It is your final year of college, and you may be running around trying to finish final projects and 20 page thesis papers. Then again, you may have precisely planned out your classes, throughout your four years, to leave your last semester with easy classes that you can breeze through. Either way there are 5 important steps you must take to make graduating into the real world a lot smoother.
- Build your work wardrobe – This step is overlooked because most undergrads leave this step for when they finally land their real world job. Instead of waiting to land that job and then going to buy a whole new wardrobe, it is best to start early. Around the time you start going on internship interviews, start building your professional wardrobe. This would assure you that there is always something in your closet.
- Recommendations and References – Throughout your college career you have your professors that will sing your praises, and those that will ignore you in the hallways after the semester has ended. Hopefully, you have more praises because these professors may help to provide recommendations for graduate school, or listing on your reference page of your resume. One way to always be remembered by a professor is sitting in the front row of class the first day. From then on it’s up to you to provide that lasting impression to make sure you are not forgotten after graduation.
- Practice your craft – This is important because in an industry that constantly changes there is always something new to learn. It can be writing for the campus newspaper, or writing for a blog if you look forward to a career in journalism. It may be creating the flyers for multiple campus clubs and organizations as a graphic design major. Also, creating events for your college campus gives you the experience you need to work in event planning. As time goes on you will notice your work getting better. That progression will be noticed by employers when looking through your portfolios.
- Career/Internship Fairs and Conferences – A great way to meet employers and industry people is by attending fairs and conferences. At career/internship fairs you meet with company HR representatives, firsthand, to get an understanding what companies are looking for. Research companies that will be attending, and have your resumes and business cards ready. At the fair you can beeline to the tables that you are most interested in. Attending conferences puts you in a setting of many important people. This is where networking is important. At a conference you may not want to push your resume. With good conversation and business cards you can remain in contact with the important people you meet.
- Job Search – A year before graduation you should start applying for jobs. Research and list companies you’re interested in working for, and email them your cover letter and resume. Follow up with that company 1 or 2 more times with updated resumes so they see you are still progressing. Hopefully by the time you are graduated a position will have opened up, and before they can put up a job posting they will think of you.