Now that graduation has come and gone, it’s time for the Class of 2014 to jump-start the job search. It can be hard for new grads to figure out how best to sell themselves when their work experiences consist of part-time positions and internships.
Caroline Ghosn is here to help. As the founder and CEO of Levo, an organization that works to mentor young women as they enter the workforce, she often is asked by recent grads for tips and advice. Here’s what she suggests.
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Show your résumé over and over again
“The biggest mistake new grads make is that they don’t get a second set of eyes to look at their résumé,” says Ghosn. She suggests finding three or four trusted friends or colleagues to review your résumé and make suggestions. “That sounds like a lot,” Ghosn admits, “but your résumé is only going to change for the better. You look at your résumé over and over, and you start to miss things. The third or fourth editor will really help you tighten it up.”
Tell a story
Don’t worry if you think your résumé is a little light on experience. “It’s all about how to tell the story and making the story about your transferrable skills,” says Ghosn. “You have to figure out how you can connect the dots. Let’s say you were the social chair of a student organization or a fraternity or sorority. Your skills would be managing timelines, budgets and logistics.”
And don’t discount retail or food services positions. “I’ve never learned more about stakeholder management than when I was a waitress,” Ghosn notes. “You learn how to approach people who want you to fix their problems immediately."
Don’t worry if you appear a bit nervous at your first few interviews. “What interviewers are looking for is not someone that is stoic and cool as a cucumber,” says Ghosn. “Interviewers are looking for passion, not perfection.”
An interview wardrobe must-have
Ghosn says every new grad should have a good blazer in the closet to complete an appropriate business look. “It makes a casual outfit instantly more professional,” she says.
Don’t be intimidated
“You have everything you need as a young grad to succeed. You are coming into this new world as a digital native and possess skills that other people are learning now,” Ghosn says. “Focus on the things you have to offer.”
For more tips for new grads visit Levo's graduation page.
Follow Lakshmi Gandhi on Twitter@LakshmiGandhi.