Posted April 17, 2015 by

Preparing For a Career: A Pre Graduation Checklist

Marking checklist

Marking checklist. Photo courtesy of Shutterstock.

Thousands of college seniors are due to graduate in a few short weeks but many of them have not yet thought about their career search. This is understandable given that there are so many things to think about in the last weeks of college, including studying for final exams and preparing transcripts to apply for graduation. Although some students will already be conducting job interviews or even have signed a contract with a company, most will start their job search after graduation. In the past, many graduates could expect to have an entry level, full time position in their field by the end of the summer after graduation, however, the current economy is still recovering and many recent grads will have a longer search. It’s important to be prepared for the job search process early to decrease the amount of time spent unemployed or working outside of the field.

1- Keep that part time job

Students who currently have a part time job or student job are often tempted to turn in a resignation a couple weeks before graduation. This is not recommended in the current economic climate because having a steady income while searching for jobs is highly beneficial. Students may also find that they need to take either an unpaid or low paid internship in order to gain more on-the-job experience. In this situation, a part time job is even more valuable.

2- The resume

It’s no longer acceptable to write a simple one page resume to hand out to every employer. Students should think about the amount of time it will take to truly represent themselves as a valuable potential employee to prospective companies. In addition to a basic resume, students are encouraged to set up a LinkedIn page if they haven’t already done so and create any supplemental materials they may need for a stand-out job application. Students going into innovative technological fields are encouraged to create visual materials that will help their resume shine. It’s a good idea for grads to sit down with a career consultant to determine which materials are appropriate for their field as well as how to present themselves in a positive light to potential employers.

3 – Delete or censor social media

As college students transition to their career it’s essential that any social media sites they’re participating on present a hard-working professional rather than a full time college student. Almost every company will take a look at potential employees on social media to see if how they presented themselves in an interview is how they represent themselves in real life.

4- Do preliminary research

Students are advised to look at which companies might be hiring entry level positions in their field prior to graduation. They should also look at employee satisfaction sites such as Glassdoor to see which companies are highly respected by their employees. In addition to company research, soon-to-be grads should think about the locations of these companies as well as areas of the country where they may be most successful in finding a full time position in their field. It’s a good idea for students to do preliminary research in these areas to see if they are willing to move to that part of the country and whether or not they will be happy there.

5 – Have a Plan A, Plan B, and Plan C

Because of the economic realities of the 21st century, college seniors are advised to not only have an ideal plan of action but also a second and third option that can ultimately help them achieve their career goals. For example, those who don’t find a well paid position in their field should have a plan in place as to whether they want to take a low paid internship while they work a second job at night or if they want to take a well paid position outside of their field. It’s better to think about these things ahead of time then have to make an on-the-spot decision out of desperation.

Bottom line

The economy is on an upswing and there are many jobs available today that weren’t available 5 or 10 years ago, however, it’s important for soon-to-be grads to think about how they will handle the next 6 months and have multiple options while they’re staying organized. Organization and planning is often the key to success and perseverance in a post collegiate job search.

Robyn Scott is an Orange County private English tutor with TutorNerds LLC. She has a BA from the University of California, Irvine and a MA from the University of Southampton, UK.

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