Four ways to define yourself with more than just a degree

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In today’s world there could not be more emphasis on the failing economy and the increasing rate of job losses. If you have recently graduated or are a current student, you may be feeling the pinch more than anyone. But if everyone else is in your shoes, how is it possible to get ahead?

Well, you have a degree, congrats! So do thousands of other applicants across Canada.

And chances are, some of them will want the same job as you.

Once you have your resumé and your interview skills down, what else is there, right? Wrong. There are a number of ways you can set yourself apart to guarantee you get the job instead of that guy who never stops talking in your history tutorial, or that girl who tried to cheat off your test in psych.

Right now you need that extra edge to separate you from the pack and increase your desirability with employers. Here are some things you may not have considered that will give you that leg–up on the competition.

1. Learn a second language

If you ever considered learning another language now is the time to do it. Being bilingual opens the door to numerous opportunities, including many entry-level government jobs. Several community colleges offer French courses at a very reasonable price. If you are interested in various positions working with immigrants or visitors to Canada, an ability to translate words can translate into cash.

2. Acquire a technical skill

At this point, knowledge of Microsoft Word is pretty much a given, but there is more to computers than word processing, search engines and email. Some businesses are interested in employees with experience in HTML coding, desktop publishing and spreadsheet software. If you can post a company’s information online, as well as track sales quickly and easily, you will need less training and guidance. If you have the ability to work without supervision, you will appear more confident and moving up in the company can become effortless.

3. Volunteer in your field

Experience pays, whether or not it puts money in your pocket. Taking on a volunteer placement or unpaid internship is guaranteed to give you more than good feelings and a sense of accomplishment. If you already know the inner workings of a company, chances are you would be the first in line for an opening as opposed to new applicants.

The last suggestion is one that is often overlooked,

4. Show Drive and Passion

If you go into an interview with enthusiasm and curiosity, the employer will be more likely to hire you. Research the company beforehand, ask questions and act confident. While drive is not a skill you can necessarily acquire, it is one you can strive for.

Not everyone that graduates will be working in their field within the next six months, but hopefully with a little push you can get that much closer to making that connection, and scoring your dream job

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