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Recently Graduated? Here’s How To Make Your Job Applications Stand Out

How can you make your job applications stand out as a graduate? Can having a portfolio help? By creating...

Avatar Written by Lisa · 3 min read >
Job application letters

How can you make your job applications stand out as a graduate? Can having a portfolio help? By creating a portfolio website, you will already be on your way to a more effective application process. It’s easy to get started with a template from a website builder platform which gives you all the tools to show off the projects you have done and the samples you have created.

Here’s what you need to know about creating a portfolio, as well as other methods for making your job applications stand out.

Finding work as a new graduate is confusing. Most job postings ask for people with years of experience. But how do you get that experience in the first place? Furthermore, everyone else who has graduated recently is now in the workforce with you. You need to work towards making your job applications stand out so that your lack of work experience no longer matters.

The following tips will help give you an advantage over your competition.

Build a portfolio

One way of getting around the fact that you have no work experience is by creating a portfolio. The reality is that companies are always going to be more interested in someone who can show them that they are capable than someone who happens to have held down a job for a few years.

As mentioned, you can create a beautiful portfolio website for free, which showcases your work effectively. But what do you put in your portfolio?

If you have done projects during university or college that are relevant to the job you’re applying for, include those. You’ve spent endless hours on these projects in any case. There’s no reason only those in charge of grading you should see your work.

Alternatively, do some personal projects that require your relevant skills. You will have to motivate yourself to do these projects with the hope that they will pay off in the future. If they are the quality that the company is looking for, it won’t matter that you did not get paid or graded for them.

Get to know someone at the company

Some companies may be receiving hundreds of job applications. They may screen those applications by years of experience. Even if they see yours, they may glance through it without giving themselves the time to get to know who you are. Luck is often a large part of the application process.

However, if you have a contact at the company, you have a much greater chance of your application being noticed. But how do you get a contact at the company?

Look through the staff page and find various members on LinkedIn. See if they have blogs, videos, or if they give talks. Then meet them at a talk or comment on their content. Send them messages and try to build a bit of a rapport.

This is not automatically going to get you the job, but it might get your foot in the door, so that your impressive application doesn’t go unnoticed.

Mention a few of your favorite books

You can gain a bit of attention from the people reading your application by mentioning some personal information. Of course, not all personal information is going to get you an advantage. You need to choose the information that both interests them while telling them something impressive about you.

Mentioning a few of your favorite “important” books is a great way of using shorthand to feed them information. If you tell someone that you love a specific book, they are immediately going to group you with the type of people they believe the book appeals to.

Your list should therefore include titles that portray you as the person they’re looking for. In other words, don’t list Atlas Shrugged as your favorite book if you’re applying for a role at a non-profit!

Do online courses

You’ve spent a lot of time and money on your student years, and the advice to do online courses is probably not something you want to hear. However, these courses do not need to be extensive or time-consuming. Unlike university courses, online courses generally teach you actionable skill in a short amount of time.

For example, you can get SEO certification from a number of different sources. This certification comes after a course that lasts a few hours, and immediately gives you a skill that companies need.

Standing out in job applications as a new graduate is tough. You are going to have to push through in a system that favors experience. But, with a bit of work on your application and on your contacts in the industry, you can increase your chances of landing your dream job.

 

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