July 30, 2016 by Bethany Wallace
Should we stress out the importance of an internship? Probably not, no. You’re already here, which means that you’re probably aware of how significant experience as an intern is to your portfolio without us lecturing you about it, too. Everyone wants to obtain a master’s degree education level or to hire people with as much experience amassed as possible, and the best way to get this boulder off your chest is to make sure you play it safe and give them what they want.
That said, you want to land an internship, but so does pretty much everyone else. How are you supposed to handle competition and stand out from the hundreds of applications that the hottest corporations at the moment need to go through at once? Here are some tips to make your resume shine.
Take the initiative – Make one
Make what? An internship program, of course. Let’s say you really want to intern at Big International Corporation X, you have your resume all written out, you’re ready to send it in and… surprise! It turns out that there was never a program like that to begin with. How is that possible? It seemed like such a natural inclusion that it’s almost surprising they don’t offer internship positions in the respective field.
This is when you can go bold and prove your initiative prowess. Get in touch with the company – write them an e-mail, contact them on social media, and let them know that you have an idea for an internship program. Think it thoroughly before contacting them, though. This way you can offer detailed explanations and practical solutions, which are going to make you sound all the more capable, resourceful, and involved in the prosperity of the company.
Create an interactive video
Interactive resumes tend to be a surefire way to capture an employer’s attention. That’s because, even if all the applicants were to follow the same pattern and send in engaging applications, the only way that they can actually work is through personal charisma.
Record a video introducing yourself and add on the screen links that redirect to other videos where you solely focus on one specific asset you want to expand on (for example, leadership skills). If you’re a developer, develop a mini-game where the player navigates a world filled with chunks of text from your resume. There are many directions you can follow, and the most important thing you need to do is exploit your personal talents and ace up your sleeve. If you’re a painter, paint the application!
Build your resume out of Legos
Welcome to the world of specifics. Today, we talk about Legos. They can be much more than sources of entertainment and deadly traps for clueless barefooted trespassers. Leah Bowman was a student at Northwestern University who managed to impress the company she applied to for an internship by sending them a resume in the shape of a Lego model.
The crafting represented herself surrounded by the variety of skills she possessed, and it was paired with a cover letter which explained in further detail her assets and experience.
Use apps to your advantage
We know about LinkedIn, Twitter, or other forms of social media. Their usefulness resides in the name: social media. It seems obvious that platforms dedicated to human interaction could play a big role here. But what does an application via Snapchat or Vine sound like?
If you have the possibility of emailing the resume to your desired company, include a link to a Vine where you creatively lay down your skills in six seconds. If you’re able to pull that off, surely there’s got to be a level of creativity in you that’s bound to spark some interest. Moreover, this is a way to showcase another really charming and sought-after trait – humor. Tell a story through images by using Snapchat and its colorful features and captions option. Just try to steer away from Tinder as we have no clue how that could prove useful… for now.
The first step to landing an internship is to make your application stand out as well as possible. Small details, such as the title of the e-mail, the font, or the color of the page weigh a lot. If you want to take it a notch further and be sure that you nail that internship position, then just adopt one of the methods on this list.
Want more tips to help you land an internship or job at a major corporation? Keep visiting our blog and be sure to register as a job seeker on CollegeRecruiter.com, too. Follow us on LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube for regular job and internship updates.
Karl Magnusson is a motivational writer and a career coach, with over five years of experience under his belt. He loves helping people identify their hidden talents and thrives on seeing his clients achieve professional acclaim.
July 26, 2016 by Bethany Wallace
You have arrived—it’s your senior year of college. Woo hoo! You have one year to complete of your collegiate journey. You should definitely celebrate. After you celebrate, prepare yourself for a year of job search and career preparation. While your senior year will definitely be fun, it’s also hard work. You’re in the home stretch before beginning your first full-time, entry-level job. And that means you need to take full advantage of the help provided to you by career services employees on campus. This short video, hosted by College Recruiter’s Content Manager, Bethany Wallace, lists six ways to take advantage of career services to make the most of your senior year so you can land a great job upon graduation.
