In college or university, you will learn and practice the skills associated with your chosen career path, and these skills will help you become a competent job seeker and employee. The more you know, learn, and practice, the greater your chances of scoring a dream job. Although you won’t start at the top, a bit of planning and prep could help you start in a great place.
Plan for the best-case scenario! Here are a few ways to prepare and to get your career off to a phenomenal start.
Use the School’s Resources
Because colleges and universities are designed to help prepare you for your future career, they have numerous resources available to aid students and to even give them a leg up on the competition. Most schools have a career centre to provide career information, advice, and development. Counselors at these centres connect you to job-hunting resources, write or polish your résumé, and much more. Most college and universities also provide job-hunting resources or a job board, and job boards make job hunting easier and more convenient. A college or university’s job board can provide targeted job searches, which means you can search for a job based on your major, skills and other criteria. Moreover, these resources often feature companies that want to hire recent graduates.
Just remember to narrow your search to your field. It’s a process akin to searching for off campus housing; like house hunting, it includes finding something that fits your lifestyle, personality,
and future expectations and aspirations.
Network and Make Some Connections
Oftentimes, getting a great job requires connections and networking skills. Basically, the job you get may depend on who you meet and how well you ‘work’ the industry. Meeting professionals in your field or industry can help you score references or letters of recommendation. These professionals can include your professors, former employers, etc., but you must be willing and able to network with others and to show off your knowledge and skills. Networking and making connections can also be done at job fairs, at professional seminars, at certain parties, on
websites like LinkedIn, and more.
You can also share contacts and networking opportunities with your peers. So, try to establish and foster relationships with fellow classmates who will work in the same or similar fields. Clubs and school activities related to your job field could also provide networking opportunities, and finally, networking opportunities can be found in job placement programs. Of course, connections should be made during any internships, because some companies offer interns full employment opportunities following graduation. So, make sure you take every internship seriously, and don’t miss any opportunity to network. Remember to:
- Take initiative
- Form healthy relationships with your employers and coworkers
- Seek unique advancement opportunities
- Keep pertinent information
- Make contacts
Create a Winning Résumé and Portfolio
Your résumé and/or portfolio are truly your first impression and introduction to an employer. So, make them impressive. Not only should your résumé be formatted well and free of errors, it should reflect you. Résumés are designed to reflect your personal and professional experience, skills, and ability to obtain new skills and experience. While graduating student résumés can be sparse on professional experience, they can be beefed up by skills and other types of experience. For example, your résumé can include any school clubs or activities you’ve engaged in, internships, notable school projects you’ve completed, and volunteer work you’ve performed.
Activities and projects can also be used to beef up your portfolio, especially those completed for a career-related internship. Your portfolio should include any polished audio, video, and writing projects completed during college or university, and the portfolio can be created as a document or posted online to your own personal website or professional profile. Just remember to have your portfolio and résumé ready to go for any interview that might come your way.
Make Sure Your Digital Footprint is Clean
To be a well-respected professional, your public image must be as clean and respectable as possible. Today, this image includes your online presence. Your social media profiles should be squeaky clean. This means they should be clear of photos and other images that can be deemed controversial, inappropriate, or offensive. A clean image is especially important if you plan to follow potential employers. Some companies may choose to check out your profile if you follow, apply, or interview with them, so make sure all of your profiles are ready to be viewed for professional curiosity.
Take some simple steps now and position yourself to score your dream job. It's within reach!