Graduation can be terrifying, especially if you haven’t yet set up a job. But there are a few sure fire things that you can absolutely do to set yourself up to be employed right out of college. Follow these steps and you’ll set yourself up very well.
1. Network, Network, Network
You know it’s all about who you know. And the more people you know the better. If you haven’t built your massive web of connections yet, don’t panic. It’s never too late to start. Start shaking hands, dusting off your LinkedIn page, tweeting, joining professional organizations, getting mentored. Play the student card while you have it. Hit up your alumni database and milk your college career department for everything you can. Then just water your contacts and watch them grow!
2. Hone Your Soft Skills
Your resume may be maxed out to the gills with valuable skills and experiences, but there are a few things you can’t necessarily acquire in the same fashion. People skills, emotional intelligence, self-awareness…. these are things you can dig deep to work on gradually, but will serve you immensely in the end.
3. Focus on Your Passion
Hiring managers can tell if you’re not really all that keen to work at a certain company. The best way to project the kind of positive attitude you need is to make sure you’re focusing on interviewing for the jobs that make you most excited. This will also help you make sure you’re well prepared for every interview. Remember: interviewers will be reviewing your application and every inch of your online presence they can find. You should expect to do the same. Do your homework, get the job.
4. Hone Your Hard Skills
No matter how well you’ve prepared for your first job market during your college years, there will be some holes in your resume that you wish you could fill to land your top jobs. Take a course, or a series of webinars, and start developing those skills you’ll need to get where you most want to be.
5. Sell Yourself
You’re not merchandise, but as far as landing a job goes, you sort of are. Embrace the shameless self-promotion now. It’s a lesson you have to learn early in your career if you want to have one. Make sure your LinkedIn profile is up to snuff, build yourself a web site, and take your resume and business cards with you—everywhere. Push your comfort zone and build yourself a reputation that will get you hired.
Don’t put all your eggs in one basket. Spread your net a little wider. Seek out a wide variety of experiences and opportunities to learn. See what you like while you have time to make a go at anything.
7. Be Entrepreneurial
Maybe you don’t have to be the goody-goody with five internships under your belt. You could be the college kid that started her own business and so wowed the interviewer that you got the job over the candidates who looked better on paper. Show that you’re gutsy and a self-starter and that can go a very long way.
8. Sharpen Your Job Search
Learn the tricks of job searching early. Figure out what kind of company you want to work for, do your research, get your foot in the door. Seek out people who have worked there for intel, or mentorship. And keep an eye out for the really cool opportunities.