With graduation right around the corner for the nation's college seniors, landing that ever-important first job should be the first order of business off-campus. However, a résumé shouldn't be the only weapon at a job-seeker's disposal.
Ford Myers, a career coach, speaker and author of Get The Job You Want, Even When No One's Hiring, says the résumé is just one of many "tools" a job seeker should have in his or her "Job Seekers' Tool Kit."
"Unfortunately, most people don't know what these other tools are or how to use them. By integrating other elements into the job search - and not relying solely on your résumé - you can add power, professionalism and flexibility to your efforts," states Myers.
To stand out from the crowd, Myers suggests the following 10 items every new college graduate should have in their "Job Seekers' Tool Kit:"
- 1. Accomplishment Stories: Write five or six compelling stories about school or work-related tasks about which you feel proud.
- 2. Positioning Statement: Prepare and practice a "15-second commercial" about who you are, what you've done in the past (academically and professionally), and the particular strengths you can contribute to an employer.
- 3. Professional Biography: Write an impressive, one-page narrative of your career in the "third person" - as though someone else wrote it about you.
- 4. Target Company List: Make a "wish list" of adjectives that would describe your ideal employer, such as size, location, industry, culture, environment, etc. Then research specific organizations that meet those criteria, and put them on a list of 35 to 50 "target companies."
- 5. Contact List: Compile a list of all the people you know personally and professionally. Remember that approximately 80% of new opportunities are secured through networking - so this list will be critical.
- 6. Professional/Academic References: List colleagues or professors who would "sing your praises" if asked about you. Contact each of them, and get approval to use their names on your list of references.
- 7. Letters of Recommendation: Get letters from four or five respected business colleagues or academic associates, which should be printed on their business or professional letterhead, and signed by the writers. Leave out date and salutation.
- 8. Networking Agenda: Write-out a full networking agenda so you'll know exactly how to manage the networking discussion - how it flows, subjects to cover, what to expect, how to react to the other person's comments, etc.
- 9. Tracking System: Keep a detailed record of your job search activities, including phone calls, meeting notes and correspondence. This is essential to keeping your process organized and productive.
- 10. Résumé: It's the last on the list, but still indispensable. And, it has to be GREAT. Be sure your final résumé is carefully edited and succinct (no more than two pages) with a layout that is easy for the eye to follow.
Myers adds, "It may take some time to produce these documents and to learn how to use them effectively, but it will be worth it. Building a satisfying career is much easier when you have the right tools!"
For more information on Myers and his book, visit his site here.