Job Ready Before Graduation

As a student there’s a lot of pressure between classes, assignments and homework. If you are a parent or working student there is even more to be done. It’s tempting to put off thinking about finding a job in your chosen profession until after you graduate, however small steps in this direction can pay big dividends later and make all your schoolwork and sacrifice worthwhile. 

Chances are you are putting time into worrying about future employment anyway so channeling some energy into action can be an effective way to build up your confidence and ease your anxiety about the future. Here’s 3 simple and quick ways to get job-ready before the ink dries on your diploma. 

Prepare your Resume

Resumes are living documents. It isn’t really a case of “one and done” for a dynamic professional. Starting early before you are actively job-hunting takes the pressure off and can help you evaluate your strengths and weaknesses and take steps to improve your credentials where possible. Make sure you have current contact information for former employers and ask for reference letters in advance so you have them later when you graduate and are ready to apply for new roles. 

Break this task into small bites so you can do a great job and get it done just a little at a time. Start by researching best design and approach. There are plenty of free and low cost templates and services available online. Once you have a good draft share it with trusted professionals in your network so you can incorporate practical feedback. Sometimes we undersell ourselves or maybe haven’t done a great job translating our previous experience into our new industry. An outside perspective will help you level up your presentation. By not leaving your resume build or update until the last minute you can give it the attention it deserves.

This step has a psychological benefit as well.  A person with a polished resume on-hand is someone who feels in charge of his or her professional future.  It’s great to be hopeful about your new career; it’s better to be prepared for it. 

Research Employers and Jobs 

Go online and do your research. Make a list of firms in your community and save their contact information so you will have this ready to go when you graduate. Follow desirable employers on social media and like or comment on their posts. Enthusiasm is a valued trait in employees. If you are genuinely an admirer, this knowledge and brand passion wins hearts in job interviews. 

Save job postings from your target employers. It keeps you up-to-date on movements in their firm even though you may not have the required credentials yet. Reading their job postings will give you insight into what additional skills and traits they value. Your resume can then reflect this if you apply later. You don’t have to wait for a job posting to apply for a job. A great letter that is tailored to their firm and a resume inquiring about future opportunities can open the door to a job before it gets posted. Set Google alerts for companies that interest you so you can read about them whenever they are featured in the news. 

Gain an Inside Advantage

Go beyond your required study and be up to date with current trends and local interest stories. Technical knowledge that comes with your diploma is great but inside knowledge and experience gives you an edge. You will stand out above other recent graduates and you have more to talk about in a job interview. 

Employers appreciate candidates with a genuine passion for their industry. Most industry associations will have a social media presence so if you are eligible to join their Facebook Group for example, do so. You may find information on job postings or Internship opportunities there that do not appear elsewhere. 

You might also learn of open house events or fundraisers you could attend. If you are trying to break into a new industry, look for networking opportunities wherever you can. Find a way to meet people who are already working in your field. Exposure to professionals in your industry can turn into job opportunities down the road so it’s great to get out there and meet people before you graduate. 

Ashton College prides itself on a faculty with real-world experience in their professions. So why not start where you are? Ask your instructor what magazines they read and what trade events they attend or groups they belong to. 

Search out the top influencers in your industry and follow them online so that you can learn from them and perhaps find ways to meet or engage with them. Even the most important person in your field was once a beginner like you. Someone helped them on their career path and they might feel inspired to help you.

Cast your vision in the direction of success and move confidently toward it. You might be surprised by what opens up when you are bold enough to take the first step.