Reality about employment has begun to kick in as graduation looms closer, but how bad is the job market for graduates looking for entry level positions?  Statistics show it could be months before a graduate is able to find work.

So what can graduates do to stand out in an already competitive market?

Beti Krsteski from Angel Recruitment and Consultancy Group, suggests that graduates and current students should try small project platforms like Elance, Freelancer or Airtasker, where they can demonstrate their skills and measure their learning. It is also an opportunity to build up a portfolio of work and even references to show future employers.

While it may seem strange to be advocating social media, it does play a role in employment. Most of the Angel Group’s recruitments last year were from Facebook. Ms Krsteski said that creating a personal brand is important as presentation and being well-connected. Developing two social media identities can help those who don’t want future employers/recruiters to see their personal media and having a professional identity helps prevent perceptions from being skewed.

If in doubt about your professional social media identity: “Your Linkedin is how you would talk to someone in an interview. Your Facebook is how you would present yourself to colleagues and Myspace is what you might be in your personal time.”

Another marketable skill is the ability to leverage relationships and spark connections. Klout facilitates growth of an individual’s social media, even scoring a person’s social influence.

But above all, the main message is to try and get experience. At the end of graduation, you may have a piece of paper, but so do many other people. Volunteering, working on projects, finding internships all take effort, but they give you the experience and show to an employer that you know more than just theory. Everyone has a value, but figuring out how your unique strengths, skills and a personality are marketable can land you a job.

Words and Video: Tess Brunton

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