Senior year for college students is a chaotic and wonderful experience. The final coming-together of all of their hard work, the presentation of final theses and ideas, spending quality time with their closest friends and preparing for a future outside of the university bubble. Graduation caps are adorned with the words “Hire Me” and the career center is buzzing with questions from students asking if all of their hard work will actually pay off. The truth is, yes and no.
The skills that college students learn while in school will greatly aid in them finding a job that fits their passions, but the real-life application is when things get tough. In order to land a high-quality first job right out the gate, college students need to be thinking ahead.
It’s All in How You Network
Companies are flooded everyday with fresh resumes and cover letters packed with eager and can-do attitudes from college students. The problem is, nobody really stands out when everything is done through an online application. Therefore, networking is going to be a key way that a student can land a job at a place they actually care about.
A great place to start is through the business social media channel LinkedIn. Take the time to build a solid profile complete with a professional photo, updated resume, extensive list of skills and qualities and a portfolio. Once that’s settled, participate in online groups and see if there are any upcoming in-person networking opportunities. Putting a face and presence to a resume is going to propel you to the top of the list.
Be Willing to Work for Nothing
One of the best stepping stones to a great job is an internship. Thousands of companies are consistently hiring interns, and not all of them are just looking for a coffee runner. Research internships that really teach their candidates about the position and encourages hands-on learning. Take things a step further and consider interning abroad at an international company. Not only does this look amazing on a resume but it also gives you an idea of the possibilities that lie outside of your small corner of the world. People who are willing to work for nothing but still perform will be rewarded in the future.
If there is one way to get extremely discouraged right after graduation it is to accept a position at a company that doesn’t require your experience and/or will not propel you in the right direction. Instead of sending out applications to every company that is hiring, research between 10-20 companies that you would really love to work for and that will put your degree to good use. By being selective, you can get to know the people at these companies and participate in quality network sessions and follow-up properly.
Companies don’t want to hire someone just because they need a job; instead, they want someone who wants to be there for more than just a paycheck.
Finding a job right after college is a tough road, but if you can start the research early and use all the resources available to you (many of which are present at Northeastern University), you will succeed in your future career.