By Keana Bloomfield
No matter what industry you want to go into after you leave college, sometimes it can be so overwhelming trying to find what your first steps should be. While there is no right answer, this list provides some tips from interview help to social media management to help polish your brand as much as possible to shine in the job market. And, even if you aren’t a senior, but just looking for internships, this should put you at the forefront of the game, while also giving you a sneak peek of what’s just around the corner for you!
Take advantage of LinkedIn
Whether that means updating your profile with your most recent professional experience leadership position that you hold at school, searching for jobs or internships, or even just creating your account, making sure that your most adult-ready social media account is active and live can be one of the most, if not the most important step when it comes to not only learning about different opportunities that may be available based on your skillset, but letting employers know about you and what you can possibly bring to the table.
LinkedIn is also a great way to become connected with alums from your school, especially since there is a filtering option that tells you where former grads from your university work now, what year they graduated and where they are located. Sometimes that one LinkedIn connection could be the stepping stone to your very first job.
Talk to the Career Services at Your School
You probably know of them and maybe even stopped by there once or twice, but the career services at your school can be one of the greatest opportunities to helping you to succeed in the 24/7 world of professionalism by helping to edit your resume, craft the most creative cover letter or help to initiate mock interviews with employers. If you simply don’t always have the time to stop by, email them and ask if they can perhaps help virtually.
But, just as you hope that they read your emails, make sure to take the time to read yours, with new opportunities always on the horizon, don’t miss them when they are literally right at your fingertips!
Research, research, research!
When looking for jobs and internships, the application/interview process just as much as about you interviewing the company as it is about them interviewing you! So, in order to make sure that you don’t your time, nor the company at hands, it’s best to do your research beforehand about the company’s locations, what the job really entails, the company’s culture and reputation in its’ respective industry and whatever else you would want to know about your potential employer.
Think in a year’s time: if you are working there, what are the key elements you wish you had known?
Create an application spreadsheet
As you’re researching and applying to several jobs and internships, unless you have the memory of an elephant, you are more than likely not going to remember every company that you have looked into, application deadlines, the status of the application, the company contact or any other notes you took into consideration. Open a blank Excel worksheet and create a chart that lists the names of the employers that you plan on or have applied to and list columns that have the info you want to know and remember—it’s a simple and organized task that you will be glad to have made throughout this process.
Start thinking of professors you could ask to write letters of recommendation
As letter of recommendation act as one of the most important elements in an application, deciding who to ask, when and how can be extremely crucial to whether or not you’re the letter might just be what’s needed to push your application over the edge. Think about professors that you really felt you connected with and if the class they taught had a special effect on you.
But, you could also go the alternate route and ask a previous or current employer, coach or advisor that knows you and can and speak to you, your performance and accomplishments.
Practice interview questions with yourself
We already know how stressful interviews can be and when doing interview prep, it doesn’t make that stress just automatically go away. However, many issues that people have when interviewing isn’t so much more so the technical, but the behavioral. Being able to effectively give an overview of life experiences, ranging from your working in a teamwork to times you faced adversity and overcame it to even answering the infamous, but dreaded “Tell me a little about yourself” ice breaker question.
Once you feel comfortable enough, work your way up the practice ladder, first with friends, then family then career counselors or even mock interviewers until the big day.
Make new friends at school, but keep the old ones
More than likely, you aren’t the only one at your school trying to get a head start on jobs so bond with new people, because you both may share different insights into the recruiting process and specific industries. Don’t forget to reach out to some of your other friends and keep them in the loop—someone might just return the favor.
Take time to learn outside of class
Depending on your school, what you want to do post-graduation, etc. sometimes regular classes at college aren’t enough. It might be worth it to audit or pay for online courses that may cover topics you won’t have time to take this year or might not even exist in your college course book, so try taking the initiative to find the correct resources out of the classroom. Courses likes these also look good to employers who can see that you are hard-working and full of ingenuity to want to take matters into your own hands.
Clean up your social media profiles
Even if your LinkedIn is perfect, it’s always worth it to be safe and make sure your other Big 4 (no, I don’t mean the consulting companies) are representative of you. It’s incredibly easy to find anyone these days thanks to Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Snapchat, etc. and depending on what they find that can be a good or a bad thing. Don’t ruin your chances at being hired for a job because employers find your public persona embarrassing and potentially offensive.
Keep improving your resume
This may seem incredibly obvious but your resume is probably the most singular important job prospect item in your entire application (it’s also a single page itself). Employers don’t spend that much time on it, but it’s also the very thing that can determine whether you end up in the “Interview” pile vs “Rejected”. There are over a million tips that can be given for the resume, but when you submit it for a job, the only thing that you should be thinking is if you were the employer, would you call yourself back? If so, you might have the gotten this job hunting thing down.
Now it just comes to waiting to hear back…
Keana Bloomfield is a senior at Bryn Mawr College, a liberal arts college located outside the city of Philadelphia. An English major and Economics minor, Keana has completed journalism opportunities at KYW Newsradio 1060, WHYY and the Philadelphia Inquirer, while also having developed financial acumen as a 2016 Girls Who Invest Scholar, an organization dedicated to putting more women in the investment management industry, and as an Asset Management Intern at PNC Financial Services within their Wealth Management division. As she completes her final year as an undergraduate, she hopes to become further immersed in the finance and business industries for both her professional and personal development.