Tips for Parents
Helping Students Market Their Skills
One of the toughest things for students to learn is how to market the skills and experiences they gained through high school and college. As they get ready to apply for jobs and internships, you can help them communicate all that they have to offer in a way that sells their gifts and talents.
Create a Personal Brand
One of the newest terms used in the job search business is "personal brand." Students can easily create their own brand by implementing a few of these tips:
- Know your passion. What makes you get out of bed every morning? What makes you smile?
- Develop your goals and dreams. You have to know where you want to go even if you don't know how you will get there yet.
- Be honest with yourself. Assess your strengths and areas for opportunities.
- Discover what is unique about you. Determine what you stand for and what makes you different.
- Be visible. Go above and beyond simply because you love what you are doing.
- Attitude is everything. Make sure yours is a positive one.
- Ask others for feedback. Ask your peers, mentors, supervisors, family, friends, professors, etc. Get a wide range of feedback so you know what areas you need to focus on for personal and professional development.
Remind students to keep these basics in mind when creating their resume:
- Avoid college slang — don't make potential employers guess what you are talking about.
- You have done a lot in your time at college — but you aren't writing a memoir, you are compiling a resume. Try to limit your resume to one or two pages with the highlights of your experiences.
- Make sure you include any volunteer experiences that provided you with specific marketable skills.
- Ask a mentor, supervisor, or friend to review your resume for clarification, typos, and to ensure you didn't forget to include anything.
Also remind students to check any social networking sites they are involved with. Employers may check sites such as MySpace and Facebook to find out more about candidates. The picture a student paints on her resume could be tarnished if it isn't congruent with what an employer perceives from an online profile.
For many employers, a student's GPA or major is not as valuable as the transferable skills they will bring to an organization. Consider how these skills can be marketed on a resume:
Student experience = Marketable Skill
- Conducted presentations and workshops = Oral Communication Skills
- Created and coordinated programs and events = Event Planning
- Managed a budget = Quantitative Skills
- Participated in fundraising efforts = Sales Experience
- Promoted programs on campus = Marketing and Publicity Experience
- Worked within a diverse group of people = Teamwork
- Managed peer staff = Supervision
- Completed annual reports = Assessment
You can help your student get into this type of mindset. Whether it's leadership involvement, participation in athletics, or just good quality academic work, there are plenty of skills to be shared!
Beloit Mindset List for Class of 2012
Today's traditional-aged new students were born in 1990. And, as they do every year, Beloit College's (WI) Ron Nief, director of public affairs, and Tom McBride, a professor of the humanities and English, have created their Mindset List for the Class of 2012. They describe it as "an effort to identify the worldview of 18 year-olds in the fall of 2008." Here is a sampling...
- For these students, Jim Henson (of Muppet fame) has always been dead.
- GPS satellite navigation systems have always been available.
- Coke and Pepsi have always used recycled plastic bottles.
- Girls in headscarves have always been part of the school fashion scene.
- Electronic filing of tax returns has always been an option.
- College grads have always been able to Teach for America.
- Schools have always been concerned about multiculturalism.
- Students have always been "Rocking the Vote."
- Caller ID has always been available on phones.
- Soft drink refills have always been free.
- There have always been charter schools.
Read the whole fascinating list at www.beloit.edu/mindset
Prepared for our institution by PaperClip Communications, www.paper-clip.com.
Copyright 2006, 125 Paterson Ave., Little Falls, NJ 07424