How College Graduates Can Stand Out in The Job Market

How College Graduates Can Stand Out in the Job Market

According to data compiled on, 4.43 million college students are projected to graduate in 2021. How can students stand out from the competition? The following tips are designed to prepare you for job searching in a competitive market and help you stand out to potential employers.

1. Revisit Your Resume

Your resume is the most important tool you will use throughout your job search. That’s why we believe it is worth putting in the time to get it right. Our article, Anatomy of a Resume: How to Make Each Section Shine dives into proper resume formatting and contains best practices for making the most of each section. After you’ve established proper formatting, consider how you can tailor the resume to fit the jobs for which you are applying. Are there skills or keywords in the job description that you can incorporate in your resume? Recruiters will be looking for those keywords, so incorporating them into your resume can help you stand out amongst the crowd. Lastly, it is a good idea to have fresh eyes on your resume. Consider asking peers and mentors to review your resume and provide feedback. A strong resume is the first step to getting the attention of recruiters and hiring managers.


2. Lean Into Your Network

As a college student, you may not think you have a large network. However, you might have more connections than you realize. If you are a part of any organizations on campus, look into their alumni network. Having something in common when reaching out is a great way to introduce yourself. Many career services offices also have great resources for graduating seniors. Make time to meet with a career services counselor and see what options are available to you. They may have ideas or resources that are specific to your experience and interests. Lastly, consider your previous job and internship experiences. Are there any connections that you could call to ask about opportunities? Utilizing these avenues can help you get your foot in the door with a potential employer.


3. Write The Cover Letter

There is an ongoing debate whether candidates should write a cover letter when applying to a job. For college graduates who want to stand out, we recommend writing a thoughtful and relevant cover letter. This is an extra step that applicants can take to demonstrate to the recruiter or hiring manager that they are serious about the job opening. This is also a great opportunity for students to describe how their coursework and involvement on campus makes them a great fit for the role. In short, a cover letter could be the extra measure that sets you apart from the competition.


4. Utilize Online Resources

There are several free online resources for college students entering the job market this year. First, it is important to note that recruiters utilize a variety of job boards to source and post open positions. As you are job searching, consider making an account on multiple platforms including larger job boards and smaller, niche job boards that are specific to the kinds of positions that interest you. Second, utilize websites like Glassdoor to help streamline your company research by learning more about the organization’s benefits and salary information. Doing effective research can help identify target companies and help you prepare thoughtful questions for a phone screen or interview. Lastly, there are numerous online resources for crafting your resume and networking outreach. We’ve listed some helpful examples of these sites below. Utilizing tools like the ones listed below can enhance your job search and help you find the best fit for your career.


Searching & Applying For Jobs

General Job Sites





Niche Job Sites


    • Jobs in IT/Technology


    • Jobs with Startups


    • Jobs for Students & Graduates


    • Jobs with Nonprofits & Charities


Company Research & Transparency


    • Assess reviews, benefits information and more


    • Get real-time salary data


    • Find detailed information about civilian and military career fields


Resume Help & Networking

Resume Worded

    • Creates a list of keywords from a job description to include on your resume


    • Analyze your resume to see how it will upload to a recruiter applicant tracking system (ATS)

    • Mock interviews for technical job seekers


For more advice for college students job searching during the COVID-19 pandemic, check out our article!