How College Graduates Can Navigate the Virtual Hiring Process
COVID-19 has had a profound impact across the workforce, particularly when it comes to the hiring process and especially for recent college graduates looking to land their first job. According to the Labor Department and CNBC, employers project hiring 7.2% more new college graduates from the Class of 2021 than they did from the Class of 2020. If you’re graduating this year, or are still looking after earning your degree last year, here are a few tips to help you stand out from the competition.
- Make your resume do the heavy lifting. It is important to tailor your resume to the industry and a specific job, so the hiring manager can see how your skills and education will transfer into the field. Lead with your strengths that are most aligned with the job responsibilities. Keep the design concise and easy to read, and make sure it looks just as good in digital format as it does in print.
- Establish a professional online presence. Many employers won’t be able to meet you in person, so they will need to get to know you online. Make sure you have a strong LinkedIn page that demonstrates your education, experience, and goals. If applicable, create a landing page to hold writing samples or your portfolio. And of course, review your public social media content to ensure that it conveys the image you want to portray to employers.
- Create the perfect interview environment. Virtual interviews require attention to detail. Double-check that your technical equipment works flawlessly and create a background that avoids distraction. Position yourself against a solid wall, bookshelf, or other professional background. Avoid doing interviews with your bedroom in the background whenever possible. While it may be tempting to wear sweats or leggings, always dress professionally on the top and bottom – you never know what someone might catch a glimpse of.
- Practice your virtual interviews. Work with a friend, teacher, or mentor to practice interviewing for every job. Practicing helps you feel more prepared for the real deal and get ready for many different types of questions. Instead of worrying about the “perfect” responses, you’ll get comfortable going wherever the flow of an interview takes you.
- Take follow-up offline. After a lengthy online interview process, go back to the basics by sending hand-written thank you notes. This is a quick and easy way to thank the hiring team for their time, while helping you stand out from the crowd. Make sure your note reminds them why you are a strong candidate for the position.
Today’s college graduates are used to working remotely and are well-prepared for virtual interviews. With a few additional steps, you can stand out from the crowd and land that job!
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