How to make yourself a better job candidate

With less than 200 days until graduation, seniors at Marist College must begin to prepare for the real world. For those graduating a semester early this December, that time is much shorter. It’s tough in all fields when it comes to finding job opportunities, but there are ways to set yourself apart from the rest of the competition.

Here are five tips that several students agreed on to help fellow students entering the workplace and how to make themselves a positive applicant for a job opportunity.

1) Networking

Mike Mento, a senior at Marist College, is a biology pre-med major. “The most common way people set up interviews for a job today is through the people they know,” said Mike Mento. Making connections in your potential field is a major tool that must be used in order to help spark job opportunities. Kevin Cocchi, a senior at Marist College, is a business finance major who agreed with Mento about the importance of networking for young adults. “You never know who some people can know that can give you a chance and maybe match you up with a great position,” said Cocchi. “Sometimes there may be nothing there, but it’s about the one time your connections come through and you taking advantage of that chance.” Talking to the people you know who have experience in the desired field is extremely important because they are most likely the ones with the most useful connections.

2) Being ready for interviews

Every student and potential worker should know the significance of an interview. Interviews are where you make the first and most important impression on a potential future superior. It is crucial to be prepared and confident heading into an interview so you can show the interviewer what you really have to offer for the company. Taylor LeBright, another senior at Marist College, is majoring in criminal justice and understands the importance of the interview. “You only get one first impression so you need to be familiar with potential questions and know about the company you are interviewing for,” said LeBright. Practicing answers to potential questions can take serious pressure and stress off when heading to an interview. If the interviewee knows what they are going to say, then there is less reason to be worrying over what can go wrong or what should be said. There may be unexpected questions that the interviewer wants to see how well the interviewee thinks on their feet. “The hardest part is answering the random questions that aren’t common,” said Mento. “You just need to be honest in those answers and be confident in what you say, and don’t have a long pause like you don’t know what to say.”

3) Fixing a resume

The resume is a one page way to describe yourself and basically sell and promote yourself to the employer. One key to having a good resume is to have it trimmed down to the important facts and getting rid of all the unnecessary clutter. Peter Dinota, a senior at Marist College, is planning to graduate in December and is majoring in sport communications. “I’ve had to edit my resume so many times because after every internship or something like that I have had to add that and take out something else to keep it on one page,” said Dinota. Resumes should include the most important accomplishments and experience that are relevant to the job opportunity at hand. “You might have to edit your resume based on the interview you are going into,” said Cocchi. “Every job is looking for different things so your resume should include areas that relate to that specific job.”

4) Cleaning up social media

Technology has become an extremely important part of society and has taken over, in a sense, parts of communication. When an interview is scheduled, interviewers may check up on the applicant on their social media sites to see their level of professionalism and what they are truly like. Connor Andrews, a senior at Marist College, is majoring in business finance and had some strong thoughts when asked about social media related to the matter. “You can’t have pictures of you partying and all of that nonsense because it affects how you seem to the interviewer,” said Andrews. “Clean them up and if you aren’t sure if something should be on your social media, then you should probably take it off.” Taking care of your social media seemed to be a common tip that these students brought up. “It just looks bad on you if there is something that can be seen as negative and taking time to clean all of that garbage is necessary and a great helping point in this journey to the real world,” said LeBright.

5) Being Persistent

Understanding that an offer isn’t going to come out of every interview is an important mindset to have. “Sending resumes and setting up interviews at as many places as you can really increases your chances, but not every chance will end up being successful and you need a thick skin,” said Andrews. There will be interviews that end up having no follow up responses or just rejection. However, that is the time to pick yourself up and set up more opportunities and keep trying until success is complete. “Getting a no can hurt, but you can’t sulk and stay on that no forever,” said Dinota. “You have to push and work hard and once the yes comes around, it is all worth the effort. Persistence can lead to success and a future career. “Do not give up if something doesn’t go right, but go after if harder so you can prove to yourself you are fitting for this specific career,” said Mento.

Entering the real world can be a frightening thing for most people. Having a guideline and several pieces of advice can truly help take some of the stress out of this long journey.

“It will never be easy, but as long a you do the most you possibly can, there will be something out there that fits you,” said LeBright.

Networking, interviews, resumes, social media and persistence are all topics that are extremely important to focus on for those getting ready to enter the workplace. “It isn’t easy to get there, but once you break into it, the self-satisfaction must make up for the effort and stress that goes into the job hunt,” said Cocchi.

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