If you’re graduating this spring, your introduction to the workforce is going to be anything but ordinary. Unless you plan to enter as an essential service employee working on the front lines of the pandemic, your job hunt will likely prove more challenging than those of previous years.
The good news is that this year’s graduating class is full of digital natives. In our current world of physical distancing, these digital skills will prove to be more important (and marketable!) than ever. So while it may feel daunting at the moment, consider these 5 ways new grads can use digital skills to their advantage when entering the workforce.
Perfect your resume
So your job hunt might be off to a slower start than you expected - that just means more time to perfect your resume. As you write your resume and summarize your skills, be sure to use the same language as potential employers. Review existing job postings to identify terms that apply to you. Highlight digital skills you have that are relevant to a virtual work environment like experience with cloud-based apps and collaboration software, then update your resume with those keywords. Take the time to make your resume more visually appealing with free templates and design tools available online. Canva is a great place to start for design beginners. And don’t be afraid to let your resume reflect your unique personality. When you're ready, upload your resume to get your name out there.
Build your personal brand
Your resume isn’t the only way to tell employers who you are and why you’re an ideal candidate. You have the whole Internet at your disposal—use it! Get creative and let your personal brand shine through online. Start by choosing tools and platforms that make sense for you. If you’re a creative type like a graphic designer, photographer or writer, focus on curating an engaging and distinctive Instagram account. An aspiring chef might start a food blog. Networking events may be canceled, but you can still start conversations online. Use your curated social accounts to reach out to dream employers, follow thought leaders and share resources with peers. Be sure to include relevant social handles and URLs on your resume so that employers can see who you are off the page.
Practice video calling
As more businesses go virtual, so do hiring processes. Be prepared for job interviews via video call. Clear the room of any distractions and make sure your background is clean and professional. It’s OK to bring notes, but don’t rely on them. Make eye contact as much as possible, just as you would in person. A great way to do that is to move your interviewer’s chat window as close to your camera as possible. Headsets and external microphones can improve sound quality on video calls, but be sure to test yours ahead of time. The key to a great video call is to make it feel as if you’re there in person by eliminating distractions and leaning in to the experience.
Continue to improve your skills from home
In addition to side hustle skills, you might also think about improving job-specific skills that weren’t covered in your degree. There are so many ways to continue learning online, from platforms like Coursera and Udemy to free podcasts and video tutorials. Continue to update your resume with new skills and certifications to show employers your ability to self-educate and adapt.
Nurture healthy habits
You're at your best when you're healthy, and that means more than staying physically fit. It’s completely understandable and even expected that you might be stressed and anxious at this time, so be sure to take some time out of your day for mental health. Apps like Headspace and MoodMission are great tools for relaxation and coping. Remember to take screen breaks, turn off the news, and keep in touch with friends and family. You might also channel your energy into charity. Donating your time to a worthy cause can be great for mental health, and volunteer experience can improve your skills and stand out on your resume as you further develop your personal brand. Developing healthy habits now will continue to serve you throughout your career.