If the video is not playing or displaying properly click here.
In no particular order, don’t neglect any of these important to-do’s your senior year, and seek the assistance of career services staff along the way.
1. Apply for grad school.
If you’re remotely interested in attending graduate school within the next five years, take grad school entrance exams and be sure to check out deadlines for applications for financial aid, assistantships, and other forms of financial aid at the grad schools of your choice. There’s nothing worse than missing a deadline and having to wait a semester or entire year to reapply. Be diligent and keep deadlines marked on a calendar you actually monitor regularly.
2. Apply for jobs.
Begin applying for entry-level jobs unless you’re definitely applying for graduate school and don’t plan on working at all. When should you apply? It depends on the career field and employer, but a good rule of thumb is to begin applying about six months prior to graduation. As long as your resume clearly states your expected date of graduation, employers will understand that you won’t be available to start working until after graduation.
The hiring process takes time. The interview process takes time. It takes employers longer than you’d like to review resumes! Don’t wait until three weeks before graduation to start searching for jobs and then feel disappointed when you have only landed one job interview by July.
3. Get your resume/cover letter in shape.
Ensure that your resume and cover letter are in great shape. These documents will open doors for interviews for you. Clearly list on your resume your expected date of graduation. Ensure that you’ve listed all work experience (internships, job shadowing, part-time work experience, and volunteer experience). Ask your career services professionals to review your resume at least once. Utilize the free resume editing tool on our website. Take these steps and then start applying for jobs.
4. Attend career fairs and follow up afterward.
Definitely attend all career fairs—not just the one on your campus but others as well. Career services staff know about these opportunities. Ask them!
Continue great networking practices. Send invitations to LinkedIn and Twitter after career fairs and thank you cards after interviews. If someone in your network shares a job lead with you, thank them personally and return the favor in the future if you’re able. Following up with employers/recruiters is a huge step you can’t afford to skip in the hiring process.
5. Sign up for on-campus interview opportunities.
These events are key because they provide you with opportunities to network directly with employers without ever leaving campus. It doesn’t get much easier than that. But by all means, do NOT miss your interview or show up late. Arrive about 10 minutes early wearing a suit or other appropriate interview attire. Check with career services to see if they’re hosting an upcoming interview preparation workshop. For that matter, sign up for as many career services events as you can. You’re in the final hours, people. You can’t afford to reject assistance!
6. Career services are free in college–take advantage of this while you can.
Remember that once you graduate, unless your career services office extends services to alumni as well, you will no longer have access to free career services. You’ll have to hire a career coach or consultant, and that comes at a price—a rather high price in some cases.
“As a college student, you have access to so many free career-related resources and events. You will never have this type of access to [free] career services and support at any other time in your career. Take this opportunity and use it,” encourages Grace Whiting, Career Advisor at Roosevelt University.
Indulge yourself in career services and enjoy your senior year!
July 22, 2016 by Bethany Wallace
Beginning a new career is a challenge, no matter the field. It is logical, then, to view starting a new job in career services as borderline daunting. Landing a career where you help others develop their own careers? Yikes! But don’t sweat it. If you’re a newbie to career services, take a deep breath and check out these helpful tips from someone who has recently stood in your shoes.
That’s right. I’m right there with you. I have logged less than a year in career services – 10 months, actually – and I can tell you that it’s taken each day in those ten months for me to develop a clear picture of how I’d like the services this office provides to look in three years. I’ve also come to realize that to remain effective and relevant, this office can’t stay the same forever but must change with the times and the students who walk through its doors. I’ve learned so much in the last 10 months, and I’m content knowing that I have much more to learn and more opportunities to pursue within this office. That being said, here are eight necessities I’ve embraced in taking on my new role in career services. Good luck to you, and pay close attention to number one.
1) Get excited! I mean it! Get. Excited. This is an amazing, dynamic field where each day you’ll have clients leaving your office happier than when they arrived and where your colleagues are always looking forward. Hope abounds. Potential is realized. You’re part of one of the most important services a college campus can provide, in my opinion, because you help the future drivers of our economy and leaders of our workforce develop the skills they’ll need to succeed in life beyond college. What an awesome space to occupy!
