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Get Scrappy: Take Initiative to Stand Out Amongst Job Candidates

You can never be too qualified.

It is no secret that the job market is scarce and the competition is stiff. The U.S. Census Bureau reported that more Americans are earning bachelor’s degrees than ever before, and with that, the “edge” that has historically accompanied a degree is lessened.

So, if a college degree is not enough to pass you through to the next level of the hiring process, what are employers looking for?

Skills, my friends.

It is a common misconception among college students that earning a degree almost “guarantees” you a job post-graduation. However, recent graduates will quickly discover that waving your diploma around an interview is not going to cut it.

Taking time to earn supplemental skills in your field on your own time is crucial to getting a leg-up in the application process. You may find yourself frustrated, stuck in this “post-grad limbo,” wondering where and how one can learn extra professional skills when you’re no longer enrolled in classes and are not yet in a professional setting to gain on-the-job experience. The answer to this dilemma is simple: the internet.

As Millennials/GenZ’ers, you’ve grown up with the internet; and as a job-seeking graduate, you are still learning and growing a considerable amount.

Here are some great online resources to gather those extra skills that you didn’t get at your university, but will enrich your resume—

Lynda.com

Lynda.com homepage job skills

Meet your new best friend: Lynda. Developed by LinkedIn, this website is your online tutor, mentor, and guru. There is no other online platform (that I’ve encountered) that compares to the library of knowledge offered on Lynda.com. On your own time, you can learn any skill across fields such as software development, design, web development, business, photography, and more.

Lynda.com tutorial page job skills

A typical Lynda.com course comes with a downloadable file of resources (images, codes, etc.) that are needed to complete the skill-building project you’re being taught. With the files, you can follow a video tutorial—transcripts provided—and an industry professional will walk you through the project step-by-step. It’s like taking a computer class at a university, but in your PJs, and doesn’t cost $800 a credit.

My testimonial—

I learned the entire Adobe Creative Suite via Lynda.com, and it saved me so much time and money. Plus, it allowed me to get the most out of my software purchase, teaching me features that I otherwise wouldn’t have known existed.

Hootsuite

Hootsuite homepage job skills

Hootsuite is an online social marketing hub. With a subscription the site, companies can manage their social media accounts all in one place, while monitoring analytics and statistics to get the most out of their audience. Like the internet, our generation is well-versed in social media (arguably too much), but now’s the time to learn ways to actually benefit from it.

Hootsuite Academy offers online courses and certification programs to learn the ins and outs of marketing, social media, and social advertising. These skills are applicable to any field, from healthcare to e-commerce—which are both covered in the free courses.

If you don’t want to pay for the certification, you can opt to just take the online courses. However, taking your experience one step further and taking the test to get certified in social marketing will serve as concrete proof to anyone viewing your resume that you’re an expert on this practice.

My testimonial—

I have been working on achieving my social marketing certification through Hootsuite and I have loved the experience. I’ve been able to pop in and out of the courses at my leisure, and plan to complete the program with the full certification in coming weeks.

YouTube

Youtube Teela Cunningham's Channel job skills

Ah, good ‘ol YouTube. Yes, it’s good for more than makeup tutorials and puppy videos! Just about anyone can upload to the largest video sharing platform and speak their mind. Recently, professionals have taken to the site to share tutorials on just about any subject or software out there—and it’s all yours for free.

It’s all too easy to fall in to a YouTube black hole, so I recommend turning to professional blogs (like this one) for their suggestions on the best sources in your desired field, and the job skills necessary. Trust me, they’ve vetted the best and want to share their knowledge. Just search something along the lines of, “best YouTube tutorials on [insert subject name here]” and you’ll be directed swiftly.

My testimonial—

I use Adobe products almost daily at work, and every once in a while, I need a quick nudge in the right direction. Experts on YouTube have helped me time and time again, with a typically concise video. If you don’t have the time to sit through an in depth Lynda.com course, or only need a quick tip, YouTube is the answer!

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Applying for jobs is a tricky, humbling time in a person’s life. Be scrappy and boost your resume as much as you can ahead of time to ensure you’re the candidate that stands out.

Need more professional tips? Metiza is here to guide you every step of the way! Check out our other articles on job searching, cover letter writing, resumes, and interview preparedness.

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Journalism/Editorial Intern for Metiza. University of Oregon graduate...