After spending waking nights studying for exams and fighting to stay awake through lectures, you are finally ready to stop learning and start working!
You are young, smart ready to graduate and excited to finally take all that knowledge you bought and start making the big bucks.
But, there’s a problem.
You have little to no experience and you have no idea how to sell yourself.
Richard Dukas, CEO of Dukas Public Relations was quoted in a recent article in Business Insider. He stated, “As someone who has read thousands of cover letters and resumes since I started my financial PR firm in 2002, I can categorically say that 99% of “kids today” do a terrible job of presenting and marketing themselves to prospective employers. Their cover letters are generally boring and rambling…”
So, I’d like to offer some strategies recent grads and college students can use to help sell themselves in a cover letter.
- Show how your experiences thus far have prepared you for the real world.
The main take away here is to keep it RELEVANT. In other words, don’t talk about your summer jobs waiting tables at your dad’s restaurant if you are looking to get into marketing. Employers want to know that you’re so passionate about the career you are pursuing that you’ve done something (anything) in the field and can bring that experience to add value at their organization.
- Talk less about you; more about them.
Watch how many times you type the words “I, my, me”. This generation gets a lot of flak for being self-absorbed, so shift that paradigm and really put the emphasis on your targeted company. You want to show them the benefits of hiring you for the job. So, whenever you mention yourself, make sure it always relates back to them. For example, you can reassure them that you understand their position in the market or the impact a recent industry change had on their business and explain how you can potentially help them through their challenges.
- Mention why you picked that company.
Hiring managers want to feel wanted. So, take a paragraph to explain why you want to work for the company. Don’t talk about how you want to gain experience and grow with the firm. But, share a quick story about how you came to know of the company and how much you understand their business or how rewarding it would be to part of their brand.