Even in tough economic times, companies are on the hunt for the top talent in the industry. Especially for young people, the time is ripe to hone your skills. As the baby boomer generation ages and leaves the workplace, there are likely to be more jobs than employees to fill them, according to Forbes magazine.

This is likely to have a chain-reaction on the talent search as companies have to compete to get the best and the brightest into their companies. The highly skilled, creative and talented employees are bound to benefit.

As a student, now is the time to beef up your skills to become that highly valuable recruit. Many organizations are going to extreme lengths to recruit and retain the best employees in the market. This guide will show you how the industry is currently mining for talent, and the best ways to enhance your resume and experience so you can end up on the right “Most Wanted” lists.

Technology

Startups such as Remarkable Hire are helping companies scour the web by creating search engines to find people who actively discuss technology and design on the web.

“The best people aren’t hanging out on job boards all day, and resumes don’t do the best job of articulating or demonstrating how well someone knows what they claim to know,” said co-founder Jamey Jeff in an interview with Forbes magazine.

By developing a search mechanism, Remarkable Hire can determine a candidate’s skill level based on how highly rated an individual is by his or her peers, or by his or her followers in a certain online community.

GitHub is another tool for tech employers to see the products of potential employees before an interview process even begins. This open source website provides tools for collaboration and software building through a social network built specifically for tech geeks. As a virtual showcase it is also a great way for employers to see the latest and greatest in young talent.

Education

Traditional teaching certification programs are no longer the only way to get into the field. With a growing effort to attract greater talent to the field of teaching, more organizations are seeking new ways to attract talent.

Teach for America (TFA) is one such example of a program that seeks to attract individuals from academic and professional backgrounds unrelated to teaching by providing placement in a low-income, high-needs school. These individuals may or may not have prior teaching experience, but they are vetted through a highly competitive interview process so that TFA places only the best and the brightest in the schools with the greatest needs.

Design

A series of new social media sites, such as Dribble, are created specifically for niche fields and create a great way for potential employers to see someone’s capabilities via untraditional means. Designed for a host of professions including web designers, graphic designers, illustrators and typographers, Dribble creates a platform for designers to share small screenshots that show their work, process and current projects.

Nursing

According to the Occupational Outlook Handbook from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the field of registered nurses will see a 22 percent increase in employment between 2008-2010. Due in part to the aging Baby Boomer generation, there are a promising host of employment prospects for today’s nursing students.

As a new field of young, millennial nurses enter the workforce, many experts are urging the field to update antiquated practices to better attract and retain new nurses. Many of these experts have done their research to try and determine what it will take to make the field an attractive work environment for young nurses.

Advice includes better integration of technology and web tools for a digitally literate age group and greater access to leadership opportunities and career advancements.

Getting On the Most Wanted List

As a student, you need to choose classes wisely, think about internship opportunities and begin to craft your resume to make yourself as competitive as possible. Remember to begin early and research often.

Start thinking about a career path as early as you can, and begin developing an understanding of the kinds of certification, experience and training you may need to be competitive in the field.

Make a habit of reading blogs, such as the New York Times “The Choice” blog, which provides great information on choosing the right colleges, courses and making yourself a competitive student and candidate for positions.

Websites like InternQueen, SimplyHired and Internships.com may help you find the perfect internship for your experience needs, or they may serve as a way to begin your search and find out what options exist in your area of interest.

Developing your LinkedIn profile is another great step to begin making connections in your field. Recruiters in all industries often use this social media site to learn about prospective employees and benefit from the site’s built-in referral network.

One of your best options is to seek the resources at your university or college. Career counselors and advisors are a great destination. They may have connections through your department or major, or have access to databases with potential volunteer, internship or job opportunities. They can also help you flesh out your interests and align your goals to reach your dream position through classes, extracurricular activities and other resume boosters.

Begin your educational career with the end in mind. Anyone can be a competitive job applicant with a little bit of elbow grease, and some good luck. There isn’t a Google executive today who knew they were going to end up at the top when they started 20+ years ago. You may bump into some obstacles, so start early to end up on top.

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