Many occasions arise when college students need to showcase their unique talents, such as when applying to jobs, grad school, and apprenticeships.

Learning to sell themselves and their ideas will be the key to students’ success. Share the following hints with your students for marketing themselves to employers and admissions officers.

First things first

Interviewers want to know what you can do that most other students cannot do. If you believe you have something valuable to offer, don’t be shy–bring it to their attention via your resume or verbally.

In her book, Marketing Yourself, Second Edition, author Dorene Ciletti intros the basics of how you can use your resume or personal statement to advertise your background and accomplishments enough to spark someone’s interest:

Have you ever been tempted to buy a product because you saw an eye-catching advertisement? Marketers recognize that consumers sometimes make purchase decisions based on exposure to brief television or radio commercials or quick glances at magazine ads.

Just as you are exposed to countless ads during a week, an employer may sift through hundreds of resumes to find a candidate for one job. The resume that prompts action will be the one that attracts the most positive attention. (176)

So, what makes you you?

Build your inventory

Many job and school applications require samples of your best work. You can be a savvy self-marketer by reviewing some of your best work samples early on and identifying the strengths. This is even helpful if work samples are not requested because, regardless, you can use this opportunity to locate your most share-worthy talents, as well as to find some skills you might want to improve upon.

Author Dorene Ciletti explains that one way to begin developing your resume or personal statement is by creating an inventory.

A personal inventory helps you identify your job-related skills by listing details of your education, experience, and other qualifications. It is a personal document—not intended to be given to an employer—that lists the hard data you will need to write your resume, draft cover letters, fill out job applications, and prepare for interviews. (177)

You’ll find it easier to eloquently market your many talents if you take the time to develop your personal inventory ahead of time. Having the information at your fingertips will prevent you from forgetting key items.

Be prepared!

It is a tried and true law of interviewing: your phone is likely going to ring when you least expect it. Get ahead of the game by brainstorming answers to prompts like, “Why don’t you tell me a little bit about yourself” or “Tell me why I should choose you over our other candidates.”

Even though it sounds simple, just being caught off guard can make you forget your own accomplishments. Jot down an interesting introduction and some of your note-worthy achievements.

Reference: Ciletti, Dorene. 2011. Marketing Yourself, Second Edition. BostonCengage Learning.

What do you think is the best way to get noticed by hiring managers and admissions officers? Share your ideas below.