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5 Ways to Prepare Yourself for the Job Market After Graduation

Thu, Feb 23, 2012

Internship Uncategorized

College students nearing graduation pretty much universally fear the difficulties of entering the job market. Even those that attend schools that have a high rate of job placement may worry about their prospects. In fact, the only graduates with any security are those that are going into a family business after culmination, or those that have a job offer in hand before they reach for the diploma. And with the current job situation in complete turmoil thanks to the recession, graduates these days are going from the frying pan straight into the fire when it comes to nabbing a position that is related to their degree. There’s no denying that it’s a scary situation. But there are ways to make yourself more marketable, and the strategy begins long before you pick up the tasseled mortarboard. Here are five great tips to get yourself ready for the job market after you graduate.

  1. Internships. This is probably the best way to prepare yourself for the job market after graduation for a number of reasons. For one thing, you can get an idea of what types of employment are out there for your major. This can help you to determine if you’re on the right path before it’s too late to change your mind. Also, you will get some experience working in a professional environment, which not only looks good on a résumé and puts you ahead of competing graduates, but also helps you to gain confidence and competence. Finally, and probably most importantly, doing well in an internship could result in an offer of employment.
  2. Initiative. If your goal is getting a job, one thing you can do to ensure that outcome is prove that you can handle the position you’re applying for. The key here is to take some initiative to show prospective employers what you can do. So take some time to put together a professional portfolio that showcases your strengths. If you’re a writer or graphic designer, provide the best samples of your work. If you’re going into marketing, try running your own campaign on campus and see how you do (find a crafty student to promote and finagle some independent study credits in the deal). Companies will appreciate your self-motivation, go-getter attitude, and proof of your abilities.
  3. Separating yourself. If you want your name to be at the top of every pile when you apply for jobs, you need to find ways to make yourself stand out from the pack. So think about volunteering at nonprofit organizations related to your chosen field, collaborate on campus projects, involve yourself in both student and community activities, and ask professors, advisors, and even industry professionals for advice on how to stand out.
  4. Networking. Getting a foot in the door could be as simple as introducing yourself to those already in the industry you’re looking to enter. Think about going to trade shows and webinars to meet the pros, and join some industry forums to chat up the regulars. These people can offer you advice from their own experience and potentially help you to find work once you graduate.
  5. Diploma. For god’s sake, finish school! Nothing looks worse than a failure to follow through. Whether you’re into the arts or you’re looking at mba executive programs, you won’t get far without that piece of paper that says you’re qualified to do the job. So don’t make the mistake that so many students do; dropping out is the best way ensure that you are totally unprepared when it comes time to get a job.
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