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Ready, set, find a job!

Jenna Johnson

You are a college senior (or super senior) getting ready to graduate and searching for a job -- any job -- so you can avoid living in your parents' basement or being an over-educated fast food employee. Yeah, you and thousands of other soon-to-be-graduates.

So, how do you set yourself apart?

danschawbel.jpgLet me introduce you to Dan Schawbel, a personal branding expert and author of the book, "Me 2.0: Build a Powerful Brand to Achieve Career Success." Dan compiled a list of tips to get you started with your search:

Focus on quality, not quantity
Don't apply for every job opening you discover on job boards or corporate Web sites. Make sure each job aligns to both what you're passionate about and the direction you want to move in with your career.

Focus on the people at companies
Conduct a people search instead of a job search using social media tools, such as LinkedIn and Twitter, in order to locate hiring managers from companies that you're interested in working for. Most job postings on corporate websites and job boards receive so many submissions that there is a low probability your resume will even be viewed, so it's much better to build a relationship with the person who is actually hiring for the position.

Network, network, network
Network as much as you can before you graduate with people in the industry you want to enter, both in online communities and offline events. Use all of the resources available to you, including your family, friends, career advisers, professors, and coworkers (if you've had an internship) when job searching. And don't be afraid to let people know you're searching for a job and the exact type of job you're looking for.

Form a support group
Develop a peer support group using a social network called, which caters to talented young professionals like yourself. [Update: After this post was published, it came to our attention that Schawbel has a financial connection to Brazen Careerist. Schawbel said the Web site pays him $1,200 a month to promote the site's content through Twitter and other venues.]

Be original
Make sure that your resume is customized for each position you're applying for and that you include a personal cover letter to a specific contact at the company. And disregard standardized resume templates that were given to you by career services because they won't make you stand out in the recruiting process.

Brand yourself
Establish your online brand, including your own website or blog, and profiles on social networks, so that recruiters can easily find you online. Clean up your digital presence, if you have one, and run it by your grandmother to see if she would approve of your pictures and public information.

Do your homework
Research companies, people, and places as much as you can before you graduate so you have a good sense of where to apply for jobs.

Keep learning
Subscribe to The Student Branding Blog, branding and career resource designed for students of all ages. It is written by career counselors at colleges such as Tufts University, the University of Delaware and the University of Wisconsin-Madison. There is also advice from corporate recruiters and college seniors.

Photo by

About Dan Schawbel
The New York Times once called Dan a "personal branding guru." He is the the managing partner of Millennial Branding, LLC, and the author of the bestselling book, "Me 2.0: Build a Powerful Brand to Achieve Career Success." Dan publishes the Personal Branding Blog, Student Branding Blog, and Personal Branding Magazine. He also works for and helps promote the site's content.

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By Jenna Johnson  |  April 23, 2010; 5:28 PM ET
Categories:  Real World  | Tags: Job Search  
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