“Liesl, I’m freaking out” was the first line of an email I received the other day, followed by two others along the same theme. The authors have one thing in common – they are all graduating with a shiny bachelor’s degree come to the end of April and don’t know where to start their impending search for a job in the “real world.” So, I asked some successful SFU alumni and co-op employers for their take on what grads can do to stand out.
1. Show your Savvyness
“A new grad’s advantage over professionals with years of experience is that they are (or should be) on the pulse of new technology and trends.”
- Priscilla Sharun, Communications Manager, Teekay Corporation and Co-op employer
Use social media in your job search. Some great ideas from SFU grad, Kevin Claveria, on using social media to ace your job interviews.
Create a portfolio showcasing your resume, work and personality. Here are some tips on how to get started.
Incorporate infographics into your resume.
2. Take Risks
“Even if something sounds like it might be less than what you were hoping for, it will often work into something different and exciting. And no matter what you do, it will ALWAYS be a learning experience.”
- Barbara Livingston, General Manager, Vancouver Bach Choir and Co-op employer
In this economy, it doesn’t pay to be picky. You might feel overqualified for a role, but getting experience and contacts is a better way to spend time than sitting at home searching craigslist.
Barbara continues: “Sometimes one can’t think too far ahead with regard to a job situation. Sometimes it’s only worth thinking about where you are right now and what you’re learning right now, not where you’ll be in five or ten years. The path can change in a heartbeat.”
Consider options you might not have thought of to gain experience – volunteering, internships, and/or going to another city or country.
3. Get Yourself Out There
“Take the initiative to meet new people to expand your network. People often hire an individual based on a recommendation they’ve been given by someone they know. So never overlook people you meet!”
- Monica Hartanto, Senior Communications Specialist, ICBC and SFU alumnus
Go out to career-related events to meet professionals in your area of interest
Ask for informational interviews with contacts you meet. Offer to take them for coffee, prepare a few questions to understand their career path, and see if they’ll offer feedback on your resume. Follow up with an email thank you and a copy of your resume so they have it on file!
Armed with these great tips, I respond to each of my “freaking out” students with “Don’t panic, I have some ideas…”