As part of Webucator's blogging campaign, "Webucator Asks," they've asked a number of professionals what they think is the most important skill to have in order to be successful when entering into the workforce. I found this post to be an extremely important one, especially since I once was that recent graduate shaking in their heels as to how in the world I was going to land a job in a field that was diminishing. I found that the one skill I found to be the most important is knowing how to market yourself properly.
Sure you may have all of the skills in the world, but if you don't know how to communicate that properly to colleagues or potential employers, it's going to be that much harder to break into your field whatever it may be. Recent graduates should be talking to anyone and everyone in order to make connections. Is it intimidating? Yes. Is it worth it? Yes. I've seen a lot of graduates pass up great opportunities to network with people in the industry they're trying to break into and they're shooting themselves in the foot by not taking advantage of these opportunities. However, if you do plan to meet with potential employers at a networking or industry event, be prepared.
* Bring business cards with your online portfolio (yes, make one)
*Bring your resume with (depending on the event)
* Dress for the job you want (professionally).
* Be prepared to answer tough questions.
*Don't be afraid to initiate conversation and introduce yourself. Think of icebreakers. (Not, hey I need a job.)
* Don't act desperate. (i.e. "hire me, I'll take any open position,")
* Say something that will make them remember you when they have an open position if they don't already.
While there may be some controversy with this statement, I believe it. "It's not what you know, it's WHO you know." If you are there networking with several employers at an industry event and you just-so-happened to be applying for a position with their company...guess who will have the upper hand? At the very least, you can build upon those relationships you establish and use them as future references. I of course am just speaking upon my own experiences and I wish all of those entering into the workforce the best of luck in your future careers!