The leaves are changing hue, NCAA football is getting interesting, and students everywhere are prepping for exams: college is in full swing.
Schoolwork and the various opportunities of college life require loads of time and energy. With that in mind, what can a career-minded college student do online to maximize their future success?
More and more frequently, formal recruiting and informal introductions happen through social networks. As a student, it is important to not only be online but also maintain an employer-friendly public presence. Since we launched about.me two years ago, we’ve noticed an annual surge in college students joining our platform each Autumn and Spring as they start their search for Internships or their first job post graduation.
Square Peg, Round Hole
The desire to have a flattering online presence might send you and the students you know running to update resumés/ CV and professional networks online – worthwhile endeavors – but perhaps not enough to help accomplish your goals.
“For students, obsessing over a resumé is like sharpening a sword for a gunfight.”
It is helpful to have a sharp sword. But when entering the job market, old-school techniques aren’t enough to edge out the competition.
Instead of adding fluff to make a modest level of experience look immense, re-frame the conversation to highlight what’s unique about you and your goals. Focus on strengths like your motivations, who you are as a person, your life experiences and willingness to learn.
There is a Better Way
Your resumé/ CV is a framework to communicate experience. For students and recent grads, that particular framework may not make you look like a great candidate on paper. A paper document will not exude personality and passion as well as a media-rich personal website. In a tough job market, differentiation comes from more than changing fonts or adding skills.
Demonstrating creativity and personality goes beyond just differentiation. Potential employers, collaborators or co-founders will have a sense of how well you can fit into an origination or partnership. Our mission at about.me is to give everyone a page that serves as a starting point for prospective employers to learn more about you, and give employers the ability to interact wherever you are active on the web. We created about.me to offer you more control over how you represent yourself online.
YOU are not the Sum of Your Tweets
Nearly all college students are active on social media, which creates its own set of challenges. Social media has fragmented our identities in ways that don’t align with the 360 degree view we have of ourselves. This fragmentation is an unintended consequence of being active on services that represent different but very narrow aspects of our personalities (i.e., you are a different person on Twitter than you are on LinkedIn or Facebook, etc.).
Said another way, you are not the sum of your Tweets, you are not solely defined by your academic/ professional experiences and accomplishments, and you’re most definitely not defined by your social graph. These are all important facets of your identity but none should be given the lead role of defining you. We believe that YOU should define YOU. YOU should navigate people interested in learning more about YOU to a page that introduces YOU on YOUR terms, not leaving it to focused services or a Google algorithm to define YOU.
By definition, entry-level positions do not require an immense depth of experience. Yes, resumés and CVs are mandatory to organize prior experiences and references. However, it’s essential to display competency in other ways beyond your academic excellence, previous work experiences and accomplishments. Employers are looking for fit. They want to know what motivates you, who you really are as a person.
Reach beyond the resumé/ CV and create an about.me page that captures a 360 degree view of you and your strengths, on your terms.
PS – if you’re a college student, tweet a copy of your page to @aboutdotme so we can check you out, we’ll maybe even feature you in our directory!