3 Ways To Differentiate Yourself As A New Grad

The millennial generation makes up about 40 percent of the unemployed in the U.S., and last spring, approximately 2.8 million college graduates entered the workforce.

If you’re one of the approximately one million new grads in 2015 who are unemployed, you’re obviously not alone. Earning a highly-coveted bachelor’s degree and entering the workforce without an internship or job is very common among millennials. However, this doesn’t have to be you for long.

Here are three ways to differentiate yourself as a new grad when on the job hunt.

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Put Your Work Ethic Front And Center

What will get you very far in your career is your work ethic. Companies love employees who put their one hundred and ten percent effort into anything, and these types of employees are usually the most reliable, disciplined, and responsible. When interviewing for a job or internship, it’s important to give your potential employer specific examples of your work ethic.

For example, you can discuss how you went above and beyond on a school project or how you’ve completed tasks in the midst of personal adversity or workplace distractions. Some employers will require you to complete simple projects before they move you through the interview process. Show them your work ethic by completing the project on time and adding a little extra (that they didn’t ask for) to the project to show them your competence and knowledge.

Having a strong work ethic can be the difference between an employer choosing you over another person who still has senioritis even after graduation. A strong work ethic can improve your career, so make it a priority to show it off.

Acquire Multiple Skills

If you watch professional basketball, then you should know a guy named LeBron James. There’s a reason LeBron James is considered one of the greatest basketball players ever. He can help his team in many ways and can play different positions. This same concept can be applied to your career. Acquire multiple skills to show your potential employer that you can help them in more ways than one.

For example, if your focus is marketing, take it upon yourself to learn how to design images and marketing collateral in Adobe Photoshop and InDesign, how to understand and code HTML and CSS, or how to create video content. Not only will you be more useful, it will also give you more negotiating power when it comes time to change jobs or ask for a promotion.

Company needs come and go, and some employees who are only good at one thing may not be needed in the future. By being multi-skilled, you become more marketable, versatile, and valuable to any employer who decides to hire you. So, if you’re not putting your spare time to good use, now is the time to change that and learn something new.

Have Killer Personal Branding

Everyone has an individual personality and interests. It’s not only important to tell people you’re different, it’s also important to show them. This starts with creating your personal brand. Creating a personal brand is all about telling a consistent story across every platform. For example, if your focus is graphic design, you can amplify your personal brand by sharing and creating content about graphic design regularly on social media.

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Read “How To Establish A Powerful Personal Brand”

The first step to establishing a digital personal brand is to create a website. If you haven’t done so already, you’re already behind.

Here’s how to set up your own website right now:

  1. Buy a domain (e.g. www.donteledbetter.com). We recommend going through Wix.com, where you can easily choose your domain and start building your site right away.
  2. Start designing. Wix give you the ability to easily build a website without coding or design skills. You can even start with a template and format your site to your liking. Include information about your skills, experience, hobbies, and portfolio.
  3. Promote your site. Every social media platform you use should contain the link to your site. It should also be on your resume, cover letter, business cards, and other assets you use for your personal brand.

Want to learn more about launching your own website? Read “A Step-by-Step Guide to Starting and Launching Your Personal Website.”

If you follow these three steps, you’ll easily be distinguishable from your peers and on your way to carving out the career that you’ve always wanted.

What’s one way you’re differentiating yourself from others? Share your story in the comments section below or tweet me on Twitter (@Donte_LL).

About the Author

Donté Ledbetter is a marketing expert and author based in New York City. Donté has spent the majority of his career helping companies grow with stellar, data-driven marketing, amazing content experiences, and creative strategies that generate near-immediate results. He's also a frequent speaker on all things marketing, tech, and careers and has spoken at Stanford University, NYU, Montclair State University, App Growth Summit, App Promotion Summit, and other events.

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