When it comes to kickstarting your career, it’s never a mistake to start early. From choosing your major wisely, to building up your skills and resume, each decision and the corresponding action you take, is critical.
With that being said, getting ready for a job starts even before getting your degree; it pays to balance your academic achievements with extracurricular activities so you can gain an edge over applicants in the future. As with other endeavors, begin your job preparation by establishing clear career objectives, for your the immediate-, mid-, and long-term goals.
Whether you’re a college student or a fresh graduate, we’re going to provide you with some useful tips in preparing you to get a job after college. After reading this article, we hope that you have a competitive edge to thrive in the highly competitive job market.
Image credit: stock.adobe.com
1. Make A Compelling Resume And Cover Letter
After establishing clear career objectives, start making a resume that’s tailored for the job description published and what your specific understanding of the job is. As you may have limited work experience, highlight your soft and hard skills that match the job position and if you obtained a rather high-grade point average (GPA), put it on your resume, as some job recruiters or headhunters may consider this a priority in finding a new employee.
In addition, write a specialized cover letter. Again, refer to the job description and see how your skills and interest matches the position. State how you can contribute positively to the organization, but keep in mind that you don’t have to write all your life accomplishments in your cover letter. Get direct to the point without sounding too cocky.
2. Expand Your Social Network
Seeking out a wide range of individuals with different backgrounds, jobs, and interests may be helpful in starting a career. It’s said that more than half of job opportunities are not advertised, and having a wide network of friends and acquaintances may provide you with access to these positions. Spread the word and let them know you’re actively seeking a job, and don’t limit yourself to online social media platforms, as friends you met offline can be immensely helpful, too.
3. Start Volunteering
Having volunteer experience does more than just beef up your resume, it shows how passionate and motivated you are in causes you believe in, and this is a major positive for most employers. Being a volunteer can help you contribute positively to the environment and the community as a whole. If you can be highly motivated even without expecting anything in return, one could only imagine how you are as a paid employee once you’re hired by the company. More than anything else, volunteering can also make you feel good, and may help you relieve anxious feelings about finding a job, if you’re currently suffering from these.
4. Attend Career Fairs Or Seminars
Make your presence felt in job and career-related events, whether organized by your school or private organizations. By taking the chance to hobnob and interact with employees, you could increase your chances of getting your first job. Your electronic or printed resume can only do so much in getting you hired, by directly speaking to you, employers will get more information about how you’ll handle certain job situations. Assessing how you behave during impromptu interviews will provide organizations with confirmation on whether you’re a good fit.
Image credit: stock.adobe.com
5. Go To Your Campus Career Center
Before graduating, make it a point to visit your school’s career center, as they can help assist and guide you in many ways. Your campus career center can help you cement your future career path by providing several services such as:
- College career counselors who can help you with any career-related questions and concerns.
- Campus career centers which are connected and work with the prospective employers who may be interested in hiring you.
- Career-related resources which you can access anytime, anywhere.
You can still visit and use the services of career advisers even after you graduate, they may be helpful in polishing your resume and cover letter, and be able to provide you with additional tips in where to look and how to find work, with your current skill sets.
6. Get An Internship Or A Part-Time Job
An internship, whether paid or not, may be the best way to help you get ready for a job. An industry survey reveals that about 70% of companies eventually end up offering full-time jobs to their interns, which an estimated 80% of interns accept. If planning to apply somewhere else, an intern will still have the edge over less-experienced applicants, as they’ve earned practical work experience. In some cases, internships are available even to 2nd or 3rd year college students.
While a part-time job may not be everyone’s idea of starting a career, it can be a good way to kick off your journey. A part-time job can still provide you with the essential skills needed by most employers: positive attitude, willingness to learn, communication, problem solving, leadership and negotiation skills.
Getting an internship and part-time job, preferably in one of the companies in your chosen field, not only helps you gain practical experience and skills, it can help you in gaining an experienced mentor or coach. This person, typically a company manager or executive, can provide you with invaluable lessons, insights and perhaps, will become a good professional reference in the future.
7. Create An Account On Career Sites
Quite a few career and job-related sites exist today, where fresh graduates and other jobseekers can find work, get in touch with previous colleagues, and most importantly, connect with potential employers.
Creating an account on a few of the most popular career platforms will help you find out about the companies in your chosen field, increase your familiarity with how the sector works, and give you an idea of what makes a good applicant. As an added bonus, it also helps increase your chances of getting the job of your dreams.
8. Consider All Options
Sometimes, successful job hunting will require you to consider other fields and industries, while this may defeat the purpose of trying to break into your chosen career path, it may be the best option to jumpstart your journey.
Instead of narrowing your job searches, why not check out all available work, including those that are located in nearby localities. Who knows, your college major may have better opportunities outside of your home state? Searching for greener pastures outside your comfort zone may be an attractive prospect, especially if you’re eager to start paying back your student loans.
It takes years to effectively prepare yourself for a job, however it’s never too late to start, even after getting your degree.
If you lack real-world work experience, compensate by enhancing your soft skills, and when crafting your resume, highlight the skills that may contribute to the company’s success and be confident in telling them why you’re the right fit. Good luck graduates!