Welcome back to school. I am sure you had a good summer, but now it is time to get back into the swing of things, catch up with friends and focus your attention on your studies.
If this is your last year of studies, I want to let you in on a little secret. Your degree/diploma/certificate does not come rolled up with a job offer. As cliché as it might sound, once you have that paper in your hand, the real work begins.
But do not wait until your graduate to start gearing up for your job search. There are many things that you can right now and throughout the year that will benefit your job search.
- Research and take advantage of information sessions. Between mid-September and mid-October, a number of firms come to campus to speak directly to students. This is a great chance for them to promote their organisations and job positions. It is also a great chance for you to ask some key questions, including: what is the recruiter looking for on a resume? And how can you be sure to get an interview? Be sure to connect with your campus or faculty career center, and start planning which sessions you might want to attend, as well as which are most relevant to your career expectations.
- Participate in networking events. Shortly after an information session, firms typically come to campus at least once more, either at a branded event or a student group networking event. Check in with your student groups and see who is coming and when. Also, when attending an event, be sure to introduce yourself to the company representatives. Don’t know what to talk about? Why not let them know what you learned at the information session. They want to see that you are interested in working for them, so don’t be afraid to tell them. They will notice.
- Attend workshops. Your campus or faculty career center will host a bunch of workshops that provide key pre-employment information. You can learn how to write a resume or how to excel in interviews. There is a workshop for just about every subject. The workshops are an excellent way to get great tips, and they are offered throughout the year. Attend as many as you think you need, and then attend a couple more.
- Finish your cover letter and resume. You know companies are going to ask to see them, so make sure you have a great one. If you are not sure if your resume is good, then drop by your career center for a quick review. A career professional will be happy to help you out and answer any questions or address any concerns you might have.
- Connect with your career center staff. One of the things that make the campus career centers so special is that their success depends upon your success. The closer you get to your career goals and expectations, the better they look. If you have not yet connected with your career center staff, be sure to do so as soon as possible. We are here to tell you exactly what you need to know to land that perfect job in your career discipline of choice.
You have a lot of things to do throughout the school year. It can get chaotic making sure everything gets done. Do not make the mistake of waiting until two weeks before graduation to do the things you need to do in order to find the right job, because by then, it is too late.
Dan Kennedy is a member of the CACEE National Board and manager of George Brown Career Services.