I’ve been asked many times by college students, both my age and younger, how they can stand out from their classmates when it comes to finding a job and starting a career. A few months ago, Bentley University released a study suggesting that many college students aren’t prepared for the corporate world. Because of this there has been mounting frustration by recruiters, as they are seeking young professionals who are ready to contribute to a company. So how can the next generation of workers get their feet in the door to kickstart their careers and be ahead of their peers?
1. Create a blog
It can’t be reiterated enough; starting a blog is the first step in getting exposure, readership, and notoriety. Too often college students assume that no one wants to read, or cares about what they have to say, whether it’s their career field or hobby. Recruiters are frequently searching for young, bright talent who have knowledge in a particular industry or career, but most students don’t meet them halfway through a blog or website. A blog is the internet version of a resume, and all the articles you write and share add up to being a treasure chest that shows your value.
2. Start a YouTube Channel
When it comes to students of any age, many never look to YouTube as a form of getting themselves out their and sharing the knowledge they have with the world. There have been a few successful YouTubers who have become young entrepreneurs and creators, one of which is Bethany Mota, who has her own clothing line with Abercrombie & Fitch and has been mentioned by websites all across the business sector. This girl started making videos about her passion which was clothing and fashion, and over time gained thousands of subscribers which got the attention of multi-million dollar companies.
Another YouTuber, one who I had followed in my teenage years, is the musician Dave Days. This former high schooler who created parody songs and covers of hit songs in his basement, with a small group of friends, became a sensation. This later gave him the opportunity to move to Los Angeles where he recorded videos with other YouTubers. He’s also made a video with Miley Cyrus, who at that time wasn’t at the center of controversy. Now Dave Days has albums that can be bought on iTunes, has gone on tour with other YouTubers, and has a following of 268,000 people on Twitter and 1.6 million subscribers on YouTube.
While both Bethany Mota and Dave Days took different paths and have reached different levels of success, they both have one trait that got them where they are today. They never stopped making videos, and continue to post on a weekly and monthly basis.
For college students, talk about your passion, whether it’s a hobby or the major you’re taking. Your passion and love will be noticeable, as those YouTubers who stopped after 10 videos, lost interest or never really had a fire for the topic to begin with. Inform, persuade, and most importantly, answer questions viewers might have, as this shows your expertise, experience, and knowledge of the career field or hobby you have.
Also have fun while making these videos; no one wants to watch five to ten minutes of someone talking while being completely stone-faced with no emotion. Those two YouTubers above attracted subscribers and viewers because of their personalities and their friendliness. Your passion and knowledge will show, and with perseverance you’ll get noticed.
3. Get Linked on LinkedIn
LinkedIn is known as the Facebook for adults, but it can also be a great outlet for college students to connect and network with people who can possibly help them later on in their careers. What is not advised is to connect with strangers, although many young students and even adults do this. Start with your friends and family, and move up from there. You can join groups that share content that is definitely worth reading and discussing with professionals who are in the career field you’re working towards joining after graduation. Very few college students take advantage of the tools that are at their disposal, and by connecting with experienced professionals, you’re much more likely to get that job and learn from others who are in your profession.
Tying these three outlets together, creating accounts on all social media platforms is a must, as this will add to the effectiveness of your blog, YouTube channel, and LinkedIn profile. Remember, you’re college students and most of your aren’t getting paid yet or have families of your own. Be bold, take the first step now and get yourself out there. You have the opportunity to show the entire world what you know and that you’re worth hiring more than the kid sitting next to you at a lecture. There is nothing to lose, and taking this initiative now will pay off in the future as long as you persevere, are consistent, and always work hard.