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?"
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Are you an entry-level job seeker looking to get out there and find your first position? Making your first attempt marks the beginning of quite an adventure as you look to meet your goal of entering the workforce. As a newbie, it is easy to make a few mistakes here and there that could slow your ability to find work.
Ignoring The Internet<img lazy-loadable="true" src="https://assets.rebelmouse.io/eyJhbGciOiJIUzI1NiIsInR5cCI6IkpXVCJ9.eyJpbWFnZSI6Imh0dHBzOi8vYXNzZXRzLnJibC5tcy8yMjE2NjIzNC9vcmlnaW4uanBnIiwiZXhwaXJlc19hdCI6MTYwMDE3Njc0OX0.raMLWuNuabGQkT7VYj9uQEKu6i1nb_OdDVw4Lk_MPHg/img.jpg?width=980" id="2d169" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="9ec08145809b37f14adb5cec4b381d53" data-rm-shortcode-name="rebelmouse-image" alt="A young job seeker uses the Internet to view the current job openings." /><p>If someone from the old-school world of job seeking has educated you on how to find a job, you've probably been told to open up the classifieds, find a job you're interested in, type up a resume, print it, and mail it to an employer. This method very rarely works nowadays, and there is so much more to gain from conducting your job searches over the internet.</p><p> If you haven't noticed, many employers post job availability on their websites, or on job boards like Glassdoor, Indeed and LinkedIn. Additionally, many employers ask candidates to submit their resumes online. You can find leads for jobs through social networking sites and can even post your resume online to be found by recruiters. </p><p>However, while searching online is a great way to find and apply to job opportunities, it's not the only way. Make sure you're conducting a <a href="https://www.workitdaily.com/4-job-search-tips" target="_blank">balanced job search.</a></p>
Failing To Create A Targeted Resume<img lazy-loadable="true" src="https://assets.rebelmouse.io/eyJhbGciOiJIUzI1NiIsInR5cCI6IkpXVCJ9.eyJpbWFnZSI6Imh0dHBzOi8vYXNzZXRzLnJibC5tcy8yMjE2NjIzNS9vcmlnaW4uanBnIiwiZXhwaXJlc19hdCI6MTY1MDg0NTE4Nn0.BZzO5hHBIJrCglq5M8mZH9qev4gvgA3wylSB67LlOIs/img.jpg?width=980" id="4379a" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="2514c6d9b854ac9df26e981a8b4b874f" data-rm-shortcode-name="rebelmouse-image" alt="Resumes should be targeted towards the specific industry and company that you're applying to." /><p>Another mistake many entry-level job seekers make is failing to create <a href="https://www.workitdaily.com/targeted-resume-steps" target="_blank">targeted resumes.</a> This means they don't create new resumes that are geared toward showing that their job history (if any), skills, and accomplishments fall in line with the company's needs when submitting each new job application.</p><p><strong>If you want to convince an employer that you're the best fit for a job, a targeted resume is the way to go.</strong></p>
Forgetting To Prepare For The Job Interview<img lazy-loadable="true" src="https://assets.rebelmouse.io/eyJhbGciOiJIUzI1NiIsInR5cCI6IkpXVCJ9.eyJpbWFnZSI6Imh0dHBzOi8vYXNzZXRzLnJibC5tcy8yMjE2NjIzNy9vcmlnaW4uanBnIiwiZXhwaXJlc19hdCI6MTYxMTc3NzE4MX0.I_92QCDHBF3vJ0UwqvzZHE1GHkLqJ9sFRZ5usq9NBbQ/img.jpg?width=980" id="3b32c" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="8507ac4f94ca4bf9879a82cc2764e373" data-rm-shortcode-name="rebelmouse-image" alt="This nervous job seeker was caught slightly unprepared during his job interview." /><p>It's a common mistake of entry-level job seekers to develop a nonchalant attitude toward interviews. If you've never been on one, it's hard to know what to expect, of course. And while it's true that you shouldn't bite all of your fingernails off before your first interview, you do want to take it seriously, as it's usually what will make or break your chances of being hired. So, how can you prepare? </p><p>A good way is to find a list of <a href="https://www.workitdaily.com/most-common-interview-questions" target="_blank">commonly asked interview questions</a> online, then set up a mock interview where a friend pretends to be the employer and asks you those questions. This gives you a chance to come up with great answers that you can be proud of in your interview. You may also want to consider conducting a <a href="https://www.workitdaily.com/mock-interview-benefits" target="_blank">mock interview</a> with a friend.</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.
