They say that college is the best time of your life, but what happens after those four years of independence, memories and parties? While we may hope our lives will turn out to resemble Anna Wintour’s, getting a job is difficult, especially right after college. With the competitive job market and the slumping economy, “it’s very difficult to stand out in the crowd,” says Chelsea Pech, a recent Boston University graduate. But fear not collegiettes, although we can’t guarantee you a job on a silver platter, our top 10 tips will point you in the right direction for snagging an awesome job.
1. Attend job fairs
Obviously, job fairs are an incredible way to meet potential employers. Since job fairs are more relaxed than a formal interview, it’s the perfect opportunity to take a breath and network, network, network! Like many other schools, Boston College’s Career Services Center provides students with career fairs and preparation meetings for job fairs. If your school’s helping you meet professionals, don’t pass it up! At a job fair, it’s an absolute-must to be outgoing: employers can’t do all of the work themselves! Check out how you can make the most out of your college career fairs.
2. Follow up with former internship supervisors
There are so many perks to scoring an internship during college: work experience, the occasional free swag, and most importantly, the connections. Whether you sporadically email your boss or ask her out for a cup of coffee, hold on to these connections. Your former bosses not only know you, but they understand how difficult it is to find a job after graduation. Since they know you on a more personal level, your old boss will be happy to help and glad you came to them for guidance. Not only might they have a position for you, but they can write you a stellar letter of recommendation.
Before Talie Tebbi became a Web Editorial Assistant for Oprah.com, she was a full-time intern for O, The Oprah Magazine. “One thing that was really important then and still is now is keeping track of every assignment,” says Tebbi. “Bosses want to know that they can count on you.” In addition to being on your intern A-Game, it’s important to do it with a smile. “I think it’s easy to forget, but we’re lucky to have the chance to work at these wonderful places in any capacity.” Internships aren’t the most glamorous, but they do pay off, especially if you keep in touch!
3. Set up a meeting with career services counselors
There’s no need to feel like you’re being intrusive at your college’s career services center: it’s their job to help you! Career services offices are a wealth of knowledge when it comes to scoring a job. Boston University’s College of Communication has its own Career Services Center that helps students connect with professionals where they hold weekly workshops, edit resumes, do individual counseling, and host biannual networking events. “We also have three employer relations people that work to get companies on campus to do recruiting and info sessions,” says Kelly Forde, counselor at Boston University’s COM Career Services. Every school has different things to offer, so stop by your college’s career services—the sooner the better! “We hope that the first time we meet you is not when you’re a senior,” says Forde.
4. Post-Grad Intern
Being an intern is so undergrad, right? Wrong! While some people take the summer after graduation to travel, you should apply for an internship. More and more people are looking for internships after graduation. “We’re seeing a lot more graduating seniors doings internships after graduating. With this economy, a lot of people are looking for internships that could hopefully turn into a job,” says Forde. While getting an internship, especially unpaid, as a post-grad isn’t ideal, your hard work and genuine interest in the field won’t go unnoticed. Many internships can lead to a job within the company and the obvious networking opportunities.
5. Utilize LinkedIn
Over the summer, my boss/mentor ordered me to “spiff up” my LinkedIn because “it’s a great tool.” If you’re anything like me, you created a LinkedIn and completely forgot about it. But now’s the time to give your LinkedIn account a facelift! Your profile is essentially a virtual resume so definitely add all of your work experience and interests. You can also ask former bosses to endorse you, which is a virtual letter of recommendation, on LinkedIn, which will look great when employers are checking out your profile. “It’s dynamic and it should be used that way,” says Forde. “Join groups, ask questions, and post on discussion boards. Use it, don’t just create a profile.” A maintained LinkedIn profile will show potential employers that you care about your career and are active in finding a job. Creating connections with people you know and people you want to work with will help you learn about upcoming job opportunities. If you don’t have a LinkedIn account, set one up ASAP! But just remember that LinkedIn is for business purposes only. “LinkedIn is not Facebook—don’t use it that way,” warns Forde.