In just a few months, millions of college students will leave their school days behind when they cross the ceremonial stage to accept their diploma.
This rite of passage is earned by a tremendous amount of hard work and dedication all with the goal of getting a job in your field and starting a career.
But, landing that first job out of college doesn’t just magically happen. You don’t wake up the morning after graduation to a dozen job offers in your inbox.
The reality is, you should already be planning on how to get the job you want – way before graduation.
Here are some ways to prepare before you graduate:
Visit the Career Services Office
One mistake many undergraduates make is that they don’t visit their college’s career services department. Your career office can help you practice interview skills, review your resume, connect you with career tests, job fairs and databases full of job openings.
Alumni can provide a treasure trove of helpful information. Your school likely has a database of alumni volunteers who you could contact for information and advice about your career or job search. Give them a call or send them an email. Remember, they’ve been in your shoes before. Another way to connect with alumni is through events sponsored by the career or alumni offices. Some may have obvious career-related themes like “speed networking” or career panels, but it’s a good idea to attend other events as well. This will give you the opportunity to meet more people and broaden your network.
There is a saying you’ve probably heard: “it’s not what you know, it’s who you know.” With a college degree, you’ve already proven you “know” a lot, but “who” you know can be just as important. One way to expand your network is through social media. LinkedIn is a must for job seekers. It’s ok if you don’t have a robust resume to post yet. What’s important is that you create a professional presence online where you can connect with companies and employers you are interested in.
Spend time making friends and building relationships with other students. College introduces you to many different kinds of people and thanks to social media, they could stay in your life for years to come. These people are your friends, but they also may introduce you to other helpful contacts or help you find a job themselves.
Get Your Resume Ready
It’s never too early to write and refine your resume. You can write one your first year of college, and then update it annually or at the end of each semester. Every honor you receive (such as getting on the Dean’s list) is worth including on your resume, as are all positions you hold, both paid and unpaid. Since you are surrounded by teachers and other professionals at college, ask them to review your resume for you! Every lit bit of advice can help!
Get Out of the Classroom
While classes may be deeply informative, there’s no substitute for on-the-job experience. Nearly any job will help you gain people and technical skills that will help you in the long run. If you can balance work and study, it’s a good idea to hold a job or two before you graduate.
Internships are another great way to gain experience as well as show employers you are prepared for a career. They can also help you decide what you don’t want to do after graduation. For instance, you may have your heart set on a radio career until you actually work there.
Getting that first job out of college is critical. Studies have shown that those who start out well-employed continue to hold positions that match their level of education for years to come.
Here at The Lee Group we want you to be successful right out of the gate!