I was personally able to find a job myself in senior year of college before graduating with one of the largest professional services firms in the world coming from a non-target school. Today I want to share with you 6 tangible tips I used for finding a job in your senior year of college. You might feel like it’s a black box, it’s a huge mystery or you don’t know where to start. I want to be able to help to demystify this and give you some insightful tips that you can start with today.
Apply the following strategies to sharpen your professionalism and land a job before graduation.
1. Start early
Never let anyone tell you it’s too early or too late to secure an internship. Getting your foot in the door in the company of your dreams will increase your chances of being hired. This generally happens one of two ways; 1) getting accepted into an internship program there or 2) having a connection with someone who works for the company.
In 2020, most Fortune 500 companies will routinely hire from their internship pool.
It makes sense. They spend countless marketing dollars to find and attract intern talent. It’s imperative for them to gain the most value for every dollar spent, which means lowering the costs of recruiting by transitioning interns into employees once they graduate.
We urge you to take the initiative and start applying for internships today. Not tomorrow, not next week, but today!
2. Land an internship
Start by creating a roadmap to your final destination — your career. What are your goals and values? Where would you like to end up? Pinpoint companies that align with your goals and ideals. Most company websites have corporate responsibility pages. Explore this information to learn about the causes a company supports before applying to an internship. Be sure you can tell the company why you’re a good fit for their company.
Securing an internship can be a game-changer when it comes to finding a job at graduation. But, it is your job to be on the lookout and follow up with applications you submit. Even if at the end of the internship you don’t want to stay with that company, the people you meet there may have connections to a job you really want. Use your network to your advantage!
3. Build your rapport and presence
Professional credibility goes a long way, especially in college when most students aren’t taking the time to build their knowledge base and sharpen their networking skills.
Start by identifying ways in which you can contribute to your campus or future industry. Consider starting a club, podcast or a blog that is shaped by your perspective about the industry you want to work in. Whatever you do, share it with others, and try to get as many people as interested as possible. Your fellow students and faculty will start to notice your initiative. Before you know it, people will start asking for your advice.
Helping others is a surefire way to build up credibility and trust. You should also strive to be the leader of group projects, and always step up when need be. Don’t forget that your fellow students (and your professors) may have connections that could help you out in the long run. You never know who will end up helping you land your first job!
4. Network, network and keep networking
Building your network needs to be a priority.
Networking, like many other things, is a skill. Mastering the skill takes time, preparation and the willingness to step out of your comfort zone. Everyone will tell you that life is about “who you know” instead of “what you know” — and it’s true.
Actively seek out conferences, industry influencers, professional organizations, professionals in your family, etc. where you can build connections. Talk to them about what you’re looking for in a career, not a job. This is the time to start framing conversations as marketing pitches. Market yourself and what you will bring to your industry. If you don’t let anyone know what you’re looking for, they won’t be able to help you find it!
5. Sift through alumni on Linkedin
This is one of our favorite job landing tips at BrandResumes. We strongly encourage our clients to use sites such as Linkedin to connect with alumni in their desired field. The large majority of alumni will want to help you because your success after graduation ultimately determines the value of their degree. If the college or university’s reputation declines, so does the worth of their degree from that school.
How do you begin connecting with alumni? Try searching with keywords, like a job title, the location you’re interested in, and the name of your university or college. This will generate a list of alumni you can reach out to. Just be patient and polite and you will see your network grow.
Once you have established contact with alumni, try to set up 10 to 15-minute informational interviews with several of them. This will give you perspective into the type of work alumni in your field do, their work-life balance, and more. Your constant contact with them could lead to a job recommendation, another new connection, internship opportunity or interview tips that help you land a job. Convinced yet? Good! Start making Linkedin work for you.
6. How to catch up (if you didn’t start early)
If you didn’t have an internship or build much rapport prior to applying for a full-time job, all hope is not lost; however, it will require some serious effort.
First and foremost, you need to get your resume in tip-top shape. Consider using our amazing resume writers to do it for you! I wrote a detailed article on why you should consider hiring a professional resume writer here.
Second, depending on your intended career goals, you must prioritize any opportunity that comes your way. If you’re a nursing major and the opportunity to volunteer in a hospital arises, take it. If you’re an English major, open a blog and start creating content. Heck, if you’re a business major start analyzing stocks and post your recommendations on your personal website. Do anything that will result in you gaining experience and knowledge in your field.
Your career is in your hands. Apply these strategies to land a job that aligns with your goals and values before you graduate. Take every opportunity seriously and get a move on!