It seems that just yesterday, you were leaving home and embarking on your very own collegiate journey, discovering a whole new world of responsibility and wonderful things only a college experience can offer. But now you’re a Senior and reality is setting in. You’re graduating in 8-10 months and you need a J-O-B. College loans and credit card bills could be piling up, just waiting for you to get your first job. But, let’s not think of it as just a job. This is a CAREER. After all, that’s why you went to college, right?
Here are some things that you should be doing as a Senior (in addition to all the suggested preparation you should be doing Freshman-Senior year):
- Industry Laser Focus – Keyword: laser. You’ve done the research, completed the interviews, and even job shadowed here and there, learning exactly what industry you want to start your career in. At the time of your Senior year, you should be laser focused on one specific area of industry. Make your list of top 10-15 companies (or less) that you want to work for. Then, follow the steps below.
- Internship – By now, you should have completed (or will upon graduation) 1-2 internships. Most degree programs require that at least one be completed. Remember, in addition to this being great experience that allows you the opportunity to gain the inside look into a company, this is also the feeder program for the company’s full-time entry-level positions. Some companies retain up to 60% of their interns for full-time positions upon graduation!
- Career Fairs – You’ve done the research, conducted the interviews with others, and narrowed your search to the elite few. Don’t forget about the career fair, even as a Senior. This is a great way to follow up on recent applications and resumes that you have already submitted. If you are still undecided, it’s a great way to learn even more about the company and where you would fit within. Don’t be afraid to ask questions. That’s what the recruiters are there for – to answer career questions about the opportunities available at their company. If there’s a line at the table, don’t pass by the company thinking “I’ll come back”. Stick to your gut and line up. Then, set yourself apart with all the research, knowledge and experience you bring to the table.
- Interviews – This is the last step. After you’ve done everything above, this is where you have the chance to really shine. Be yourself and let your experience set you apart from the rest of the crowd. Interviewing is a great stand-alone topic that will be covered later down the road in this blog.
I hope that this information is useful to you as you embark on your journey throughout college into the professional world. The list isn’t meant to be all-inclusive, so please feel free to find what works best for you. I’ll continue to share things that I’ve learned along the way as well as information from others throughout the industry in this blog and via Twitter (@kbaumann or www.twitter.com/kbaumann).
Best wishes to you in your endeavors. Now, go after the career of your dreams!