ANALYSIS: We are on the cusp of a new crop of graduates eager to find a job in what is considered to be a really tough employment landscape. So how do you stand out from the competition? You do what others aren't always prepared to do.
Here are five ways to increase the odds of landing a job:
1) Reflect: Before you even start applying for positions, make sure your resume reflects who you are and what you have done. Be sure that it has a focus and 100 per cent aligned to your social media profile. Do not embellish — and absolutely no lying. You don't want your resume to be a boring biography. Think of it more as a marketing tool.
2) Network, network and network some more: Call on family, friends and past colleagues to introduce you to people. It takes time to land a job, and while a company may not be hiring today, a good candidate will often be remembered for opportunities down the road. Note: every networking session is a potential interview. So go in prepared to discuss positions, the company and the industry. By the way, there is no statute of limitations on networking. I have people call on me who I worked with 25 years ago. Most people want to help others, and of course, it works both ways.
3) Use the Internet: But don't rely solely on the Internet. Sending out dozens of resumes in response to job boards is doing what hundreds – maybe thousands – are doing as well. Once you send out your resume, hustle to follow up. Once you follow, up be sure to get across how much you want the job and highlight no one will work harder for them than you. Also, consider professional websites like LinkedIn, build a professional identity and get connected.
4) Get ready to grow: Stretching goals are not necessarily a bad thing and you don't want to self-eliminate yourself from a position because you don't have all the requested qualifications. But be careful not to waste your time and theirs on jobs for which you simply aren't qualified for. Sometimes, new graduates can be too focused on trying to find the perfect job vs. the first job. The goal should be to try and find a position where you can grow and learn, be busy and work with great people who support you.
5) Dress for the part: Appearing unprofessional will be noted and that doesn't only apply to your appearance. Sure, dress for success, but clean up your voicemail, check out your Facebook page and don't assume a privacy setting will protect you.
If you are one of the lucky ones to land a job interview, take it very seriously. This is a great opportunity to showcase your talent. Be prepared to answer the obvious questions: Where do you see yourself in five years? Or what are some of your strengths and weaknesses? This may be obvious, but so is this whole blog. But I can't tell you how many times the obvious gets overlooked.
As the Chief Financial Commentator for CTV News, Pattie Lovett-Reid gives viewers an informed opinion of the Canadian financial climate. Follow her on Twitter @PattieCTV