In response to a common concern, Dianne Irene, college instructor, business owner, professional writer, and career expert, offers the following:
“More and more people are graduating with degrees. How can I stand out from the crowd when I have the same education as many others?”
Education is important, but remember that there are other factors to consider when marketing yourself for a position to a company. Considerations include experience, soft skills, attitude, overall presence, and how well you are prepared. Let’s break down the elements forming your total package.
Career Tip: Think of yourself a complete package of information and performance.
Experience represents a facet of your assets offering great benefits to a company. True enough, there are still some specializations that value experience over education, but don’t get discouraged if you lack years of industry-specific training. Rather than giving up, highlight your education and experience as a sign of your success with a certain skill or practice. The employer will then know you can indeed perform this skill again.
If you lack experience in a certain area, creating opportunities for your portfolio can be easier than some realize. For instance, internships allow you to practice skills and they can be completed in a short amount of time. Some internship opportunities are measured in hours or a matter of weeks. Also, volunteer work is a great way to practice skills AND put into practice soft skills that are essential to being a part of a team.
Remember the last time you dealt with a business where the representative lacked soft skills. This probably left you with a negative feeling and may have also left a poor impression on that particular company. To ensure a positive impression, always conduct yourself in a professional manner.
Career Tip: Pay attention to the small details about others that you are interacting with. Watch their facial expressions, their body language, and the tone of their voice.
A great attitude does have an effect on those who are exposed to it. Projecting a positive attitude is an essential part of presenting yourself to a company. Maintaining a positive attitude will also allow you to make yourself available to more opportunities.
Make sure that the obvious parts of how you present yourself are in order. Your hair and clothing should be professional and not distracting. However, you will want to remember the less obvious parts of your presence. Be sure to make eye contact, stand in good posture, and do not forget to smile at the appropriate times.
Being prepared for your introduction to a company can be the difference between standing out from other candidates and blending in. When a company is required to interview many candidates, you will want to be memorable.
Do your research on the company. Know who the key people are and what the company has accomplished in the last 5 years. Be sure to research some of the areas of growth potential for the market that your company of interest is in.
Career Tip: If you are up to date on technology, market trends, and company culture then you will have the edge needed to make a memorable impression.
Remember that you are a complete package with many dimensions. Just having a strong education background will not be enough to compete in today’s highly competitive market. You will need to hone in on all of the aspects of what makes a great employee. Highlight your strengths and consider sharpening the things you lack before trying to make that first impression that may last an entire career.
Dianne, thank you for your career insight. The high level of knowledge is appreciated and will be taken advantage of by many of our readers. We look forward to more.
For additional information or assistance in any career-related manner, don’t hesitate to reach out and send your request through the comment section or email us directly at firstname.lastname@example.org. Cutting edge single topic career workbooks and complete career lifecycle books are available at our website (www.edu-cs.com) or visit us at Amazon.com (search Danny at ECS).
Contributed by Dianne Irene