Are you graduating high school or college this year? Are you nervous about landing the job you want in your field?

We’ve rounded up some of the best resume tips and professional advice for new graduates joining the workforce.

Lurk in the Shadows

As you might have guessed, we don’t mean this literally. Instead, we are referring to job shadowing – an important means of gaining knowledge and experience in your field.

Job shadowing involves following a professional throughout their day and observing their activities. Job shadowing may be as brief as a few hours or as extensive as several weeks.

You can seek out job shadowing opportunities anytime, from your entry into high school until after college graduation (in fact, you might even pursue job shadowing when making a mid-career change).  Reach out to your teachers, guidance counselors, and even the HR departments of companies you are interested in to find shadowing opportunities.

What makes job shadowing so valuable? Early in your career, you have one distinct disadvantage – you do not yet have on-the-job experience. Shadowing helps fill that gap. It tells your prospective employer that you’ve been there – you know how to comport yourself in the workplace and what to expect when it comes to required tasks and workloads.

How do you put shadowing experience on a resume? Set up your shadowing experience in the same format as you would work experience. Include the company and the job title of the person you shadowed. You can use a heading like “Shadow Experience.”

You do not have to list the number of hours when describing your experience in a bulleted list, but look for quantifiable indicators – for example, if you shadowed a medical professional, how many patients did you interact with? In other fields, how many employees relied on the role holder? Or, how many customers did you serve?

Brand Yourself

No branding irons here – just social media. Personal branding is becoming increasingly important in today’s professional world. Why?

According to a Harris Poll survey, 67 percent of employers “look for information that support’s a candidate’s qualifications” online. This is sometimes referred to as a “social media screening.”

If you haven’t already done so, set up a LinkedIn profile. LinkedIn is considered a professional social network and is therefore the most trusted resource. Include your LinkedIn handle on your graduate resume. Reach out to colleagues, teachers, and others, asking them to endorse your skills on LinkedIn – more on that in the next section.

You may also wish to set up additional indicators of a professional online presence. This may include a personal website, blog, or social media accounts (such as Instagram or Facebook) that are dedicated to exhibiting your skills and accomplishments in a professional manner.

Additionally, you should audit your personal social media accounts. Remove any posts or comments that you wouldn’t want your future boss to see. Consider setting your personal accounts to “private,” but remember that anything you post online can potentially be seen by anyone.

Build Your Network

It is never too early to start building your professional network. In fact, you’ve likely already begun. But you can benefit greatly if you give attention to it in earnest.

What is a professional network? Southern New Hampshire University defines professional networking as “a process by which you expand your knowledge and capability by leveraging relationships with other professionals.”

Even if you are still in school, you already have the foundations of your professional network – your teachers and professors. Have you worked at any job? Your bosses and coworkers are also part of your network. Have your job shadowed, interned, or participated in specialized academic activities or clubs? Those people, too, can be part of your network. You may even have become acquainted with professionals through your family, community activities, daily life, or mere chance.

Above, we discussed setting up your LinkedIn profile. This is one of the easiest ways to manage, maintain, and expand your professional network. Request to connect with those in the above categories, as well as potential contacts at companies you are interested in working at or schools you would like to attend. You can include a brief note with your request outlining when you met the person or, if you have not yet met, why you would like to connect with them.

If you know a lot of people, focus on networking with those related to your field of work or study. Additionally, put yourself in a position to meet professionals in your field by attending conferences, lectures, seminars, conventions, or networking events. If you have a mutual contact, ask that person to introduce you.

Key Takeaways

Whether you are about to graduate high school or you have recently graduated college, you can build a strong career foundation by expanding your experience through job shadowing, giving attention to your personal branding online, and attentively expanding your professional network.

We hope our tips can help you find your way in this exciting and challenging transition to the working world. Onward and upwards!
[Source: This article was published in aofirs.org By Emma Davis – Uploaded by the Member of Broadreader]