves more visible and attractive to prospective employers.
When fewer employers have jobs to offer, good students should be prepared to employ methods that may not be necessary when jobs are plentiful. Here are a few examples of what you can do.
Your Reputation – Good or bad, your reputation precedes you. However, it should be obvious that you will increase your chances for employment when you have an outstanding reputation. Generally, this means that you work hard, are trustworthy, friendly, well liked, positive, honest, stand up for what is right and get things done well. Others want to associate with you because you treat everyone with respect and are there for them when people need you. Also, people look up to you because you accept responsibility, perform well and achieve superior results. Do you need to work on your reputation?
“Begin somewhere; you cannot build a reputation on what you intend to do.” — Liz Smith Your Performance – Outstanding performance over a long period of time shows a consistency that all employers need and want. Every employer needs people who can perform at a high level. They want people who can get things done. That’s why they are eager to learn about your accomplishments, positive results and successes. When you are able to provide stories and details about your achievements, employers will take notice.
Your Attitude – People with a positive, can do, let’s give it a try attitude will always be more attractive to employers than negative, fault finding, complainers. When you demonstrate your positive attitude in everything you do, you will find that it opens doors for you.
Excel At Something – Find something you love and show people what you can do. If you have a unique ability, it may be something on which you can capitalize. Embrace your talents and use them to make something better. Employers are always interested in people who can make a difference. It doesn’t matter whether you excel in an academic area, at work, in a campus activity or in the local community. However, employers especially appreciate people who have exceptional leadership and communication skills.
Do One Great Thing – Sometimes, by luck, genius or skill, we find that we have done something great. Whenever someone does something large or spectacular, other people will take notice. That one great thing may be the result of a long and sustained effort or it may be a split second reaction in an emergency. Regardless of how it happens, you can make it work to your advantage.
Make Others Look Good – Whenever you make others look good, it reflects favorably on you. This is especially true when you talk about and support your college, your employer or your community. When your words, actions and results are positive and beneficial, others will reciprocate. Over time, this kind of behavior will be recognized and rewarded by people with influence.
Be Visible – Your words, behavior, participation and results all contribute to your visibility. When these four things are positive, you are more likely to be noticed by employers. Get involved, join, attend, participate, contribute and achieve results. Few people will become aware of your capabilities if you don’t insert yourself into the activities and places where you can demonstrate your potential.
Promote Yourself – Look for ways to get noticed by others. When you do things of note, get them into the paper and include your photo. Find ways to get into the Campus Paper or onto a Campus Radio or TV Program. If you are active on campus and in the community, seek coverage from the campus and local media, whenever something special is about to happen. Always invite high profile campus and community leaders and executives. You will get much more coverage when these people attend. The more times you can into the Newspaper or on the Radio or TV, the better. Your positive contributions are easier for employers to recognize when your name and face are already familiar to them. Also, don’t ignore something as simple as handing out your business card.
Cultivate Recommendations – Let an array of well respected and influential people speak to potential employers about you. Use your references, supervisors, advisors and network for this. You can even have a “Here’s what others say about me” handout sheet. Employers love candidates who have built relationships with people who are willing to provide enthusiastic recommendations and references.
Nearly every college student has the ability to do at least one or two of these important attention grabbers. Employers much prefer to learn about people who are “one in a million” than candidates who are “one of a million.” That’s why savvy students, especially in a bad economy, make a point of finding ways to stand out from the crowd.