Meeting new people, doing wild and crazy things, finding out who you are and what you really want to do with your life. These are the things that make college such a blast. Oh, I forgot to mention attending classes and studying to receive your degree. That’s probably just as important.
Unfortunately, some students get so wrapped up in having fun socially, they forget that the point of attending college is, well, getting an education. Many don’t plan ahead, thinking somehow a generous job offer will automatically accompany the diploma handed to them at graduation.
What follows is a simple strategy guaranteed to help you maximize your campus career center resources.
- Prepare your resume. Show some initiative. If you don’t have a resume, put one together. List any part-time jobs you’ve had in the past, honors you received in high school or any other notable accomplishments. If you don’t know where to start, see if you can check out some books from the library or borrow them from the career center.
- Meet with your campus career counselor. Take your resume with you and have your counselor look it over. Work with your counselor to refine it, so that it’s the most professional presentation of your skills and background it can be. Ask lots of questions. Then formulate a game plan. A high school senior looking for a job after graduation will have a radically different strategy than a college freshman looking for pocket change from a part-time job or a summer gig in the sun.
- Get exposed. My career counselor has tons of file cabinets with local employers and contacts, many of whom she knows personally. Continue a good working relationship with your counselor by keeping informed of college career days, when different companies are on campus recruiting students, and attend anything and everything you can. Get your resume out there, shake some hands and practice your interview skills whenever you get the chance.
- Maximize internships and work-study. Once you’ve landed that great internship or less-than-exciting but necessary work-study job, don’t stop there. Be diligent in whatever you do, going beyond the minimum and proving your worth. This goes for part-time jobs too. Ask around about other available positions that interest you. See if you can get a recommendation from your current supervisor who is happy with your performance. Who knows, you could end up getting your first full-time job this way.
- Network. Spread the love. By this I mean working your network (the people you know). Talk to teachers, your career counselor, the dean of your college and anyone else you can think of. Ask them if they know of anyone in your field of interest who would be willing to do an informational interview with you. This way you can gain a better understanding of your chosen career and how to best pursue it. Keep asking them about interesting opportunities or openings—they may be able to help you get your foot in the door. Then inquire if they would be willing to introduce you to their contacts so you could set up a meeting to explore the prospective job.
Just Do It…When you take action, trust me, you’ll reap the rewards sooner than you think. If you commit to doing just a few of the things I mentioned, you may be surprised at where it gets you.