2) Know your history. If you’re coming into a position previously occupied by another individual, be sure to network with that individual to determine the direction of the career center up to the point of your arrival – including the career center’s current strengths, challenges, and opportunities. Read last year’s annual report as well as those from two-three years prior. Knowing where you’re coming from helps you develop a map for where you’re trying to go.
3) Know your target audience. This is perhaps the key to effective operation of a career center. Whether you serve Millennials, non-traditional students, students of a particular academic background, or any other group, knowledge of your target audience is an integral factor in developing student programming, opportunities, marketing efforts, and career coaching practices. A resource I’ve enjoyed for learning more about Millennials (my primary target audience) is Lindsey Pollak’s book, Becoming the Boss, though I’ve also learned from her presentations at the Kennan Summit 2015 and the NACE Conference keynote address.
It’s important to note that there are more factors in identifying your target audience than generational attributes alone. For example, what percent of your students are first-generation? How many receive financial aid? How many are international students? How many are business majors? How many are from the state in which your institution operates? How have these things influenced your students’ career development thus far? All of these factors and more will help you create a clear picture of the human beings you’re going to help and how best to help them.
4) Inventory your resources. Any good carpenter can tell you what tools he/she has, what they’re used for, and how to access them. The same can be said of any good career services professional. Upon entering your new role, you’ll want to ascertain what tools you already have at your disposal – a website? Social media accounts? Job boards? Support staff? Professional memberships? Established student programming events? How about colleagues in other departments with whom you can potentially collaborate on future planning or programming?
This is something your predecessor can really help you with, but keep in mind that he/she is not your only resource. Support staff is always an EXCELLENT resource, particularly if they’ve been around a while. I am very lucky, for instance, to have come into a position where just 20 feet away sits the kindest, most professional administrative coordinator who has worked for the college for many years. Her knowledge of program and general institutional history comes in handy daily, and she is a wonderful sounding board.
Make yourself a list of resources such as those listed above. Go through existing files on the network drives to which you have access. Once you determine what you have, you’re able to decide what you need.
5) Prepare to partner. Career services professionals absolutely must partner with other departments on campus. Neglecting to do so will prohibit optimization of career center programming. In other words, you’ll be missing out, big time, and as a result, the students you’re hired to serve will as well. Collaboration spreads the workload and allows for use of resources your little office will not have on its own.
Partnering is an expectation and, in my opinion, a gift. Embrace it. And keep in mind that partnering isn’t limited to institutional departments. While it’s great to partner with faculty, for example, to market a career fair to students, it’s also excellent to partner with student organizations to boost participation in career center programming. For example, before that very same career fair, you could partner with Greek Life to host an interactive workshop where students prepare for the fair. You’re effectively providing programming for a large, “captive audience,” while at the same time bolstering attendance for your upcoming fair. Plus, your visible connection with this group will encourage other student organizations to partner with your office, thereby boosting your reach. I could go on and on about partnering. Don’t limit your work to the confines of your office! Get out there, and I can promise you, you’ll be happy and effective!
6) Attend a professional conference. The best ideas are often those you learn from colleagues, but your prospects are limited on campus. Professional conferences, such as the National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE) conference, allow for a meeting of the minds, where career services staff and professionals from the working world can share best practices, trends, and ideas. I attended the NACE conference in June and came home with ideas for events, new partnerships, assessment and reporting techniques, and several new contacts – including employers and other career services professionals with invaluable knowledge and expertise. State and regional-level professional conferences are wonderful resources as well. Look online to find appropriate events for you.
7) Build your network(s). For a career services office to function successfully, the staff must have connections with employers, volunteer services organizations, graduate and professional school reps, other career services professionals – the list goes on. You want to develop a list of contacts you can access and refer to easily throughout your day. If this doesn’t exist upon your arrival, its development will be one of your top three priorities. You’ll refer to this document when you send invitations and save-the-dates for major events, such as career fairs, grad school expos, and student/alumni networking events.
