I love working with recent grads in their job search. After 12 years in school, they are experts at learning—which makes teaching them easier. They're like sponges. They learn and do. They have no bad job search habits, so teaching them is fun because I get to see their reaction when they get positive results for the first time.
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I've had the privilege of chatting with a lot of students and recent grads (young professionals) on my book tour, and one of the questions I often get asked is: "How can I make myself stand out when a lot of other applicants have more education and professional experience?"
1. Request Informational Interviews<img lazy-loadable="true" src="https://assets.rebelmouse.io/eyJhbGciOiJIUzI1NiIsInR5cCI6IkpXVCJ9.eyJpbWFnZSI6Imh0dHBzOi8vYXNzZXRzLnJibC5tcy8yMzUwNTA3NS9vcmlnaW4uanBnIiwiZXhwaXJlc19hdCI6MTYzOTQ3NTU5NH0.a_i3PUNM6WHG8E3ij-sLWCtZbNreCK56T_nDHpMAkog/img.jpg?width=980" id="a7140" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="3d991330dfcda84314332a74293d9de3" data-rm-shortcode-name="rebelmouse-image" alt="Young professional requests an informational interview with a company" /><p>The best, and most strategic, way young professionals can stand out in a crowded job market is to request informational interviews with leaders in your target companies BEFORE they post jobs you want to apply for. Fortunately for you, it's much easier to be granted an informational interview when you play the "I'm a recent graduate" card.</p><p>During your informational interview, make sure to ask questions that show you really understand the company, its culture, and be clear on how you can provide the kind of results they're looking for. This will give you an inside connection when a job does emerge.</p><p>Don't forget to <a href="https://www.workitdaily.com/what-to-say-when-connecting-on-linkedin" target="_blank">connect with those you meet at these companies on LinkedIn</a>!</p>
2. Position Yourself As An Emerging Leader<img lazy-loadable="true" src="https://assets.rebelmouse.io/eyJhbGciOiJIUzI1NiIsInR5cCI6IkpXVCJ9.eyJpbWFnZSI6Imh0dHBzOi8vYXNzZXRzLnJibC5tcy8yMzUwNTEwMC9vcmlnaW4uanBnIiwiZXhwaXJlc19hdCI6MTYyNjc4ODAyMH0.U2z6hg6XMugsYQpz9R641I6WrrlMvOur3XOK7nw4aRI/img.jpg?width=980" id="523c2" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="9fb0aa986bfb159d52c3b7466f223fdf" data-rm-shortcode-name="rebelmouse-image" alt="Young leader smiles at the camera" /><p>Young professionals can position themselves as emerging leaders in their field by creating a content-rich blog and strong <a href="https://www.workitdaily.com/social-media-job-search-prep" target="_blank">social media</a> presence.</p><p>Connect with leaders in your field by citing their work and interviewing them in your posts. As relationships develop, make yourself irresistibly attractive by asking them how you can help them. And when they most likely ask you the same question, don't be afraid to let them know who and what you are looking to connect to.</p>
3. Hone In On Your Greatest Strengths<img lazy-loadable="true" src="https://assets.rebelmouse.io/eyJhbGciOiJIUzI1NiIsInR5cCI6IkpXVCJ9.eyJpbWFnZSI6Imh0dHBzOi8vYXNzZXRzLnJibC5tcy8yMzUwNTExMy9vcmlnaW4uanBnIiwiZXhwaXJlc19hdCI6MTYyNTA0OTI4MX0.QC4KE2BdQZYU075c5xhqHTYpUm6yoxSWBUMYVFxhaP8/img.jpg?width=980" id="4c5e7" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="e274bd54cdcf3766d0e907d703705484" data-rm-shortcode-name="rebelmouse-image" alt="Group of young professionals work together using their different strengths" /><p>When it comes time for you to apply for a job, hone in on your two to three greatest strengths and link them to the primary responsibilities and expectations of your prospective position.</p><p>In the event you <a href="https://www.workitdaily.com/get-resume-past-ats" target="_blank">get your resume past the ATS</a> and land an interview with the company, watch the tendency to have lengthy answers to questions about weaknesses. Remember, it's your strengths you want to emphasize and have a prospective employer walk away remembering! No need to over-explain what you're working on improving about yourself as a young professional. </p>
