1. “First things first, be first.” The response rate for jobs I applied for the minute they were posted has been exponentially higher than jobs I applied for after they had been up on job boards for a while. This is especially important if the company is looking to fill the position quickly. Not to put you down, but even if you are not the most qualified, the sheer fact you applied early could be key in getting you the job. First thing in the morning check job boards, also keep an eye on them throughout the day, the payoff will be worth it!
2. “Breakdown your previous experience be it work or philanthropy chair in your house, with bullet points.” Do you remember those two months you spent slaving over your sorority’s pancake breakfast philanthropy for XYZ charity? Now is your chance to let that hard work work for you. List out what you did, without being too specific, to give your prospective employer some idea of what you are capable of managing. Otherwise they are going to look over philanthropy chair immediately as just another activity, make it sound interesting so they’ll want to interview you so they can ask. One of my favorite interviews was one where they asked me “are you able to deal with difficult people?” I smiled, tried to not laugh, and proceeded to explain how I spent every Sunday night for the last two years attending officer meetings where all 36 of us sorority girls had to agree on some course of action for the chapter. One guy replied “you got 36 college girls to all reach a consensus on something, damn that is pretty impressive. We only work in teams of 5 or more here.”
3. “Don’t up your privacy settings, loosen them on social networks.” This seems like an odd tip, and that being said it’s not for everyone. Nowadays employers actually like to see that you are involved on social networks (especially key if you are applying to a job in marketing or advertising). While over a phone or in-person interview they only get to know you for a few minutes your online presence lets them see your personality. Maybe you have too many embarrassing Facebook photos, so no harm in keeping those private. Perhaps keep your tweet open and retweet articles about the industry you want to work in, keep a few Facebook photos public that show your involvement in that pancake breakfast you slaved over all in the name of charity. Trust me, it’s an easy way to let your employer know you are quality candidate.
4. “Quantity does matter” No, I’m not talking about the amount of work experience here; I’m talking about using numbers on your resume. One really easy way to give you an edge when you apply for a job is the ability to quantify what you have done. Your prospective employer may not know what a philanthropy or social chair does, even worse they may hate Greek life all together. However, everyone understands numbers, they are universal and therefore they are golden. If you sold 1000 Macbooks at the Apple store when you worked there over the summer, put it in a bullet point under your job on your resume. If you increased the traffic to a company’s Facebook page by 45% put it down! Obviously, there are some numbers you can’t get but in those cases use your best guess. Or another way is to ask your previous employer, they may be happy to help find the data you’re looking for anyway! Often employers have to report to someone with what you have done and therefore are constantly measuring your progress, so more often than not they have those numbers.
5.. “Mentor, mentor, mentor” Cinderella had a fairy godmother, you had a big sis in your sorority, it only makes sense you’d need a professional life mentor as well. You may very well find this person through Greek Life, a great deal of my sisters certainly have, but that’s not the only place you can look. My mentor is a former boss of mine from a well-known company. I chose her not only because she had been my supervisor for over two years and was a fantastic reference but also because she knew a lot about the industry. She had worked in technology for over 18 years. Beyond just advising you on jobs these mentors can sometimes provide a foot-in-the door to a job you want. Keep in touch with them, call them, email, and set up lunches so they won’t hesitate to call you should an opportunity arise.
6.. “Kill them with kindness” I once had this interview go horribly, it seemed like no matter what I did I couldn’t impress the people interviewing me. Despite knowing I was doomed early on I soldier through and sent a follow-up thank you. I got a response from them thanking me for following-up and some more questions about the field I was trying to get into. A few weeks later I was starting there as a paid intern. Also months later at that same job I overheard a woman talking about how one of the students she had interviewed had written her the most thoughtful thank you note after. Despite the fact the student wasn’t qualified for the position she ended up offering her a job for a year later if she came back with more experience.