The key to harnessing the power of these connections is getting started. Create a LinkedIn account, if you don’t have one, and begin connecting with company recruiters, career services professionals, and your institution’s alumni group. If you’re like me and are the sole career services professional for your office, consider forming a board of advisors with ten or so alums and professionals whose networks and influence can help you locate campus speakers, boost alumni support of career development efforts, and discover new career opportunities for current students. Remember that your network isn’t limited to you. You have access to your colleagues’ connections as well as the ones you forge yourself. Many times asking for help or advice is the best way to establish a connection, so don’t be afraid to reach out.
8) Keep records and get creative in reporting them. Most career services offices already keep track of how their programming is operating – how many students they reach, what the students are saying about their services, what types of services are used by which students, etc.; but this isn’t enough. Prospective students and their families want to see how your institution’s students are faring in the “real world” before making the financial commitment to attend. Along the same line, prospective donors and business partners like to see the impact of their donations of time and treasure. For these reasons, it’s imperative that career services professionals track current students’ and graduates’ experiential learning achievements and post-grad destinations (their first job or where they go to graduate or professional school) and share that information with other departments on campus. If your office isn’t currently pursuing this data, this is an effort you’ll want to initiate.
About the author, guest writer Annette Castleberry:
Currently Co-Director of Career Services, Annette Castleberry is excited to be promoted to Director of Career Development at Lyon College beginning August 1, 2016. You can connect with Annette and with the Lyon College Career Center on Facebook or www.lyon.edu.
July 21, 2016 by William Frierson
Today, social media provides us with the chance to communicate personally and professionally. For college students and recent graduates who are more interested in the latter, LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook are all popular platforms to market themselves. They are places to build valuable relationships with professionals, employers, and fellow job seekers. Andrea St. James, Director of the Career Development Center at Western New England University, discusses how students can establish relationships on social media sites, and Michaeline Shuman, Director of Career Development at Susquehanna University, shares how social media sites can connect students and recent grads to college alumni.
“Social media works best as an initial contact or follow-up to solidify a new relationship. When connecting first (through social media), though, students should explain who they are. When you first pursue a connection, share how you are connected with the person (i.e. went to the same school, or common connections). Then share information about yourself that starts to put a face to a name, i.e. major, experience, direction, goals, and finally what you are looking to gather from that person.”
“(Social media) is great for connecting students with their university’s alumni and asking them for advice. By asking for advice, alumni are put in a position to say yes rather than no. All professionals have stories about how they got into their current roles, strategies for students on the job market, etc. Once a rapport is developed, students can ask their new networking connections about job opportunities or additional resources.”
Students and recent college graduates seeking opportunities to help build their professional network can connect with employers, career specialists and other motivated professionals through the many different social media channels College Recruiter uses to engage with both job seekers and employers. Check out our College Recruiter LinkedIn group, our College Recruiter LinkedIn page, and follow College Recruiter on Twitter. Also, don’t forget to leverage resources like the College Recruiter YouTube page, which offers additional career insight. When you find content you like, share that with your social media channels to help create discussion and engagement, which can help build your professional network and create those coveted relationships that can help students and recent college graduates advance in their career.
While students can use social media to begin the networking process, they shouldn’t end there. Don’t be afraid to invite connections to connect face-to-face for coffee or lunch. Ask connections for an informational interview to learn more about your desired future careers. Take relationships to the next level.
Andrea St. James is Director of the Career Development Center at Western New England University in Springfield, Massachusetts, where she assists students and alumni with career planning, occupational exploration, job search strategies, and graduate school applications. She has a BSBA in Marketing and an MBA, both from Western New England University.
Michaeline Shuman is Assistant Provost for Postgraduate Outcomes and Director of the Career Development Center at Susquehanna University in Selinsgrove, Pennsylvania, where she helps students identify internship and job opportunities through networking and preparation programs, on-campus recruiting programs, and career and graduate school advising. She received her Bachelor of Arts Degree in Social Work at Albright College and a Master of Science Degree in Education from Alfred University.