Your Resume Isn't Job-Specific<span style="display:block;position:relative;padding-top:56.25%;" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="0671c6707962ba7ca7a96f960a720a1f"><iframe lazy-loadable="true" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/WATpBoVprRk?start=18&rel=0" width="100%" height="auto" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" style="position:absolute;top:0;left:0;width:100%;height:100%;"></iframe></span><p>While it's good to have a <a href="https://www.workitdaily.com/what-not-to-include-resume" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">strong resume</a><a href="https://www.workitdaily.com/what-not-to-include-resume" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer"></a> with all of your professional skill sets, your resume can become generic when all you do is send the same resume to every open position you find. </p><p>Take the time to rewrite your resume on multiple occasions and use specific keywords that are in the job description. According to an article on the Job Center of Wisconsin website, gathering information specific to the job you are applying for and matching it with your experience on your resume is what makes a good resume. You have to "Think like an employer," the article states, "do not give unrelated or negative information."</p>
You're Not Applying To Jobs That Are Specific To Your Skills<span style="display:block;position:relative;padding-top:56.25%;" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="7525c479b42e5ae8b2758893f93eb083"><iframe lazy-loadable="true" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/x0PusUeh-MM?list=PLhrBmkjLNq1VRNSk8vV-0N8mIppjWIfr3&rel=0" width="100%" height="auto" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" style="position:absolute;top:0;left:0;width:100%;height:100%;"></iframe></span><p>You have every reason to <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ye-4L5AWyto" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">apply to every job</a> in sight. However, it doesn't do you any favors when you apply to every single job you see and send the same resume to each one. </p><p>Apply to the jobs you want and are qualified for. After all, it's what you studied for. Try to make a list of potential places you'd like to work for (your bucket list of companies) and target those companies any way you can. Use social media sites to find people you can network with, and keep an eye out for any open positions. You have a better chance at getting hired at a job where your skills are relevant than at a job you're 100% unqualified for.</p>
You Don't Take Your Social Media Profiles Seriously<img lazy-loadable="true" src="https://assets.rebelmouse.io/eyJhbGciOiJIUzI1NiIsInR5cCI6IkpXVCJ9.eyJpbWFnZSI6Imh0dHBzOi8vYXNzZXRzLnJibC5tcy8yMjAxMzQzNi9vcmlnaW4uanBnIiwiZXhwaXJlc19hdCI6MTYwODEyNjQ1N30.lSyv7t_SROBSM7LiW8wxNgdwu2gwjgURKtXppg_ZyFI/img.jpg?width=980" id="50e64" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="6148ae091464c32c45583d9f35450f0a" data-rm-shortcode-name="rebelmouse-image" alt="Happy young woman looking at her social media profiles on her phone." /><p>According to an article on the Undercover Recruiter, a survey of 300 professionals by Reppler found that "hirers are using <a href="https://www.workitdaily.com/using-social-media-for-resume" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">social networks</a> to screen job applicants." This means you should clean up your Facebook and Twitter profiles to present a more positive, but more importantly, a professional image of yourself. </p><p>It might be in your best interest not to post that picture of you doing a keg stand as your default, or Tweet about how you hate looking for jobs because you'd rather be partying with your friends.</p>
The OTHER Reasons You Aren't Getting Hired<span style="display:block;position:relative;padding-top:56.25%;" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="b11e73a3869ab86a3c2a043cc6a00411"><iframe lazy-loadable="true" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/Pc-47WhwpFI?rel=0" width="100%" height="auto" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" style="position:absolute;top:0;left:0;width:100%;height:100%;"></iframe></span><p>These days, you are business-of-one, which means you need to be on top of your career game. </p><p>That being said, do you know the other big reasons why you aren't getting hired? <a href="https://www.workitdaily.com/webinar-ways-shut-out-hiring-process" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">Click here</a> to learn the 8 reasons why you're being shut of the hiring process, and what you can do change it fast (for free!)</p>
You're in a meeting at work and would like to suggest an idea, but feel you are too new to the working world or too young to add value at this point. You choose to say nothing and regret it later.
How do you handle this situation in the future? How can you gain confidence at work?
