Know Your Market
One of the most important factors in successfully getting a job after college is knowing your market. If you are a journalism major, you have to know that the traditional newspaper journalism isn’t your only choice. In fact, many journalism majors opt to work in web journalism upon graduation, and some may opt to freelance with plentiful freelance web writing jobs available. If you’re an acting major, you have to know that your market is not going to lead to steady employment right away, and you may be looking for a job that offers a flexible schedule so that you can pursue your art. If you are a business major, you have many options, and you may be weighing your odds of how to get a foot in the door.
Regardless of your major, knowing the current job market in your field is important. Only once you know how the industry is going can you go about trying to get an entry level position in the most effective area. Your research may also show you on skills that you may need to brush up on before your graduate. If you are early into your college career, start researching now. You may opt for extracurricular classes or lessons to give you an edge such as programming or music lessons, all depending on the type of field you’ll be pursuing.
Internships and Preparation Work
You’ll be more likely to get a job after college if you are well-prepared. It’s all too easy to get distracted in college, to focus on purely academics and the social joys on campus. Yet, you need to keep your focus also on the fact that college is a preparation stage for the rest of your life. Your life’s work begins professionally in a lot of ways in college. Durings summers, breaks, or the year, consider an internship for credit. Try to get more than one intership throughout your college career. Although it pays little to nothing (except perhaps college credit, if you’re lucky), an internship allows you the privilege of working at the most exciting places in your industry and maknig connections that can last for life.
Resumes of college graduates are usually quite short. Another perk of an internship is that it gives you an impressive addition to your resume. If a job recruiter sees successfully completed internships and a job reference from an important person at NBC (or an esteemed company in your field), you will likely be given greater consideration.
Volunteer as well. You want to volunteer for non-profits in your field and for causes that you genuinely care about. Don’t wait for an internship. Volunteer work can and should be used on a resume as it demonstrates your skills, how you use them successfully in productive work, your work ethic, and your willingness to help.
Balancing volunteer work, an internship, schoolwork, and a social life can seem like a lot, but it is successfully balanced by many students. If it gets to be too much, you can volunteer one semester, then intern the next.
Using Career Services
Almost every college, university, and even every trade school offers a career services office. It may be called different things, but all of these offices have the same goal: to help students who want to work find great job opportunities. In fact, you don’t have to wait until your senior year. These offices often help students find work while in school as well.
During your senior year, it’s really important to visit career services at the start of the year. You want to get to know the people working in the office. You want to be courteous, friendly, and kind. Since knowing them is a great thing, you may even want to start visits with them (not pesky ones, polite and occasional ones) throughout all your college years. During your senior year, you want to let the office know precisely the kind of job you want when you graduate. By letting the office know this goal, especially in writing, you are doing yourself a huge favor. The office is often evaluated by its success rate in helping students; they want to help you find your ideal job.
Other Ways to Find the Ideal Job After College
Start looking at job ads in your field throughout your senior year. While you certainly want to time the start of your job perfectly, you want to start knowing what’s out there. You can also get a feel for the types of publications and websites that offer the types of jobs you’re seeking.
Network in your field whenever possible. It can be fun to meet others who also share your goals and ambitions, and it can be extremely helpful to find a mentor before you are even out of school. Go to parties, events, fundraisers, and conventions in your field all while you are still in college.
Despite how daunting facing the real world after college may seem, finding a job won’t be that difficult as long as you act responsibly and take advantage of the many perks you have at your disposal by being a college senior.
This post is part of the series: Finding and Obtaining Your Dream Job after College
This series looks at what it takes to land the job you want once you graduate college. By starting the job search while you are still in college, you will be ahead of the game in paving the way to a successful life after college.