5 Steps to Take Before you Graduate This Spring
Right now, the northern half of the US is still buried in snow and ice, and if you're a student in any of these cold places, you're trudging to and from class with grey skies above and slushy sidewalks below. But don't let your wearying routines distract you from what lies ahead. In just a few months, the sun will be shining and your finals will be behind you. You'll be one graduation ceremony away from the next big stage: the job market. Here are five tasks you'll need to check off before that day arrives.
1. Choose a direction.
It sounds simple, but if you haven't given this some thought already, you may find it surprisingly difficult to get your head around this one. If you majored in something broad (as most people do), like business, history, mathematics, physics, philosophy, or English, your career path won't be clearly marked out for you. Unlike accounting and engineering majors who may already have their futures cut, dried, and waiting for them, you'll have to forge your own path. What kind of company or organization would you like to work for? And what, exactly, would you like to provide to these target employers? You'll have to find these people and tell them clearly what you can do and what you have to offer…Don't expect them to tell you.
2. Start asking questions.
Once you've identified your ideal target company and target role, start scheduling informational interviews. Contact people within the industry, preferable people who have held (or hired candidates for) the position you'd like to pursue. Ask for a short meeting in which you present your interviewer with a list of relevant questions and encourage them to give you open ended advice.
3. Start looking for role models.
Look up the ladder in the direction you'd like to climb. Do you see anyone up there who you know or who you've met before? Do you have any professors, older siblings, family members, friends of friends, or third degree connections who are standing where you'd like to be in a five or ten years? Watch these people closely and ask them about the personal traits and personal decisions that may have contributed to their success.
4. Create your resume.
Draft your resume now, don't wait until June. You'll have plenty of editing and rewriting to do as your ambitions and opportunities change, so get started now while you have plenty of lead time. When opportunities open up, they don't tend to stay open for long. So if you see the perfect post for the perfect job a week before you graduate, you may not have enough time to start the process from scratch.
5. Attend job fairs and networking events.
Get out there and put yourself in circulation. This is no time to hide behind your screen. Find out where the job fairs are (on campus and in the nearby community) and attend as many as you can. Keep a fresh face, a bright smile, and an open mind. And take several copies of your resume that you can hand out as you circulate.
Don't fall behind the curve! As soon as you have your degree in hand, get ready to hit the job market with everything you have. Turn to MyPerfectResume for guidance, support, and resume-creation tools.