Gain Emotional Intelligence<img lazy-loadable="true" src="https://assets.rebelmouse.io/eyJhbGciOiJIUzI1NiIsInR5cCI6IkpXVCJ9.eyJpbWFnZSI6Imh0dHBzOi8vYXNzZXRzLnJibC5tcy8yMTM0NTAyNS9vcmlnaW4uanBnIiwiZXhwaXJlc19hdCI6MTYyNTI4MzQ3N30.YoMLPTYsNRzaLijzp-BPIrOdavL_MPC8HdUWjr6fXG0/img.jpg?width=980" id="b1031" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="64faf2e1e8af0918e433180081c62ce2" data-rm-shortcode-name="rebelmouse-image" alt="Young professional man gaining emotional intelligence and getting more confident at work." /><p>Emotional Intelligence (or EQ) is becoming more and more important to professionals everywhere. Why? Understanding the emotional side of life is just as important as understanding the technical/task side of life. </p><p>This is EQ as defined by one of the leaders in this area, Daniel Goleman: "Emotional intelligence (of EI) includes self mastery (self-awareness and self-regulation), plus social intelligence (empathy and social skill)," he states on his blog. "Both are essential: you have to lead yourself before you can lead others. There are sets of leadership competencies that set the best-performers apart from average, that build on these basics—e.g., self-regulation is the basis for the discipline to achieve goals, to be adaptable, and to remain calm and clear under pressure. These leadership competencies are learned—and learnable." </p><p>In other words, you need to be able to understand yourself emotionally in order to understand and work well with others. Once you do this, you will begin to thrive in your work with others.</p>
Build Relationships<img lazy-loadable="true" src="https://assets.rebelmouse.io/eyJhbGciOiJIUzI1NiIsInR5cCI6IkpXVCJ9.eyJpbWFnZSI6Imh0dHBzOi8vYXNzZXRzLnJibC5tcy8yMTM0NTU0MS9vcmlnaW4uanBnIiwiZXhwaXJlc19hdCI6MTYzMjUzNTg5OH0.di2stxKIZWYi_kyi5Li8bt3dKdVeHkLfYQxfq7u6xKs/img.jpg?width=980" id="db710" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="a622ee843845f6b6daaddbad5d96a9cb" data-rm-shortcode-name="rebelmouse-image" alt="Group of young professionals building relationships with one another and gaining confidence during work." /><p>To be truly successful in the working environment, you must take your EQ and use it to build solid, compatible, and trusting <a href="https://www.workitdaily.com/workplace-relationships" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">working relationships</a>. Those relationships will be with your manager, co-workers, and colleagues from across the organization. This is essential in building your "currency" among your colleagues. </p><p>As you are seen as a trusted and effective co-worker, you will gain more and more opportunities to shine. One of the most important relationships you can foster is with your direct manager and a mentor. Yes, find yourself a mentor either inside the organization or outside. Finding both is ideal, actually. An inside mentor will help you to navigate your company's culture. An outside mentor will be objective and not influenced by the company or their position in the company. </p><p>This is one area as a young professional I wished I had latched onto and never let go. <a href="https://www.workitdaily.com/finding-mentor-ultimate-guide" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">Professional mentors</a> are priceless. Again, this will take time to build strong colleague relationships. Be patient and be authentic—it will pay off in more ways than you can imagine years from now.</p>
Take Risks<img lazy-loadable="true" src="https://assets.rebelmouse.io/eyJhbGciOiJIUzI1NiIsInR5cCI6IkpXVCJ9.eyJpbWFnZSI6Imh0dHBzOi8vYXNzZXRzLnJibC5tcy8yMTM2MTM0Ny9vcmlnaW4uanBnIiwiZXhwaXJlc19hdCI6MTYxMzQyOTI2MH0.sGb19EvXgVTkzONPmQxeADZLtvpywLLidyRlLEnxtHw/img.jpg?width=980" id="dc313" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="7265b195149752c122422a388878e391" data-rm-shortcode-name="rebelmouse-image" alt="Young professional woman taking a risk by taking on a new project at work and gaining confidence because of it." /><p>Don't go on a political rant or go to the CEO's office to voice a concern. The risk I suggest early in your career is the risk of trying new projects or assignments. Be intentional on the projects you would like to work on. If you see an opportunity to <a href="https://www.workitdaily.com/how-to-get-promoted-at-work" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">extend your reach</a>, do it, even if it means working a weekend or evening here and there. </p><p>Be bold enough, especially after you have a feel for the way your organization functions, to ask to take on what you see as an issue and fix it. Take initiative and step up. And when you fail (because at some point we all do), so what? Learn from it and move on. Don't get bitter or curl up and nurse your wounds, and never accuse someone else for your mistakes. </p><p>Your "currency" within the organization will be lost. However, if you are bold enough to try something new and it doesn't work out the way you planned, but you hold your head high and learn from the mistake, your stature in the organization will elevate. Your co-workers will take notice and some may even compliment you on your initiative.</p>
Are you ready to take the first step towards unlocking your true professional potential?