On The Job Hunt Before and After Graduation

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May is quickly approaching which also means graduation for college students is just around the corner. With the current state of the economy and the state it has been in the past few years, it’s a tough job market to be jumping in to with little to no experience.

Universities can only do so much to help prepare students for entering the working world – mock interviews, resume help, networking events, and career fairs only go so far. So if you haven’t already started your own dorm room business or plan on starting a venture right out of college, it’s going to be time for you to hit the streets and start job hunting.

Here are a few things that students can do to give themselves the best shot at getting a job quickly after graduation and a good one at that, not just the first thing that comes their way for little money.

Start Now

One of the most important things, in my mind, is to get started now. If you are not already looking for jobs now, then you are behind the eight ball. Time is passing by and now is really when major companies are recruiting new hires and college graduates. If you do not already have a Monster.com account set up with a full profile, do it today. Once set up, start creating some searches for the areas you want to work/live in, the industry you want to be in, or the job function you want to perform. This will help you to start identifying some companies to apply with. No matter what approach you take to finding a full time position, the key is to start now, before you graduate.

Continue Your Education

Not necessarily in the way of a masters degree or other advanced degree, although those are always helpful (some will argue otherwise), but with additional job or task specific courses or trainings. Certifications for financial planning, investments, CPA licenses are a few common ones you may hear of. But there are also so many more courses and qualifications available, websites such as City & Guilds have listings of courses and qualifications by industry and function. Whether you want to beef up your computer skills with Microsoft Excel training or more specific skill sets like hairdressing or security, there are lots of opportunities.

Build Your Online Presence

One important thing to consider when starting to go out on the job hunt is what potential employer’s may find when they Google your name. As a college student and possible Facebook addict, it is possible to amass a large collection of pictures of you online – some you may be happy to share (family vacation, sports pictures) and some you may not want to be seen by an employer, like being passed out on a sofa with sharpie all over your face after a party. There are a number of ways to build your online presence so that it is a good portrait of you as a potential employee. Here are a few suggestions:

  • Clean up your Facebook pictures – go through your pictures and untag yourself from pictures that may not be representing you in the best light
  • Adjust your privacy settings – if you do not want people to be able to see all your business on Facebook, adjust your privacy settings so that you still show up in search results but the searcher can not see your pictures, timeline, etc.
  • Create a LinkedIn account – 95% or more of recruiters and HR reps at companies use LinkedIn to search for potential candidates, post jobs, and interact with interviewees. Set up a complete profile, join a few groups related to what you want to do, connect with your professors and build your network. Another tip is to endorse and recommend others for their skills, by doing so, they in turn will endorse or recommend you and possible share a skill or trait about you that matches what a recruiter is looking for.

I will do some more in-depth articles on building your online presence in the near future as it’s an important topic for students about to graduate but these are a couple quick tips to get you on the right path.

Network, Like a Boss

Unfortunately, you can’t just sit and wait for a job to come to you. So get off the couch and start networking with everyone you can. This goes hand in hand with starting the search early. Network with your professors and faculty to see if they may know of any opportunities, network with alumni who may be looking to hire graduates from their Alma mater, and network with other students. Students who have secured jobs before graduation may be able to provide recruiter information to you for the companies that they have signed on with or may know of other positions at companies that they interviewed with.

No matter how you go about your job search, before or after graduation, it is important to treat the job search as a job it self – get set up at your desk, focus, and keep cranking all day like you were already working at a job.

These are a few quick tips to get you started and we will be sharing more over the next couple months. What other tips would you add to our list?

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