7 Steps To Take Now To Be More Employable After College
The myOptions Team
You’re likely motivated to attend college because you see it as the pathway to a fulfilling career. Earning your degree is definitely a big component of it, but there are many other factors that lead to employability. You’ve probably heard the stories of college grads who move back into their parents’ basement after they’ve graduated because they are unemployed. Since that’s probably not your end goal, check out what you can be doing now to make yourself more competitive in the job search.
Have you heard the old adage, “it’s all about who you know?” TBH, that’s completely accurate when it comes to the job search. We know it can be super nerve-wracking to put yourself out there, but the connections you make will be SO worth it. The first step you can take is to get to know your professors by attending their office hours. They bring a lot of real-world experience they’d love to share. If you play your cards right, they may even introduce you to some of their connections. When you meet professionals in your field, get their business card, send a follow-up/thank you email, and request them on LinkedIn to keep the connection going. Any connection you meet, get to know their story of how they entered the field and absorb any wisdom and knowledge they are willing to share. If they’re passionate about what they do, they will be over the moon to share their story with you. Also, fun fact, companies typically prefer hiring candidates that come recommended than those they don’t know, so make as many connections as possible! As you grow closer to mentors, be sure ask them for a copy of their resume and cover letter to get inspiration for your own. Always remember to express your gratitude to these mentors.
2. Get experience.
It’s important to gain exposure to your field while you are in school. First, you want to be certain this is the path you want to pursue. Second, this experience will help qualify you for future job opportunities and give you a solid foundation when you begin working full-time in the field. This can come in the form of an internship, part-time job opportunity, or volunteer experience. If you make a great impression and there’s an opening, this could potentially turn into a full-time opportunity upon graduation. Even if a position isn’t available at that specific company or you’re seeking a different opportunity, your supervisors and colleagues will be able to serve as references to your work ethic and skills so be sure to put your best foot forward in all situations.
3. Get involved in your profession.
If your college has a student organization for your major or career field, join it! If they don’t already have an organization, create it! This organization will surround you with students with similar goals and potential future colleagues. You will also want to be sure to join the professional associations that exist for your field. Be sure to attend professional conferences as well. You should check with your student government to see if they have funding opportunities available to subsidize the cost of these conferences and/or association membership fees.
4. Go the extra mile...without being extra.
No one likes a brown noser, so be sure you are genuine with your intent, and your willingness to go the extra mile comes from a place of passion. Find opportunities to go above and beyond. Don’t just attend conferences, volunteer or present at them. Within your internship/work experience, take on extra projects or new initiatives where you can bring value and perspective, etc. If you have the opportunity to take elective courses it can be super tempting to opt for Bowling 101. Instead, use this as an opportunity to take a course that will complement your major coursework. These little efforts will make a huge difference!
5. Visit the campus career center.
Visit the career center early and often. Their mission is to make you as employable as possible so they offer tons of FREE services! You can get help with things like finding an internship or part-time job, individualized resume and cover letter assistance, mock interviews, career fairs, and so much more! Many of these resources are still available to alumni as well so keep that connection going.
6. Keep it clean.
Just a heads up, your future employer will probs google search your name and check out your social media accounts. They are checking to ensure there aren’t any red flags. Stick to the rule that if you’d be embarrassed if your boss saw it, just don’t post it. Even if you make something private to just your “followers”, screenshots are a very real thing. For those with names that aren’t super common, we recommend setting up a google alert. This will send you an email every time something is added to the internet containing your name so you can keep tabs on your digital footprint.
7. Stay positive.
Keep your head up. The job search is a process in which you’ll encounter disappointment, rejection, and awkward situations, but through it all, you will learn tons about yourself and exactly what you are looking for. Very rarely do people apply for one job and voila... they’re employed, so do not lose hope. Be proactive in your job search and good things will come your way!