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With graduation around the corner, there are surely many things on the minds of both college and graduate students preparing to enter the job market. Between finals and trying to soak up the last bit of life in academia, it can be tough to focus on your career. But soon enough you will be expected to leave the comfort of the university campus and enter into the real world with the rest of us. Here are some helpful tips on how to make that transition less painful—
1. Utilize Your Resources
Graduate students likely have a fairly solid idea of the field they want to be in. For college students, however, that might not always be the case. Nevertheless, both college and graduate students can benefit from utilization of available university resources. Go talk to an advisor. Discuss interests and strengths with him/her to determine an industry or particular position that might be best suited for you. If you’ve pinpointed potential areas of work, the next step is to go to your school’s Career Center. Career Centers offer a plethora of useful resources such as job search tools, resume writing tips, and career fairs.
2. Start Early: Research, Research, Research
It is important to start thinking about your post-grad plans before the big day actually arrives. Once you have a pretty good handle on the types of jobs you plan to apply for, do your best to learn as much as you can about the field: trends, growing areas, and how your unique skills might fit into the larger scope of the industry. Learn about the companies you plan to apply for by scouring their websites and social media channels. Be well-versed on their missions and value statements so that you will be prepared to tailor your resume/cover letter accordingly.
3. Develop a Good Network
Creating a strong professional network prior to graduation can help you get a leg up on your competition. Attend trade shows or seminars in your field of choice. Reach back out to former coworkers or employers from internships. If you haven’t already, put together a LinkedIn profile. It’s perfectly acceptable to simply list your occupation as a student and indicate the type of position you are pursuing. Complete as much of the profile as you can and start connecting with as many people as possible. Don’t be afraid to utilize the Introduction feature if you see a second connection that you think might be valuable in your job search. Check out Addison’s LinkedIn Tips for more helpful information.
4. Ask for Recommendations
Recommendations aren’t just for students planning to enter graduate school or PhD programs upon graduation. It’s great to have a reserve of a few solid recommendations no matter what your post-graduate plans entail. Reach out to former professors, managers, leaders of extracurricular activities, etc. for letters of recommendation that highlight some of the traits you exhibited in these various arenas.
5. Have a Plan B
While there has been a clear boost in the job market, landing your ideal job straight out of college and even graduate school is a difficult feat and a major accomplishment. The idea is to leverage yourself prior to graduation so that you will be able to take a job you want as opposed to one you need. That being said, you should always have a backup plan in the event that things don’t work out exactly as planned. Professional recruiters are a great resource at any stage in the job search process. They can not only help you identify potential fulltime opportunities, but also assist in the formulation of a backup plan such as temporary to hire or contract positions to help get your foot in the door.
Though the idea of trading university life for the 9 to 5 grind may seem daunting, there is nothing to be alarmed about. This year’s graduating classes are entering a hot market where fresh young ideas are in demand. Ramping up for post-graduate life now should enable you to to capitalize on the candidate market, hopefully leading to less time spent back under your parents’ roof.
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