4. Show You're A Sponge<img lazy-loadable="true" src="https://assets.rebelmouse.io/eyJhbGciOiJIUzI1NiIsInR5cCI6IkpXVCJ9.eyJpbWFnZSI6Imh0dHBzOi8vYXNzZXRzLnJibC5tcy8yMzUwNTExOC9vcmlnaW4uanBnIiwiZXhwaXJlc19hdCI6MTYzMDk3Nzc0M30.OYv33FdMLZ1Fm5qn5vGS-K9BLdpVw2-oZdslms0uye0/img.jpg?width=980" id="98dea" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="3d103d533e4aefb2141af627b99346a8" data-rm-shortcode-name="rebelmouse-image" alt="Young professional learns something new at work" /><p>Most importantly, show you're a sponge. In your networking, <a href="https://www.workitdaily.com/writing-disruptive-cover-letter" target="_blank">cover letters</a>/resumes, and interviews, display your commitment to absorbing new information quickly, your desire to learn and grow in your role, and always be able to cite examples of how you have done this in the past.</p><p>Use the Experience + Learn = Grow framework in the interview process, and you'll be sure to impress employers and stand out from the competition. </p>
When times are tough, mass layoffs happen in almost every industry. But, what do you do if you're a recent college graduate looking for your first job? How can you find a job when those around you are getting laid off?
1. Be Intentional With Your Networking<img lazy-loadable="true" src="https://assets.rebelmouse.io/eyJhbGciOiJIUzI1NiIsInR5cCI6IkpXVCJ9.eyJpbWFnZSI6Imh0dHBzOi8vYXNzZXRzLnJibC5tcy8yMzA4NTgxMC9vcmlnaW4uanBnIiwiZXhwaXJlc19hdCI6MTYzNTg4MzQ0Mn0.HetjWQwkxFarE37oVKGaCo2yFesD8iPaWFYvw98Hpj8/img.jpg?width=980" id="8d511" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="a0c97e6f0d3b924d792be8cfb1535983" data-rm-shortcode-name="rebelmouse-image" alt="Recent college graduate networks his way into a job" /><p>At Work It Daily, we firmly believe your network is your net worth. Over 80% of all jobs today are gotten via referral. Utilize the connections you've made in college or in past <a href="https://www.workitdaily.com/how-to-get-summer-internship" target="_blank">summer internships</a> to get your foot in the door somewhere. It's always easier to get a job when you've been referred internally by someone who already works at the company. </p><p>It's not enough just to ask your connections about any employment opportunities they know about, though. You need to be intentional with your networking, or your job search will feel aimless. </p><p><strong>Build a list of companies you'd like to work for so you can focus your efforts in those areas.</strong> This is your interview bucket list—all the companies you would love to work for that hire for your skill sets.<span></span></p><p>Creating this list is going to help focus your job search in terms of <a href="https://www.workitdaily.com/how-to-network-into-a-job" target="_blank">who you need to network with</a>, reach out to, and start to connect with in order to find the job opportunities you want. </p><p><strong>Remember: </strong>You're not asking them for a job—you're asking them for information that could help you land an interview.</p>
