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The Durham 500: Secrets to post-grad success

TNH Columnist

Published: Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Updated: Tuesday, February 11, 2014 02:02

If you’re in the Paul College of Business and Economics, you undoubtedly are a recipient of countless – and arguably excessive – email reminders for weekly resume reviews and workshops, job and internship opportunities, and invitations to visit the Paul College Career Services office. I can’t speak on behalf of the other schools, but I’d venture to say that their respective administrators also do more than just thumbnail a flier to a bulletin board whenever a job recruiter is seeking college graduates or undergraduate students to fill vacancies.

Upon graduation and at the onset of your search for a place in the “real world,” you’ll hear “it’s not what you know, it’s who you know.” And while it is true that personal networking and leveraging political capital can serve as innocuous and catalytic means of finding work, there is one thing that those without close ties to their intended industry – or anyone, for that matter – can and should be utilizing to really “get their foot in the door.” Above your personal and professional connections, interviewing skills, and college GPA, ranks what I find to be the most important aspect of your portfolio: marketability.

As cliche and simple as it sounds, the name of the game is separating – and essentially, elevating – yourself above the competition.

The debate over how many pages a resume should be and what should be included therein is a hot one. But at the end of the day, we only have so much we can show for on graduation day as 20-something-year-olds when it comes to industry experience.

That’s where marketability comes in. But how does one go about making themselves attractive to a recruiter, hiring manager, or business? As Krystal Hicks of the UNH Career Center puts it, “Until you have a job, you’re in the business of sales.”

If you’re expecting to land an ideal entry-level job in your intended field fresh out of college because of membership in a student organization, a respectable GPA and a decent handshake, you might be in for a rude awakening. What really separates the winners from the losers in the merciless race that post-grad job competition has become is a “go-getting” attitude.

The secret to selling yourself is a bit backwards from sales in retail, for example. In the world of self-marketability, the tactical door-to-door salesman will always see a better end result than the awaiting shopkeeper.

Below are some of my favorite resources for the job hunt. Familiarize yourself with these services and you may find yourself one step ahead of the game at crunch time:

Help with LinkedIn – Make an appointment with UNH Career Services Center.

Intern matching – internmatch.com; internships.com

Resume help – Review workshops posted online at Wildcat Careers.

Cover letters – Visit Connors Writing Center in Dimond Library.

Business cards – vistaprint.com

Social media – Make a professional Twitter account separate from your personal one and tweet articles and current events about your field.

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