Akin to preparing for college before you graduated from high school, it’s important to start preparing for your job search before you graduate from college. Here are 7 steps to take prior to receiving your college diploma.
Visit the Career Center
Campus career centers are the perfect place to find credible, individualized job search advice. From resume and cover letter assistance to practice interviews, career counselors are there to help you meet your professional goals.
Step Up Your Networking
Senior year is the time to ramp up your networking efforts. Strategically pursue networking opportunities on campus and be more frequent with how often you reach out to members of your network. Remember that networking is social in nature, so don’t reach out to your contacts for the sole purpose of saying, “Hey, help me find a job!”
Attend Campus Career Fairs
Almost always free to students, career fairs are a great place to meet employers and see what types of jobs are out there. Even if you aren’t interested in the positions or companies represented at your campus career fair, it’s a good opportunity to practice your conversational skills and to learn what kind of expectations employers have for job applicants. No upcoming career fairs on your campus? Attend a few virtual career fairs instead.
Job shadowing is not only a great way for you to determine whether you like a job, it’s also a great way to identify what employers are looking for. By gaining an understanding of the day-to-day operations of a given position, you will be better prepared to tailor your resume and cover letter when you apply to similar jobs.
Update Your Social Networks
In 2011, 91% of employers used social networks to screen job applicants, so you need to present yourself accordingly. Complete your online profiles with education, work history, skills, and relevant interests that will help you shine. Make sure your profiles match each other and are consistent with the information on your resume. Finally, remove any photos, status updates, tweets, or other items that could compromise your image.
Obtain Letters of Recommendation
Request letters of recommendation while you’re still fresh in the minds of your professors and other references. If you wait, you run the risk of receiving a less effective letter — say, if your professor forgot the details of your incredible culminating project or just how good your research skills are. Even worse, if your references change jobs or retire, it may be difficult to get in touch with them.
Start Your Job Search
If you wait until you graduate to start searching for and applying to jobs, then you’re making a big mistake. Many entry-level jobs are snatched up before the school year is over. Besides, discovering what’s out there is half the battle; you need to know what’s available, what you want, and where there is overlap between the two. If you’re swamped with graduation requirements and tying up loose ends, then at least utilize these common strategies for busy job seekers.
How are you preparing yourself for the next step?