Marketing Yourself: 7 Tips for College Grads to Land the Job You Want

The following is a guest contributed post from Gianna Scorsone, Senior Vice President of Marketing and Sales Operations for Mondo

The biggest stressor facing this year’s upcoming class of college grads is the same as it always is: how to land a job they actually want. With the pressure on to land a gig before graduation, most students take the first thing that comes their way.

Rather than taking whatever’s available, here are some tips to help you secure the job you really want. All you have to do is follow these seven simple steps. But remember, the power rests in your execution.

Step 1: Get Your Social Media Presence in Order

We all know how fun college is, but that doesn’t mean your social media pages should prove just how much fun you had. Before you graduate, it’s time to clean up your social media presence and start controlling a potential employers’ perception of you before you hit the job market.

Don’t think they’re looking? Think again. In IT, which is one of the fastest growing and largest job-generating sectors, 76 percent of Hiring Managers said they are most likely to use social networks to screen candidates, according to CareerBuilder’s annual social media recruitment survey.

When it comes to your social media pages, be the person you want to be, not who you are now. Post relevant articles related to the profession you’re most interested in. Delete revealing, negative, or party-related posts and photos. By doing so, you’ll give yourself an edge up before you even fill out an application.

Step 2: Identify the Job You Really Want

People will tell you to apply to as many jobs as possible, as fast as possible. I’m here to tell you not to. The last thing you want is to keep jumping from job to job post-graduation because you accept the first offer you get, for a position you can’t even remember applying to. Focus on applying to and securing a job that you can stay at long-term to get some reliable experience on your resume.

Not sure what you want? Connect your favorite college activities to career paths that are similar. Loved giving tours? Consider a career in Sales. Enjoy coming up with app ideas and different coding experiments? Look into entry-level app development positions. Once you identify the field you’re interested in, identify the top companies near you and apply to open positions.

Step 3: Do Your Research

Identifying and applying to quality jobs is the hard part. Once you’ve got that done with, next up is prepping for the formal interview. Before anything else, do your research. Take a three-pronged approach to the interview. First, the company. Second, the individuals interviewing you. Lastly, the industry.

Your goal is to develop an emotional connection with your interviewer to help you stand out. In your research, figure out the basics of the company. Who is the CEO? How long has your interviewer worked here? How does the company compare to competitors? Then, prepare interesting and thoughtful out-of-the-box questions that reference your research.

Step 4: Practice

It’s annoying but crucial. Practice for every formal interview you have. Read through your research until you have it down, and practice answering common questions aloud. Get comfortable talking and focus on making the interview a conversation, rather than a Q & A session.

Tailor your personality traits, internships, academic and work experience to fit the job in your answers. Last, but not least: Do a live dress rehearsal. It may seem excessive, but trust me, you’ll be glad you didn’t skip this step.

Step 5: Crush the Interview

The interview is your chance to show why you’re a better fit than the other candidates, despite similar resumes. First, get your “good” manners in order. Always stand when the interviewer enters the room. Ensure your handshake will pass the test. Make healthy eye contact. Work on your posture. Match your attire to the company dress code. These are all small cues interviewers are looking for with the right candidate.

Be sure to ask questions (that you prepared ahead of time) and get them answered! Having no questions to ask seems like you didn’t do your homework or like this is just one of many job interviews lined up, both of which could cost you the job.

Step 6: Always Follow-Up

Recruiters or interviewers such as ourselves in Digital Marketing and IT see a slew of candidates for a given role. To further position yourself as different from the rest, always send a follow-up thank you note.  The more personalized the note, the better.  In the note, reference specific comments made by the interviewer during the interview and include why you want this job. This is also a chance to readdress a poorly worded response in the interview. Take it! Prove you are the candidate they are looking for. If you had more than one interviewer, then you’ll need to send more than one follow-up note.

Hiring moves fast. To make sure you’re not cut in the first round, always send the follow-up thank you note the same day as the interview. It will be noticed.

Step 7: Close Mode

Finally, the last step. It’s closing time, AKA time for you to secure that job. Connect on LinkedIn with leaders of the company or the department you’ll be working with and ask positive questions about their role and experience at the business. This shows maturity, drive, passion, and legitimate interest in the position.

Haven’t heard back since your interview? Follow-up again with an email check-in. Didn’t get the job? Ask why and explain you’re looking for honest feedback. This is your chance to gain insights into which of these steps you need to work on, so you do land the next job you interview for.