Students and recent graduates who are worried about breaking into their industry or economic sector do not have to fear finding a job as long as they invest and prepare. Many students and recent graduates will undoubtedly take a while to find their ideal match for a job- mine took about a year after graduation. However, keeping positive and making the right steps toward finding the right job for you is key. There are five main ways a student or a recent graduate can really break into their industry.
1. Craft All Your Goals and Objectives
As a student or graduate, you need to self-reflect and think about what career goals you want to meet. Thinking of your life on a timetable, such as a five-year or ten-year plan, can help you micro-manage some of your thoughts. Investigating what you want to accomplish or what ways you want to provide skills to a company or community need to be seriously considered. Organizing these thoughts logically are important so you do not become overwhelmed by how many activities you may need to do. Without a blueprint to be the foundation to how you break into your industry, you may become disorganized with everything you want to do.
2. Enrich Yourself Professionally With Internships and Volunteering
Your course may not require you to complete an internship in order to graduate- this is all the more reason to get one. Being hungry for the positions and truly wanting the career is what will get you to where you want to go. An internship or a volunteer opportunity helps you gain some immense pre-professional skills and a chance to test all of your leadership and critical thinking skills in a workplace environment. Internships are indispensable tools at colleges. Colleges network students across the world with private and public sector internship opportunities. Not taking advantage of these opportunities during college could be detrimental toward your ability to stand out against competitors. Volunteer opportunities are also helpful. Volunteering shows your initiative to provide your free time to a company or non-profit and your willingness to help your community.
3. Develop Your Resume or CV
Developing your resume can consume some time, but it is obviously necessary to complete this task with appropriate details. A general resume should be developed that lists your skills, qualifications, work history, and education. After that, though, you should develop a tailored resume for each job you apply to. Each resume you send to a different company or for a job opening should be unique to meet demands. Building the resume based upon the job description is important to show you are a true contender for the position.
Networking is an incredible tool to get your name out there with other professionals. Professional networks include regional professional organizations and social media websites such as LinkedIn and Twitter. Appearing on a site like LinkedIn or joining local organizations or professional groups allows you to communicate and meet other professionals. Even if it is online, making initial contact is key. Even to follow an industry professional or a company you are interested in on Twitter can turn heads in your direction. Making insightful or genuinely humorous comments garner attention. These interactions can be fruitful for a number of reasons. It may lead to a follow back, therefore opening doors to the real world. It’s all about “who you know” right? Those people you know, may know of job openings in the industry, or others may become impressed by your credentials and want to reach out with an employment opportunity.
5. Invest In Professional Advice on Campus
There are opportunities to gain some advice and information on specific industries that would be impossible to find if you were not enrolled in a college program. Students who have access to unique resources must pursue opportunities in order to find the right one. Some of these resources include faculty or staff in your academic department, the career counseling department at your college, contacting your college’s alumni network, or attending the frequent career fairs that occur at your school. In order to calm your nerves a little bit, when you are meeting with a professional in the industry for the first time, look at it as YOU interviewing THEM. This is good because: 1) Takes the pressure of yourself. 2) You will be prepared to ask the right questions. Recent graduates can capitalize on the alumni network of their school, but after graduating, there are different options available. You can always invest time seeking advice from friends, acquaintances of friends, or family members as well. These talks can not only provide informal advice, but also unique techniques like practice interview sessions or job shadowing.
Tony Bradley is a career counselor specializing in helping students find entry level jobs.