Starting your job search while you are in college is how to get a job after college.
It is astonishing how many students wait until the second semester of senior year to go to the campus office of career services. That is not how to get a job after college. It is also not about the choice of major. Doing really well in whatever you choose is how to get a job after college.
You should also be engaging in clubs and activities and internships while you are in college as these build your resume and prepare you to find and take a job.
Start using my checklist for how to get a job after college as early as freshman year.
- How to Get a Job After College: Visit the career office and learn the resources that you can tap. Ideally, start doing this as a freshman or sophomore, but any time up to the middle of your senior year is useful. You give yourself time to build your resume that way on your path to getting a job after college.
- How to Get a Job After College: Tests may be offered that help you see your strengths and how they align with your interests or with fields you want to explore.
- How to Get a Job After College: Use the library for books, articles, publications blogs, or websites on various career paths and what is expected. These can reveal trends in the business, who is moving around, which firms are strong and which faltering. They can help you target your search and be more knowledgeable for your interviews which are essential to getting that job after college.
- How to Get a Job After College: Watch for special presentations on campus by alumni or others in your field of interest. They can offer valuable information on what it’s like to be in those fields and provide opportunities to network.
- How to Get a Job After College: See if there is an alumni network or mentor program that facilitates networking and informational interviews, which give you the opportunity to learn more about working in a particular industry or job category. This type of interview is not job-specific, but broadens your information base, so you can make better career choices and be better prepared when you do go for actual job interviews
- How to Get a Job After College: Engage in internships. Evidence shows that these are key to getting a job after college. These are a good way to test the waters in a field of interest, build a resume, and build your networks. The career office can help you find and obtain internships, but you may also hear of them through campus organizations and your department.
- How to Get a Job After College: Use resume services to be sure that yours is polished and professional, and maximizes your opportunities. The career office will also review your cover letter, which is crucially important.
- How to Get a Job After College: Watch for a career week event when employers in the area come to your campus and recruit for jobs. You should dress for success for these events and bring copies of your resume. This is not a gum-chewing, baggy-jeans moment.
- How to Get a Job After College: Keep an eye on all kinds of Web sites, want ads, and job boards for opportunities. Use the online and actual job boards or listings your school offers. Also check sites such as Monster.com, HigherEdJobs.com, Idealist, and other targeted sites in your search for a job after college. You can search by geographic area, job title, or other criteria. If you can be flexible about location, do so. Absolutely look at small to midsized growth firms where you may be able to shine sooner and even grow with the firm.
- How to Get a Job After College: Take every opportunity to network. Up to 85 percent of jobs come through personal contacts. So to get that job after college, whenever you get a chance to talk to someone about your career interest, do it. Certainly talk to your instructors or administrators who know you well. You may have conversations with a customer in your field who you see regularly at your Dunkin’ Donuts job, or you may make more formal contact through social networking sites such as Facebook or LinkedIn.
- How to Get a Job After College: Go to conferences or events related to your field. Every campus has events that it struggles to find students to attend, but a guest speaker can open all kinds of doors for students
- How to Get a Job After College: Volunteer to help at events—charity events, for example, can link you to individuals who may be helpful and can also add to your resume. The more persons you know and who know you, the better off you are.
How to get a job after college involves work and planning.
It is not always easy and you may not start off with your dream job but if you follow the steps above you will have a much greater chance of getting that job after college.
Author of I CAN Finish College: The Overcome Any Obstacle and Get Your Degree Guide is a former College Dean and senior administrator.