July 14, 2016 by Bethany Wallace
Most successful college recruitment plans include strategic relationships with key colleges and universities. One of the best ways to develop relationships with colleges and universities is by developing relationships with career services professionals on target campuses. This three-minute video, featuring The WorkPlace Group Executive Partner, Dr. Steven Lindner, explains how employers can maximize relationships with career services professionals. Dr. Steven Lindner also explains why talent acquisition leaders this matters in the grand scheme of the hiring process. Dr. Steven Lindner is hosted by College Recruiter’s Content Manager, Bethany Wallace.
If the video is not playing or displaying properly click here.
Career services matters, Dr. Steven Lindner states, because career services is the avenue for sharing information about job postings with college students on campus. Career services professionals allow employers to access students’ resumes and to participate in career fairs. Career services professionals make employers aware of student organizations and opportunities for sponsoring events held by organizations; for employers, these can be affordable, unique branding and marketing opportunities.
Dr. Steven Lindner shares two specific tips from The WorkPlace Group with employers.
1. Invite college students to visit your organization to conduct a site visit.
Let them experience your company culture and work environment. While conducting the tour of your company headquarters, introduce college students to current interns and recent graduates you’ve hired who are thriving within your organization. Explain your targeted candidate profile and success profile. Keep in mind that students who visit will likely share their experience with other students on campus; try to ensure that students return to campus sharing positive information about your organization.
2. Be persistent when interacting with career services professionals.
Remember that career services professionals are incredibly busy and are interacting not only with college students on campus but also with all the employers vying for their attention and assistance. One of the best times to reach out to career services professionals is during the summer months before students return to campus in the fall.
Dr. Steven Lindner, Executive Partner for The WorkPlace Group®, is a talent acquisition, assessment, and hiring process expert. Under his leadership, The WorkPlace Group® has helped employers hire thousands of job seekers across 44 different countries. The WorkPlace Group® is a leading “think-tank” provider of recruitment services assisting companies ranging from small, fast growing businesses to multinational Fortune 500 companies. In addition to their Recruitment Outsourcing and Project Based Hiring Services, they are one of just a few recruitment providers with specific expertise in College Recruitment.
July 11, 2016 by William Frierson
In their search for entry-level jobs, college students and recent graduates should not assume all employment opportunities are made public. Sometimes, there are opportunities available they can’t find in the newspaper or even online. Students and graduates should talk to people (including their families and friends) about the type of jobs they are looking for. This is part of professional networking. Networking is an opportunity for job seekers to engage in meaningful conversation advancing their careers.
While much of this conversation today happens online, meeting recruiters, hiring managers, or other professionals in person should not be forgotten. Speaking with recruiters, talent acquisition leaders, and hiring managers face-to-face can benefit college students and recent graduates when searching for entry-level jobs. By introducing themselves in person, students and grads can learn more about potential employers, which can help them stand out from the competition. Karen A. Young, President and Founder of HR Resolutions, LLC, shares advice on networking concerning entry-level candidates.
· “If students want to set themselves apart, I want to meet them in person! I can, probably, already find them online.
· This generation already has a bad reputation for being too “connected.” Get out and see and talk to people.
· The workplace is about face-to-face connections (even in a virtual workspace), so demonstrate you can present yourself in that environment.”
Karen Young is the award-winning Founder and President of HR Resolutions, a full-service human resources management company. She has over 25 years of experience in personnel and human resources, as well as being recognized by the HR Certification Institute as a Senior Professional in Human Resources (SPHR) and the Society for Human Resource Management as an SHRM-SCP. Karen has worked with numerous organizations to improve workplace environments, lower HR costs, and increase the bottom line.
July 10, 2016 by William Frierson
Recruiters typically head to college campuses every fall. They will be looking for the best and brightest students with the potential to fill internships and entry-level jobs. However, other recruiters will not travel to schools or may limit travel because of the costs; they would prefer job seekers come to them, find candidates online, or may recruit through other means, such as through target email campaigns and banner ads.
