How to Stand Out in Your Job Search
Remember that saying, “no matter how good you are, there will always be someone out there better than you are?” This phrase is a bit of a downer, but it’s also a harsh reality Millennials may face in their hunt for internships and post-grad work. Competition is tough, and standing out from the pack is a real challenge.
If the first step is acknowledgement, the second step is action. How can Millennials undermine this reality? There’s no set formula for achieving success right out of college. What Millennials can do is put themselves out there and take strides outside of their comfort zones to stand out in the job market.
Nishant Bhajaria, a career coach and product manager at Nike, landed his first internship at a career fair in his junior year of college. He knew he wasn’t the most qualified for the position, but unlike his peers, he made the effort to talk to the recruiters. He ended up with the internship because he was the best fit for the position.
What can we learn from Bhajaria’s experiences? He stresses several strategies applicants can use to get hired.
Never lose hope.
If finding a job were easier right out of college, the statistics for collegiate debt in this country would be much less depressing. Unfortunately, Millennials often face rejection when applying for their first jobs after graduation. The first few applications create a sense of excitement for applicants–who wouldn’t look forward to finally starting their career? Don’t lose this enthusiasm, even if you’re rejected. Instead, use it to continue motivating you through your application process. Give each application and interview your all–prepared applicants are more successful. The right position for you may be in a place you least expect it to be.
Know how to read job titles and descriptions.
Job titles and descriptions can often be misleading. Bhajaria changed the title for the first position he received and encourages applicants to look past the labels of job descriptions. While job titles may be inaccurate, applicants must also know how to read job descriptions. Follow a sort of inverted pyramid analysis when reading job descriptions–the most pertinent skills for the position will be listed near the top. Know that not every skill listed is required for the position, but applicants should have a thirst for expanding their knowledge in the areas listed toward the bottom.
“You don’t always have to be the best to win.”
As Bharajia stresses, the underdog can come out on top. Applicants do not know who their competition is, so they should not hesitate to apply. Do you want to be an associate account manager at a large firm? APPLY! Who’s to say you won’t end up being the most qualified applicant, or have a particular skill that the job requires? Rejection may be embarrassing and a bit painful, but Millennials should not let it discourage them from applying for interesting positions.
Always continue learning.
Employees who are eager to learn more in their fields are more likely to be successful. Each organization, each cause, each project you work with will allow you to expand your skills and knowledge. The more diversity your experience and skill-base extend, the more valuable you are as an applicant. Millennials just entering the workforce should make conscious efforts to market their willingness and potential to expand and pick up skills in different areas.
Use your network.
Every person you meet in your quest for employment has the potential to resurface in your life. Treat each moment as an opportunity to network and treat all individuals in professional settings with respect. Use these tips on professional etiquette to further your career aspirations. Reach out to the connections you’ve made, no matter how weak they may seem to you. If you make a conscious effort to stay in touch, you will be more likely to succeed. Bharajia says successful networkers are active listeners, show genuine concern for their connections’ welfare and build relationships with their audiences before asking for their help.
Next time you’re applying for a job or internship, but you don’t think you’ll meet the qualifications, just give it a shot. As you don’t know who your competition is, you’ll never know unless you try. The only way to succeed in today’s job industry is to put yourself out there.