Whether you’ve just enrolled in your degree program or will graduate at the end of this semester, competition for your desired job will likely be high. With that in mind, it’s a good idea to start planning now to snag that dream role. Here are my top tips to give you the edge that you’ll need to blast your way into a successful career:
Cultivate your online profile
You’ve probably heard a million times what not to do online (i.e. don’t make your crazy party photos public!) but it’s time you also heard what you should be doing. Create a profile on LinkedIn or another professional career site that’s popular for your industry and country (yes, it does differ greatly). Start a blog, or get tweeting about industry-related topics. As a student, you might not think you have a lot to contribute, but I reckon you do. It could be as simple as a blog reflecting on your growth following professional experience – this will help potential employers get to know you before you even meet.
Develop professional networks
You’re probably familiar with the term ‘it’s who you know’ and it couldn’t be more true! Other people can be an excellent source of information on job opportunities, inside industry knowledge and personal development opportunities. So put yourself out there and meet those already working in the industry you wish to enter. Admittedly, this is something that I find rather difficult, but attending networking events or relevant industry talks is a great way to begin building your all-important professional network.
Set your goals
I’ve previously blogged about the importance of setting goals: they are your key to keeping motivated and making your vision become reality!
Experience can help you decide if your chosen career really is right for you and, if so, help you narrow down the specific role that is of most interest to you. It will also give you that edge when looking for full-time work after graduation, as your commitment and capabilities will be more of a known quantity. If paid experience is difficult to find, consider volunteering. There are many charitable organisations out there that could really benefit from your skills and it will look fabulous on your resume!
Have a CV and cover letter ready to go
Speaking of resumes, it’s good to have a generic one up-to-date to avoid the stress of putting one together from scratch at the last minute. If your dream job became a possibility tomorrow, wouldn’t you want to submit your application right away?!
Be open for learning any time
Don’t think that the only time you can learn valuable stuff at uni is in your lecture or tutorial. Rich possibilities exist in all sorts of places. Perhaps it’s the manager that you got chatting to at a networking event or the long-term company secretary you met at your mate’s BBQ – each person can provide you with different pieces of the puzzle!