You were almost at the finish line. Close to college graduation. Close to applying for that first real job out of school. Preparing to pen the perfect resume by compiling your work and/or internship experiences, education, hard and soft skills, everything necessary to sell yourself. Prove to your most sought-after employers why you could be their biggest asset and the ultimate hire to their team.
But then the unimaginable happened.
COVID-19 put a halt on your plans and now you find yourself with another complex dilemma. As if the job market among college graduates and soon-to-be grads isn’t competitive enough, you now find yourself dipping into the same job pool as the record 7 million recently unemployed Americans. So, you think to yourself, "How am I going to make a splash in this current environment? What can I do to make my resume stand out from the rest of the millions of other applicants applying for the same job? Are there things I should be doing now to enhance my resume? What skills should I add? Or better yet, what skills should I sharpen?"
These are all great questions and the answer is, “Absolutely!”
Listen, the truth is right now most people (including recent college graduates and soon-to-be graduates) are at home with some extra time on their hands. So why not use this time to take a break from social media, making your next TikTok video, or ingesting your daily dose of scary, breaking news, to boost your resume?
Below are some helpful tips and tricks that can help you tweak your resume to give it the boost it may need during these unprecedented times. The good news is that many of these things are easy to do and most of them don’t cost a thing!
Take Personal Inventory of Your Skillset
Based on the position you are seeking, certain hard and soft skills could be a deal breaker (or maker) on a resume. That’s why before you start listing your stellar abilities, it’s important to do some research to learn exactly the sort of experience employers are looking for in a qualified applicant within your field.
Pickup A New Talent or Two!
Once you’ve assessed your skillset, seek out online classes or webinars that can help. Thanks to sites like Skillshare, Lynda, and Coursera, polishing your career skills has never been easier! Not only are classes available right at your fingertips, but due to the current environment, several course sites are now offering free courses or discounts to make learning available to everyone.
And if you prefer more of a “classroom setting”, webinars are another great option to learn more about a specific topic in a short period of time, usually in about or under an hour. While there are hundreds of organizations offering webinars, here are some free ones that might be worth your while:
- Career Contessa (free during COVID-19)
- eLearning Industry (paid and free)
- Hubspot Webinars (free)
Learning new skills will also be beneficial when seeking a future raise, promotion, or even when taking on a new role.
Reframe Your Skills to Meet New and Different Demands
It’s no secret we are living in very different times right now, so it’s a great idea to reflect on past experiences or internships to see how you can apply those skills to other industries and roles. Proving you can be versatile and nimble during a time like this will make you even a more valuable and sought-after candidate in the future.
Check Out Your Online Presence
Another important step that will help you stand out in a pool of applicants during this time is to evaluate your online presence. Many employers will check out social media pages to get a better feel about a potential candidate. Here are some things to consider:
- Be sure your LinkedIn profile is updated with your most recent education, work and/or internship experiences
- Don’t be shy! Reach out and engage with employees at organizations or companies that are of interest to you
- Be active on networking sites
Attend Virtual Events
During the quarantine, events that wouldn’t normally be available online are now being offered virtually. Large events, such as the Adobe Summit and Salesforce Connections, are not only virtual this year but free to attend—making them available to you regardless of budget or location.
Plus, don’t forget these extra tips to ensure you make the most out of every virtual event you attend:
- Treat each virtual event as if you were attending in person
- Be sure to network and connect with attendees before, during and after the event
- Engage on social media by using event hashtags, tagging presenters, and commenting on the event’s social media pages
- Do some research and find workshops and talks that are most valuable to you
Lastly, as you gear up to dive into the job market, consider creating multiple resumes. Now that you have a little extra time, take advantage and create two or three different resume templates tailored to different job titles and levels of expertise. This will come in handy in the long run and will serve to be a nice time saver when things resume back to normal.