As a rising college senior, I understand all too well the pressure that college students feel when it comes to their post-graduation job search. In addition to maintaining a solid GPA and completing our required curriculum courses to get our degree, seniors specifically face a whole new set of challenges that pertain to getting a job after graduation. To set yourself up for the increased likelihood of obtaining a job after college, you need to create a plan for success during your senior year.
Here are 5 of my best tips that I have learned thus far in my college experience, and why they are extremely beneficial for not only scoring an awesome job, but for making you a more professional individual as a whole.
01. Clean Up Your Digital Footprint
Let’s face it, Gen Z spends a great amount of time on social media platforms each day, and we are tempted to post every cute and funny picture that Snapchat will allow us to take. However, I am here to remind you that regardless of how incredible you may look in that Instagram photo, or how much fun you had out at the club last weekend, it’s probably not a great idea to post it. Keep in mind that your future employer is more than likely to check out your social channels upon hire — and they probably don’t want to see you partying it up on the weekends or you spending your time in class catching up on your most recent Netflix binge.
With that being said, it’s okay to show your personality online and share some memorable or exciting moments in your life, but keep it within reason. You can absolutely share a picture of your cute dog or tag your favorite song in a recent post, but the key is to find a balance between personal and professional posting.
02. Create an Online Portfolio
I’ve said it once and I’ll say it again! I highly recommend putting together an online portfolio composed of any extracurricular activities you’ve done throughout your college career that relate to your field, or any outside work experience you may have. This is a great digital way to express yourself and your interests to potential future employers. I recommend building a website, but it can literally be as simple as a Google Slides presentation highlighting any clubs you’ve joined and their impact, articles or blog content you’ve written, photos/social media content samples you may have, or any pieces of work you have completed in past work experiences.
Remember, your online portfolio is made to highlight you and act as a breathing representation of your best work. So, don’t forget to include your contact information such as your personal email address and LinkedIn, and update it regularly!
03. Understand the Importance of Networking
After all, it’s not what you know, it’s who you know. There are so many ways to network, and so many valuable contacts to be made at this point in our lives. From personal experience, I’ve made great connections speaking to alumni, meeting and connecting with my professors, and forming great relationships with some of my past coworkers and managers. This is a great way to potentially seek out open positions with your dream company by being personally connected with current employees, rather than waiting to see the job posting online.
I also highly recommend creating a digital business card that includes your contact information and QR code for a super easy and convenient way to connect with people when you least expect it. More professional than giving out your personal cell number, have someone scan your QR code and be prompted to connect with you on LinkedIn!
04. Find a Mentor
Finding a mentor during your junior or senior year of college can not only aid you in obtaining your first job, but also helps you navigate your way to graduation. You can find your mentor through your college’s alumni network or mentor programs and they range from recent grads to retired professors. Mentors are strictly involved in the program to help new scholars take on their path to success. Surely, no matter what route you take, it is so beneficial to have a mentor on your team to help guide you!
05. Intern, Intern, Intern!
The best way to determine if a career path is right for you is to try it out! Any way that you can gain some experience in your field is beneficial. Internships allow you to gain insight to your potential career choice while offering you some work experience while still enrolled as an undergrad. What’s not to love? And, if all goes well, it is likely that your role as an intern while enrolled in college could turn into a full time position upon graduation. If not, internships are a great stepping stone for your future career! I definitely recommend looking into interning in your field during your junior or senior year of college.
Featured Image via @cindyschai. Design by Her Campus Media.