If you are attending college to make a better future for yourself, there is a question that you must answer. Do you know how to compete for the best jobs? Well, let me give you a better idea of what is needed.

Since recruiters and employers only know what you give them, you must work very hard to give them strong and positive reasons to interview you, refer you on to the next step and eventually hire you. To compete effectively, you can’t leave anything to chance.

A Powerful Resume - Oftentimes, your resume is the first thing a recruiter sees. It may be read and evaluated to determine if you will even be interviewed. Keep in mind that your resume is built first with your accomplishments, then with your words. If you haven’t been active in academic, campus, community and work activities, you will have few examples of your capabilities and potential. Resumes are less about what you did and more about what you accomplished. Remember too that employers generally believe that your past accomplishments are the best predictors of future performance.

First Impressions - When it comes to your resume and interview, first impressions count. Since the best employers almost always have large numbers of candidates, they look for reasons to screen people out, not screen them in. Only the final few will be considered.

Let’s start with the way you look. You must dress and look as though the job interview is of great importance to you. Be and look professional. If you don’t care about the impression you make, you will kill your chances for success. Your clothing, hair, jewelry, shoes, tattoos, piercings, handshake, smile, speech and mannerisms all help to create that first impression. When the first impression is not good, the recruiter will have little reason to keep you in the mix.

Well Spoken - What words will come out of your mouth and how will you say them? Recruiters pay close attention to your vocabulary and speaking style. Your words reflect on your education and level of sophistication. When you use slang, mispronounce words or use a style that is too familiar and not businesslike, you will hurt your chances of success.

Significant Accomplishments - Since employers want to know how you can contribute to the success of their organization, they will want to learn about the capabilities that you have already demonstrated. Those capabilities carry more weight when they extend beyond the classroom. Every employer is looking for people who can get things done and have developed communication, leadership and people skills. Anytime you have success in one of these areas, make certain that your positive results are highlighted on your resume.

Stories and Examples - Your capabilities are more interesting and more powerful when you are able to provide impressive examples. Stories about your accomplishments add realism and excitement. Therefore, wise students spend time thinking about and polishing the stories they will tell, especially the problems they were able to overcome. Employers love students who are willing to fight for success.

Differentiation - Being able to differentiate yourself from other candidates is always important. However, it is especially important when every candidate has the same major, has taken the same courses and has achieved good grades. To give yourself the opportunity to stand out, smart students seek out job-related activities and employment. As students participate in campus, community and work activities, they can gain experience, improve their skills and develop a list of accomplishments and success stories.

Importantly, there is an opportunity to differentiate yourself in everything you do. Think more, better, faster, solve problems, help someone, benefit your employer or a customer, demonstrate creativity or generate revenue, etc.

Be Memorable - If after a day of interviewing the recruiter doesn’t remember you, it is unlikely that you will make the referral list. Your resume and your interview must be impressive and memorable in a positive way. You must leave the interviewer with a reason to remember you.

When the interviewer returns to his/her company office, you should be in the forefront of their mind. Use your creativity to find ways to be memorable. Consider these possibilities: 1) Leave them with a vexing question, 2) Ask them to do something for you, 3) Give them something to read or take back with them, or 4) Send them a thank you note. Whatever you do, it should be businesslike, related to your field and memorable. Your accomplishments, if powerful enough, are the best way to accomplish this task.

References and Recommendations - While in college, students should make a special effort to connect with and build relationships with respected and influential people on campus, at work and in the community. Employers expect the best candidates to have previously impressed leaders and professionals in all three areas. Multiple references from a variety of sources are impressive, especially when they provide enthusiastic and specific examples of your accomplishments and capabilities.

All of this is a little like getting your drivers license. You probably thought about driving for a couple of years before you received your learners permit and eventually your license. You found out what was required. Then, you studied the drivers manual and perhaps you took a class. You practiced your parking, developed your driving skills and discussed strategies with your parents and friends. When you were ready, you took your written test and then your road test. If you did well enough, you received your license. You did this because driving was important to you.

If it is important to you to land a great job with a respected employer, you should get started early. The success factors described above must be incorporated into each yearly plan of action (You can’t wait until your senior year.). Only students who pay close attention to these factors will be able to compete effectively. Even the best students (academically) can greatly increase their employment potential by addressing these key factors.

Are you ready to compete?

Visit Bob’s web site: www.The4Realities.com. Bob Roth is the author of The 4 Realities Of Success During and After College -and- The College Student’s Guide To Landing A Great Job.

Author's Bio: 

Bob Roth, a former campus recruiter, is the author of The College Student's Guide To Landing A Great Job -and- The 4 Realities Of Success During and After College. Known as The "College & Career Success” Coach, Bob also writes articles for nearly 200 College Career Services Offices, Campus Newspapers, Parent Associations and Employment Web Sites. Additionally, Bob has developed 20 Self-Scoring Learning Tools that help college students find success. He has been interviewed on numerous radio programs across the country and also by many newspapers, including The Wall Street Journal. Lastly, Bob serves as an Adjunct at Marist College, teaching a course in Career Development. www.The4Realities.com