2. Write A Disruptive Cover Letter<img lazy-loadable="true" src="https://assets.rebelmouse.io/eyJhbGciOiJIUzI1NiIsInR5cCI6IkpXVCJ9.eyJpbWFnZSI6Imh0dHBzOi8vYXNzZXRzLnJibC5tcy8yMzA4NTcwNy9vcmlnaW4uanBnIiwiZXhwaXJlc19hdCI6MTYzNzkzNzIzMH0.gJx-2MmQgh5GPbvyorX0EriidIq_gnF6oDrJDvj-vOI/img.jpg?width=980" id="6cabb" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="f03c0a2b44de50fdc1954252112fed1d" data-rm-shortcode-name="rebelmouse-image" alt="Recent college grad write a disruptive cover letter" /><p>The cover letter is the "voice" to your resume. <strong>If you want to land yourself an interview while layoffs are happening left and right, the key is to <a href="https://www.workitdaily.com/writing-disruptive-cover-letter" target="_blank">write a disruptive cover letter</a>.</strong> </p><p>If you're not writing disruptive cover letters in your job search, you're missing out on a huge opportunity to stand out to employers. The ultimate goal of a disruptive cover letter is to tell a story so compelling about why you feel connected to the company that they want to pick up the phone and get to know you a bit more.</p><p>What you lack in experience, you can make up for with enthusiasm and a great connection story. </p>
3. Consider An Unpaid Internship<img lazy-loadable="true" src="https://assets.rebelmouse.io/eyJhbGciOiJIUzI1NiIsInR5cCI6IkpXVCJ9.eyJpbWFnZSI6Imh0dHBzOi8vYXNzZXRzLnJibC5tcy8yMzA4NTczOC9vcmlnaW4uanBnIiwiZXhwaXJlc19hdCI6MTYzMjA1OTEyMX0.2PXhfKK8FTn3ktTBrLUljCDRVygVCh3sCI9j15UyuJY/img.jpg?width=980" id="c8089" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="03902527929ee8af3050a1873c39e0ec" data-rm-shortcode-name="rebelmouse-image" alt="Recent college graduate works at his internship" /><p>Even when there aren't mass layoffs going on, getting an internship after you graduate from college can be a very strategic move for your career.</p><p>If you're struggling to find a job right out of college, consider applying for an internship position. Preferably, you'd want a paid internship, but if a lot of companies are laying off employees, ask if they have an unpaid opportunity available. <strong>You won't get paid, but you will gain a lot of experience, and if the internship goes well, they may offer you a full-time position after a few months of hard work and proving yourself as a valuable employee. </strong></p><p>At the end of the day, experience is what will set you apart in the current job market, because it gives you the ability to <a href="https://www.workitdaily.com/develop-your-skills-at-work" target="_blank">develop your skills</a> and show how you made or saved an organization money—something every employer will want to hear when you interview with them. </p>
I'm here today to talk to all those people that finally get their first job offer out of school and are wondering, "Can I ask for more money?" The answer is, it depends.
The Company Made It Clear<img lazy-loadable="true" src="https://assets.rebelmouse.io/eyJhbGciOiJIUzI1NiIsInR5cCI6IkpXVCJ9.eyJpbWFnZSI6Imh0dHBzOi8vYXNzZXRzLnJibC5tcy8yMjE5NDg1Ni9vcmlnaW4uanBnIiwiZXhwaXJlc19hdCI6MTYwNTM4ODMxOX0.q6euRCVyqo0eVdznVGuzyEneRuJNvu4Je2HENvKu2Pc/img.jpg?width=980" id="c44b3" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="e9cec7e405d1f73cc681b9ac8e059123" data-rm-shortcode-name="rebelmouse-image" alt="recent grad reviewing her job offer" /><p>If the company made it clear through the interview process that this was an entry-level position with a set salary, then <strong>no, you cannot ask for more money.</strong> They were very clear about what they were looking to pay and you have to be ready to accept that.</p>
Do Your Homework!<div style="width:100%;height:0;padding-bottom:51%;position:relative;"><iframe src="https://giphy.com/embed/rXyyYvcgRTbbi" width="100%" height="100%" style="position:absolute" frameBorder="0" class="giphy-embed" allowFullScreen></iframe></div><p><a href="https://giphy.com/gifs/laura-dern-rXyyYvcgRTbbi">via GIPHY</a></p><p>However, in many cases, <strong>they don't talk about that.</strong> So, when you get that job offer, what I suggest you do is do your homework! Go over to a website like <a href="https://www.glassdoor.com/index.htm" target="_blank">Glassdoor.com</a> and look the company up. It'll show you estimated salary ranges for the position. You want to see where your salary offer is compared to those.</p><p>You can also use Glassdoor to look at competitors and other companies that hire for similar types of jobs and see what they are paying so that you can see if this is in alignment with market rate. </p><p>Now, hopefully it will be. But if it isn't for some reason, if it's much lower, then what you can do is go back to the organization and ask for more money—but not without a game plan.</p>
