After you’ve evaluated your strengths, given some thought to your ideal working environment, and explored a few different career options (hint: if you’re not sure how to do that, just check out any of the posts from our Job Search Survival Kit), it’s time to begin the process of actually applying to jobs.
This post will teach you how to create a really, really, really, ridiculously good looking profile on AfterCollege.com. If you already have an AfterCollege profile, you’ll get some ideas for enhancing what you’ve got. This is an important step in your job search since you can apply to all sorts of jobs right through our site. We offer tons of job and internship opportunities for college students and recent grads, and we’ll even make suggestions to you based on your college, major, and graduation date.
Don’t have an AfterCollege profile yet? No sweat. Stop by AfterCollege.com now and you can be up and running in just a minute or two. When you first visit the site, you’ll be prompted to fill out your school name, major, and graduation date. Then click on the “Sign Up” link at the top of your Explore graph. Or, if you’ve already got an AfterCollege profile, click “Sign In.”
You’ll be prompted to fill out your name, email address, and a password. Then click on “My Profile” in the upper right to make any of the changes described below.
That’s it! Then just follow along with this guide and you’ll have a profile that will help you appear more attractive to employers, and you might even be eligible for an awesome scholarship (AKA free money).
Step 1: Start with the Simple Stuff
It might seem like uploading a photo is the easiest part of your profile, but let me take a minute to say this: Try to choose a photo that portrays you in a professional light. You don’t have to be rockin’ a suit and tie, but choose a shot where you’re dressed (and behaving) appropriately for the types of companies you’d like to work for. Smiling is recommended. The “Blue Steel” pose… not so much.
Next, make sure your education information is complete and select your career preferences.
Step 2: Write Your Personal Statement
To get here, click the “Edit” link next to your name at the top of your profile to update. This is what it looks like:
And this is what you’ll see once you click “Edit”:
What should I put in my personal statement?
Your personal statement should describe who you are and the value that you offer in an academic and/or professional context. Keep in mind that the purpose of the personal statement is to show hiring managers or recruiters a 30-second preview of who you are and what you can bring to an organization.
Personal Statements are brief (no longer than a few sentences) snapshots that capture your strengths, goals, and academic and/or professional accomplishments.
Things you can include:
- Your goals and aspirations
- How you bring value to an organization or situation
- Why you’re passionate about your chosen area of study
- What makes you unique
Here’s my version as an example:
Hi! I’m a French and Spanish Literature major looking to work as a writer or editor in the publishing industry.
My skills include proofreading, managing multiple deadlines, and overseeing freelancers, all while keeping a sense of humor and positive attitude.
I’m an inquisitive world explorer and have a passion for learning languages, reading nonfiction, and dancing like a maniac in Zumba.
Step 3: Add Your GPA
Including your GPA is not a requirement, but it’s a good idea since it’ll help you qualify for AfterCollege scholarships (more on those later!)
Step 4: List Your Honors, Awards, and Scholarships
Did you make the dean’s list for academic achievement? Were you awarded for your participation in a sports team, club, school government, or Greek chapter? Were you valedictorian in high school? If so, we want to know about it!
Step 5: Show Off Your Skills and Languages
Add your skills and any additional languages you are proficient in speaking and/or writing. Not sure what we mean by “skills”?
- Hard skills are usually related to professional knowledge, tools, or techniques. Examples include: developing software, customer service, typing speed, operating machinery, and special certifications or licenses
- Soft skills are usually related to our social, communication, and self-management behaviors. These are the intangible skills that enable us to work effectively. Examples include: communication, networking, time management, and attention to detail
Step 6: Link to Your Work (Documents Section)
The “Documents” section is a space to link to examples of your work like your online portfolio, a Slideshare presentation you created, a Google document of an assignment you’re particularly proud of, your blog, a website you helped design—anything that supports your academic and/or professional aspirations.
There are few things more annoying than getting this close to completing a job application, only to realize that you haven’t secured any recommendations. You can easily solve that problem by requesting references now. Just click the “Request Recommendation” link and, voilà, a magic box will appear. It should look like this:
Fill out your information and the email address of the person you’d like to get a recommendation from. If you don’t have much work experience, you can ask professors, advisors, or someone who managed you as an intern or volunteer. We’ve made it extra easy for you by providing a template, but it’s always a good idea to provide more context, so go ahead and add some information about what types of jobs or internships you’re applying for and which skills or qualities you’d like the person to focus on. And don’t forget to send a nice thank you letter afterward!
Why should I do all this, anyway?
Well, to increase your chances of getting a job through AfterCollege, for one! After completing your profile, you can apply to jobs and follow companies that interest you. You can also choose to make your profile unrestricted (Choose “Privacy Settings” from the “My Profile” drop-down menu and then select the “Public” option). This is what it will look like:
Opening up your profile means that employers will be able to see you, even if you haven’t applied to their company directly. The more ridiculously good looking your profile is, the more it’ll stand out to employers.
And, if you accurately complete the Personal Statement, GPA, Honors, Awards, and Scholarships, and Skills and Languages sections, you could be eligible to apply for an awesome AfterCollege scholarship! AfterCollege offers scholarships throughout the academic year for students in a range of disciplines. (Some scholarships are only for specific majors and some are open to everyone.) Check here for a complete list.
If you want to be extra careful and make sure that your scholarship applications are perfect, be sure to check out this post, too: “Don’t Screw Yourself Over on Your Scholarship Apps.”
And that’s it! You are now the proud owner of a really, really, really ridiculously good looking AfterCollege profile. Why not celebrate with an orange mocha Frappuccino?