Post college success comes easily to those who start the prep work before they walk across the graduation stage. Follow this to-do list and give yourself the best chance to score a job you actually want!
1. Polish up that resume. Don't wait until the last second to pull this together. Right now you have Career Services at your disposal as well as your professors. Make use of their advice and put together a top-notch resume. You may not have a lot of work experience at this point, but it's still important how you package yourself.
2. Create a LinkedIn account. If you haven't set one up already, make sure you spend some time on building a LinkedIn profile for yourself. It's a great way to search for jobs, develop a professional online presence, and network with classmates, alumni, colleagues, and supervisors to establish your professional network. We have some thoughtful advice in this post.
3. Network, network, network. Let everyone know that you're on the verge of graduating and what type of jobs you're seeking. You never know who might be able to give you a leg up or a push through the door. The more people that know that you're looking, the broader a net you'll cast. Don't assume people know; this is the time to put the word out to friends, family, professors, coaches, etc.
4. Invest in a professional, tailored suit. First impressions matter and you're up against a large job market. New grads are competing for the same roles. Your attire makes a very vital impression when you're just starting out. Ensure that you have one impeccable suit that fits you well for interviewing. These days most stores have someone that will help you get the right sizing, and a good tailor or seamstress can make alterations so that it fits you correctly. You don't want to look like you put on your dad's jacket or your mom's pantsuit from the 90s.
5. Make your social media profiles job-search appropriate. Go into all your accounts and either make them private or delete photos that would show you in an unflattering light to a potential employer. They're checking you out way before you walk through the door for an interview. Make sure you're sending the right message. Social media profiles can kill a job application. Slant's article covers this more in depth.
6. Set up a professional email account. Your school email will be expiring soon and the email you created years ago may not set the right tone or message. Get a free account from Google and use your first and last name to set up a new, professional email address for use with all your job-hunting submissions and materials.
7. Start applying now. Don't wait for graduation. It's easy to get senioritis and start slacking off as you prepare for graduation. It's a time of celebration, and there are a lot of fun things going on. Have your fun but don't neglect your post-graduation future. It's never too early to start applying. Lining up a job early will take the pressure off and give you an edge on the competition!
8. Ask for recommendations. Recommendations are an excellent way to have someone else sing your praises and tip the scales in your favor when you may not have all the work experience required. You don't want to be asking for these at the last minute. It can take a while for people to turn these around and it's best to already have them in your pocket as a card to play for a job you really want. Make sure you ask now, in person, if possible, and be courteous of the other person's time.
9. Prepare references but don't list them on your resume. You should have a list of three references, mainly professional or academic contacts. You'll need their names, email address and phone numbers where they can be reached. Most importantly, you need their permission. Make sure you let them know in advance that they might be called upon and get their consent to share their contact details. For more info on references and how to make the most of them, check out another of our Huffington Post pieces.
10. If you can't brand yourself or need help with building any of your profiles or career documents, ask for a gift certificate for our services as your graduation gift! Shameless plug, we know, but the results will be worthwhile!