Standing Out in A Sea of Qualified Applicants
The job market in 2017 is so saturated with applicants, that it is essential to stand out. Standing out in a positive, yet not too specialized way, takes a delicate balancing act.
Instead of using terms like “hard-working” and “marketing experience” on a resume, applicants should point out specifically what skills have, projects they’ve done, and problems they’ve solved. With each application, the resume and cover letter should be framed in a new way, emphasizing skills and experiences in relation to the job in question. According to Gershon, “the submitted resume is supposed to be rewritten for a handful of people at a specific company.” (Location 1188)
A surefire way to stand out beyond your application materials, is to make a connection with the organization, by volunteering or networking with employees or mutual connections. Creating an active, professional online presence and following industry professionals and organizations could be another way to make connections. In Getting from College to Career, Pollack emphasizes the importance of networking, stating that, “70 to 80 percent of jobs are found through networking,” and defines it as “building and maintaining mutually beneficial relationships.” (87–89) This can mean connecting with professors, maintaining strong relationships with past employers, joining a professional association, or reaching out to an industry professional for an informational interview. Pollock quotes Anna Schilawski, who says, “Informational interviews will get you farther than applications. Talk to anyone who will give you five minutes of their time.” (102)
In Media and Communications, specializing in a certain topic, with research projects to back it up, will align one with jobs in that area. Majoring in Media and Communications, without relation to a minor, and aiming to work in social media is far too broad. Focus on areas of social media, such as data analysis, and take courses in statistics in order to secure the career that you want.
In Down and Out in a New Economy, Gershon states that, “Job seekers, in order to be hired, are never using just one genre; they are producing a genre repertoire.” (Location 1172) Specializing in one area or genre limits applicants, so they must find ways to gain experiences and develop skills that can apply to multiple areas. She also discusses in this chapter, that in order to gain a job, one must research, hone their skills, and network before the application process even begins. In a practical sense, for me, this means taking internships and volunteering at different types of organizations that require separate skills that could apply to my field.