The Young Professional’s Guide to Landing a Job

Today’s post is written by Morgan Norman. 

Young professionals sometimes get the short end of the stick, especially in a roller coaster of a job market. You’re expected to not only have solid experience, but also the applicable transferable skills, contacts, and endorsements to land your dream career. This is all while being bombarded with stereotypes that you are lazy, feel entitled, or are never satisfied.
It seems like you can never win, right?The job market is not at its best these days, making it even more difficult.
Take what you know now – about yourself and about this particular job market – and apply it to your career search.

Young Professionals’ Guide to Landing a Job

1. Create a work portfolio

Young professionals have something that other generations may not: a deep understanding of online technology and how to apply it to their professional careers. Start strong by building an online work portfolio which not only showcases your work history, but also shows what you’re working on now, goals, real-time feedback, recommendations, and also the ability to create reports. All of these can show an employer something beyond face-value (i.e. a plain old resume) and boost your career.

2. Create a presence

In conjunction with a work portfolio, employers will probably appreciate other forms of industry knowledge. The easiest way? Create an online presence through the big name sites like Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn, as well as others like Pinterest, Tumblr, Quora, etc. Think about it: if an employer were to Google you, what do you want them to see? Your questionable college party photographs or a deep knowledge of your industry by way of social networking? The answer seems pretty obvious.

3. Use those endorsements

The opinions of others can be pretty influential, especially if those endorsements are by a thought leader in your space or have a connection with your desired employer. Be sure to pick up these key endorsements, either through LinkedIn or a work portfolio, to ensure you’re viewed positively in the eyes of others. Additionally, if you can suggest projects or certain goals to the endorser that were particularly good (which they have a connection to, of course), it can add “meat” to the recommendation.

4. Say hello

Once you have the right materials in place, you have to connect with the person doing the actual hiring. Here’s where you can make everything easy for them without them doing any digging on their end (employers are busy people, after all). Be direct: email the hiring manager directly through LinkedIn. The best way to be noticed is to send three lines about who you are, what you love about their company and link to your work. You should also apply through the regular means, but this will go a long way. Don’t wait to be on a stack of individuals — make a connection and stay connected.

5. Be memorable

Generic candidates come in all shapes and sizes. You don’t have to be one, though. Be memorable, not only through your portfolio or work history but by how you navigate through the search. For instance, once you apply, you should, of course, follow-up on your application.
Go one step further and connect through the popular social networks, send out a thank you tweet, link to a popular industry article, start a discussion on their Facebook page, etc. This shapes who you are as a professional and essentially creates an activity for the organization before it’s even your job to do so.
Who can resist a candidate who puts in so much effort when it’s not even necessary?

What do you think? What are some other ways young professionals can land their dream jobs?

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