Recent graduates may be overwhelmed trying to get their first full-time job, but that doesn’t mean that’s all they should be doing. This time between College and “the real world” or the time between jobs is a great time to develop one’s self professionally and improve the resume.  This is not the time to become a couch potato or take extended vacations, it is time to develop one’s self to stand out from the other candidates.  While the first priority should still be finding a full-time job, there is still going to be a lot of down time in the mean time. There are many things that can be done with that free time that will help candidates land a full time job. While relaxing, especially in these summer months, may be appealing, by taking these actions, one will be more marketable and improve their chances of quickly finding a full-time job.

1. Update and Improve Your Resume

The first thing to do is to review, review and review again one’s resume. This is the time to perfect the resume being sent out for potential jobs. Add any new skills that are applicable to the positions being applied for and review all information on the Resume for accuracy and for content quality. Make sure the Resume contains everything relevant to the positions being applied for and is completely up-to-date. Review my 8 Tips for Technology Resumes for more advice on creating a killer resume.

2. Start A Blog

Writing a blog about topics relevant to the positions one is looking for can show knowledge and passion for one’s field of choice. Creating a blog is easy and can be done for free using sites like Wordpress or Blogger.  Blogging can even become a secondary source of a income or even become a career, if one builds a large enough audience. Taking the initiative to create a blog and writing somewhat frequently shows passion for the industry. It is also is a good way to show one’s writing skills, which are essential for just about any technical job and can open up more opportunities.

3. Freelance, Work Part-Time or Volunteer:

While full-time work is ideal, freelance jobs and part-time jobs can help make ends meet in the interim and provide real work experience, further improving one’s resume. Part-time work very often lead to full-time positions, so in addition to making money and gaining experience, it is also like an interview for future job openings. Freelance or project work may also lead to full-time work or if one builds up a good reputation can lead to more opportunities in the future. While volunteer work for non-profits organizations such as churches may not help financially, it still provides valuable experience improving chances of getting a full-time job and helps the community. So keep an eye out for any opportunities to help out, it is very helpful in gaining experience and beefing up one’s resume.

4. Learn New Skills

This is the time to expand one’s skill set, learn new skills, or get certifications to expand job opportunities. There are many site for learning skills like programming, such as Code Academy, which is completely free, or Lynda, which is a paid subscription. Learning new skills increases job opportunities and makes candidates more appealing to employers.  It is a good idea to look for job listings for absolute dream jobs and see if there are certain skills required and  learn those to skills to open the doors to those “dream positions”.

5. Keep Current on Industry Trends

It is very important to keep informed of changes in the industry, especially the ever-changing world of technology, to be informed of news impacting positions one applied for. Many employers will ask about current events and industry trends to see if a candidate is knowledgeable of industry trends. Keeping current not only helps in the interview process, but helps one be prepared when they get enter the industry by knowing what challenges they will face. Below are some of my favorite sites for technology news.