Recruiters who opt out of campus recruiting entirely might miss out on the face-to-face interaction with college students interested in learning more about specific employers. Attending at least some of the networking events on college campuses not only allows recruiters to make their presence known but also helps students gain a better understanding of the workplace. John Link, Assistant Director for Career Development at Webster University, highlights why recruiters and employers should visit college campuses.
“I think it is important for recruiters to actively attend networking events on university and college campuses to assist with developing college students’ understanding of the working world, and begin identifying the marketable skills and abilities essential in that specific area of employment. Employers who attend networking events on university and college campuses have immediate access to college students from various economic and cultural backgrounds while connecting information to students about opportunities for the company or organization they are representing. This information can be helpful for short and long-term career goal setting and connecting students to professionals in the fields of work they are interested in.”
John Link is the Assistant Director for Career Development at Webster University in St. Louis, Missouri. An Indiana native, John spent time working at Indiana State University’s Career Center in career programming before making the move to St. Louis. Prior to working in higher education, John worked as an elementary teacher in Fayetteville, North Carolina, and served as an instructional coach to assist teachers in further developing their math and science teaching skills. John enjoys working in career development and helping define students’ career goals through personalized career coaching.
July 08, 2016 by William Frierson
When attending your next career networking event, remember that hiring managers are watching your every move from the moment you enter the door until the second they begin networking with another job seeker. You can separate yourself from the competition by making the right first impression with recruiters. In addition, you should tell potential employers if you know someone at the particular company or organization. Referrals improve your chances of getting a foot in the door because a current employee can vouch for you, which hiring managers will respect. Internal referrals—referrals made by employees working within the organization—are the best kind of referrals to obtain. Never pass up an opportunity to mention people you know who work for an organization, particularly if you have genuine relationships with those individuals. This isn’t name dropping; it’s networking.
Eden Chen, Co-Founder of Fishermen Labs, shares his opinions on networking to find jobs and how networking influences hiring managers.
“Networking is the best way to find a job no matter what industry you are in. Those of us in hiring positions are constantly receiving resumes from recruiters and job applicants, and it’s really impossible for us to sift through the good resumes from the bad ones. When either meeting someone personally who impresses us or getting introduced to someone through a trusted friend, we’re much more willing to look at a resume and contact the applicant, and we also have social pressure to do so.”
Eden Chen is the Co-Founder of Fishermen Labs, one of the fastest growing software development agencies in the US. Eden is a serial entrepreneur and heads up various other startups including Knife and Fox (design agency), Ctrl Collective (co-working), Glo Bible (app with 3 million+ downloads), Zolo Studios (game studio), and Dev Crew (international software development).
July 07, 2016 by William Frierson
Congratulations on landing your new entry-level job or internship! Perhaps you landed it through networking. If so, that means you understood how to approach interacting with family, friends, and/or recruiting and talent acquisition professionals during your job search.
Now it’s time to transition from networking to find a job to networking in the workplace. This is an opportunity to demonstrate your skills and qualities and learn from established employees who can help you along the way. Vickie Cox-Lanyon, Director of Career Services and LEEP Center Adviser at Clark University, explains how new hires should approach networking in the workplace.
“The first step is to establish yourself as a hard-working, competent, young professional. Making a good first impression in your new role will get your colleagues’ attention and increase the likelihood they will be willing to assist in your career development. At the same time, you need to assimilate into the culture of your organization and begin to create collegial working relationships. If you begin networking too early, it may appear you are too focused on your future rather than your current role.
Once you have established yourself, identify someone one level above you whose position or career path you’re interested in. Start with people you already know. Your goal is to secure an informational interview where you ask questions about the professional’s career trajectory and solicit advice on your potential goals. People generally like to talk about themselves and like to give advice, so you should get a positive response as long as you are polite and professional.
Another goal of that conversation should be expanding your network by asking the professional for names of other professionals they can introduce you to. Etiquette is important in this process so remember that written communication should be formal and professional, and follow-up thank you notes are essential. Above all, be willing to listen and be open to the advice you receive.”
