Many young people say it seems harder to get a job right after college now compared to a few years ago. Some entry-level positions ask for years of experience (LMK how that makes sense), and those that don’t ask for that have you up against hundreds of other applicants. If you’re trying to break into a highly-competitive industry, like music or filmmaking, landing a post-grad job might feel even further out of reach. All of those hours you spend polishing your LinkedIn and resume only seem to amount to a dead end. Even if finding a job isn’t an issue for you, you were probably sick of getting ghosted by the companies you applied to. Seriously, I’d rather have employers reject me than ignore me altogether.
Job searches might seem discouraging, but don’t let your fears deter you from applying. If you’re worried about how you compare to other applicants, there are easy tweaks you can make to your resume and cover letter to help you stand out. First, other students say to consider what unique skills you have that separate you from other candidates. Even if you don’t think these skills are worth including, you might be surprised. Companies are always on the hunt for well-rounded employees — your random set of interests might end up landing you the job. Before you extract anything from your resume, consider keeping these Gen Z skills front and center.
- Social Media
Now, you have a valid excuse to spend hours on TikTok. According to Carolann Sarfaty, a senior and career and life design intern at Trinity College, there are a multitude of social media skills you should highlight on your resume. Sarfaty tells Her Campus, “Employers might like to see skills that are related to social media, such as marketing, creation, editing, and photoshop. Social media has become such a big part of life, and a majority of businesses utilize it.”
Next time your parents scold you for spending too much time on your phone, tell them it’s all part of the job search. For Gen Z, the chances of getting hired for a social media position may be greater. As Sarfaty mentions, “People [who are] hiring definitely assume younger generations — in particular, Gen Z — have more of a talent for using social media. Having that ability could definitely give someone a leg up when applying to particular positions.”
- Coding & Tech
Maybe you’re not into social media but still want a job in the digital world. If that sounds like you, make sure those tech-adjacent skills are displayed proudly on your CV. According to Sarfaty, “Having a good understanding of technology in general is always helpful. When I first started working in my school’s career center, we were taught to add any kind of technology skills to our resumes, like coding or even things as simple as Microsoft Word or PowerPoint.” Time to dust off those slideshow skills.
- Greek Life
Greek Life is more than just Bama Rush TikToks. Cam S., a senior at the University of New Hampshire and a recruiter, explains how her participation in Greek Life helped shape her career. “The connections and leadership from being in a sorority helped me land an internship that later led to a full time job, [which I’ll start] when I graduate,” Cam says. Greek life “made my resume stand out, from volunteering and holding leadership positions.” Some Greek Life organizations even host alumni panels, where members can network and get career advice.
- Study Abroad
There are a number of ways you can effectively tie in your experiences abroad to your career. As Indeed delineates, you should emphasize what skills you acquired from studying abroad, whether that’s learning to adapt to a new environment or finding different approaches to communication.
While you were abroad, it’s possible that you picked up a second (or third, or fourth…) language. Or maybe you knew more than one language already. If so, make sure you include the languages you speak and your proficiency level in your resume. Even if you’re a beginner in the language, Sarfaty explains, “It could come in handy for certain aspects of a job. And potentially, the person looking at your resume or interviewing you may also speak the same language, which could give you something to discuss with them, making you stick out in the hiring process.”
Cam recounts several scenarios where her fluency in French came in handy. “Multiple times, I’ve been offered special tasks from my boss to help specific clients that have a hard time with English,” Cam says. “Having gone abroad, I also get to connect or relate to others and their travels, even once getting a generous tip from a client after discussing our latest trip and memories!” Getting a “generous tip” doesn’t sound too bad, TBH.
Believe it or not, if you’re in a college improv group, it might help you in the application process. “This was not a skill I expected to use every day at work, but it was easily one I used the most,” Cam admits. “Every conversation I have, whether it’s with a customer or a colleague, has many different outcomes. Having done improv in the past, it helped me to navigate different personalities and situations that arose at work.” Evidently, improv can teach you how to quickly react in various circumstances. It’s not just for laughs.
Whatever interests you have are easy to tailor to your dream job. Just be sure to mention what you’ve gained from these experiences, and how they’ve prepared you with a specific skill set that you can apply to your career. Talk about a standout resume.