There are so many important first days in life from kindergarten to college which take great preparation including transitioning into the exciting world of work. Here are some important college senior year job tips.
Experience has taught me a lot of things as I ushered my son through this process recently while also supporting our interns for our Nashville-based PR and marketing company, Forest Home Media. Hope this road map will be helpful for you.
Compile a Resume (and Work to Add To It!)
If this hasn’t been a class assignment, the summer before senior year should be dedicated to creating a resume. It can also be an incentive to become involved in relevant college organizations and activities once you see your experience laid out in that black and white, one page summary. If you don’t know where to start, request one from a friend or Google search. Google will be the ultimate how-to resource for resume and great cover letter examples.
Create Special Gmail Accounts For Job Search and Social Profiles
College email accounts expire depending on the university. Create a new Gmail account and go ahead and change social media account email addresses as well.
Subscribe to Job Search Sites
In the last semester, as you begin to interview, subscribe to helpful job search sites like Beyond and Indeed. Beware of shady promotional companies preying on college students by calling jobs PR and marketing assistants. A good search of a company’s website or social media accounts will reveal any potential scams. Add the email account to your smart phone thus taking the lead and responsibility for managing the job search.
Get a Professional Head Shot and Assess Your Interview Attire
Don’t settle for a good candid. Get a professional head shot. Dress for the job you want, but don’t run out and buy a suit or spend a lot on a wardrobe until your find out the future employer’s dress code. So many work places are much more casual these days.
Start Using LinkedIn
One of the pioneers of digital marketing, Dave Delany agrees and his top tip for college students is “grow connections SOONER rather than later.” He cleverly suggests writing recommendations for fellow students whom you may have partnered with on a project or faculty and guest lectures. Each person you meet, follow up with a LinkedIn connection request. Check out his must-read article “Ten Ways Students Should Use LinkedIn” and you’ll be ahead of the game.
Scrub Your Social Media (and Don’t Accept Potential Employer Requests!)
School and Greek affiliations have probably stressed the need for the no red solo cup pics. Don’t forget to go back through high school senior trip pics too and see if what you’ve been tagged in which might not seem appropriate for a future employer. Google name searches will yield surprising results and sign out so it is incognito. Some students are even altering names on social media to prevent future employer searches. Keep a respectable profile and this won’t be a worry. Also, DO NOT ACCEPT a Facebook friend request from a potential employer which I consider an overreaching move. Begin now an Excel spreadsheet or a simple word doc log for passwords – this tip is everything!
Create an Online Portfolio
For marketing, art and communication majors, creating an online portfolio via a free WordPress website is one great way to present your work. Students who include this on resumes are demonstrating tech savviness as well.
Research Potential Employers and Practice Doing an Interview
Dig into a potential employer’s website and do your research. Visit all social media profiles which give a better day-to-day idea of a company’s culture and priorities. Find a trusted family friend for a mock interview. Treat it like an interview from attire to thank you note. Google great interview questions and get someone to grill you on them. Be sure you come to an interview with a set of questions as well.
Get consent for job references and give them notification about any potential calls. Keeping everyone up-to-date on progress makes them a part of your team!
Prepare for Financial Responsibility
Finally, once the first job has been landed, we gave our son Dave Ramsey’s “Financial Peace Revisited.” We waited until the first paycheck arrived so it wasn’t an abstract idea. College students and grads are bombarded with credit card offers. Use Dave’s examples to steer away from debt to cash purchases and saving.
It is an exciting time moving from graduation into the work world. My mother’s only advice to me was I had to make more than $20,000 or I’d need to live with my future boss, the Tennessee Commissioner of Labor, which I “strangely” told him and luckily he laughed. (#awkward) You can do better! I’d suggest going over living expenses to determine a realistic budget and salary range. Also, contemplate the question“how much do you need to make” when a position’s salary isn’t clear.
Hopefully these suggestions will help and let me know any others you’ve found important in the comment section below. And, my only regret is not taking a post-graduation family vacation!