The walk across the college graduation stage is a celebratory moment in any student’s life – that is until her or she walks off the stage into the reality that will soon follow: the looming job hunt. For some students, the process can be intimidating, frustrating, and arduous. According to the Bureau of Labor statistics, there are five job applicants for every job opening. That small window of opportunity can prove troublesome to graduates who are not prepared. But with some ingenuity, persistence, and innovation, college graduates can launch their careers with relative ease.

BUILD A NETWORK

Networking remains one of the best ways to promote yourself. Building traction in your career requires that you have positive relationships with people in your industry. Reaching out to industry experts and colleagues BEFORE you need a job is best. Approaching new relationships amid a job search can make the relationship seem artificial. Set up lunches and small meetings to gain knowledge and perspective before you probe for new job opportunities.

USE SOCIAL MEDIA TO PROMOTE YOURSELF

Using sites such as LinkedIn can help you to reach your network of business professionals and let them know that you are in the marketplace. If you have a blog, be sure to connect it to LinkedIn. Individuals who see your information can also read what you are writing, and employers are increasingly reviewing social media sites as part of background checks. Of importance is that your public profile is polished in order to ensure employers view you in the best possible light.

SPRUCE UP YOUR RESUME

Are you looking to separate yourself from the crowded pool of applicants? Construct your resume by focusing on your audience. Each resume should be revised to target the needs of the company and the position. Most recruiters spend less than 30 seconds reviewing a resume, so your resume must stand out to be placed in the “Let’s Interview” pile. Keep your resume brief and engaging. Use action-oriented language and show how you made a marketable impact. Your resume must be perfect and contain no spelling, grammar, or punctuation errors. Words such a “Good Communicator” do not add value to a resume. Instead, focus on specific results: Increased sales by 30 percent. Remember, you must get an interview to get the job, and your resume is your ticket to an interview.

EXPAND YOUR EDUCATION

Along with your experience, expanding your education is always a great way to make yourself a better job candidate. Whether it’s a diploma, certification, or just a workshop or seminar, employers are always looking for candidates who can bring valuable skill sets to their organization. Being a life-long learner is a positive trait that shows employers that you are interested in improving your knowledge and skills.

CREATE A PORTFOLIO

Today, electronic portfolios are a way to show potential employers just what you can do. Administrative portfolios may include such items as proposals, letters, reports, and PowerPoint presentations. Portfolios can showcase your skills in ways that an interview could never do. An electronic portfolio may give you the edge that will help you to secure a new position over other candidates.

Author: Bonnie Ellis, the President and CEO of Management Dimensions is well versed in new age recruiting tactics, resume development and entrepreneurship. She is also on the faculty at University of PhoenixDetroit Campus, serving as the Campus College Chair instructing courses in Arts and Sciences.