Vickie Cox-Lanyon is Director of Career Services / Graduate School Adviser and Assistant Director of the LEEP Center at Clark University. Cox-Lanyon provides career and academic guidance to students and alumni throughout their career development process. She has been in the field of career services since 1997 and is a member of the National Career Development Association, the National Association of Colleges and Employers, and the Liberal Arts Career Network, through which she participates in annual professional development activities. She holds a BA in Psychology from Trinity College in Hartford, Connecticut and an MS in Psychology from the University of Rhode Island.
July 05, 2016 by Bethany Wallace
If you’re gearing up for college as a first-year college student, you’re probably super excited. And nervous. And overwhelmed by a large to-do list… Pack, meet your roommate, scope out the best parking spots, locate your classes, and find decent restaurants near campus. And of course you’ll want to buy your books, meet your academic advisor, and stop by career services during your first semester on campus.
Career services—what? You’ve only just begun taking college courses—career services is for seniors, right? Wrong. The worst thing you can do is wait until you’re a senior in college to reach out to career services for help.
This short video, hosted by College Recruiter’s Content Manager, Bethany Wallace, lists five ways first-year college students can take advantage of career services.
If the video is not playing or displaying properly click here.
1.Get to know career services professionals during your first year on campus.
They’re your greatest allies in your job search. They’ll help you find great opportunities to gain experience, including part-time and full-time jobs, volunteer opportunities, internships and externships. You can begin learning about these opportunities as a first-year college student.
“Career services professionals are there to help guide and ease your career search. The cost is free, and the things you gain are priceless!” claims Xiaoying Chen, Human Resources Coordinator and former career services professional.
2. Take skill/interest inventories (free via career services).
The skill and interest inventories provided by career services are much more in depth and offer way better feedback than the 10-question surveys you might have taken online via social media in the past. There’s a reason career services offices pay for access to these assessment tools; as a college student, you have access to take the assessments at no cost, so why not take advantage of this opportunity to learn about your personality, work style, skills and abilities, and interests? The more you learn about yourself and the better you understand yourself, the more likely you are to choose a degree path/major that suits you well.
Be sure to take skill/interest inventories as a first-year college student because at most colleges and universities, you have to declare a major course of study by the end of your sophomore year (or when you have earned 60 credit hours).
3. Begin networking and branding yourself.
These two long-term activities—or ways of life, really—go hand in hand. If you’re showing people who you are in your best light (what branding is all about), building great relationships (networking) is much more natural and easier.
Stop by your career services office on campus to ask about ways you can begin networking with employers right away. Career services offices typically host meet-and-greet events to allow students and employers to connect. They also host career fairs on campus and on-campus interviews and informational interviews. Some career services offices even partner with employers to provide site visits to allow students to see what employers do on a daily basis. Be open to suggestions made by your career services professionals and take advantage of opportunities to get to know employers. The sooner you begin branding yourself as someone who’s eager to learn, the better off you’ll be when you begin applying for internships and jobs.
4. Get involved on campus.
It’s easy to put your head down, study hard, and focus on grades and nothing else during your first year of college. It’s just as easy to do the opposite and do nothing but party your first year of college. Neither of those are really good options in the long run. If possible, keep your grades up but don’t avoid interacting with people either.
Join at least one or two organizations with a genuine purpose. Ideally the organizations you join provide you with opportunities to learn or grow in ways you can develop technical or soft skills which you can later list on your resume. Look for opportunities to work as part of a team, opportunities to lead, opportunities to solve problems, and opportunities to put the academic lessons learned in the classroom to use in a creative way outside of the classroom.
5. Create a draft of a resume or at least a running list (to be converted into a resume later).
Ideally, you should create a draft of a resume, even if it’s rather sketchy and thrown together during your first year of college. Just get started!
If you don’t actually lay out your resume in resume format, at least create a running list of your activities, honors and awards, skills, campus involvement, and work and volunteer experience. Keeping up with what you have done and are doing is crucial. Keep this list in Microsoft Word or Google Docs and in the cloud; don’t keep it on a device which can be stolen, damaged, or lost. When you’re ready to create your first real resume, your list will be retrievable.