While there are plenty of reasons for soon-to-be college grads to start the job application process early, perhaps none speak more clearly than this eye-opening statistic from management consulting firm Accenture: a mere 42 percent of new grads find jobs within the first six months of graduating. However, there are some simple steps you can take now to avoid winding up in that unemployed 58 percent. Use these tips and tricks before you graduate to get an inside edge on your job hunt.
1. Use Your Resources
College career offices are full of services for graduating seniors. Whether you're trying to identify a suitable field or looking for help with your application, career services offices offer valuable assistance.
Schedule an appointment with a career counselor to learn more about what they can do for you. Many career services offers also sponsor job fairs, practice interview sessions, and other events to help grads connect with and impress potential employers.
2. Refine Your Resume
Writing a resume that gets noticed is not a one-day process. Rather than waiting until the last minute and then rushing through the process, take time to consider your comprehensive academic, extracurricular and professional background.
Begin by making a list of the activities you've participated in during your collegiate years, identifying specific skills and traits you acquired and used during this time. For example, while participating in a collegiate sport is one thing, captaining a team toward a division championship is something else. Be as detailed as possible, and focus on measurable results.
Keep in mind that in today's digital age, using the same resume for every job is unlikely to make the best impression. Every resume you submit should be customized to fit each unique job.
3. Get Connected
The 21st century offers many new ways for employers and potential employees to meet. Creating a LinkedIn profile will help hiring agents find you, and also gives you the opportunity to show yourself off as a tech-savvy job hunter.
Online networking is also important. Fellow alumni, for example, can be identified and sorted on LinkedIn via everything from location to industry. Reaching out shows initiative while also helping to build your network of connections.
But online networking hasn't completely replaced face-to-face communications. Whether you volunteer in an area of interest or arrange for a coffee date with a family friend who works in your target industry, in-person inroads are also important.
4. Police Your Profile
Does your Facebook profile hold up to the professionalism test? If your Facebook feed is full of spring break pictures and snarky memes, it's time for a reboot. Make sure your privacy settings are protected and/or remove any inappropriate photos and comments.
Also, take a minute to Google yourself. If incriminating search results appear, you have some damage control to do to ensure that your online reputation is stellar. Just how frequently do employers look into candidates on the internet? A whopping 80 percent of employers use Google searches to vet candidates, according a Huffington Post article.
There's no reason to wait to have your diploma in hand before beginning your job search. In fact, the most successful job seekers adopt "take charge," proactive attitudes. While graduation may seem like it's eons away, it will be here before you know it. Wouldn't it be nice to have a job offer firmly in hand when you toss your cap up into the air at graduation?
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