Before You Graduate: Tips for Getting Ahead in the Job Search

Many college seniors ignore the job search until May, when suddenly, they find themselves with a degree in hand but no career or plan for what to do next. Start working towards your career far before graduation – the sooner, the better. Beyond submitting your resume, the following tips can aid you in your job hunt.

Get Networking

Ask anyone in your field – almost everyone will attest to the power of having great connections. Many positions are not posted publicly; instead, they are filled by candidates that staff members knows personally. Having connections in your field is also useful for staying on top of industry news, resources, and events. Networking is uncomfortable for most people, at least at first – to sharpen your skills, consider researching networking tips, going to workshops to better your communication skills, and going to events to put those skills to work.

Look into Certifications

In some fields, certifications are an absolute necessity – without the certification, you simply cannot be hired. In other fields, certifications are optional, but can give you an edge over your competitors. Talk to those in your field to see what they recommend, and take efforts to get certified before your graduation. It could be the difference between you and another candidate that wins you the position!

Create a Portfolio

Work samples are another valuable piece that can help an employer understand what you bring to the table. Whether you create a portfolio website or simply gather work samples in a PDF, create a portfolio before you graduate. Even if it is not a requirement for your position, having a website with your professional work looks great to an employer looking through your web presence.

Conduct Informational Interviews

Informational interviews are meetings where you can ask questions to someone in a company or position you are interested in. While the purpose of an informational interview is not to secure a position with that particular person, the information you can glean from a professional in your field is invaluable. Ask what you can do to make your qualifications more compelling – their recommendations might prove vital.

Utilize Career Resources

If you are a student, then you have access to career services from your university. Your university may offer resume advice, workshops on career-related topics, a private job board, networking events for your industry, and more – all included in the cost of your tuition.

A little forethought can put you ahead of the rest when it comes time to start your career. Begin your job search early and you will reap the benefits.

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