Never too early for students to make an impression

We often get asked by students: “What can I do now to boost my job chances?” The answer is ‘quite a lot’.

It’s never too early to make a first impression. Here are a few things you could consider while still in college.

1. Join LinkedIn (www.LinkedIn.com ). A survey we carried out last year revealed that over 90 per cent of students hadn’t even heard of LinkedIn, and we’re pretty sure many of you are hearing about it for the first time today. One description we like of LinkedIn is “Facebook for people who are serious about their careers and businesses.”

2. Get relevant work experience. Don’t always look for payment (but don’t turn it down either, if it comes your way ). First and foremost, think of the benefit it will be on your CV.

3. Impress people with your enthusiasm – with an innocence-of-youth approach, you can get to key people in companies. A lot of employers have developed a cynicism about students. “Back in our day…” Be the one student who gives them a chance to say “you know what, a young person like that would make you feel good about the country again.” Be the one who impresses.

4. Be the one they’ll talk about in 20 years time: “I remember the first email she sent me – he said Dear Ms AN Other, I think I can bring value to your company – and if you give me 10 minutes of your time, I will show you how.” Of course, it goes without saying that if you make a promise like that, you must arrive with something good in the tank.

Good luck. There is a great deal of pessimism out there now, but there are still good opportunities.

Some more on LinkedIn

LinkedIn’s primary demographic is people whose school or college days are over. A few must-knows about LinkedIn

1. See here to get some info on what LinkedIn.com is all about: http://press.linkedin.com/faq

2. Build your profile. Tack in where you’ve worked and what you did. Make sure to use a photo.

3. Connect with people you know. In the early stages, this will take a bit of time as you sift through Connections of Connections. But once you achieve some critical mass, it will become easier until one day, hopefully a long way off just yet, you are back to slim pickings again. But, by then, you will have dozens or maybe even hundreds of useful Connections.

4. Get Connections to recommend you in whatever way they can – even someone for whom you worked on a summer job. Get in the habit of asking people to recommend you. No job too small.

5. Join groups in your area of interest.

6. Search for jobs.

7. Respond to questions that people ask, if you can (and if your answer is useful ). This is another way of building your profile.

8. Do a little bit every day or two. Build your profile bit by bit.

Sli Nua Careers (Main St, Headford, Co. Galway, tel 094 95 42965, www.SliNuaCareers.com ) help candidates get jobs by carrying out professional CV preparation (face-to-face and online ) and interview training.

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