Pre-Graduation Career Preparation
This past weekend, I was fortunate enough to go back to my alma mater to partake in homecoming festivities. As I walked around my old stomping grounds, I started to reminisce about the lessons I learned during my four years at college. I thought back on how my education prepared me for the real world, which is when I started reflecting on what I could have done while in college to make the transition between college life and finding a career easier. This quickly became a conversation topic among my fellow alumni, and I was able to pick their brains to form a list of the ways that college students can prepare themselves for their future careers before they graduate.
Practice interviewing: As you start interviewing for post grad jobs, it will serve you well to have some practice under your belt. Utilize any interview workshops that are offered at your college, as well as any mock interview opportunities available through your program. It is important to come prepared to these sessions (including dressing the part) so that you get the most out of the practice interview experience. And don’t forget to take notes of any constructive criticism that you receive, in addition to any questions that you struggled to answer. Once you are aware of your interview weaknesses, you can practice them until you feel confident going into a real job interview.
Find internships: Internships provide valuable work experiences that show hiring managers that you took the initiative during college to seek learning opportunities outside of the classroom. And while many recent college graduates do not have extensive work experience, an internship may be enough experience to land them their first job after college. Don’t forget that internships are the perfect places to build relationships and get recommendations, as well as make an awesome addition to your resume.
Participate in organizations: In addition to internships, taking an active role in a college group or club is another way to impress possible employers. Participating in these groups shows that you are a well-rounded individual. If you hold a position in an organization during college, you are demonstrating leadership, teamwork, organization, and collaborative skills to possible future employers.
Resume assistance: Take advantage of any resume clinics and classes that are available to you before you graduate. These clinics and classes can help you format your resume and give you tips on how to get your resume to stand out in a pile of similar applicants. Also, getting resume feedback from professors can help you figure out which areas of your resume to highlight for the job field you are interested in.
Start interviewing early: Depending on your chosen field, you may want to start applying for positions as soon as the first semester of your senior year; no matter your degree however, you will want to start applying and interviewing for jobs before you graduate. Applying before graduation gives you a leg up on the other graduates by showing employers initiative and your level of interest in starting your career after college.
Research your field: Early in your college career, you should research the field that you want to work in after you graduate. Find out what degree you need to earn and if there are any additional majors or minors that would help you succeed in that field. In addition to formal education, research which internships and organizations would benefit you in your future endeavors. If you are debating which field you want to work in after college, talk to an advisor about which classes and organizations would be easy to translate into several career fields.
Using these tips from college alumni can greatly help you start your career after graduation. Take their advice and start your pre-graduation preparation now!