No One Is Going To Pay You More "Just Because"<img lazy-loadable="true" src="https://assets.rebelmouse.io/eyJhbGciOiJIUzI1NiIsInR5cCI6IkpXVCJ9.eyJpbWFnZSI6Imh0dHBzOi8vYXNzZXRzLnJibC5tcy8yMjE5NDg2OC9vcmlnaW4uanBnIiwiZXhwaXJlc19hdCI6MTYzODM2MjA2M30.st4ihfVrLEBDpfddBzM91JtSz5xz0cbUfVp0-Fy08S8/img.jpg?width=980" id="5d518" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="8c38270b4d97656e422d6993a0b59fae" data-rm-shortcode-name="rebelmouse-image" alt="young woman thinking about the value she can bring to her company" /><p>If you think about it, <strong>no company</strong> is going to pay you more money just because. You have to give them some <strong>valid reasons why.</strong> What you're going to want to do is say, "I did my homework and I see that the salary range for this type of position is here. Is there any chance I can earn more money?" </p><p>You also want to talk about the <strong>additional value</strong> you will bring. You want to be able to say, "If you can meet me here and if you can provide me with a bit more of an income, I really will be able to deliver with you with my experience in X and Y and Z." <strong>You've got to be able to market your skill sets.</strong></p>
The Backup Strategy<img lazy-loadable="true" src="https://assets.rebelmouse.io/eyJhbGciOiJIUzI1NiIsInR5cCI6IkpXVCJ9.eyJpbWFnZSI6Imh0dHBzOi8vYXNzZXRzLnJibC5tcy8yMjE5NDk0OS9vcmlnaW4uanBnIiwiZXhwaXJlc19hdCI6MTY1MjY5MzkxN30.ZslongoY6OIUx6ZdCWRam0FpWq_m5Dkr_YjBM41xp3g/img.jpg?width=980" id="2bb05" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="aae928d66262ec9d508acb9e0c94d097" data-rm-shortcode-name="rebelmouse-image" alt="young professionals discussing a performance review" /><p>If you're not comfortable with proving you're worth the extra income, I have a backup strategy for you.</p><p> What I would say to them is, "I'm very interested in working for you. I was hoping to make more money. I was wondering if I could propose a six-month review instead of an annual review. We could work together over the six months and make sure that you feel like you're getting enough value. Could we look at a salary increase then? Because I really would like to make more money and I was hoping not to have to wait a full year for it." </p><p>This is a wonderful compromise because it gets you to explain to them why you want more money, that you're intentional in terms of wanting to advance your career, but also gives them a way to work with you and get you up to speed so you really can deliver on the value.<br></p>
Keep This In Mind<div style="width:100%;height:0;padding-bottom:56%;position:relative;"><iframe src="https://giphy.com/embed/1ykU6lkE7rSjbUWPJP" width="100%" height="100%" style="position:absolute" frameBorder="0" class="giphy-embed" allowFullScreen></iframe></div><p><a href="https://giphy.com/gifs/vh1-lhhatl-stevie-j-1ykU6lkE7rSjbUWPJP">via GIPHY</a></p><p>Keep in mind that you cost the company about <strong>140% of your salary.</strong> It's not just your salary, it's the benefits, it's the additional taxes. It's the training time that costs them.</p><p>So, giving them that six months to work with you so that you really are valuable to them and a good return on the investment is going to make it a lot easier for them to give you that additional money.</p>
If you're a recent college graduate and you're unemployed, you might have an idea of what we're about to talk about.